It is a universal truth that women who ask for power in their religious communities are distrusted and demonized. I have seen it in my studies of Muslim, Catholic, and Jewish women seeking greater access to sacred spaces. I have lived it in my work with Ordain Women and efforts to bring gender equality to the Mormonism I love. We must see each other for who we are: people of faith who desire to serve our community. I am grateful for the words of our Catholic friends who are also working for equality in their faith.
“There is a demonization, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle, of women who want the same power afforded to men in the institutional church. That sort of shaming and blaming must stop. The only purpose it serves is to divide and conquer Catholics who want to see women treated with genuine justice and equality in the church.
We must insist that there is no shame in a woman’s desire for equal power in her church. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “power” means “the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way,” or “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.” Where is the sin in a woman’s wanting to function in this way within her church?”