As a Catholic feminist theologian who studies how women roles can be expanded within the Catholic Church to all levels of management, female ordination won’t fix it — this problem is historical, systemic and cultural within the Church. Films like this are valuable and needed for all women, not just Catholics. We see hints of change in Pope Francis, but his word alone, no matter how radical, will not bring about the change the majority of Catholic women want. The Church needs to shift its course and the Magisterium needs to ask itself, how much more effective would the Church be in its evangelization and social justice efforts if women held key decision-making positions, alongside men, at all levels within Church hierarchies. These women are inspiring.
I hope this comes to the Cleveland International Film Festival! There are so many people here in northeast Ohio who support Sr. Chris Schenk and the work of Future Church!
Can’t wait for this to come to London. We can certainly help get a good crowd together and maybe provide a venue.
I want to return to church but I just can’t. I get angry every time they pray for vocations.
Variety Magazine reports:
Susan Sarandon has boarded “Radical Grace” as executive producer in advance of the feature documentary’s world premiere at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, Variety has learned.
“Grace,” the feature bow of Chicago filmmaker Rebecca Parrish, follows three American feminist nuns whose work for social justice causes sets them against the conservative hierarchy of the Catholic church.
“This film comes at a major crossroads in the Catholic church, and the nuns are everything that’s right with the institution. They stand with the marginalized, and won’t be bullied by a hierarchy that still doesn’t treat them as equals,” commented Sarandon, who received the lead actress Oscar in 1996 for her portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in “Dead Man Walking.”
“I was raised Catholic,” Sarandon continued, “and while I couldn’t stay in a church that sidelines women and the LGBT community, spirituality is still an important part of my life. I feel a deep connection to the women featured in ‘Radical Grace,’ and this film will hopefully build a movement toward a more inclusive and just church, and world.”
Read the full article on the Variety website.
I find the work these sisters do to be very
inspiring. They are strong and determined women
willing to face serious consequences for standing up for what is right and helping those most in need. They dare to challenge those in power in the church and in America. In other words, these amazing nuns embody the true spirit of
Christ and his message for the world.
This past Holy Week, it was gratifying to see so many people from around the web writing about the role of women in the Easter story, women who are often ignored by the Catholic establishment. Before the Internet, it is hard to imagine such feminist voices having a platform in religious discourse. One of the women contributing to this conversation is the author Rachel Held Evans. Here’s how she introduced her series of blog posts about the women of Holy Week:
“It is easy to dismiss the women of Holy Week, to say their presence at critical moments in the Easter story is inconsequential, holding no significance in modern-day conversations about gender equity in the Church. But I’m not convinced it’s an accident that the first person to declare that Jesus had risen from the dead (to a group of skeptical men!) was a woman. I’m not convinced it’s unremarkable that God chose a woman to anoint the Messiah with oil and a mother to hear his cries from the cross.”
Our very own Sister Chris would not consider such details inconsequential, and neither would anyone else who draws upon scripture in their fight for gender equality in the Catholic faith. In fact, Sister Chris also published a powerful piece about Holy Week for the National Catholic Reporter, entitled “It Was the Women Who Stayed.” Though women are often overlooked by Catholic teaching, she writes that this is especially painful during Holy Week, “when preachers commonly emphasize that Jesus was ‘abandoned by everyone.’ Everyone, that is, but the women, whose presence must have meant a great deal to Jesus, if to no one else.”
For Sister Chris, who advocates for women’s ordination in the Catholic Church, the fact that Christ calls on Mary Magdalene to proclaim his resurrection is quite significant. At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the Bible reveals women to be faithful disciples and fearless leaders. Why shouldn’t they be Christian leaders today? Clearly Rachel Held Evans is correct; It is important to talk about Jesus’ female disciples. So here is a roundup of articles you can read on the subject, and one about women during Passover for good measure!
Rachel Held Evans, “The Women of Holy Week”
- Why the Women Matter
- The Woman at Bethany Anoints Jesus
- Mary’s Heart is Pierced (Again)
- The Women Wait
- Mary Sees the Risen Lord
Sister Christine Schenk, “It Was the Women Who Stayed”
Bronwyn Lea, “What Easter Says About Trusting Women”
The Junia Project, “The Anointing of Jesus at Bethany”
The Junia Project, “The Commissioning of Mary Magdalene”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, “The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover”