The Ministry of Irritation is the area that most people already associate with WOC – it is our ministry of witnessing and prayerful protest. The purpose of this ministry is to challenge the Church’s policies regarding women by engaging the hierarchy and organizing on a grassroots level to publicly witness for women’s ordination into a renewing priestly ministry.

To explain why we use the term “irritation,” we use the analogy of the grain of sand and the oyster. The grain of sand irritates the inside of the oyster to create a beautiful pearl, and the people active in this ministry are the grains of sand, irritating the Catholic hierarchy to create a pearl of wisdom for the Church that bring about repentance for the sins of the Kyriarchy and bring about a renewing priestly ministry!

Although most of the U.S. bishops have made it clear they do not want to talk with us, through this ministry, we continue to make attempts to dialogue with them. In addition, we are developing new and creative ideas to fulfill our mission. In this ministry, WOC members organize and participate in the witness events that are a meaningful part of WOC’s history, actions such as:

  • The Showering the Bishops with Roses from St. Therese prayerful protest, street theater, and Eucharistic liturgy outside the November 2005 bishop’s meeting in Washington, DC
  • The Pink Smoke events during the 2005 papal conclave in five U.S. cities to call attention to the absence of women in the conclave and all church decision making
  • The successful 2001 billboard campaign featured in five U.S. cities and Rome
  • Holy Thursday witness events each year in Pennsylvania
  • Prayerful and peaceful demonstrations outside local ordinations of male seminarians in May
  • The annual World Day of Prayer for Women’s Ordination events celebrated by women’s ordination advocacy groups around the globe each year on March 25 th, the Annunciation

These public witnesses allow Catholics in the pew to see there are women called to a renewing priesthood and many Catholics are working to change the unjust church structures that exclude women and many other faithful Catholics from participating in church governance. We view the public actions of the Ministry of Irritation as essential to bringing public attention to the need for women’s ordination and a renewing priestly ministry and Roman Catholic Church.

Click here for more information about the Ministry of Irritation