A Ministry of Mary? The question of the ordination of women revisited in light of the theology of complementarity

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    In a previous work (Ingram 2016), I argued that women can achieve equality in the Church by means of ordination. In this chapter, I use the results of the psychological model I developed in the aforementioned work and utilise it in relation to a notion of complementarity (different but equal) elaborated in this article. The general finding of this article is that women can also achieve equality in the Church without the possibility of ordination. This finding is important in terms of ecumenism, given that the issue of the ordination of women has stalled ecumenical progress, particularly for groups in dialogue with the Catholic Church. It has stalled because the Catholic Church refuses to ordain women. I, myself, support the ordination of women, however, I also recognise that the Catholic Church is likely to continue to refuse to ordain women for the foreseeable future. What is the way out of this impasse? In this chapter, I test whether or not the status quo in the Catholic Church is just to women, and whether or not there is a notion of complementarity (and associated ‘college of women’) that is just to women. I argue that the status quo in the Catholic Church is not just to women but that the notion of complementarity developed herein may well be. The implications of this study in terms of ecumenical dialogue are as follows: (1) the Catholic Church cannot necessarily be accused of sexism for preferring a model of complementarity in respect of women’s rights; (2) we either have to envisage for the foreseeable future (but not necessarily forever) an ecumenical Church in which there are different but equal roles for women (complementarity) or a Church that continues to be divided.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLeaning into the spirit
    Subtitle of host publicationEcumenical perspectives on discernment and decision-making in the church
    EditorsVirginia Miller, David Moxon, Stephen Pickard
    Place of PublicationSwitzerland
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9783030199975
    ISBN (Print)9783030199968
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Publication series

    NamePathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue


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