Where are the women?


By Frank Wessling

Who says men can’t realize how much they need women? At the Vatican it is now acknowledged that the clergy sex abuse scandal could well have been avoided if women had been in positions with enough authority to break through a “veil of masculine secrecy” and protect children from predators.

Priests and bishops — all men — found reasons to excuse and overlook indefensible behavior for far too long. An article last week in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano compared that collusion to the Mafia code of silence known as “omerta.” A few women in the mix with the authority to challenge episcopal and clerical malfeasance would puncture the sinful silence.

Few would dispute this. But the challenge of doing something about it remains. How do we raise up a feminine voice, a feminine presence adequate to the need for the fully human dimension of Christ to be present in the church?

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