Leah Barrett

We need to talk honestly and openly about women in decision making roles in the Catholic Church. There is a huge blindspot in the church with regards to what women bring to the table. We are half the Body. But we are silent.

A friend who is a Catholic priest was recently accused of sexual misconduct and stripped of his duties. He is a smart caring person but repeatedly offended because he was never subjected to any firm limits on his powers within the community the first time. The men who were his superiors made these poor choices seeing his priesthood as more valuable than his offences were harmful.

Nuns are being hurt in places like India – they are under physical threat – their superiors feel powerless under the jurisdiction of corrupt bishops.

In the church community, volunteers are overwhelmingly women. They are generous and capable people from all walks of life, yet a pastor who has far less knowledge of the community can interfere with and hamper their work. Women are often the Children’s Liturgy and Youth Group leaders, a natural fit because of experience raising kids or teaching. These programs at our church have sharply declined when their decision-making power has been taken away.

There are serious consequences with the status quo – the lack of decision-making roles for women leads to inequality in society. It is pervasive and manifests as an imbalance of power in all facets of a woman’s life – at home, in the workplace, in government. The impact is felt directly on the women’s traditional domain – the home, children, the elderly, all those in need of care – where less attention is paid, less resources delivered. While the bible teaches us that no one is greater or lesser in the eyes of God, the church does not practice it.

With hope for change

Leah

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