In a world where gender equality remains a critical issue, this controversial film, doesn't set out to challenge the Catholic Church doctrine, but asks a very modern question... Should women be allowed into seminaries to study for the priesthood? "Created Equal is a film that gives you a voyeur experience into the stained glass ceiling that exists in the Catholic Church and asks the question about women being allowed into seminaries without actually taking sides," shares Bill Duke. "We are so excited that the American Black Film Festival has officially selected our film as a world premiere and look forward to the conversation that is created around this highly debated topic."
Still, there is hope.
Last May, Pope Francis told a group of 900 nuns he would create a commission to study the concept of ordaining women deacons, Catholic conservatives warned that it must never evolve to ordaining women as priests because priests can only represent Christ, who is a male figure, and therefore a woman could never fulfill that role. Even some supporters of women’s ordination scoffed at the deacon idea as a way to placate those who support women clergy.
Even in Created Equal, one the characters playing a priest states, "If Jesus Christ wanted a woman to become a priest he would've made his bosses women...but he didn't. He had many candidates, his own mother Mary Magdelan...but he chose not to."
If Pope Francis does create the commission and it leads to the ordination of deacons, it would create a complete about face.
In 1994, Pope John Paul II issued the Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, a document that banned even the discussion about the ordination of women. “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful,” he wrote, effectively slamming the door.
As a woman of color who grew up between The Church of God in Christ and the Catholic Church, it never ceases to amaze me how much prejudice and injustice exists against women in the pulpit...let alone someone who is not white and male.
Kudos to Mr. Duke and for ABFF for using this controversial subject to kick off their festival for 2017.
Based on the novel, Created Equal, written by Roger A. Brown, who also serves as Executive Producer, the film was produced by Thada Catalon of T-Cat Films.
"Created Equal became a huge priority for me when I saw that the United States of America was nearly on the brink of having Hillary Clinton as its first female President," shares the producer, Thada Catalon. "I was inspired when she said in her concession speech, 'Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think.' It was important for me to use this platform to be a part of a progressive movement that seeks equal rights for all- not just in religion, but on the world stage."
The film stars Broadway actor and singer Aaron Tveit (Grease Live!) Latina actress Edy Ganem (Devious Maids), Yohance Myles (Shots Fired), veteran actors Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire) and GregAlan Williams (Greenleaf).