fingerlakeswanderer

fingerlakeswanderer
Birthday
May 09
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cassandra
Bio
Lorraine Berry lives in the Fingerlakes region of New York, although it's her transplanted home. On weekends, she can be heard throughout the area, cheering on her beloved Manchester City F.C. When not writing at Does This Make Sense? or Talking Writing, she can be found hiking with her two dogs, hanging out with her two daughters, eating what her beloved Rob has cooked for her, or teaching creative writing at a small college in the area.

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JULY 15, 2010 1:58PM

Ordaining a Woman = Raping a Child.

Rate: 59 Flag

Canon Law was clarified today to say the following:

  botticelli-35

The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.

In a previous statement, the hierarchy warned pedophile priests that they could expect to spend eternity in hell. So, is the Church really saying that women who seek ordination will be consigned to the torments of hell? Really?

 Okay. Apparently, if you ordain a woman, give her the power of transubstantiation, allow her to participate fully in the spiritual life of Catholicism, this now ranks with the molestation of children? 

You know, we spend an awful lot of time criticizing Muslims for the way they treat their women. But sometimes, I find myself wondering if "fundamentalist" readings of any religion--Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam, simply cannot accept that women are full human beings, endowed by their Creator with the rights to a full life. 

I'm not a Catholic. I'm not a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Hindu.

But I'm a woman. 

I'm a human being. 

My two daughters are full human beings. 

How dare these old men claim that the ordination of women is the equivalent of raping a child? 

Some American Catholics have spoken, out, with this statement by David Gibson, author of a biography on Pope Benedict who quotes

U.S. Catholic editor Bryan Cones as saying, "Quite frankly, it is an outrage to pair the two, a complete injustice to connect the aspirations of some women among the baptized to ordained ministry with what are some of the worst crimes that can be committed against the least of Christ's members."

I don't know what to say to the Catholic members of Open Salon. I do not wish to slam your religion, but I find myself wondering how one can make peace with a religion that equates the accident of being born with a vagina and then trying to become a priest the same level of crime as deliberately hurting a child? 

Was not Christ born of a woman? 

Were not the first witnesses to his resurrection, women? 

Then what, please pray tell, is the problem with women? 

Are we still the monsters of the 15th century imagination as written in the Malleus Maleficarum?

All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable. See Proverbs xxx: There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, a fourth thing which says not, It is enough; that is, the mouth of the womb. Wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts they consort even with devils. More such reasons could be brought forward, but to the understanding it is sufficiently clear that it is no matter for wonder that there are more women than men found infected with the heresy of witchcraft. And in consequence of this, it is better called the heresy of witches than of wizards, since the name is taken from the more powerful party. And blessed be the Highest Who has so far preserved the male sex from so great a crime: for since He was willing to be born and to suffer for us, therefore He has granted to men the privilege.

 

Or perhaps we're still operating under the assumptions of St. John Chrysostom?

"It does not profit a man to marry. For what is a woman but an enemy of friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a domestic danger, delectable mischief, a fault in nature, painted with beautiful colors?"

St. John Chrysostom

Please. Explain to me why you would allow yourself, your daughters, your wife, your sister, your mother--their desire to be priests to be such a threat to a religion that their crime is the equivalent of child molestation?

For the love of God. Please help me understand.

 

The artist, of course, is Botticelli.  

 

 

 


 

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They never learn, do they? Instead, they just hate and demean.
Well, you see how seriously they take the rape of children by clergy. Perhaps ordinations of women should proceed and let the Vatican decide when they have the stones to follow up and prosecute.
this is horrific. the only part I liked was the part about being a "delectable mischief..."
Jesus Christ. _r
I can only think that it is sheer fear - always has been. When people are afraid of something, they are willing to characterize that thing in demonic terms. It is sometimes a reflection of the perceived power of that thing. In this case, one could ask why is the Catholic church (or any uber-zealous sect of any religion) so afraid of women? And one might think that, in fact, women are percieved as might damn powerful if so much constriction is required.

I know that these doctrines are couched in tradition and supposedly in scripture, and am aware of the biblical citations which are typically used, but really . . .
I want to be absolutely clear about this. My problem is with the hierarchy of the Church. It is not with Catholics, many of whom are my friends, and my lover's brother is a Priest. I am trying to understand how such decisions can be rendered.

