Mary Ring at the Women's Ordination Campaign, Lisbon, Oct 18 - 20th 2019

Mary Ring takes over as one of our two UK Catholic Women’s Ordination representatives on this international committee representing women in the Church worldwide. Our thoughts and prayers go with her as we all work together for a just and inclusive Church.


PARISHIONERS CALL invited to attend THE PEOPLE’S SYNOD, BALTIMORE, Sep 27 - 29th 2019

PARISHIONERS’ CALL have been personally invited to participate in the People’s Synod in Baltimore, 27 - 29th Sept, 2019. We wish our Pamela Perry all the best as she represents us there, in a multifactorial listening exercise of the Church’s laity by the Church’s laity. 


Pam Perry  at the Catholic People’s Weeks Family Gathering in Malvern, August 16 - 22nd 2019

Pam Perry was given a generous and thoughtful welcome when she spoke at the Catholic People’s Weeks Family Gathering in Malvern in August. Asked to talk about the place of women in the Roman Catholic Church, she began by pointing out how many women are already quietly in positions of usefulness and seniority, but asking what can be done to change the Church’s public attitude to women, to a married clergy, and to an inclusive priesthood. Women already fill 85% of the Church’s roles that don’t require ordination - what does that say to us?

The conference decided unanimously to write to Pope Francis, asking for discussion at all levels about ministry: ordained and non-ordained, male and female, single and married, and about the role of laity in the Church. 



PC at Catholic People’s Weekend, Feb 15 - 17th 2019

Pamela Perry and Mary Ring were kindly invited to speak for Parishioners’ Call and CWO by Catholic People’s Weeks at their The Church at the Crossroads: Responding to Challenging Times weekend in February at Boar’s Hill, Oxford. Pam outlined how we in PC call for a radical re-imagining of the priesthood; for women and men in shared ministry, whether married or single or celibate. As majority shareholders in the Roman Catholic institution, we lay people are co-responsible for its credibility and effectiveness in sharing this Word. We have a duty to call for change and growth, whether we parishioners meet in twos or threes to share a coffee, or in parish-wide gatherings. Only when we Catholics realise our power in the Church, said Pam, will we enable meaningful, authentic change. You can read Mary’s review of the weekend here.


Anne Dixon, Chair of CPW, takes the analysis a step further in the Chair’s March Blog:

In the early stages of a building project there is an exercise called ‘briefing’. This is when the client tells the architect what they want. “We need more room, more light, more storage, more bathrooms...” In some instances the client has identified the ‘obvious’ solution without fully identifying the problem. They are uncomfortable and the logistics don’t work, so ‘more’ must be the solution. Sometimes ‘more’ is the solution, but not always. Sometimes we need to take a step back to see if ‘other’ is the answer this time. And that’s where the imagination comes into play. The same could be said of our explorations into the future possibilities for our Church. Do we need ‘more’ of what we’ve always done (bigger, better, stronger, higher, fuller, firmer)? Or dare we consider ‘other’ (stranger, different, smaller, deeper, easier, kinder, looser)? I was reminded of this recently at a CPW where we considered the Church’s future. There seemed to be two broad groupings:


•Those who began with the parish structures that we have; and who modified and improved these structures to make the church more efficient, more prayerful and more mission-focussed.


• Those who yearned to start from another place; where roles were less proscribed and authority was given more than claimed.


The first group were fired up and ready to go, filled with zeal and purpose, and with concrete actions to take forward. The second group were equally sure of how to achieve their goals, but also realised that they invoked a certain degree of deconstruction of the status quo which would be met by resistance from the first group. And yet both groups belonged to the same Church, the same extended community. That sense of belonging made it possible for dialogue and exploration to continue. Professor John A. Powell, Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society had this to say about the effect of belonging on the exercise of the imagination: “One reason the problems seem overwhelming is because we’re using the wrong tools to understand them and fix them. We’re actually talking about a profound change in paradigm. It’s like trying to think about computers as fancy typewriter. So if you’re using the framework of typewriters to try to make sense of computers, it’s very clumsy. It doesn’t work. You have to really shift it altogether.” In other words, to exercise the imagination, start by trying to forget what you know already about buildings, typewriters or Church (there will be other times when this will be necessary) and go back to when the itch started. Concentrate on “whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8. And let’s see where our imagination takes us. Many thanks to Anne Dixon for her permission to post this!


"Phyllis Zagano: No women, no Catholic Church"

From TribLive, April 20th 2019 - Original Article Here

In August 2016, Pope Francis named a commission of 12 scholars to study the history of women deacons. The commission — the first in the history of the Church to have an equal number of men and women — provided a report some months ago. Will the pope restore the tradition of ordained women deacons? No one knows what’s next.

But Christianity depends on women. It was the women followers of Jesus, not his apostles, who went to the tomb that first Easter Sunday morning. It was Mary Magdalene who announced the Resurrection. Today, most Catholic employees and volunteers are women, and churches are filled with them. But Catholicism retains an all-male clergy. It wasn’t always like that.

Historically, both women and men were ordained as deacons to serve the Word, the liturgy and charity. Their tasks and duties varied from time to time and place to place, but they were ordained to service. In the ancient Church, where immersion baptism was typical, women deacons anointed and assisted unclothed women in stone baptismal fonts, curtained off for privacy. At the appropriate time, the bishop would put his hand through an opening in the curtain to impart the blessing, but the woman deacons taught the faith to the new Christians.

In May 2016, when he agreed to appoint his commission, Pope Francis recalled something else. He said women deacons examined the bruises of women who claimed their husbands beat them, reporting the facts to the bishop. At various times in various places, women deacons also served as heads of monasteries or abbeys, diocesan treasurers and managers of the church’s charity.

