Womens Ordination Conference in Philadelphia

This evening, at the Womens Ordination Conference here in Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of listening to Theresa Kane, the woman who spoke up to Pope John Paul asking for the ordination of women. She is old now, and somewhat stooped, but her voice is clear and strong. She has written a statement for Pope Francis, who is visiting this city next weekend. She read her statement out for us this evening. It was wonderful listening to her; she has not none of her prophetic vision, or of her courage. She highlighted something that I am increasingly recognising as a real problem for the Catholic Church. She pointed out that in many parts of the world regimes and cultures treat women as inferior, and freely restrict, abuse and use violence against them. The Church should be in the forefront of the struggle against this. But instead, by excluding women for any positions of decision making, and from ministry, they are actually aiding and abetting this type of behaviour.
There are 500 people at this conference, practically all women. While the majority are older, the leadership of the movement now consists of a group of young, bright and very energetic women, who are a delight to meet and to listen to. They are clearly inspired by Theresa Kane, and others like her who have carried the torch for the forty years existence of the Womens Ordination Conference.
Tomorrow I take part in the only session where men will speak. I am part of a panel with Paul Collins, Roy Bourgeois and Jack McClure. What is really interesting is that the panel is being chaired by Kristina Keneally, former Premier of New South Wales. I am looking forward to that.