Catholic church will become ‘women-free’ within 20 years, warns theologian

Catholic church ‘women-free’

The Catholic church will become ‘women-free’ in Britain and Ireland within 20 years and die out completely within a generation unless it reverses its “sexist and unbiblical” policy that only men can become priests, a leading academic and theologian has warned.

Unless it revokes the doctrine, the Church will struggle to attract new followers and will become ‘extinct’ in Britain and Ireland by 2050, Dr Niamh Middleton of Dublin City University predicts.

The Vatican’s ongoing refusal to recognise women as spiritual equals will reduce congregations to “elderly, pious men and no one else” within two decades, says Middleton, the author of new book ‘Jesus and Women: Beyond Feminism’.

Dr Middleton, herself a practising Catholic, said: “Women have been leaving the Catholic Church for decades as a direct result of its antiquated and discriminatory views, and because of repeated sex abuse and financial scandals involving its male leaders.

“Catholic women object strongly to having a celibate male priesthood marked by such scandals dictating their sexual behaviour to them, especially concerning contraception.

“By preventing women from joining its priesthood the Church has cemented its position as an old-fashioned institution that is out of touch with the modern world.

“Based on my estimates, I would say the Catholic Church has 30 years of life left in it, and will be ‘women-free’ within 20 years.”

According to the Vatican, women cannot be ordained because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles.

Whilst they have recently been given more powers during Mass, Pope Francis has ruled out women from ever joining the priesthood.

Any Catholic priest who ignores the ban and ordains a woman will be sacked and excommunicated.

Dr Middleton says only radical restructuring of the Church’s leadership will repair its credibility, arrest the dramatic decline in parishioners, and persuade more women and families to return to worship.

Not only must the Vatican revoke its position on female priests, but it should also install more women than men in positions of authority, says Dr Middleton.

Middleton says there is a “tsunami” of support toward integrating more women priests, and subsequently bishops. She also claims many senior male leaders would back such reforms.

Dr Middleton is urging the Pope to establish an international panel of female theologians to produce a clear roadmap for the Church’s future.

Her recommendations are set out in ‘Jesus and Women: Beyond Feminism’, a new book that examines Jesus’ pro-views of women and includes insights from religion, evolutionary biology, and the #MeToo movement.


The London Economic

Catholic Grapevine

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News category: Palmerston, World.

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