Women have played a lot of roles that contributed to the development of Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church. Even before the Church started, "women were significantly involved " (Kroeger, 2013, para. 8) as they became leaders of the early church. With different positions and status in the society, the roles of women were redefined overtime because of gender inequality, individual differences and by what was socially accepted during the early days of the Roman Catholic Church. However, throughout the history and development of the Catholic Church, women were criticized and judged as though their decisions and actions were not credible enough. Furthermore, even though a lot has changed since then, the roles of women in the Roman Catholic Church are still limited. With the intentions of protecting the image and structure of the Catholic Church and its people, the Church struggles with this issue until today. This essay will examine the different roles that women have or have not played over the last one thousand years including the Middle Ages, Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance Period. .
Even before Christianity was developed, "women were active in the early church " (Kroeger, 2013, para. 8). According to Kroeger, this was no surprise at all as it was claimed that women were the "major witnesses " (Kroeger, 2013, para. 8) of Jesus' whole life because they were the ones who witnessed His birth, death, and resurrection. Furthermore, women were followers of Jesus and it was claimed that Jesus was the one who "developed and prepared " (Ward, 2011, para. 4) women to be leaders as they would lead others when the time comes. According to the Bible, it is said that Jesus chose twelve disciples to spread the word of God and cure the ill. Women not chosen as the disciples were, it is said that the women were "certainly with Jesus " (Ward, 2011, par. 11) witnessing everything Jesus did preparing them to lead his ministry someday.