What Leadership Roles Can Women Play During Mass or in the RC Church

I know that women aren’t allowed to be Priests or Deacons in the RC Church.

I have seen women who collect the “gifts”.

Also, I have seen women in some masses on EWTN help to distribute the communion. Is that acceptable to the Catholic Church?

Can women be readers?

What other roles can women play aside from becoming nun teachers?
Thanks!

True women cannot be priests but there are many roles that are pretty high up there that women can do. There are women in high positions on Vatican committees. There are woman who hold high positions in diocesan leadership, such as chancellors, diocesan faith formation directors, office of worship, education, evangelization. There are women who are canon lawyers scripture scholars, moral theologians, and teach in seminaries. On the local level women are directors of religious education for parishes, youth ministers, social ministry directors, visit the sick and homebound bringing them communion. I am a pastoral associate, as such I answer directly to the pastor and take on many responsibilities such as preparing liturgies, spirituality and adult faith formation, RCIA, baptism preparation. I also talk with people who come in when the pastor is not available. I can deal with most issues except anything that requires a priest (such as confession, asking for something to be blessed, etc.) At Mass, women can be readers, servers, extraordinary ministers of HOly Communion, or MCs. These roles of course would only be in the Ordinary Form of the Mass and not the Extraordinary or Latin Mass. So there are lots of leadership roles women can play in the Catholic Church.

The average woman i would suggest is to be seen, for power is also reluctant to pretend!

Women can perform any roles that any lay member of the church could: reading, collecting gifts, ushering, distributing communion, etc.

Depending on the diocese or individual church, they may be allowed to serve at the altar.

As you stated, they cannot become a deacon, priest or bishop.

This ‘leadership’ thing I have a problem with…why do women always push to be ‘leaders’? It drives me nuts! The girls in schools have this stuffed into their heads all the time (they have to be leaders, they have to be leaders)!

What’s wrong with just being a humble ‘follower’? I don’t want to have any kind of ‘leadership’ position because it only creates aggravation and headaches.

When some women get into leadership positions, all they want is power. And some men cower before a woman who craves power! Men have become wimps today!

What’s wrong with having a little humility? I prefer the quiet and hidden life to being out in the trenches with the men.

Our Lady didn’t crave ‘power’ in the infant Church-why can’t women imitate her? She was the Mother of God, the ‘Handmaid of the Lord’. She certainly helped in her own quiet and hidden way in the buildup of the Church-but I’m sure that she deferred to St. Peter as the Vicar of her Son.

:yup:

I think I would take issue with the premise of the question. Leadership is not “played”. It is exercised. Leadership is many things by many definitions: it can be an action, it can be an attitude or disposition that lends itself to intention and action, it can be a person who has a formal elected or appointed office or an informal position of authority with the assent of those led.

Barb, I don’t get your post. It makes just as little/much sense turned the other way:

I agree with you in this but I want to take it one step further.

The ministries at Mass, whether it is priest, deacon, lector, cantor, EMHC, etc. are not “leadership positions”, they are servant ministries. They are there to serve the congregation that is gathered for the celebration of Mass. When we view these as “leadership positions” we distort everything.

Actually it makes just as much or more sense the other way. Read your own modification again. The men who take this “I wish to lead and command power” approach to ministry in the Church are the ones who’ve done the worst damage over the ages. NOBODY with this attitude iis going to be a good leader.

Women can serve the Church in leadership roles the same as they serve leadership roles in the family as mothers. We call priests “Father” precisely because they are intended to be spiritual fathers to the parish. Parishes need spiritual mothers just as much and generally have them. Go find any catholic parish and look at its functional makeup. Odds are that other than the priest, ALL the leadership positions are filled by women: family ministry, youth ministry, adult education, director of child religious ed, finance and so on. That’s my experience, anyways. In just about every parish out there today, it’s women that make 90% of the decisions and do a similar amount of the work. Pretty much like in the family for that matter.

Agreed. They are meant for service to the community. In a sense, a minister may have some leadership actions in leading a prayer, a reading, etc.

As the root word for liturgy, it means work of the peole…from the Cath Encyclopedia:

Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Its elements are leitos (from leos = laos, people) meaning public, and ergo (obsolete in the present stem, used in future erxo, etc.), to do. From this we have leitourgos, “a man who performs a public duty”, “a public servant”, often used as equivalent to the Roman lictor; then leitourgeo, “to do such a duty”, leitourgema, its performance, and leitourgia, the public duty itself.

Women to not “push” to be leaders. In both my jobs as pastoral associate I was recrutied for the positon and encouraged. I didn’t think I could do the job, or was worthy enough to do the job, but it was priests who convinced me otherwise. I don’t look for power and I know few women in leadership positions who look for power. And yes we have humility. We are servants of God and we follow His lead. Also in many cases we are “out in the trenches with men” because there aren’t enough men to do the jobs. Church positions usually don’t pay enough for men to get into them and support a family. So it is left up to women. There aren’t enough priests to do all the work, so again it is left up to women. Please don’t give in to the falsehood that women in leadership or in any ministry postion in the Church are in it for the power. We are in it to serve God and God’s people…and if we don’t do it who will?

:clapping:

I’ve noticed that in parish that the more women volunteer to do things, the more the men back away. Typically everything for awhile was pretty much run by women, including the parish. Sacristans, committees, EMHC, religious education. The pastor let them run it.

Things are starting to balance out more with the new pastor. Not all women are shooting for power, but if the pastor is a pushover or just doesn’t care about his parish, those ARE the types who will get the positions as I’ve seen firsthand.

That’s excellent. It’s good to know one can use one’s talents to serve the Church.

In every social group, there are leaders and there are followers. One is not better than the other. You can be humble AND lead. In the end, we all follow Jesus.

Yes, you’re right.

I posted the question in a hurry and did not phrase it correctly.

these are all service roles, not leadership roles
Yes women may be readers, sing in the choir, be cantors, bring up the gifts, even serve at the altar if the local bishop and the priest permit. They can teach and instruct children, youth and adults in the faith, if properly prepared and commissioned by the bishop. They can do anything any lay man can do in the Church, and like lay men, cannot do any function reserved to the ordained ministers. Women cannot be ordained because Christ did not ordain women. Period. no discussion. no debate, no possibility of change in the future. As far as leadership, women can and do hold top administrative jobs in many dioceses. There are distinguished women who write and teach theology, as all Catholic professors and theologians do, under obedience to the magesterial authority of the Church given to her by Christ and protected and guided by the Holy Spirit.

What’s wrong with just being a humble ‘follower’? I don’t want to have any kind of ‘leadership’ position because it only creates aggravation and headaches.

When some women get into leadership positions, all they want is power. And some men cower before a woman who craves power! Men have become wimps today!

What’s wrong with having a little humility? I prefer the quiet and hidden life to being out in the trenches with the men.

Our Lady didn’t crave ‘power’ in the infant Church-why can’t women imitate her? She was the Mother of God, the ‘Handmaid of the Lord’. She certainly helped in her own quiet and hidden way in the buildup of the Church-but I’m sure that she deferred to St. Peter as the Vicar of her Son.

Not every women is meant to be meek and mild. Goodness!

We’re talking semantics here. If one is a an instructor of Youth, one is in a leadership role. If one is a choir director, one is in a leadership role. It is all done in service to the Church, but there is nothing wrong with leading.

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