There is evidence that women deacons served during Mass. Pope Gelasius I complained about them in the 5th century, and successive popes and bishops repeated the ban even after the church abandoned the stand-alone diaconate. In the Latin or Western Church, the Gregorian Reform of the 11th century effectively ended the diaconate, male and female. Only persons destined for priesthood could be ordained as deacons, following the “cursus honorum,” the required steps along the way: tonsure, porter, lector, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon and, finally, priest. Women never participated in the cursus honorum, so by the 12th century women deacons disappeared in the West.

Many Eastern churches maintained the tradition, and the Armenian Church never fully abandoned it. The Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Egypt and all Africa) recently ordained five women deacons. The Orthodox Church of Greece voted to restore the tradition in 2004. But ever since Pope Francis called his commission, Catholic objections to women deacons spring up.

What objections? Well, the main one is the “iconic argument” — women cannot “image” the risen Christ. That not only argues against women deacons, it supports all disrespect for women. Christianity teaches Christ lives in all believers. Saying women cannot image the risen Christ argues women are somehow less human than men.

The world is peppered with examples of women considered second-class or dangerous, from dowry-fire murders in India, to African female genital mutilation, to deaths from smoke or cold in menstruation huts in Nepal. Then there are rapes and beatings, snide remarks and cat calls, leering looks and subtle gropings. Disrespect for women underlies the notion that ordained women in history were never “really” ordained, that they only received a simple blessing because a female body cannot receive the sacrament. That dangerous notion surrounds women like a choking fog, disguising the fact that they are made in the image and likeness of God.

Women announce the Resurrection every day.

Easter is the time to recognize that.

Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University and author of “Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church.” She was appointed to the Papal Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women in August 2016.

"Why the Priesthood Needs Women"

From New York Times, February 23rd 2019 - Full Article Here

Alice McDermott talks about 'the moral error of discrimination' and goes on to reference a Vatican 2 document, Gaudium et Spes:


“In 1965, the Second Vatican Council released a document called “Gaudium et Spes,” or “Joy and Hope” — two gifts now in short supply among the Catholics I know. It said, in part: “With respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent.”


MMaC’s letter published in the Daily Telegraph

 April 9th 2019

"The Daily Telegraph recently published a feature article (March 27) relating to the celibacy rule that is a condition of ordination within the Roman Catholic Church.

As part of a movement committed to the acceptance of a married clergy, we do not see that married status is contradictory to priestly ordination; in fact, it may be just the opposite.

We have repeatedly requested that the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales set up a national commission to examine the experience of priesthood in this country, but our request has been ignored.

Apart from the principle of the right to marry, we have to face the increasing age profile of our priests, which has recently resulted in the closure of parishes in many diocesan areas. We have lost many good men who have been forced from the ministry even though they have fallen in love and wish to marry.

The Catholic Church faces a challenge that it would be tragic to ignore; we must listen to each other."


Chris McDonnell

Secretary, Movement for Married Clergy

Mike Kerrigan

Chairman, movement for Married Clergy

PARISHIONERS’ CALL member, Mrs Yvonne Fox, published in the Letters to the Catholic Times

 April 5th 2019

"Mrs Ann Farmer who vanted to keep the priestly vocation for celibate men only, fails to realise that dioseses need men who can work for the now very large number of those who have never even heard of Christ or know anything of the value of the 10 Commandments. The church is universal and must cater for every kind of person that needs the teaching of Christ, including the reception of the seven sacraments. Marriage should remain an option for those who feel they have a vocation to the priesthood. Being married and having children does not deprive a person of his worship to the Almighty: in fact it can enlarge it as experiencing the joys and sufferings of those nearest him. And so he can relate to the life of Christ. We need our enclosed orders of every kind to provide the rock of prayer on which we all build, but they can only experienced at second-hand what most of their fellows lived through by being out in the world. There is a very wide gap between what one can imagine and what one actually feels.

It was really a tragedy that the recent gathering in Rome of bishops from all parts of the world seem to have failed to have women to give account of what the effect was of the sometimes fatal wound inflicted by sexual invasion. There is all the difference between talking about a bruise even a superficial one, and actually feeling the discolouring effects of a blow.

No one is forcing a man into marriage, but the option to marriage at hand for a person, secure in their feeling of a genuine vocation of the priesthood should allay many fears that today, they can cope with what they may feel is their need for a supportive wife."

PARISHIONERS’ CALL and CWO member, Mrs Mary Ring, published in the Tablet

 Jan 26th 2019

"God bless Bishop Emeritus John Crowley (Letters, 12 January) for pointing out that we are still waiting for a response from our Bishops’ Conference to his call last summer, and those of his fellow bishops emeritus, Crispian Hollis and Thomas McMahon, for an open and urgent discussion on the nature of priesthood in our Church.

I joined CWO (Catholic Women’s Ordination) in 2014 and was shocked to discover the extent to which it, and the Church, has been silenced on this vital issue since Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994. Hidden from the average pew-goer, courageous women and men, Religious, academics and teachers, many of them our members, were being subjected directly or indirectly to the opaque methods of the CDF. Two things have begun to break open this omertà: on the one hand, the welcome new spirit of Pope Francis; on the other, our horrified awareness of too many feet of clay now visible under gilded robes.

A new grass-roots organisation is emerging as a response to the problems. Parishioners’ Call does what it says on the tin. We parishioners are majority shareholders in the Catholic Church, co-responsible for its credibility and effectiveness. We call for the shared ministry of women and men; married, single or celibate. We aim to help parishioners provide safe spaces in which to respectfully discuss this, to share our progress with fellow Catholics, and together to help to discern the Church’s way forward."

The following week’s Letters carried this endorsement: