Ordination of Catholic Women 'Won't Be Silenced' - Australia

OCW 'won't be silenced'

Online Catholics
An Independent Australian eJournal
Issue 43 | 16 March 2005

Silencing alternate voices is a sign of an unhealthy institution, according to the co-convenor of Ordination of Catholic Women (OCW), Joelle Batttestini.

Following the practice of some years, Ordination of Catholic Women will gather next Monday outside St Christopher's Cathedral in Canberra before proceeding into the Mass of the Oils and Celebration of Priesthood.

"Holy week reminds us that each of us has its own passion to go through," said Ms Battestini, a former lecturer at the University of NSW. "For me, the passion of Christ is not just about darkness and light, but also about transformation and change. Women will be ordained one day but the struggle has to go on if we don't want to be left in the dark."

The report commissioned by the Bishops and released in 1999, Woman And Man , One in Christ Jesus, concluded that the exclusion of women to the Catholic priesthood was was perceived by Australians as a major obstacle to the full participation of women. Further, the report showed that Australian Catholics did not hold that excluding women from ordained ministry was critical to their Catholic faith. The report also suggested that that the nature of priestly ministry needed re-examining.

In Dublin in 2001, the first international conference on Women Ordination Worldwide (WOW) resolved to pursue dialogue with local bishops and draw constant public attention to the issue of women's ordination by regular demonstrations. In 2005, the second WOW conference will take place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada under the title 'Breaking Silence, Breaking Bread, Christ Calls Women to Lead'. The movement adopted the purple stole as the international symbol for women's ordination.

Ms Battestini said yesterday that OCW was committed to establishing a continuing conversation with the Australian bishops.

Quoting from an OCW pamphlet, she said: "The sin of sexism is occuring in the Church. To acquiesce in demands for silence in God's household would be as unhelpful for women in the Church as it is for those subject to domestic violence. Experience has shown that silence, passivity and obedience do nothing to protect the battered spouse and do not cure the dysfunctional family."

"So we welcome friends and supporters to join us in a 'purple stole' prayerful witness at St Christopher's Cathedral next Monday.

"OCW is committed not to be silenced," Ms Battestini said.