WHAT CAN WE DO
WHAT CAN WE DO?
P R A Y
S P E A K
S H A R E
Prayer is the root of all that we do.
“Do not be afraid, little flock,” said Jesus, “for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
We, who ARE the Church, must speak. These are key questions for us:
Q. Why have we never heard about shared ministry or women’s ordination?
A. For several decades now, the Church has banned discussion about shared ministry. It has silenced academics, the Catholic press, seminaries and teachers, sometimes quite brutally. Many people, priests and bishops are still afraid to talk about it. We need to help dispel this fear. Talk about shared ministry! It’s normal and natural. Jesus encouraged Mary to break the cultural norms: “She has chosen the better part,” he told Martha and all the men.
Q. Isn’t it against the law to discriminate on grounds of gender?
A. In our secular society yes. In the Church, no. Canon Law is based on gender discrimination, “in accordance with God's plan for his Church.” This cannot be right.
Q. Don’t priests have to be celibate like Jesus?
A. Jesus never was a priest, nor did he ordain anyone. Celibacy began to be more strongly promoted, (largely for financial reasons), in the second millenium, but priests and popes continued to be married and have children for several hundred more years. The Eastern Orthodox have always had married clergy, and so have the Protestants. “Our own Catholic theology says that celibacy is a “charism” which means a free and empowered gift…. It is a contradiction in terms for the Catholic Church to think it can mandate a free gift.” [Richard Rohr]
Q. Shouldn’t we just be praying for more vocations?
A. Let’s look at all our vocations that the Church ignores - women who are never considered, priests who have ‘left’ to get married and married or celibate people who want to contribute more to their communities. Isn’t it time to listen to them? It is the old, hierarchical, celibate model of priesthood that needs careful consideration. What can we learn from fellow Christians about embracing change and growth?
It can be quite challenging to speak up and ask for discussion, especially if your parish is rather more traditional. Catholics are very deeply socialised not to ‘rock the boat’.
But we can all see that things are not well in the Church we love. Get in touch to see how we can help you to bring about meaningful and prayerful change in your community.
Spread the word about Parishioners’ Call beyond your own parish. Tell your family and friends. Email, post and tweet. There’s a handy short list of resources here.
Too many thinking people have walked away from the Church. Too few young people stay. Why?
It’s up to us to bring about change. It’s our call now.