November 4, 2016—“DignityUSA is deeply disappointed by Pope Francis’ recent reaffirmation of Pope John Paul II's statement that the ordination of women will never be possible in the Catholic Church,” said the organization’s executive director, Marianne Duddy-Burke.
“It is very unfortunate,” she commented, “that Pope Francis is not reading the signs of the times on this vital question, as Church teaching calls on all Catholics to do. Catholics all over the world are strongly in favor of opening ordination to women as well as men. DignityUSA has long called for all the sacraments, including ordination, to be open to all Catholics, regardless of marital status, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Duddy-Burke noted that Pope Francis has recently called for studying the question of ordaining women as deacons, who perform many of the same roles as priests in the Catholic Church. “This is an important step forward and the Church needs to keep moving in that direction, not backwards,” she stated. “The Holy Spirit is moving in history in ways that could not have been anticipated by Pope John Paul II when he attempted to close the discussion about women’s ordination many years ago.”
“Our Church is not a museum or a mausoleum,” Duddy-Burke continued. “It is a living body, the living Body of Christ, which includes all of the faithful, and it must respond to the deeply felt sense of the faithful today. Pope Francis has a sacred duty to guide the church of today, not the Church of decades and centuries ago.”
In conclusion, Duddy-Burke remarked, “It is becoming clearer by the day that the Church will continue to suffer great losses in members and damage to its credibility if it cannot find a way to open ordination to women as well as men. Women are already providing a significant level of ministry within the Church, as they have done for centuries. Numerous Dignity communities are blessed by the ministry of women, as both ordained and lay ministers. The entire Church must now recognize women’s full and equal humanity, and their full and equal capacity to assume every role and responsibility within the Church as well as within society.”