Would the ordination of women as priests in the Catholic Church give the Church greater appeal? Not if the experience of the Church of England is anything to go by.
Between 1994 and 1995 some 1547 women were ordained in Britain, thus increasing the number of ministers by 10 percent in less than a year.
Yet the recent Church Statistics report of the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England shows that "Fewer people than ever before are attending Church of England services on Sundays," and infant baptisms go on declining (The Tablet, 8.7.00).
The decline is matched by that of the Catholic Church in Britain. What is clear at this stage is that ordaining women has not arrested the continuing decline.
FRANK MOBBS (DR)