Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Catholic Church and women priests

What do they think they are doing? Isn’t it extraordinary that the Catholic Church, in the 21st century, is apparently treating the ‘elevation’ – if that is the term – of women to the priesthood by ordaining them as a “grave delict” that can lead to the immediate excommunication of the people involved. In other words, in the eyes of the Catholic Church this is a ‘wrong’ that ranks with paedophilia and sexual abuse! Really? As far as I know, all priests and Popes, past and present, were all born of a woman in the normal manner. Even Jesus was born of a woman. Most men have a very soft spot and a great affection for their mother and most people had their first life experiences and basic education from their mother. In fact there is an old Roman saying “educate a woman and you educate a family, educate a man and you educate an individual.” All the men in the Catholic Church, including the Pope, as with all men everywhere learned from their mother. So why the antagonism against women as priests? They would just be carrying on where they left off, as it were, and instructing and helping people generally.

The Catholics say that because Jesus had only male apostles, only men can become priests. But then no one knows what was in the mind of Jesus when he chose his apostles or what criteria he used for the choices he made. The present church authorities have no idea what the actual, day by day, social situation was, in Palestine, when Jesus is supposed to have started his ministry in, about, the year 30 of the current era. It was after all a very turbulent time in that part of the world. Possibly the situation was too dangerous for women to travel on missions, as the apostles had to do. I know that men (and male children) traditionally tended the flocks of sheep and goats because, I suppose, they were better equipped – physically stronger – to protect the animals from predators. Maybe women had not the time – looking after children and keeping the home for their menfolk as they did.

Women (and the female of the species everywhere) are the traditional nurturers and carers of the young and are better equipped physically and emotionally for the role, than men. After all God created men and women didn’t He? The Catholic Church cannot ignore 50% of the population because of something that is supposed to have happened two thousand years ago. Men and women together would give a far better balance to the priesthood and, I suggest, make it a better organisation. It would also alleviate the current shortage of priests if women were ordained. I also suggest that it is because of this very bias towards males in the Church that the present problems – sexual abuses – are so prevalent. And who knows what happened in the cloisters and monasteries in past centuries before the age of mass media and the internet – men are men and have sexual urges regardless of wherever they are and in what age they lived. Celibacy is unnatural and the effects of trying to enforce it are now very evident.

And what about Mary Magdalene? What was her position in the early Church? She was, after all, very close to Jesus. The Catholic Church needs to rethink its position on women very carefully. Their recently affirmed attitude has certainly upset many women, including my wife.