Vatican, which represented the world’s largest religious group under one leadership, should show exemplary leadership in gender equality and inclusion to the rest of the planet to follow by ordaining women priests, religious statesman Rajan Zed stated in Nevada today.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that it was very sad and dismaying to learn about recent reported remarks of His Holiness Pope Francis, aboard the papal plane flying to Rome from Sweden, that ban on female priests was forever; thus ruling out women's ordination.
Rajan Zed urged the Vatican to seriously look into ordaining women priests, which was long overdue, and suggested Pope Francis to put ordination of women priests on the top of his reform agenda. Women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion, Zed added.
As women were equal partners in the society, they should be equal partners in Church also, Zed noted. How true gender equality could be achieved in the world when the 1.2 billion strong Church’s Cannon Law 1024 clearly said—Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination? Zed asked.
Rajan Zed urged Holy See to be more kind to Roman Catholic women as exclusion of women from some religious services, just because they were female, was very unfair and ungodly. Men and women were equal in the eyes of God and religions should respect that, Zed noted and added that time had now come for the women priests and bishops.
Quoting Hindu texts, Zed says: Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased.
Rajan Zed suggested that theologians and canonists of the Church needed to address women ordination issue urgently; re-evaluate Church doctrine, theology, male hierarchy and history; and give women a chance. Women should be ordained to priesthood and should perform the same functions as male priests. Treating women as not equal to men was clearly a case of discrimination promoting gender inequality.
Zed had recently applauded Pope Francis for launching commission to study the issue of women deacons, calling it a historic move in the positive direction.
Pope Francis reportedly instituted a Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women sometime back under the leadership of Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer (Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith); besides whom it was composed of six women and six men from academic institutions in Europe and USA. Currently all Roman Catholic clergy is male. Vatican needed to set-up a deadline date for this Commission to announce conclusions, Rajan Zed pointed out.
When Church of England could consecrate a female bishop last year overturning centuries of tradition, why can’t Roman Catholic Church ordain women? Zed asked.