Response to Jennifer Sleeman Initiative
We in the Association of Catholic Priests acknowledge that the position of women in the Catholic Church is a difficult and often divisive issue, but also one that needs to be faced and discussed as openly and calmly as possible.
Jennifer Sleeman’s initiative this past weekend did not meet with universal approval, even among women. But if did receive substantial support.
We believe that neither of the Hierarchy’s statements over the weekend was helpful.
Saturday’s statement which claimed that women were already significantly involved in the Church, missed the point that women are presently excluded from many ministries and from all forms of decision-making. Unless we acknowledge the reality progress will not be made.
Yesterday’s statement, stating that Mass attendance had not been effected, bordered on triumphalism.
The Association of Priests knows of a certain number of committed Catholic women who did not attend Mass this past weekend. It is crucial that we remain in respectful dialogue with such women.