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Sheila Peiffer

Sheila Peiffer 2017-05-31T14:12:46+00:00

Project Description

Sheila Peiffer

“As my awareness of Church issues increased, so too did my desire to work for change in its hierarchical structures and misogynistic attitudes and teachings.”

I am a cradle Catholic who has been married for 44 years to a Methodist man who in mid-life became a Methodist minister.

We have four children and early in their childhood, the local Catholic Church that I was attending found itself without a Director of Religious Education.  Through a series of (I now see) Holy Spirit inspired events, I began to run the program and went on to earn a Masters in Theology and enjoyed a long career in various pastoral positions.

As my awareness of Church issues increased, so too did my desire to work for change in its hierarchical structures and misogynistic attitudes and teachings.  By the time the clerical abuse scandal burst into the consciousness of the American church through the articles in the Boston Globe in 2002, I had already been on the fringes of several Catholic reform groups.  Reading of this latest travesty, I decided to start a Voice of the Faithful group on Long Island, where we lived.  The organization met with tremendous response, due to the gravity of the issue and the vehemence of the local Bishop’s opposition to me and Voice of the Faithful.

I have continued to stay active in reform, having served in many capacities in Voice of the Faithful, the American Catholic Council and, now, Women’s Ordination Conference, where I currently am President of the Board.  My continuing journey of discernment about Catholicism has led me to believe that the Church will never be able to claim authentic leadership until it recognizes full equality for women in all ministries.  As an organization with tremendous influence in every country in the world, the Church is complicit in the oppression of women as long as it does not address the root causes of exclusion within the Church and work to bring about a priestly ministry that includes women and is feminist, anti-racist, and accountable.

I was privileged to help with the proof-reading for the manuscript of Catholic Women Speak and participate in the joyful launch of the book in Rome in 2015.  Being part of the CWS network brings hope and inspiration to all women who love the Church but can’t stand its policies and positions.  CWS brings thoughtful discussion, meaningful support and deep discernment to the struggle for the survival of a Church that truly reflects the Jesus of the Gospel.

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