A group of excommunicated priests staged a die-in Wednesday morning in protest of the Vatican’s refusal to let women take leading roles in the church
VIDEO: Pope Francis says that a woman’s role in the Catholic church is restricted to household work and serving the priest. On Wednesday, a group of women priests got arrested in protest of the Catholic church’s refusal to allow women into the priesthood. MIRIAM DUIGNAN, WIJNGAARDS INSTITUTE FOR CATHOLIC RESEARCH: When you have the leader of the largest faith group in the world with 1.2 billion Catholics, who has referred to women as ribs not once but twice, then you really have a problem. Two-thirds of the world’s poor are women and their dependent children, so you can’t preach about inequality, you can’t preach about poverty and trying to make people flourish and happy while saying that women are somehow secondary. SPEAKER: And it does damage to women’s psyche, young girls’ psyches. My mother would, you know–I was the oldest of four children. And she would say, now, what do you think about that homily that the priest had today? How can he understand what it’s like to get up at 2:00 and 5:00 in the morning and feed the baby? And how does he know what it is to run a household, and all that’s involved? FATHER ROY BOURGEOIS, LAICIZED ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST: I was a Catholic priest for 40 years. Expelled two years ago because of breaking my silence in calling for gender equality, for the ordination of women. When I was in Vietnam in the military I felt this call to be a priest. I was a male. I became a priest. And found, you know, the joy, the hope I was looking for in life. Well, years ago, after many years as a priest, I met women who said to me they were being called by God to the priesthood. I began to ask, well, why not? I don’t think you can talk about this issue without addressing power. At the very core of this issue is power, how we as a patriarchy, an all-male clerical culture, would see women as a threat to our power. DUIGNAN: Women in the early church, women in the Bible were named as deacons. We have women in the early church when it was originally founded who were presiding at the altar and leading church masses. We have women mentioned as bishops, as priests. We have frescoes where you can see women holding up the bread and blessing the bread together. And then around the 12th century it was banned, and it was banned because of the medieval, misogynist views. When the banned women from the altar there were no theological reasons for it. BOURGEOIS: What I have experienced in the way of rejection, being kicked out over this issue of women’s ordination, as a Catholic priest for 40 years, it gave me a glimpse, just a glimpse of what people of color, women, and the large LGBT community have experienced in the way of rejection for centuries. In our church, and in society. And this is what this is about. It’s about rejection. This is not about God, it’s about little men with little hearts, little minds, little faith.