From Japan - Sr. Naoko Iyori: The Question of Women's Ordinationri

From Japan: Sr. Naoko Iyori
Contribution to International Forum 

Women's Ordination Worldwide
First International Conference
Dublin 2001

 Sister Naoko Iyori, Japan

Sister Naoko Iyori, Japan

Japan is a highly male dominated society and maybe our church is more so. We can not even mention "Women's Ordination" publicly. The women occupy 60% of the catholic population and without us our church can not survive. Yet often the women are not allowed to take active participation in decision making nor in ministry. We are second class members.

Some have left the church already because of existing sexism. Others are struggling. But there are also some signs of hope. I have come across a priest who says that the Spirit does not work among men, while the Spirit is so alive and active within women. Also among lay persons there are those who see the need of women priests.

Last year in December we held the Women International Wartime Tribunal in Tokyo. The people listened to the victims of the Japanese military participating in their anger, pain and aspiration for justice. It is the same in the church. We can hear the cries of the wounded and the suffering. They are looking for the tender, compassionate and tolerant face of God the Mother. That is why they need women priests. To realise this, it is important to form solidarity and work in sisterhood.

~ Naoko Iyori


Sr. Naoko Iyori

  • A History, and Diploma from Pastoral Institute of Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain
  • Retired lecturer at Dept. of Sociology at various Universities in Japan
  • Lecturer at Institutes of On-going Religious Formation and of Lay Missionary Formation.

Sr Iyori was visiting research associate at the Centre for Religion, Culture and Gender in the Dept. of Religions and Theology at Manchester University, UK (1998 - 1999).  She has worked with the Japanese Council for Justice and Peace since 1980 as well as with Asia Partnership for Human Development, a Catholic International Development Organization (1989 - 1998).

She collaborated with UN Human Rights Committee and with HABITAT for the cause of Asian women and children (1988 - 1996).

She works for the reconciliation and recovery of justice of the women in Asia and Pacific Area coerced into army prostitution during WW II.

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