Nothing in the Scriptures bars women from the priesthood. That was the conclusion of the 1976 Pontifical Biblical Commission. So, if Jesus was more liberal than others of his time on matters relating to women, why is Pope John Paul II being so reactionary?
For more than 20 years as an adult Catholic woman I have struggled from within the church for equality for women Catholics. At 17, I could not accept the subservient roles the church offered women. In the years since I became active as a lector-commentator and lay distributor of communion. At the same time I struggled to explain to my young daughter why she could not become a priest.
I was wrong to sit by silently while Father Charles Curran and other American Catholic theologians, male and female, were stripped of their positions at universities and of their civil and religious leadership roles. I was wrong not to join them publicly when they criticized archaic attitudes toward women.
Don't we women believe that there are "two dimensions of any woman's vocation: motherhood and virginity"? Don't we want to build our lives around the metaphor that the priest must be to this church as a bridegroom is to his bride? Doesn't this and the fact that the apostles were men prove beyond all doubt that females cannot be priests? No!
I can no longer sit silent in my pew. As a Christian I must speak out against the institutional gender discrimination of my church. The Council of American Catholic Bishops is preparing a position paper which seeks a re-evaluation of the role of women in the church. Those men should do no less than ordain theologically prepared females.
NOREEN C. FACIONE