Ministry of Irritation challenges the Vatican’s policies regarding women by engaging the hierarchy and organizing on a grassroots level to bring public attention to the issue of women’s ordination and the need for structural change in the church.
Ministry of Walking with Women Called supports and provides resources for women discerning if they are called to ordination into a renewing priestly ministry, for women who know they are called and are discerning how to proceed, and for women in an ordination formation process.
Ministry of Prophetic Obedience supports and promotes the ministries of Catholic women who have answered their call to spiritual leadership and that are making a positive difference in the Catholic Church and the world.
As the church is always reforming itself—that marvelous Vatican II concept—so must our organization. Our "Three Ministries" are helping us do just that, as they are helping us fulfill our mission of creating a continually renewing priestly ministry.
As with any healthy movement for social justice, the women’s ordination movement holds many different opinions on the best way to go about advocating for a renewing priestly ministry within its ranks. In order to encompass some of this diversity, WOC launched the Three Ministries in 2003. They were created to focus WOC’s programming on the three most common areas of thought and action within the movement.
The following will describe each of these areas, as well as the programming and activity within each ministry. WOC’s mission is to work for women’s ordination and a renewing priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, and WOC works in the U.S. and in collaboration with the global women’s ordination movement.
In order to fulfill our mission, WOC believes the movement must be united and learn from different perspectives and opinions. WOC values differences because they will allow the movement to create a more full picture of God and better reflect the Body of Christ.
To read about each of the ministries, click on the links above.
WOC’s Three Ministries are a three-pronged approach that attempts to encompass the diversity of thought and action within the women’s ordination movement. Within the ministries themselves, there are differences of opinion and strategy, and by creating only three, we are not attempting to say there are only three perspectives in the movement. Like every social movement, we need a continuum of actions to bring about our vision. We need some women to be public in their witness for women’s ordination to bring public attention on the issue (Ministry of Irritation), we need some women to serve as examples of women in ministry within Roman Catholic structures (Ministry of Walking with Women Called), and we some need women to take the difficult step of contra legem ordination to be examples of women as priests and bishops (Ministry of Prophetic Obedience). All of the above groups are essential to the movement and our representation of them must be in balance. Each ministry should have room to speak about their particular concerns and areas of interest, and no one perspective should hold power over the other. As we move forward, we must maintain integrity to our Catholic roots and traditions, yet we must also be open the new directions and expanded horizons to which the Holy Spirit leads us. This is one of the most difficult struggles we as a movement face right now. What are the elements that we hold on to -- what is essential to our Catholic identity? Conversely, what prophetic examples and actions is the Holy Spirit leading us to? Right now, we must figure out how to hold these two questions in tension as we work together answer them. And, we must not silence each other when differences arise. We must engage our differences, be honest with each other, and learn from our different perspectives. Once we do this, we will be better equipped to reflect the discipleship of equals and a constantly renewing priestly ministry that Jesus and his disciples modeled for us.
Aisha Taylor prepared this presentation on WOC's Three Ministries as the Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference.
The celebrations and work of our Three Ministries are focused on the grassroots,so we need local folks to help with committee work and in spreading the ideas. Share your dreams, time, and energy with WOC and help us move forward in this exciting time.
WOC members interested in helping should contact Kate Conmy at the WOC office 202-675-1006 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.womensordination.org.