Why is female leadership blocked in the Catholic Church?
After decades of working in the Catholic Church it is clear to me that gender discrimination is fostered both consciously and unconsciously.
The law of the church links jurisdiction (governance) with ordination and we all know that the Catholic Church holds that it has no authority to ordain women to the priesthood. (Many believe that ordination to the diaconate is still an open question) So what does all this do to women’s leadership in the church? Putting ordination aside, there are many avenues open to women: chancellors of dioceses, finance directors, heads of school systems, etc. Furthermore, a number of bishops have suggested that women be admitted to the Vatican’s Diplomatic Corps which does not require the role be filled by a priest.
So why are so many of these avenues blocked? Because of a culture and ingrained customs that have carried a “men only” sign.What is needed is a shift in consciousness (or an awakening) to the discrimination inherent in these customs. Change is possible if official leaders of the church want it. The American Catholic bishops are on record that discrimination against women is wrong.Can those words be put into action? Of course.