Saturday, May 28, 2016

Footnote to Discussion of Role of Women in Early Christian Rome: Women Priests Project's Rome Poster Campaign Challenges Ban on Women's Ordination

I cannot say this better than Chris Morley says it in a comment in response to my posting yesterday, which ended with the following statements: 

All of this — the discussion of historiography, the poring over ancient artifacts, the consideration of how historians represent their biases and commitments in their historical research — may seem merely academic. It's not, though, is it?  
Not if really meaningful discussion of the role of women in the Christian churches, and the possibility of ordaining women in churches that refuse ordination to those lacking a penis, is to be undertaken . . . .

And since I can't make the following point better than Chris makes it in his comment, I'm taking the liberty of lifting Chris's comment into a posting proper, with a nod of profound gratitude to Chris for his statement. He writes, 

Your coda at the end about women's ordination needs to point to the poster campaign in Rome happening right now.

'' 'Some women disobey': Rome poster campaign challenges Catholic ban on female priests - Pictures of women serving illicitly as priests will be plastered across city as part of campaign against Vatican decree" (and then Chris links to a Guardian article from which this headline is taken). 

Here's the campaign website, WOMEN PRIESTS PROJECT: A documentary project about the forbidden priesthood of women in the Roman Catholic Church.

Here's the welcome page for this Rome poster campaign: 

The Holy Father will celebrate the Jubilee of Priests from the 1st to the 3rd of June in Rome. After his recent announcement about the creation of a commission to study female diaconate, I thought [it] was important to be present in Rome in the shape of lectures and a open-air exhibition in the streets of Rome. 
Within the event a Jubilee for Women Priests organized by the association Women Ordination Worldwide, Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi will present her project "You Gave The Virgin a New Heart".  
The documentary project explores the life and faith of Roman Catholic Women Priests that are excommunicated by the Vatican because they disobey a canon law that says that only a male can be ordained priest. Since 2012 Bianchi has met more than 70 women in United States and Colombia. The project is still on going and we are asking support through donations to complete it.

And then the welcome page adds the following quotation from Giulia Bianchi:

Inspired by prophets and mystics, against clericalism and power, women priests open their communities to divorced, gay, and all those whom the Church does not invite to their Eucharistic table. I was shown a model of world where if there is no justice for the smallest and the weakest, then there's no justice at all. To me those women are a symbol. They are showing us the primacy of conscience and how to renew our own tradition.

Chris is absolutely right: this announcement of a Rome poster campaign challenging the ban on women priests in the Roman Catholic church is absolutely pertinent to what I posted yesterday about the role of women in early Christian Rome, and the challenges of recovering information about that role in historical traditions long dominated by the masculine gaze.

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