Those who have followed my writings and rantings over my ten or eleven years of blogging (I began blogging, ahem, when I was twelve) know that I have a few pet peeves. They include, but are not limited to, pronouncements from Hans Küng, declarations from Anne Rice, lousy music, Dan Brown novels, burnt coffee, and people who think the Oregon Ducks' (football) offense is "a gimmick".
And then there is the women's ordination movement, which I find to be both completely disingenuous and hysterically ignorant. Or, as I put in a post a few years ago:
Why does this rankle me so? Part of it is simply the brazen illogic, self-obsessive bloviation, and disdainful dissent so readily evident in the priestette movement. Their theology is lousy. Their ecclesiology is incoherent. But there is also the fact that these women, in seeking to "empower" women and pursue "justice," are (unwittingly or not) attacking authentic femininity and making a mockery of not just the priesthood, but of the unique nature of women, especially as embodied by the Blessed Mother.
The 1976 CDF document, Inter Insigniores, stated, "Women who express a desire for the ministerial priesthood are doubtless motivated by the desire to serve Christ and the Church." Perhaps; I'm not so sure. God alone will judge their motivation, but isn't it striking how so many of these women don't seem interested at all in Christ and have only criticism for the Church (or, as noted above, make an artificial, convenient division in the Church so they can appear to be pro-Church while bashing Church authority).
You would think that supporters of women's ordination to the Catholic priesthood might—just might!—try to come up with something better than "the Pope is mean and hates women." But, as Sadhbh Walshe proves, in a Guardian column titled "Thanks for nothing, Pope Francis," it ain't to be. It's so bad, I suspect that embarrassment itself was embarrassed to be seen near Walshe's piece, which was apparently written under the delusion that having no knowledge of what one is writing about is an essential qualification for snotty, whining arrogance. Let's take a look, shall we?
It's hard not to be fascinated by the Catholic church's relatively new Pope Francis. From his opening act washing the feet of Muslim women prisoners (three no-no's in one) to urging young Catholics to break out of their "spiritual cages" and "make a mess" in their diocese, to his casual chat this week with reporters on the plane back from his triumphant trip to Brazil, this pope has demonstrated a charming willingness to shake up the conservative institution and to make it a more open and accepting place.
When it comes to making the church a more equal institution, however, where roughly half the population (that is women) are not actively discriminated against, Pope Francis is sadly proving to be as traditional and conservative as the best of them.
Tradition, bad. Conservative, bad. Not agreeing with Walshe, really bad. Why? Uh. Well. Um. Because. Just because. Don't be a chauvinist, sexist jerk (see below); just accept her premises without questions.
The big takeaway from the plane chat, or at least the big media takeaway, was the pope's acknowledgement that gay priests exist and that they have as much right to their affinity with God as their heterosexual counterparts. When asked about the so called "gay lobby" within the Vatican, the pope replied:
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized."
Considering that his predecessor, Pope Benedict, declared in 2005 that men who had deep rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests, the new pope's words can at the very least be viewed as a step towards cementing gay men's rights to equal status and treatment by the church, including their right to be ordained. This step in the right direction would be easier to applaud, however, if it had not been followed by two steps backwards on the rights of women, straight or gay, to ever having a chance to enjoy the same equal treatment.
Big breath. (There are times, frankly, when I suspect—based on a wealth of evidence—that only about .000004% of secular journalists have ever read an entire statement or text by Benedict XVI. And then I realize: that estimated percentage is far too high. Then again, the text in question was not penned by Benedict XVI, but was approved by him. Details.) Here is the text of the 2005 document, "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders," presented by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education. I will summarize, for this discussion, the key points: