Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Women taking reins in Catholic churches

Beneath the Roman Catholic Church's glass ceiling, a gathering crowd of women is gaining power and loosening the rigid structures of a centuries-old, male-centered hierarchy.

On Sundays, a divorced mother of two grown sons helps conduct Mass at St. Julie Billiart church in San Jose. Standing side by side with the Rev. John Pedigo, Jeanine Jensen leads prayers and joins in accepting bread and wine brought to the altar for the consecration. It's just one of her many duties as paid pastoral associate.
The diocese of San Jose is led by Bishop Patrick McGrath, who opined this past Lent that the Gospels should not be viewed as historical documents.
They are finance directors, school superintendents, chancellors. Seven of San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath's 10 executive committee members are women. McGrath, on vacation, could not be reached for comment.

Until the priesthood is opened to women, such jobs offer the best opportunity for making an impact.

Still, hope remains among many -- even some priests -- that the doors to priesthood will open to women someday as the natural progression of their increasing numbers in decision-making positions.
Hope as they may, it will never happen. And the agenda is openly stated...increase the numbers of women in the roles traditionally help by priests or other men and the natural progression will be to the priesthood, itself.

Of course there are and should be legitimate roles for women in the Church. But because society has become so confused in recent decades regarding family life as the nucleus of society, and the rampant abandonment by many men and women of their parental and familial responsibilities, we find ourselves in some particularly troublesome situations, many times promoted by priests and bishops in the name of 'diversity' rather than tradition, experience, and common sense. How terribly sad that the Church must experience again all of the futile attempts of changing the priesthood and the Sacraments - But it is also an excellent opportunity to use things like this for the sanctification of ourselves and others and as a means of mortification to make reparations for our own sins as well as those of others. Perhaps, if we were to use this and similar situtations as opportunities to beseech God's mercy and forgiveness, the minds and hearts of others might be enlightened and converted.


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