(Testimonies) They defend free speech for women in the Church

(Testimonies) They defend free speech for women in the Church

Discover the inspiring testimonies of those who wish to give a voice to women within the Catholic Church.

“I always start by emphasizing the beauty of God’s Word. »

Isabelle Parmentier
Consecrated lay person, theologian

“The first time I preached at Sunday Mass, very moved, it was a non-event: no one was surprised. » For five years, at the initiative of her parish priest and with the agreement of the bishop, Isabelle Parmentier had her turn of preaching alternating with the two priests of the Bienheureuse-Marie-Louise parish of Poitiers (Vienna), the deacon and two lay men, before leaving the diocese for family reasons.

No one in the parish is unaware of her passion for the Word of God and her creativity: in seventeen years of presence, she preached Advent and Lent recollections and initiated a number of original pastoral projects, in addition of her activity as a trainer in the diocese. The theologian strives to make the Word resonate in today’s world, for the people whose lives she shares. “I always start by emphasizing the beauty of the Word of God, what enlightens, gives courage, but also the difficulty in living it, because we resist it. »

In ambo, she expresses emotions, gets carried away or makes people laugh (“humor rhymes with love!”). Listeners write to her, ask for advice, or express disagreement, because she wants to “make way for the listener”. And Father Claudy Guéret, parish priest, rejoices: “Isabelle’s preaching led the other preachers to work more on their homilies. »

Christophe Chaland

“The diversity of preaching nourishes our community. »

Hélène Babin
40 years old, trainer in schools. Member of the reception team of the parish of Montparnasse-Plaisance (United Protestant Church of France).

“Woman or man, young or old, pastor or lay person: it is the diversity of preaching that nourishes our community, like the multiplicity of faces that dot the Gospels. With us, the preaching of the minister of religion is not omnipotent, we are co-creators of it. We sometimes discuss it together after worship,” remarks Hélène.

The young woman does not rule out speaking from the pulpit one day, “on condition of training in theology”. “You must have patiently studied the texts, their vocabulary and the historical context in which they were developed. And secondly, analyze how our personal reading can resonate with the faithful. If we want people to get involved, they must feel authorized to speak within their own Church,” adds the dynamic young woman.

Catherine Escrive

“The ability to bring people together and the ability to listen are much more important than gender. »

Hoby Andriamampita
42 years old, business manager. Member of the priestly council of the parish of Montparnasse-Plaisance (United Protestant Church of France).

In fifteen years, Hoby has seen three pastors succeed one another in his parish and he has not questioned the legitimacy of these ministers of religion. “I lived half my life in Madagascar where I had only known male pastors. I was therefore not prepared for this feminization of the function. Seeing women in their role as ministers, I knew that theological knowledge, authority, ability to bring people together and listening skills are more important than gender. »

Married and father of a family, Hoby is active in this parish whose spirit of openness he appreciates. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is possible to become a preacher here, provided you have the required theological training and the approval of community leaders. During the Sunday assembly, sermons are often delivered by lay people, under the responsibility of Pastor Marie-Pierre Cournot and the priestly council. “This freedom of expression induces a spirit of co-responsibility between all the baptized, whether they are pastors or not pastors,” explains Hoby.


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