The Role of Women and the Tide

I saw a few posts in social media this week on the various local iterations of the universal synod. The topic was and is the role of women. Another lay person, a non-woman, wrote this:

I will climb on this soapbox again – in terms of leadership and decision-making, the LAITY need to be given equal (-to clergy) treatment. Stop with these statements that presume the two genders in the church are clergy and women. I have no more equality of treatment within church structures than any woman does.

He got bashed a bit for it. Is that fair, do you think?

My comment there:

Ordination “potential” aside, the lay man issue is a bit more shallow than the role of women. I’ve seen many priests and bishops treat men differently. Some of it is the clericalism culture. Sometimes its personal; many priests’ last real encounter with women were as teenagers. They just don’t know how to act around females. You see it in awkward humor, dismissive attitudes, etc.–many just don’t have a clue.

One subjective observation: I once knew a priest (not my pastor) who openly admitted in a small gathering of lay men and a few clergy he preferred to hire women because he could more easily control a female staff. And pay them less. He had an otherwise good rep: fairly progressive, good preacher, and the like. Even as a joke …

Another story, maybe it illustrates the situation as I’ve seen it. I went to the sacristy when a visiting priest arrived for a wedding. I gave him the liturgical plan. He asked about the Kyrie: where was it? Was I singing it? Or was he reciting it? I told him there is no Kyrie at the wedding Mass and that the MR3 calls for the Gloria. He scoffed at my answer and asked where I got that nonsense. When I told him, he replied, “I listen to bishops. Not the musicians.”

If I had been female, I might not have been permitted even a “symbolic” entry into the sacristy. There would have been no conversation at all.

My conclusion on the above-mentioned social media thread:

Speaking as a lay man who does understand Alan’s point, I’d prefer to focus on the role of women issue. That tide will float a lot of boats.

Image credit: By Galib106 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Church News, Ministry, Politics, synodality. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Role of Women and the Tide

  1. Liam says:

    “As A” … longtime single (in the stricter sense of never-married) person, I could also whine about where unordained and unvowed single mature adults “fit” (hah! ROTFLMAO!) in the Church’s vision…but I am so not holding my breath to imagine it will be addressed in centuries. Unless and until women’s full place in the Church is more comprehensively addressed, there’s no point. A lot of other “As A” ‘s follow after that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s