Women: Is Half a Loaf Better Than None?

Article excerpt

Some Catholic women in the United States may be wondering if the hierarchy is playing "good bishop, bad bishop" with them.

First, in September the U.S. bishops approved the statement From Words to Deeds: Continuing Reflection on the Role of Women in the Church. Addressed to all church leaders, it called on them to accept and act upon church teaching regarding the equality of women and men, to appreciate and incorporate the gifts of women in the church, to appoint women to church leadership positions, and to promote collaboration between women and men. "We assume that all roles in the church are open to women," wrote the bishops, "unless otherwise stated by canon law."

Ah, there's the rub. At the same meeting, the bishops approved Ten Frequently Asked Questions about the Reservation of Priestly Ordination to Men: A Pastoral Response, which discusses whether ordaining only men is arbitrary and unjust, among other matters. (Both documents appeared in the October 29 issue of Origins, 1-800-235-8722.)

Following a May charge by Pope John Paul II to a group of visiting U. …