Catholic Church will be “without women” in 20 years, warns theologian

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The Roman Catholic Church will become ‘femaleless’ in Britain and Ireland within 20 years and will die out completely within a generation unless it reverses its ‘sexist and unbiblical’ policy that only women men can become priests and bishops, said a leading scholar and theologian. warned.

The faithful are already said to be turning their backs on Catholicism “en masse” in response to its views on women’s rights, LGBT rights and contraception.

But the Vatican’s continued refusal to recognize women as spiritual equals will reduce congregations to “old, pious men and no one else” within two decades.

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

Dr Middleton, a practicing Catholic herself, said: “Women have left the Catholic Church for decades as a direct result of its archaic and discriminatory views, and because of repeated sexual abuse and financial scandals involving its male leaders.

“Catholic women strongly oppose that a celibate male priesthood marked by such scandals dictate their sexual behavior, especially in matters of contraception.

“By preventing women from joining her priesthood – and creating only ‘jobs for boys’ – the Church has consolidated its position as an old-fashioned institution, disconnected from the modern world.

“Unless and until he treats women equally, the number of women in congregations – and by extension their friends and families – will continue to decline at an alarming rate, leaving only older, pious men and no one else.

“Based on my estimates, I would say that the Catholic Church still has 30 years of life, and only 20 in women. “

Respected feminist theologian Dr Niamh M. Middleton says the faithful are deserting the Catholic Church “en masse” because of the institutions’ regressive views.

But the Vatican’s continued refusal to recognize women as spiritual equals will reduce congregations to “old, pious men and no one else” within two decades.

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

While it is said that they do “many other things better than men” and have recently been given more power during mass, Pope Francis has ruled out that a woman will ever join the priesthood.

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

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

Not only should the Vatican revoke its stance on women priests, it should also install more women than men in positions of authority.

This, Dr Middleton says, should be temporary so that women can guide the reform of institutional Catholicism to the point where equal male and female authority within the Church is established.

Now is the “perfect” time for the Church to reconsider its values, as many aging male priests are about to retire.

There are a substantial number of experienced worshipers currently waiting behind the scenes to fill the void amid a dearth of younger men eager to join the Church.

Dr Middleton says there is a “tsunami” of support for the inclusion of more female priests, then bishops, and also says many senior male leaders would support such reforms.

She now urges the Pope to establish an international panel of female theologians to produce a clear roadmap for the future of the Church.

Her recommendations are set out in “Jesus and Women: Beyond Feminism,” a new book that examines Jesus’ views on women and includes ideas about religion, evolutionary biology, and the #MeToo movement.

Despite the views of the Vatican, the Bible portrays Jesus as promoting gender equality, unheard of in a time when fiercely patriarchal Jewish society treated women as the “second sex.”

Further proof of his radical attitude towards women can be seen in his large number of female disciples and the wide use of female metaphors in his teachings, showing that he understood and appreciated women.

And while Jesus was unable to name a woman as one of the 12 apostles due to the dangerous social backlash this would have created, some theologians consider the disciple Mary Magdalene – who would have been the first person to meet Jesus afterwards. the crucifixion – the “apostle of the apostles” and the incarnation of the Church in the early days of Jesus’ resurrection.

In Jesus and Women: Beyond Feminism, now through The Lutterworth Press, theologian Dr Niamh M. Middleton is making an urgent call for scriptural-backed feminist church reform.

After Jesus’ death, the early Christian church granted women an equal role in conducting worship and performing sacred rituals, such as overseeing the Eucharist.

But their Catholic counterparts never followed suit.

Dr Middleton claims that this in turn fueled the growing abandonment of the Catholic faith in recent decades and the transition to a secular and atheistic society, with revolutionary structural change the only path to lasting longevity.

If the Church recognized and supported women as equals, it would only be a matter of time before it also approved the use of contraception, she added.

Dr Middleton, who was a lecturer in theology and philosophy at Dublin City University until his early retirement earlier this year to write Jesus and women, said: “The only way to save the Catholic Church from collapse in the medium to long term, not only in Ireland and the UK, but around the world, is for the Pope to allow the ordination of women priests and bishops.

“He should also focus more on the person of Christ, emphasizing his treatment of women so that Catholics can distinguish between institutional Catholicism and genuine Christianity.

“It would inspire women and their families to return to church because they would feel less isolated and more equal.

“The result would be a more solid and inclusive Catholic Church that has the potential to survive into the next millennium.”

Jesus and Women: Beyond Feminism by Niamh M. Middleton is now available in hardcover via The Lutterworth Press, priced at £ 50, and for pre-order in paperback, priced at £ 20. For more information visit www.niamhmiddletonauthor.com.


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