Time to stop excluding women from priesthood

I recently saw an interview on TV where a Catholic theologian responded to the question, “Why doesn’t the Catholic Church allow women to be priests?” His answer was direct. “Because it is not in the divine plan.” How disappointing. I have to wonder if this would be Pope Francis’ response.

We know that within the cultural context of Jesus’ time, women were regarded as inferior, even as property. Although Jesus upheld the dignity of women as shown in many examples in the Gospels, had he invited even one woman to be an apostle, the Hebrews would have been scandalized, and Jesus would have been arrested. He would not have been free to fulfill his ministry.

Almost 2,000 years later, we are in another cultural context where women in the West have gained freedom and full participation in almost every sphere of life, except in some religions. I believe that Jesus, who taught that God’s love is all-inclusive, would not exclude women from the priesthood today. In fact, I would venture that this all-embracing God would say that is the divine plan, ever evolving, ever creating.

Hugh F. Brady