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Want to See Catholic Women Preach? Soon You'll Be Able To.

Last edited 30th October 2016

Want to See Catholic Women Preach? Soon You'll Be Able To.

One of the more intriguing questions Pope Francis prompted earlier this year when he announced that a Vatican commission would study whether the early church had women deacons was: How would Catholics react to women preaching?

Some Catholic women hope to find out.

A new website called Catholic Women Preach will publish videos showing just that, Catholic women preaching. The reflections will draw from the church’s weekly readings. The women backing the project say they hope the videos will help Catholics deepen their faith and become more comfortable with the idea of women preaching. “The kinds of things that women preach about are qualitatively different and touch us in ways that other topics don’t touch us,” Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of Future Church and a founder of Catholic Women Preach, told America. “Even if it’s a bit of a foreign experience to them,” she continued, “once people begin to listen deeply to the wisdom and the words of these Catholic women preaching it also will touch them in brand new ways.”

Church law allows lay people, including women, to preach only in extraordinary circumstances when an ordained minister is not available. Though rare, women have preached in some American churches. In the Diocese of Rochester, for example, lay people were permitted to preach by the local bishop beginning in 1979, but the practice was ended in 2014. And even if the women are ordained deacons someday, there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to preach—at least not in the way Catholics are accustomed to today.

In comments earlier this year, the pope suggested that priests, acting in persona Christi during the Mass, should give the homily. But there would be “no problem,” he said, with women preaching scriptural reflections in other settings, such as prayer services.

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