Thank you for NOT Catholic-bashing in these comments, but rather, helping me to understand why this is happening now.
Your logic is not correct in this post. Just because both are punished the same way doesn't imply they are equally wrong. It just means they both receive the same punishment.
Why is it hard for women to understand that both genders are NOT created equally? That's not a bad thing, but our society makes it bad. So what if the Catholic Church will only ordain men?! Only women can give birth. It wasn't a man who gave birth to the Son of God....it was a woman. How do you find equal ground with that?!
I read about this comparison in punishment several days back from a nun friend of mine. I was astounded and shocked about equating the two. I am always very hard pressed to understand how people can continue to support this institution. It all has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ as I see it. As they become more and more exposed in their teachings, how can they not expect to be challenged by thinking men and women? They can't burn the non believers at the stake anymore. How will they counter those who disagree now? Don't know. R
Being a Catholic priest is no honor.

They have just told 52% of all Catholics they are inherently foul, bacterial. I think Catholicism is the disease.
Patricia,
I'm confused. The statement by the Church is that the ordination of women is among the gravest of sins, and it IS in the same category as the rape of children. Its punishment is equal.

I guess I'd like to know why you are opposed to the notion that the genders are equal? Why would you want to walk around knowing that simply by accident of your birth, you have fewer rights than men?

Is that okay with you in terms of your daughters? I would never, ever allow my children to be treated differently because of their sex. Why would you accept that you are less human than a man?

In Genesis, there are two versions of the creation story. In one, God created man first. In the second, he made them at the same time, and he made them equal.

Why have we allowed men to read only what they want to read?
IMHO, organized religions are scams anyway and their leaders have but one thing in mind - to keep the scam alive.

The Mormon religion is the same - no girls allowed in the boys tree house club. What a bunch of pathetic, unenlightened bigots!
Please remember: NO CATHOLIC BASHING. The problem is with the hierarchy, not with believers.
I have to admit up-front that I am a recovering Catholic with 12 years of Catholic School. The Catholic religion is a religion that has been designed by men, organized men, and for men. Jesus would be appalled if he saw what has happened to his philosophy of peace, love, and forgiveness. It is very sad. They live in the Middle Ages with Middle Ages ideas. R for rage
Exceptional post. My daughter, who was a Catholic and is a lesbian abhors the Catholic Church. She got out of high school and never looked back at the Catholics.
This is beyond the church. This is the crime of men and it has been that way for too long.
rated
My six year old daughter recently learned that Catholics don't let women become priests. She was completely perplexed. It makes no sense to her. "What does it matter if someone is a girl?" She doesn't understand how anyone can justify it and how anyone could go to such a church. I can't say I disagree.
Just because both are punished the same way doesn't imply they are equally wrong. It just means they both receive the same punishment.

If two different actions are not equally wrong, then it is wrong to punish them as if they were. Are you not understanding this simple point, which I understood in grade-school?

Why is it hard for women to understand that both genders are NOT created equally?

Gosh, I can't imagine why...maybe it's because so many women learn from their own experience that they can bear the same duties as men, and just can't see any good reason why they should be treated so differently. Y'think?

So what if the Catholic Church will only ordain men?! Only women can give birth. It wasn't a man who gave birth to the Son of God....it was a woman. How do you find equal ground with that?!

Two words: non-sequitur. Oh, and two more words: so what? How does any of that drivel justify punishing female priests the same way as child-rapists? Come to think of it, how does that drivel relate to ordination of women AT ALL? (Didn't men say the same thing way back when women tried to get the right to vote?)
I saw news of this a little while ago. I am still so angry that I can barely focus on your words here. I feel white hot rage everywhere. How blind are they who will not see? How deaf are they who will not hear? Who are these men who make these calls and speak these words? I can hardly make sense to myself right now but wanted to say I was here.
It seems a little difficult for a non-believer to understand why two 'crimes', one of which is horrendous and the other of which is WTF, should be classified together and 'receive the same punishment'.

Okay, only women can give birth...and only men can sire children. What does that have to do with being priests? "Not created equally" - well, in a sense, we're all unequal in some ways, but as a people we think it a good thing to provide equal rights and opportunities...to the short, the tall, the vaginally equipped and those of the penile persuasion, the handicapped, the pigmentally differentiated...and now even those whose private sex lives are none of our business but, shock, are conducted a little differently...

