Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Can't Keep Quiet

To say that I'm slightly disgusted right now would be an understatement.

Most Snack for Later perusers know that, although I am a cradle Episcopalian, I worked in Catholic youth ministry via two Catholic camps for 10 years.  While the two different denominations overlap in beliefs in more places than they disagree, there are, indeed, some points of division.  Over the years, there were, on very few occasions, times when I disagreed with the stance of the Catholic church.  But as I said, those situations came up pretty rarely and, knowing what my role was, I generally just kept my mouth shut and it wasn't a problem.

These days, no Catholic organization signs my paycheck.  And even if they did, I wouldn't be able to contain the feelings of discontent I have over an issue I heard about today.

Last month, the Vatican revised its procedures regarding how to deal with the priest abuse scandals as well as the bishops who try to cover them up.  That's fantastic.  Three cheers for that.  What I'm not cheering on, however, is the fact that Pope Benedict XVI added a caveat to the statement that was produced.  It said that the ordination of women is a "grave crime" that is on par with pedophilia and would be subject to the same procedures and punishments that will be doled out for sexual abuse.

I am absolutely horrified by this.

I'm not one to tell the Catholic church how to conduct itself.  Who is eligible for ordination is one of the beefs I have with Catholicism but I always dealt with that before by simply not being Catholic.  I believe that eligibility for ordination should be determined by prayerful discernment, not gender or marital status.  That, among other things, makes the Episcopal church a pretty good fit for me and so long as others respect that, there isn't a problem.  For that reason, I've always respected the different rules in the Catholic church, even if I disagreed with them.

So it is fine with me if that particular denomination does not ordain women.  What bothers me, however, is the negative point to which the ordination of women has been elevated in the past few weeks.  To say that a woman, who is giving completely of herself to serve her Church, is to be compared with someone who abuses another soul in the most shameful and vial way possible is utterly asinine.  I can't think of a worse insult.

I'm proud to go to a church that has, on its clergy staff, two female priests.  Give it another six weeks and it'll be three.  I dearly love all three of these women and can see how much better our church is for having them and the niches that they fill.  To say that their ordinations (whether or not they are in the Catholic church) are no better than a man I personally know who is currently in prison for sexual conduct with a 5-year-old makes me so angry I can only laugh for lack of not knowing what else to do.

Having worked in Catholic youth ministry for as long as I have, it is safe to say that most of my friends are Catholic.  I've talked to a few and have found that all of them are as disgusted by these Vatican statements as am I.  I think it is probably fair to assume that most Catholics in general feel this way.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female;  for you are all one in Christ Jesus."    ~ Galatians 3:28

If anyone is in the area and has some time, come get this soapbox.  I can't seem to get off of it.

Keep It Real!


  1. This is a HUGE mistake on the part of the Catholic church. It's embarrassing, really.

    Nick and I adored our priest in Flagstaff. Besides being our pre-marital counselor, she gave some of the best sermons I have ever heard.

    I am also shocked and horrified by the comparison of women to pedophiles. How insulting.

  2. I think at this point quite a few Catholics are sort of ignoring the Vatican and keeping on with business as usual. None of them are going to be quick to ordain a female priest, but not many think that lowly of women as a whole. (In my experience, which I admit tends to be with more radical Catholics, like my aunt who served on the board of the local Planned Parenthood. Also, Mexican Catholics are, I think, a special breed.)
    One of my dad's cousins is a Catholic priest, and I will never forget him railing against the "bastards" ruining the church by performing cover-ups. And this was seven or eight years ago. I think we'll see a schism in the Catholic church in the next few years. Or, again, maybe that's just my contact with "radicals". (Like the semi-openly gay priest I went to school with. No hiding who he really is within his writing, but he asked us not to spread things about. He's lovely and caring and works hard for his community, but I am utterly shocked he's not been ex-communicated or kicked out of the priesthood. Also, utterly shocked he puts up with the Church's stances.)

  3. Hey do you have the source, I would like to go read it?

  4. Andy, she is speaking of the Graviora Delicta. It is a list of the gravest crimes against faith and morals. So great, that the handling of these crimes is the responsibility of the Vatican. If you'd like to know what this document actually means and its true purpose, read my post on it.

    Maggie, you should read as well.