Give us a voice
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The Vatican has a supply of chemicals to make black smoke or white smoke, but we can be reasonably sure that it has no chemicals marked pink smoke. To be fair, the competent and courageous women who have been asked recently if they would like to be pope have headed for the door shaking their heads, no! They know that the pope's job description, as it now exists, does not work, and Pope Benedict XVI's resignation provides its own proof. What the women I know want is a voice. In the conclave there was no woman's vote cast for the new pope, none, zip, zero.
Giving women a voice in the Roman Catholic Church does not challenge any doctrine of the church. In fact, it is a reasonable extension of the direction of internal functioning set in motion by the Second Vatican Council. The council encouraged national bishops' conferences and individual bishops to consult lay church members, including women, and some bishops and bishops' conferences actually did. Our own bishops' conference in 1998 published a document titled "From Words to Deeds," which stated three goals, "to appreciate and incorporate the gifts of women in the church; to appoint women to church leadership positions; to promote collaboration between women and men in the church." These goals need to be brought back on to the front burner. Half of the church has no voice, and this can be fixed.
The Holy Spirit moves in wonderful and mysterious ways. Right now, today, there is nothing standing in the way of "incorporating the gifts of women" because our own bishops have said so.
JOAN CLARK HOUK
The writer was ordained as a priest and bishop through Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an organization not recognized by the Vatican.
First Published March 14, 2013 12:00 am