Friday, July 16, 2010

The church of man

The Vatican issued revisions to its internal laws on Thursday making it easier to discipline sex-abuser priests, but caused confusion by also stating that ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia. - New York Times story


A lot of the reading I've been doing this summer has been set in the Middle Ages, particularly in the 12th century and 14th - 15th centuries. One of the things that has struck me about all of the books I have read is the attitude toward women during these periods. That attitude could be pretty well summed up by saying that the prevailing opinion seems to have been that women were less than zero. The average woman had no power and was completely at the mercy of men. If she was lucky enough to have a man who valued and respected her, she was lucky indeed, but if she lost him, she lost everything.

With attitudes like that, I guess it should be no surprise to us that an institution of the Middle Ages like the Catholic Church would still retain such a view of women. They are less than nothing and have no place in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Women should sit down, shut up, and not worry their sinful little heads about what their church does.

It is a culture such as this that has led this institution to declare that to ordain women as priests would be equal to pedophilia, heresy, apostasy and schism. So, let us be completely clear: In the eyes of these men who run this institution, having a woman as a priest would be EXACTLY THE SAME as having a male priest who repeatedly rapes children!

The arc of history may bend toward justice and enlightenment, but on some days it seems to bend very slowly indeed.

It is ironic that the Catholic Church continues to lose candidates for the priesthood and scours its membership looking for them and trying to recruit them. At the same time, their congregations in this country and apparently in most western countries are overwhelmingly in favor of allowing women to be priests. The New York Times story I referred to cites a poll released in May that showed 59 percent of American Catholics favored ordaining women. Of course, the hierarchy of this church will retort that it doesn't kowtow to public opinion in making its policies. It adheres to its ancient traditions.

Those traditions were set at the same time that people were being burned at the stake for heresy. I expect if the Catholic Church were entirely free of restraints in the world today, it would embrace that tradition as well. It would make just about as much sense as their attitudes toward women and women's issues.

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