On any given Sunday, God is almost always named in male terms, even though Scripture proclaims that women and men are both made in God’s image.
Might our daughters conclude that God is male and they are not made in God’s image? Might they conclude that they are secondary, derivative, less than men?
Draw upon and express in public worship the abundant, diverse expressions of God in our Scripture and Tradition.
At present, preaching during Mass is a reserved only to male priests and deacons, silencing women’s voices and creating significant pastoral challenges to evangelizing 21st Century women and men who are hungry for preaching that translates Gospel values into their contexts and lived experiences.
Prohibiting lay people – and any woman – from preaching a homily during Mass undercuts the Church’s ability to give trustworthy, authentic and prophetic voice to the whole human experience of living the Gospel.
Pope Francis has repeatedly said that the Church needs to listen to women’s voices. Empowering women to preach at Mass – to reflect on their experience of faith in this context – would be one powerful way the Church, the people of God and especially our daughters, could hear the voices of women.
At the present time, ordination is reserved only to men in the Roman Catholic Church.
Today’s daughters are told they can be anything that is “right” for them. But, such is not the case in Church. What do we say to our daughters, when they have discerned a call to the priesthood and are prepared to follow through? What do we say to their communities and the Church at large, when they suffer from the denial of women’s God-given gifts?
We, the Church, the People of God, must probe this issue, our history and our present needs, and then discern the full participation of called and gifted women through ordination.
During worship, God is almost always named in male, patriarchal terms (e.g., Lord, Father) even though Scripture proclaims that both women and men are made in the Divine image. The human family is just as often referred to in exclusively male language (man, men, mankind).
The use of exclusively male images for both God and human beings leads many Catholics to conclude that God is male and tells our daughters that they are secondary, derivative, less than men.
We can draw upon Scripture, Tradition and human experience to incorporate language and imagery in our daily and weekly devotions that underscore God’s own inclusive and all-embracing love.
Complementarity teaches that women and men have distinct but complementary roles. In practice, women are ultimately valued for their roles as wives and mothers in the home and men are valued for their intellect and leadership in the world.
Complementarity carefully keeps women at arms length such that Church teaching, ecclesiology, liturgy and canon law are largely shaped without the benefit of women’s intellect, experience, faith and gifts.
More than ever, we need to present the ways in which the principle of complementarity fails in its stated desire to produce real equality between women and men. Men and women of faith can contribute to this ongoing dialogue by sharing their experiences and reflections what it means to be female, male or family in today’s world.
Current Church teaching and on issues of reproduction and reproductive health forego the consciences of women and couples, the complexity of human situations and the reality of unjust social structures in favor of moral absolutes, thereby stigmatizing, alienating, and marginalizing women – and rarely, if ever, their male counterparts – who don’t.
Women hear about their transgressions – not their strengths – from the pulpit, and our daughters grow up uninformed about and ashamed of their bodies.
Church for our daughters will not just teach that women’s consciences are worth listening to. It will listen to them.
Violence against women is still rampant. While the Church verbalizes support for laws that address this issue, it refuses to stand behind legislation that moves to protect women beyond the narrow parameters of the traditional marriage relationship.
Women who are part of the transgender community are abandoned by the Church when they are victimized. Women in committed, loving relationships and same-sex marriages also get the message that they would not be victimized if they just lived out their lives as prescribed by the Church.
Contemporary science is showing us that the X-Y chromosome is far more complex than we have ever imagined. Church leaders ought to support legislation that protects women who diverge from their narrow constructions of womanhood and God-ordained love.
Catholic teaching on issues of sexuality – based on the concept of complementarity – leads to the view that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who choose same-sex relationships are “objectively disordered” and that relationships between people of the same gender are “intrinsically evil.”
These teachings have caused tremendous harm to individuals and have been used to justify both legalized and social discrimination against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex (LGBTQI).
A Church for Our Daughters will respect an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, affirm the individual’s goodness, and support the individual familial relationships.
The stories of the great women of the Bible are rarely read during Mass on Sundays.
The lack of women’s stories in our readings at Mass leads many Catholics to assume that women did not play a role in our history, leaving our daughters with little opportunity to learn about, be inspired by, and pray with these great women of the Bible.
The 2008 Synod on the Word Catholic bishops discussed the need to restore women’s stories to the Lectionary (Synod proposal 16). To date, there has been no follow up to this important proposal. A feasible next step would be to convene a gender-balanced group of biblical scholars and liturgists to decide which women’s stories would be most fruitful for prayer, preaching and catechesis.