FutureChurch has made substantial progress in our work to bring to visibility women leaders in the Church, both past and present. Hidden biblical women such as St. Mary of Magdala and Phoebe of Cenchrae, the female diakonos praised by Paul in Romans 16, are now becoming more widely known. Advocacy with Rome is important and so is reaching out to Catholics here at home. To address both, FutureChurch has two new initiatives:
A new international campaign to restore the tradition of women deacons. According to Dr. Phyllis Zagano, canonical changes made by Pope Benedict in 2009: “may have ended the controversy over whether women can be ordained deacons.” The FutureChurch website has been configured in six languages to send an electronic postcard to Vatican officials. We have already gained the cooperation of a number of international groups. Opening the permanent diaconate to women will allow them to preach, thus ending the silencing of Catholic women of the Word.
A new Women and the Word education/advocacy Kit. This free download includes tools that encourage our parishes, small faith communities, schools and dioceses to make visible the rich tradition of women leaders in the Church. Sample educational programs on women in scripture and church history, articles by scholars and activists and sample postcard and background info about women deacons are also included (Available mid-March at www.futurechurch.org).