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Study finds US women exercising jurisdiction in church

A new study reveals that hundreds of women in the United States hold church jobs in which they share in church governance.

Until the laws of the Catholic Church were revamped in 1983, only clerics could hold "ecclesiastical office" -- jobs involving decisions in church governance. Since all Catholic clerics are men, no women could even apply.

The results of the study, conducted by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), have been published in a 152-page report titled "Women and Jurisdiction: An Unfolding Reality." It was released through a telephone news conference on Friday, International Women's Day.

Sr Kathleen Pruitt, a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace and LCWR president, called it "a benchmark study, the first one really done" in the field.

"It does highlight the fact that women play an important role" in church leadership, she said. Its publication, she added, will "allow the dialogue to take another step."

Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Women In Major Decision-Making Roles for Catholic Church: Ground-Breaking Study Results Released on International Women's Day (media release)


14 Mar 2002