WOMEN in parishes throughout the country are to be asked how they see their role in the Church, their opinion of women as priests, and their reaction to issues such as divorce, contraception and abortion.
The study is to be sponsored by the Laity Commission, who are asking women to form small discussion groups and record their findings on tape cassettes.
The commission stresses that the groups should be made up of ordinary members of the parish rather than members of parish ur national organisations who, they say, already have a forum for expressing their opinions. Meetings, on average, will last 90 minutes and will take place in parishioners' homes. Other issues to be discussed include the amount of participation of women in the liturgy and parish affairs, and the reaction of priests, laymen and other women to such participation. Women will also be asked if they encounter discrimination within the Church and whether they think it is appropriate for celibate clergy to rule on the role of women in the church.
• The highest ranking woman in the Roman Curia has left the Council for the Laity and is to take up a teaching post at the Lateran University's Pastoral Institute in Rome.
Miss Rosemary Goldie, an Australian, was formerly under secretary at the Council — a post which was abolished when Pope Paul reorganised the council last December.
Miss Goldie admitted that as a lay person she could not serve in a high executive post in the reorganised council which now had important new functions regarding Church law and the laity. Many secretaries of Vatican bodies are bishops, and all are at least priests. Under current Vatican practice, according to Miss Goldie, a lay person is not eligible to serve on the executive board of a congregation.