July 15, 2010

Psh, Girls can't be Priests

You may have heard that today the Catholic Church issued a long-awaited revision of the church's most serious crimes. For example, this new document addressed child abuse by clergy. Also included in this list of evil crimes was the ordination of women.

It is pretty obvious at a glance how deeply screwed up it is to put sexually abusing children on the same level as a woman wanting to serve her church in ministry.

The church assures us that they had good reasons:

Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, chairman of the bishops'
doctrine committee, said the rules make an important distinction between "structural" crimes, such as attempting to ordain women, and moral crimes, such as abusing children.

And while "`women have had an essential role in the life of the church," Wuerl said the sacraments -- including ordination -- are so integral to the church that violating them requires a strong response.

The church's "long and constant teaching" reserves the priesthood for men, he said.

Via BeliefNet.

Aww. It's okay because they're protecting centuries of misogyny in the name of tradition!

I honestly don't know a ton of about the Catholic church's gender theology - I assume it's at least vaguely complementarian, and complementarian theology is one of my least favorite things in the religion world. But the more I think about it, the more the idea of women being ordained being this most grave of crimes upsets me. How much less valuable are women than men in God's eyes, if they can't be trusted to serve their congregations in that most important capacity? Not only can they not be trusted, but it's a horrible crime worthy of excommunication and comparable to abusing children if they do?

I think part of the reason it annoys me so much is because I've been glancing at seminaries, and denying women ordination is saying that there's this whole wealth of knowledge which they are not fit to have. (Actually, some Baptist colleges divide the curriculum by gender - men study what they'd need to become ministers, and women study things like home making to be minister's wives. This also annoys me. Hell, men might benefit from sewing classes as much as women might from Bible classes.)

This has been not so much clever analysis as a grumbling spiritual rage. Dear Vatican: Please at least pretend to respect women.


Foxie said...

I asked a friend of mine about this a while ago. Her husband is a Catholic and she's got a theology degree, so I thought she should probably know.

What she said is that, in the Catholic church, the minister is a stand-in for Christ. This being the Catholic church where the wafers and wine gets *literally* turned into the body of Christ, only a man can embody Christ in front of the congregation.

Otherwise Christ might start getting gender issues...

Spiffy said...

Yeah, I've heard that... But (the way I learned it, and I'm not Catholic) isn't God supposed to be without gender? Christ might not be, I guess, but he's the embodiment of God, and so could as easily be female as male. I'm not sure the Catholic church would be comfortable with a gender-ambiguous deity, though.

Foxie said...

I guess it's because, as you say, even though God is genderless Christ isn't. I mean, it would throw you, would it? Appearing in the body of a woman... For a working-class Middle-Eastern Jew it's got to throw you more than appearing in the body of a middle-class white Western guy in a dress. Right?

Spiffy said...

Haha, true. it wouldn't do for the Eucharist to be interrupted because Jesus got distracted by suddenly appearing in a body with boobs.