Friday, March 03, 2006

Women in the Institutional Catholic Church --
Via The Lesser of Two Weevils, an AP story:

Pope Benedict said Thursday he will consider increasing women's "institutional" role in the church but reiterated they would remain barred from the priesthood, Italian news agencies reported.

The pontiff made the comments during an audience with Rome's parish priests, the Apcom and ANSA agencies said.

Benedict said he would begin reflecting on the possibility of giving "institutional" recognition to women after noting women's "charisma" had always played an important role in the church, the agencies said.

I'm not entirely sure what this means. Some will interpret it as the first step in moving closer to considering the possibility of women priests. And Benedict supposedly pushed for his predeccessor to not speak ex cathedra when saying that women cannot be priests. Benedict strikes me as the pragmatist who believes that the future may require women priests but who is unlikely to make that step himself. And the Church certainly couldn't make steps in that direction before getting discipline under control to stifle dissent if that were an eventual momentous change. I consider myself agnostic on the question of whether women should be priests. I accept the status quo and I would not reject a change in the status quo coming from the Pope, but I don't believe this is a fruitful avenue for agitation.

I'd be curious to know how many women work in Vatican services such as banking, news agencies, and theological colleges.
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