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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Editorial: Sept. 27

The Catholic Church’s teachings on gender throughout history have predominantly defended the notions of men’s superiority and women’s inequity. Even though women have been active members of the Catholic Church for centuries and have made significant impacts such as missionary work and mass evangelization, they have consistently been treated less favorably than men in the Catholic community. This is especially true when it comes to leadership positions, as the Church has solely allowed men, not women, to hold leadership roles since its founding.

In the Church, women’s leadership opportunities are essentially limited to assisting during mass. Women may hold the positions of sacristans, religious sisters, cantors, lecturers, altar servers (in certain places) and eucharistic ministers. However, women are not permitted to hold holy orders nor serve as priests, deacons, bishops, cardinals or the pope. They can read scriptures, but not the Gospel; they can give a reflection at a prayer service, but not a homily.

This is a shocking illustration of the double standards women face daily, which are prevalent in the Catholic Church. With this being said, positive and progressive reforms regarding the Church’s leadership are starting to emerge, beginning with the significant choices that the Catholic Church will vote on, potentially made by one of our very own Hawks.

Julia Osęka ’25 was selected as one of two lay people in the United States by Pope Francis to represent North America as a voting delegate at the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. This will take place Oct. 4-29, 2023. This will be the first time non-bishops will have voting rights in the Synod in all of the Catholic Church’s history. At least three dozen women will be eligible to vote at the October Synod. From the perspective of our own Jesuit community, this is a huge step forward for women in the Church and an incredibly proud moment for St. Joe’s overall.

A prayer service honoring St. Phoebe, the patron saint of women leaders, women in the church and hospitality occurred Sept. 19 as part of Campus Ministry’s celebration of this historic occasion. The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), an all-woman professional development organization, was one of numerous supporters of Campus Ministry who attended the prayer service in support of Osęka and this milestone for women in leadership. The St. Joe’s community is extremely proud of this momentous event, and the number of organizations on campus rallying in support of Osęka is a clear reflection of this.

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