Well, that's the trouble with *belief* - no way of 'proving' one belief is better than the other. I just know what I effing prefer for myself and my daughters ...
I've said itbefore , and I'll say it again: canon law make sense only its own sealed-off bizarro world. Ordaining women and abusing children are considered moral equivalents because both are offenses against a Sacrament, namely, the Sacrament of Holy Orders. As far as the law is concerned, once you offend a Sacrament, that's all she wrote. That's sufficient grounds for excommunication right there. There's no need to attach an additional degree of severity to acts that also happen to offend against actual people. If 100,000 lawyers at the bottom ofthe ocean represents a good start, then the same number of canon lawyers at the bottom of the same ocean represents not nearly enough of one.
"I guess I'd like to know why you are opposed to the notion that the genders are equal? Why would you want to walk around knowing that simply by accident of your birth, you have fewer rights than men? "
Just because I don't believe we were created equal (look at our bodies for example) doesn't mean I believe we shouldn't have the same rights as men. Again, it's the incorrect reasoning or assuming that's wrong. One belief doesn't necessarily lead to the other. Just because I don't think we were created equally doesn't follow that I think we are less than men or that men are less than women....we're just different....not equal. I'm a Mathematician. Equal to me means in an equation, the left side is the same as the right side when it comes to equations. Men and women are not the same, therefore, not equal....but again, that doesn't imply that one gender is better than the other. Men are physically stronger than women, but women are emotioanlly stronger than men. So what? We're different. We are not equal.
Any religion has the right to follow its own rules and laws. No one is forcing you or anyone to become a Catholic. I don't want boys to join Girl Scouts...just like I don't want girls to join Boy Scouts. It has nothing to do with one gender being better than the other.
If your daughter wants to become a priest, have her join another Christian church.
By the way, I appreciate your request to keep the "Catholic bashing" away. That is honorable.
Any religion has the right to follow its own rules and laws.

And we have the right to point out how stupid, backward, and counterproductive those laws are, as appropriate. Especially when they affect the lives of innocent people, as the Catholic Church's laws (and their underlying mindset) all too often do.
men are physically stronger but women are emotionally stronger ??

(a) sounds like an equation
(b) there's physically stronger and physically stronger - lifting weights isn't all there is to it. (women tend to outlive men, for instance. I've read that the uterus is the strongest human muscle. etc.)
(c) on what do you base the contention that women are emotionally stronger?
(d) yeah, Catholics are a private club and nobody has to join, but the church (at least until recently) had profound influence on the lives of people, most of whom didn't choose to be Catholic, simply had no option
(e) any institution that wants to be taken seriously in the world should think twice about publicly equating ordination of women with the raping of children
So a group of superstitious cultists doesn't like you. Big deal. Why do we legitimize these characters with their funny costumes and Harry Potter rituals by paying so much attention?

Take the entirety of their liturgy and replace the word "god" with "Santa Claus," and you'll feel better about being excluded.
Jon, it's not about being excluded from the priesthood; it's about having female ordination publicly, by a very influential spokesperson for Santa Claus, equated with child rape.
It's a hell of an odd, awful comparison they have made. R.
one of the many reasons i left the catholic church behind decades ago. hadn't heard this latest bit of crap from the vatican. thanks for sharing with us. the church will never change. they've had centuries and they just refuse to acknowledge equality and justice.
the catholic church has been on a mission to dismiss the power of women ever since Mary Magdalene was chosen to be the true rock of the catholic church.
The Catholic Church was/is and always will be a misogynistic society. It's the original Boys Club. Organized religion is a cult hell bend on mind control. Real faith doesn't need an organization to belong to.
R
I've contributed my comments respectively and as honestly as I can. I will not argue with ignorance.
I have respect for you, always, so I apologize for my blunt comment, Lorraine. I am not sure how to state it without offending. But that certainly wasn't the way.

I think Catholicism, starting from the 3rd Century M.E. going forward, manipulates the truth, creates a holy doctrine of misogyny, advocates for hatred and intolerance, and has a supernatural predicate that is abhorrent to compassionate people: that anyone committing thought crimes against an un-provable deity will suffer unimaginable torment for eternity.

They are aggressively pursuing African converts, now, this minute, where education is not universally available, poverty is rampant, and superstition can be promoted. They are intrinsically authoritarian, and profoundly anti-reason, with weird and notable exceptions.

We are not supposed to note the 800-pound gorilla -- nonsensical belief in magic -- but Catholics and Christians of all kinds enforce their special status in the political and social sphere aggressively and effectively.

