Women in the church

Catholic female theologian will train priests after earning church’s highest degree

As Pope Francis has cracked open the door to the possibility of women in more leadership roles in the church in the future, one female theologian in Chicago has blazed her own path to the top amid male seminarians studying to be priests. After years of studying among 220 male colleagues at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Dawn Eden Goldstein will graduate with a doctorate in sacred theology this weekend, marking the first time a woman has earned the church’s highest theology degree at the school. She will join a small number of other female doctorates in sacred theology in the United States, where only seven schools grant the degree.

Goldstein, who was raised Jewish but converted to Catholicism after years of agnosticism, worked in the secular media world for much of her career until she decided to begin working with the church in 2007. She will begin teaching at a seminary overseas next year.

“There is a lot more room for women in leadership positions in the church than has been allowed in times past,” she told The Chicago Tribune.

Earlier this week, Pope Francis announced that the church would begin studying whether women should be allowed to become deacons, and earlier this year he wrote that women should be able to have higher lay leadership positions in the church.

Read the full story in The Chicago Tribune.

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