Deacon Greg Kendra over at the Deacon’s Bench has linked to a speculative piece over at the Pray Tell blog about ways that women could exercise leadership and decision-making in the Church without being ordained.
As I have noted before on ID, the issue at stake is governance and the laity, not just women. This has big implications for all the baptized who are not ordained; religious and lay, male and female. The fact is that the debate over governance is not first and foremost a male-female issue. It is an ordained/non-ordained issue. And male cleric and non-ordained woman are not the only two categories at issue here. What about lay men?
Of the approximately 550 million Catholic men in the world, only 449,092 were ordained bishop, priest, or deacon as of 2007. That’s .000816 %, folks. Only 8/100ths of 1 % of all Catholic men are ordained.
Yes, we ordain men but it clearly doesn’t therefore follow that the charisms, leadership and creativity of Catholic *men*, as a whole, have been honored and welcomed. (Of course, that also imply that simply changing the gender make-up of this tiny ordained minority would not mean that the charisms, leadership and creativity of *women*, as a whole, would have been honored either.)
The debate over governance and leadership in the Church is not just, as it is so often portrayed, a battle of the sexes. It is most profoundly, a opportunity to consider the implications of the Church’s teaching on the apostolic anointing of all the baptized (female and male), the insistence that the Church’s primary identity is that of mission outward, and the integration of the “co-essential” (as Pope John Paul II put it) charismatic and institutional dimensions of the Church.