Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Vatican. Vatican. Vatican. Women. Women. Women. ("Equal" but Different and Subordinate.)

The Vatican's Pontifical Council on Culture (whose members are all cardinals and bishops) will discuss women tomorrow. And for several days after that. And as Kaya Oakes says (see the tweet above), this is the image their website is using to advertise their discussion?

The conference's working document states that the group won't discuss the issue of women's ordination since women don't want that — they don't want ordination. Women want, the cardinals and bishops doing the discussing inform us, some kind of "equality" which recognizes that they are distinctively different from men.

Here's the wonderful response of the Women's Ordination Conference to this toxic silliness: 

The document claims that there will be no discussion on women’s ordination because “according to statistics, [ordination] is not something that women want.”  This undeniable falsehood and the Vatican’s refusal to open dialogue shows contempt for the faithful and demonstrates that as a leadership, the male hierarchy is out of touch with the people it is called to serve. Many qualified women, with the support of their communities, discern vocations to priesthood, and yet the hierarchy is comfortable in rejecting the obvious: God does not discriminate. 
The document divides humanity into socially-constructed stereotypes and attempts to say they are “natural,” with corresponding gender-defined roles. This thinking and language have been challenged and rejected in scholarship for decades, and are wildly culturally and spiritually unacceptable.  Human beings exist on multiple continuums, with intersectional identities: without including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, this document denies the full humanity of God’s people. 
Sexism is the original sin of Church leadership.  It is long past due for the Church to rid itself of this sin and to welcome women as equal partners in all realms of ministry and leadership. 
The Church’s stance on female inequality in decision-making within our Church (which is so influential in our world) works to legitimize other unjust treatment of women to the point of violence across the world.

And then WOW announces that it will hold its annual conference on 18-20 September this year in Philadelphia, with the theme "Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice." Guess which of the two conferences I'd prefer to attend (well, it's not as if any of us are even invited to the Vatican meeting, is it?).

The Vatican cannot, will not get beyond that absurd idea of gender complementarity, with its pretense that biology makes men and women different in essential but complementary (read: hierarchical and subordinate) ways to save its life. And to save the life of millions of people in the world for whom this notion is a justification for violence, abuse, and denial of equal rights.

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