Women through the ages have been viewed as second-class citizens. In today’s world, we see evidence of it in sexual abuse and rape, violence and war, slavery and prostitution, as well as in gender inequality in scripture itself. The United States ranks 23rd in the world measuring equality for women and 78th in the world for participation in government. This thinking transfers into organized religions as well. The Vatican has recently come down on the Leadership of Catholic Women Religious. Twenty-five years ago the LCWR asked how their mission of service and education could assist in reconciling Catholic thought with some of 20th-century changes in cosmology. The Vatican is not interested in growth of ideas or reform. As a counter to this type of leadership in 2002, a group of Roman Catholic women were ordained. From that beginning there is now a worldwide movement with 180 Roman Catholic women priests, most ministering in the United States. Although the church refuses to recognize them as Roman Catholic, they have been validly ordained, although against canon law.
One of the women bishops from South Africa maintains this is no different from her fight against apartheid. We are fortunate in Olympia to have one such community, Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community with an ordained woman priest and on May 31 will ordain a second priest. It is time for women to stand up against the abuse of the church and other organizations that display women’s inequality. Let us speak out!