Saturday, February 20, 2010

Women's Week: Women in the Church

What is the proper role of women in the Church?  It is a topic that got a lot more press ten years ago than it does now-at least in Catholic circles.  Protestants, except for conservative Evangelicals, seem to have decided in favor of women in the clergy.  Evangelicals seem, to this outsider, to decide on a congregation by congregation basis so that if a woman wants to be a pastor, she can probably find a church that will accept her.  The official word of the Catholic Church is that the Church does not and never will have the authority to ordain women, case closed. However, if you look at the Church from a historical perspective, despite the fact that women have never been ordained, they have held positions of influence and authority--more influence and authority than was common for women of their time in the secular world.

So my readers, since we are discussing women this week, what do you see as the proper role of women in the church (or other faith community)?  Why?

 If your religious congregation has a female pastor, how was she accepted when she first arrived?  Did it cause division in your community?  One completely non-doctrinal fear I've had about women pastors is that having one would make church seem too much a female place for men to feel comfortable.  Has your experience validated my concerns, or not?  In other words, has having a woman in the pulpit changed the male/female make-up of your congregation?  How did you come to have a female pastor?  In other words, was she assigned by some higher-up, or did your congregation choose to hire her?

In my experience, while Catholic parishes are generally run by male priests, the paid staff under them, and the volunteers who take the most time-consuming jobs are generally women.  Is this your experience as well?  Is that a good thing, and if not, what can be done about it?

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  1. Hello,

    I found this topic quite interesting. I was a Catholic for a long time, and my God mother was/is a nun.

    I am now a muslim, but I find so many similarities about how women are portrayed and what role they are expected to play in religion.

    We dont have a church of course, but no woman would ever be an Imam.

    I remember my God-mother speaking about the rules of the church and I always felt that she felt that something was missing (lack of women voices).

  2. I don't mind women in a "Church role" at all. We have a male pastor but do often have women guest speakers and even female substitute preachers. I would mind having a female pastor.
    My daughter went to college for Youth Ministry. While they allowed women into this program they did look down on it!!! Can you believe it? They talked to the young women as if they were going to be the wife of a pastor or wife of a youth leader. My daughter was very put off by this.


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