Thursday, December 8, 2022

Pope Francis on Women Priests and Related Recent News Items: "I do not know whether to laugh or cry at Pope Francis’ suggestion about women’s position in the Church"

Altar of Veit Stoss, descent of the Spirit at Pentecost, St. Mary's Church, Krakow, Poland, photo by Robert Breuer at Wikimedia Commons

As Virginia Saldanha, "Why I find pope’s ideas on women priests disturbing," notes, Pope Francis recently nonsensically (and all over again) said that men in the Catholic church are meant to follow a "Petrine principle" that allows men — but not women — to be ordained, run things, and mirror Christ. Women are called to follow a "Marian principle" and mirror the feminine church, not — heaven forfend! — the male Christ. (Translation: women are called to serve). 

She writes,

As a woman, I do not know whether to laugh or cry at Pope Francis’ suggestion about women’s position in the Church. How can an institution that is ruled solely by men be "woman"?  How can such an institution be the "spouse" of Christ? … When Pope Francis says "we need to come up with a theology on women," does he mean the male leaders come up with a theology of women?

I'm afraid that's exactly what Francis does mean. When he talks about women, he's every bit the octogenarian ordained man who has spent his life in all-male clerical circles and who does not understand how silly and wrong-headed the gender thinking and official thinking about sexuality of his church is. Nor does he understand that the clock has run out for protecting and making excuses for priests who abuse minors. 

Been there, done that, and people are going to keep walking away if it continues — as they absolutely should do. 

If the pope wants the reform of the church he claims he wants, it has to start with the core of the problem: the clericalist system, which places all power in the hands of ordained men, excludes women from ordination, teaches nonsense like men are called to rule and women are called to serve, and tries to force the complex reality of human sexuality into a ludicrous little "natural law" box that makes sex all about procreation and privileges heterosexual people over queer ones.

This Catholic discussion about the place of women in church and world is absolutely not unrelated to one Mallory Challis offers recently in Baptist News Global. In "Why these Christian men believe women shouldn’t have the right to vote," Challisreports on men (you'll be shocked— not! — to learn they're straight white pastors) who think the right to vote should be taken from women, and why they think this:

It is becoming increasingly clear that there are sects of men who would like to repeal the 19 Amendment because, since women are coming to the polls more consistently than men, women have an increasing impact on election results.

In other words, women are making it harder for men to easily get what they want. Further, women who vote for Democrats are getting in the way of Republican victories.

And as these discussions roll on and on — again, not unrelated — Trevor Project finds the following with its 2002 national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health:

45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.


Rates of suicidal thoughts have trended upward among LGBTQ young people over the last three years. 

This, as the right-wing (and Catholic) bloc on the Supreme Court signals that it wants businesses to be allowed to discriminate against and violate the human rights of LGBTQ people if their owners claim "sincere religious belief" as their warrant for doing so….

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