The third rail is the inside rail that powers a subway. If you touch it, you will die.
In conservatives churches today, both in the Global North and Global South, Protestant and Catholic, the third rail is women’s ordination. If you say the wrong thing–and increasingly today the wrong thing is to say ordination is for men only–you might be killed ecclesiastically. You might be cancelled. You will be called the P-word–a “patriarchalist.”
Funny thing, though. The plain sense of the Scriptures, which plain sense was the Reformation hermeneutic, is patriarchalist and against women’s ordination.
But the Scriptures also left enormous room for women in ministry!
How can that be? See this article by Anglican theologian Barbara Gauthier and yours truly. In its first part, Barbara delineates the difference between the Marian and Petrine charisms. She shows that in Scripture and church history women had a large range of diverse ministries, and only the clericalism of the 20th century suppressed those ministries.