At what point do the assumptions and articles of faith become reasonable to discuss? If Catholicism appeared full-blown out of nowhere, today, claiming a magical being was born of a virgin and advocating that people die of AIDs rather than wear protection, would we be so inclined to defer to their faith, and never mention the root beliefs that lead to cruel and irrational policies like the one you describe in your post?

I suggest when faith become politicized as Faith, and degrades education, public policy, and humane practice, we must be able to discuss everything on which they base their campaigns.
How does one politely say that one cannot simply Declare Truth, which is the foundation philosophical architecture of Catholicism? How does one say that the idea of ANYONE being sanctified, above law and criticism, is inherently anti-democratic, without shaking the roots of religion? How does one gently say that when True belief exercises its will politically, no part of its premises and arguments can be off-limits?

You ask, eloquently, for the Why of this. I say religious belief is fatally flawed. Not evil, not universally wrong, but wounded in the heart, and incapable of informing us about living in the real world without major reform. A reform that would cut through the idea of faith itself.

Small, loving congregations do good for human beings, and secular folks like me have no replacement for them. We must preserve the honoring of human milestones, the support systems of grief, that are neighborhood sanctuaries.

But look at the govt protection given to Belgian Catholic pedophile priests, for decades. The formal Catholic Church hides behind Local Goodness, betraying its own adherents.

If one vouchsafes the Christian philosophy of love, I join with you. Let's keep that part. Unfortunately, the highly politicized Christian movement in America is no longer a liberal entity. The social progressive Christians are the minority, and decreasing every year.
so what was the role of Jesus's favorite Mary Magdalene that discussed scripture with the apostles after his death?
There is beauty in this.
There have been pleas and requests to avoid catholic bashing. Of course, there is no need. Catholics are doing it to themselves.
This IS the catholic church. This is what they do, this is who they are. And they happily announce it to the world. And their followers are left scrambling to answer for it. And female catholics quietly accept their place in this hierarchy because there is nothing they can do about it. Why bash catholics indeed? How could anyone make them look worse than what they've shown the world?
I never have to make an argument against following religions; religions make it for me. I see its self destruction and it is beautiful....
I think that there is an attempt at dialogue here. I think there is also anger, which, I believe has justification. Like Greg, the hierarchy that restricts the access to the prevention HIV, that denigrates women by telling them that their children are more important than they are, that interferes in national policies that promote health and human happiness, that is the hiearchy that I have a problem with.

Like Will, the Church that feeds the poor, that rescues and comforts the afflicted, that opposes the juntas of South America, that is the hierarchy that I can support.

I would gladly never comment on Catholic Pope's pronouncements again, if it were not for the fact that, even as a non-Christian, I am affected when fundamentalists attempt to keep certain things out of my church's schools, or because a fundamentalist on the Supreme Court insists that, much like the words of the Bible, the Constitution is a dead document and cannot be "interpreted."

I've quoted this many times before, so I won't again, but for me, my frustration with the Catholic Church was summed up by Albert Camus in the "The Unbeliever and Christians" when he stated that his greatest hope was that if millions of Christians would join with the millions of us who do not believe, for men, women, and children, what a different world we would live in.
From Patricia K: I'm a Mathematician. Equal to me means in an equation, the left side is the same as the right side when it comes to equations. Men and women are not the same, therefore, not equal....

I am a college dropout who took some math courses. I could have sworn that while 1+1 is not the same as 2, 1+1= 2. I learned that in catholic school.
Wow. As an ordained woman, I am powerfully evil!
If we're discussing the ordination of women on its merits, I've heard some arguments for that really impressed me, as well as some others that were dumb enough to deserve a thundering facepalm.

The dumb argument: If women had enjoyed a leading role in the Church, child abuse would never have become endemic. With their superior relational faculties, women bishops and prefects would have shown more concern for the victims and their families, and less for the good name of the Church.

Only under laboratory conditions could this ever have happened. Not all women buy the business about superior relational faculties. And of those women who do, not all see them as an asset in professional life. When people -- usually women religious who professed their vows around the time Carol Gilligan started writing -- make this argument for ordaining women, they really mean that the Church should ordain women who think like they do. They seem to forget that for every Sr. Joan Chittester, there are two or three Elizabeth Scalias or Mother Angelicas -- women who would gladly play by the rules of the boys' club.

