Tuesday 6 December 2016

Women may shun mass but church won't listen

Emer O'Kelly is certain that no amount of campaigning will improve women's status in Catholic hierarchy

Published 15/08/2010 | 05:00

Jennifer Sleeman wants Irish Catholic women to boycott mass on Sunday, September 26, as a co-ordinated protest at being treated by their church as second-class citizens. Mrs Sleeman, 80, was originally baptised in the Presbyterian faith, and converted to Roman Catholicism 54 years ago. And now she is disillusioned.

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She believes the one-day boycott by women will make a marked impact. They are the majority of any congregation, she points out, and the emptiness of the pews across Ireland on that day due to the absence of women who wish for change -- whether it be female ordination, an end to priestly celibacy, or just plain recognition of their role in the church -- will signal that the days of an "exclusively male-dominated" church are over.

Unfortunately for women who want to believe in Catholicism, and who value their faith, those days are not over. The church is not listening even to wise men; it prefers the dogged and stubborn: Sean Brady over Diarmuid Martin, for instance. It is certainly not going to listen to the unclean vessels that it believes women to be.

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