For Immediate Release: 5 May 2017
The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is dismayed by the comments released by David Hains, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, regarding the ordination of Abigail Eltzroth. In his statement, Hains stated: “I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass.”
The idea that a woman who answers her vocation to share the Good News is “sinful” is an antiquated notion from the Church hierarchy who still consider women unclean and unholy. Women priests are not sinful, sexism and patriarchy are. WOC celebrates Abigail Eltzroth’s ordination, the more than two-hundred women who practice prophetic obedience by answering God’s call, and all those who worship in these communities.
Although women are leaving the institutional Church more rapidly than any other group (Pew Research, 2015), they are finding a sacramental home in women-led eucharistic communities and home churches, where all are welcome to the table. We encourage those who find a home in these communities to follow one’s own conscience in seeking the sacraments.
On his recent trip to Egypt, Pope Francis said: “There’s a phrase that should never be used: ‘It’s always been done that way.’ That phrase, let me tell you, is bad. We must always be changing because time changes.” The Women’s Ordination Conference and the majority of U.S. Catholics (88% according to the Shriver Report) who support women’s ordination couldn’t agree more.
As the Roman Catholic Church marks “World Day of Prayer for Vocations” this Sunday, May 7th, WOC prays that the Church hierarchy rid itself of the sin of sexism and once and for all change with the times. It is long overdue that the Roman Catholic Church affirm women’s gifts and welcome women as equal partners in all realms of ministry and leadership.