Several years ago I left the Catholic church for a variety of reasons. I have since come back to the Church but I still struggle to understand some of the Church’s teachings and practices which led me to leave the church. One of those is, for lack of a better way of explaining it, the lack of uniquely female role in the mass. The assumptions/beliefs I’m basing this on are as follows.
I believe that the mass and Eucharist are the focal point of the faith. It forms the foundation.
Men and women have different, unique, but complementary gifts. They bring different things to the table, so to speak. I used to question women not being able to be priests. I do understand now why that is not an appropriate role for women and that is a role men should have.
That still leaves me with the question of what is a unique or special role that women can have?
Growing up there were literally no opportunities for me to serve at mass and I felt hurt by that. Few, if any churches, had female altar servers and the reason I was given when I asked why was that I was female. While not intended, the message I got was that the males were valued more and had more to offer than females. There was no alternative given to me.
Women are having a greater role in the mass with being extraordinary ministers, lectors, and cantors, but these are all ways of serving that are open to males.
I raised this question at a conference recently and the answer I received was that the church is female and the priest is male and that creates the balance and is where the unique gifts of each gender come in, but the “female” church includes male members.
What do others think? Is there reason to identify a uniquely female role in the mass? How can a feminine perspective be included in the mass?