May 11, 2023 — As you probably know, the global Catholic Church is in the middle of a three-year synod process on the topic of synodality. The synod has featured thousands of listening sessions with the faithful all over the world, the biggest consultation process in the history of the church. Maybe you’ve been involved in one or more of these meetings yourself. One of the key themes that has emerged again and again in the reports on these meetings is women’s leadership in the church.
Here’s how the document synthesizing the synod process in the United States puts it: “…there was recognition for the centrality of women’s unparalleled contributions to the life of the Church, particularly in local communities. There was a desire for stronger leadership, discernment, and decision-making roles for women – both lay and religious – in their parishes and communities. ‘People mentioned a variety of ways in which women could exercise leadership, including preaching and ordination as deacon or priest. Ordination for women emerged not primarily as a solution to the problem of the priest shortage, but as a matter of justice.’”
And if you’re going to reflect on women’s leadership in the church, you just have to talk to Dr. Phyllis Zagano. Dr. Zagano is a scholar based at Hofstra University in New York and is one of the world’s leading authorities on the past and present of women’s leadership in the Catholic church. Host Mike Jordan Laskey invited her on the show to talk about her new book, titled “Just Church: Catholic Social Teaching, Synodality, and Women,” which was just published by Paulist Press. They discussed the history of women serving as deacons in the Catholic Church, plus some ways the church might better empower women today.
AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.