Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Survey Studies Women Who Feel Called to Ordination

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Survey Studies Women Who Feel Called to Ordination

Article excerpt

Many Catholic women who feel called to ordination are already in full-time church ministry and have degrees in theology or related fields, according to a national survey conducted by the Women's Ordination Conference.

The first report on the study, released at a news conference in Washington Sept. 13, said from nearly 10,000 mailed questionnaires to U.S. Catholic women, the survey received 894 responses, including 265 who said they experience a call to ordination.

Of those 265, it said, 52 percent are employed in church ministry, with an additional 10 percent in teaching and 6 percent in human services. Eighty percent had master's or doctoral degrees, and nearly three-fourths of the entire group described themselves as academically trained in theology, pastoral studies, liturgy or other fields related to ordained ministry.

The study said the women who feel called to ordination were typically "mature, well-educated regular churchgoers active in their faith communities."

At the same time, it said, a large majority of them disagreed with the church on various issues of church governance and Catholic moral and sacramental teaching. Ninety-five percent said the church should eliminate mandatory celibacy for priests and should let couples make their own decisions on forms of birth control. Ninety percent or more thought divorced Catholics who remarry should have access to Communion without an annulment and have their second marriage celebrated in the church.

Seventy-four percent said abortion can be a morally acceptable choice in some circumstances, and even more thought premarital sex can be morally acceptable, the church should ordain openly gay and lesbian people, and the people should elect their bishops and have a voice in electing the pope. …

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