Mary McFarland

In my home community, the news was recently released that over a period of 20 years many priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse had secretly been placed in a retirement home owned by the order. The retirement home is on a college campus. Unbelievable. But no matter where the home was located, no community should have sexual predators living next door without the community’s knowledge. A terrible plague has etched its way in to the Church and it is time for women to lead the church back to health. For a healthy and vibrant Church, diversity of thinking is essential – this requires women and men with equal voice, with equal authority. Excluding women from the top leadership of the Church has not only been sanctioned, it has been ordained. Effective women leaders are known to build community through healing, dialogue, and action. The time is now for Pope Francis, and for every layer of the Church’s hierarchy, to listen to the voices of women and men saying “the time is now”. The cost of not doing so can be seen in the empty pews.