Pope Francis recently declared that a woman would never serve as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. This is not a change in stance; he has always said the door was closed on women being ordained as priests. But when pressed about the matter by a journalist during a press conference on the papal plane, Francis intimidated that the ban would be eternal because Jesus only chose men as his apostles.
I want to live in a truly inclusive world, do you?
Is THIS how you get gender equality?
Jimmy Carter “lost his religion” for equality in 2013. He said it was a painful and difficult decision but women and girls have been discriminated against in a twisted interpretation of the word of God for too long.
It’s wonderful that men like Jimmy Carter support gender equality in religion. But women need to support gender equality in religion, too.
Dr. Elizabeth Debold is a developmental psychologist and founding member of the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development. She says traditionally, the role of women has been to ensure the propagation of the species but sometimes women have made conscious choices to bring in something new. (Women supported the birth of Christianity and Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation in 1517. They spoke out in the early nineteenth century to fight against slavery and their own second-class status.) Debold says when women speak out, it brings about giant shifts in our culture.
If we want to change the Catholic Church’s stance on gender in the priesthood (and we should or we’ll never have an inclusive society), women need to stand up and speak out again. We need to confront damaging habits of the pasts in order to liberate our daughters and granddaughters from similar damaging habits in the future.
If women were to stand up for equitable treatment of women in the Catholic Church alongside men like Carter who are speaking out, men, women and children everywhere would benefit. We’d all be released from stereotypes and other habits of the past, and it would create a more peaceful and inclusive society for everyone to enjoy.
It’s great that men like Jimmy Carter are speaking out but women need to speak out, too.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right. It’s a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Gender equality doesn’t happen by chance.
Gender equality doesn’t happen automatically.
And gender equality won’t happen – ever – if the Catholic Church continues its ban on female priests.