Boycotting the Mass

An 80-year-old Irish woman won't be attending Mass on September 26 and she wants other Catholic women to join in her one-day boycott. 

From the Irish Times:

Jennifer Sleeman from Clonakilty in Cork said she wants 'to let the Vatican and the Irish church know that women are tired of being treated as second-class citizens.'

She has called on the Catholic women of Ireland to 'join your sisters on Sunday, September 26th. On that one day boycott Mass. Stay at home and pray for change. We are the majority. We may have been protesting individually but unremarked on, but together we have strength and our absence, the empty pews, will be noticed.'

She said: 'Whatever change you long for, recognition, ordination, the end of celibacy, which is another means of keeping women out, join with your sisters and let the hierarchy know by your absence that the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over.'

Some women in the U.S. are taking notice of this protest as well. I was forwarded an e-mail about a protest in Chicago that linked to an announcement about a protest in Portland. Rose Marie Berger of Sojourners has created a map of places where women are boycotting the Mass for her personal blog.

Questions abound with such an idea. As our commenter wsxyz will remind you, missing Mass is a mortal sin, so is it worth it to willfully take a week off? But even if you do, will enough women boycott that you'd actually be able to see a difference in the pews? Would it make any difference? How is a boycott going to signal that "the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over"? It doesn't take a protest to know that women dominate the pews–and ministry.

The journalist in me wants to go to many Masses at different churches on September 26 just to see if other women don't show up! Would you join this protest?

About the author

Megan Sweas

Megan Sweas is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.