A GROUP of 12 priests from Ireland could face action from the Vatican after speaking out on ending the ban on allowing women to enter the clergy.
“Discriminating against women encourages and reinforces abuse and violence against women in many cultures and societies,” the group said.
A document, issued in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, reiterated the Church’s strict stance on women entering the clergy – and also banned further discussion on the matter by the clergy.
Pope John Paul II's views on female priests were repeated by his successors, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
A statement from the 12 priests published on the Association of Catholic Priests website read:
“The strict prohibition on discussing the question has failed to silence the majority of the Catholic faithful. Survey after survey indicates that a great many people are in favour of full equality for women in the Church. But it has managed to silence priests and bishops, because the sanctions being imposed on those who dare to raise the question are swift and severe.”
The priests are Frs Tony Flannery, Eamonn McCarthy, Kevin Hegarty, Roy Donovan, Pádraig Standún, Adrian Egan, Benny Bohan, Seán McDonagh, John D Kirwin, Ned Quinn, Donagh O’Meara, and Tony Conry.
“We believe that we can no longer remain silent because to do so colludes with the systemic oppression of women within the Catholic Church,” they said.
“So, in the spirit of Pope Francis constant encouragement of dialogue, we are calling for free and open discussion concerning the full equality of women in all facets of church life, including all forms of ministry.”
The group published their comments on the ACP's website - and the Vatican has yet to respond.