Let's remember, too, that relational doesn't translate to incorruptible. Perhaps women go bad for different reasons than men, but go bad they do. One glaring example would be Abu Ghraib. Some of the rank-and-file abusers were women; the garrison commander was a woman, as was the general she reported to. Yet the abuse and cover-ups proceeded exactly as though a a bunch of male bishops had been filling their posts. Barbara Ehrenreich credits this reality with curing her of "a lazy and self-indulgent form of feminism" and teaching her that "gender equality cannot, all alone, bring about a just and peaceful world."

Okay, before anyone writes me off as a member of the He-Man Woman Haters' Club, let me post a link to a site containing arguments for that I do find compelling. They vary in focus, some questioning the concept of a priesthood as it's evolved since early times, others positing God's -- and by extension, Jesus' -- androgyny. Although, in many cases, I find I lack the background to evaluate them, collectively they make me lean hard in favor of ordaining women:

www.womenpriests.org/scholars.asp
The Catholic Church does not exist in a vacuum, thus allowing it to (paraphrasing the apologists) "do as it pleases". Foregoing discussing this church's long, vastly dreadful history of oppression of nearly everyone it's touched, it currently enjoys the significant benefit of being a untaxed entity in this country, at least. That doesn't make it above the law of the land, nor normal human morality, as many seem to think it should be.

If they want to do as they please, they can turn in their considerable tax exemption, along with the rest of the "social clubs in drag disguise" (as Dylan so succinctly branded organized religion in general, years ago)
@Greg - You state "social progressive Christians are the minority, and decreasing every year." I don't know if there's any way to know whether or not that is true. They certainly do not get the airplay of the "highly politicized Christian movement." They are not usually the ones interviewed in Main Stream Media, nor do they have television networks. If socially progressive Christians are decreasing in number, I can think of at least a couple of reasons why that might be: 1. If one wants to be taken seriously among intellectuals, it is better not to mention one's Christianity, especially because it is immediately associated with the highly politicized Christian movement. 2. If all one hears is the highly politicized Christian movement, why would one want to be associated with Christianity (unless it does you some political good, or makes you feel like your worldview is justified, or whatever).

Sorry, I'm really off-topic now. Sigh. And what the hell am I doing "defending" Christianity? I have no earthly idea.
Owl,
I'm sorry that we live in a world where intelligent people feel that to mention their Christianity is to risk being mocked. I'm also sorry to live in world where certain Christians have managed to affect policies in the ways that they have. This all reminds me of a brilliant Bill Moyers' interview, in which the interviewee, speaking of subjects similar to this, said simply: I stand here, crucified.
The pope doesn't want anyone looking more chic than he in fancy red leather shoes? Is anyone surprised by this ruling? Even accused misogynist, St. Paul, wrote, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:27-8 KJV [my emphasis]
Max,
I'm not a Gilliganite. If I had been one, Margaret Thatcher would have been okay by me. As it was, I consider Maggie Thatcher to be one of the worst prime ministers ever. EVER. Northern England was devastated by her, so it's important that my feminist politics do not inherently posit that women are superior to men in any fashion. I just believe that feminism is the basic belief that women are human beings, entitled to the same rights (and responsibilities) as men.
Max,
Just out of curiosity: what are the arguments for opposing women's ordination?
What is really sad is, as you pointed out, these are rules that were made up 500 years ago. Rules that were political in nature, not divine.
Okay. So Kramer and Sprenger, the two Dominicans who wrote the Malleus, apparently had no sense of humor, for they wrote this "story" down word-for-word as fact, failing to see the puckish, peasant humor in the tale:

Kramer and Sprenger reported that a witch in one village was removing all the men's penises. One man, hoping to appease the witch, brought her a present and asked if he could please have his member back. The witch said yes. She told him to climb this tree where he would find a giant nest full of penises. he was allowed to take whichever one he wanted, 'except for the biggest one, for that belonged to the priest."
I love that story. Some peasant told K&S that story, and they wrote it down as the truth instead of thinking of it as the obvious joke it is.
Lorraine:

I never imagined you were stranded on Gilligan's island. However, judging by some of the editorials that have been popping up in National Catholic Reporter, plenty of people are. Of course, they may not actually believe that women priests could have prevented the abuse; they may simply be refusing to let this crisis of confidence in the Vatican go to waste.

What are the arguments against? Over the past two millennia, there have been plenty. The one that survived Vatican II goes: Jesus was a man, his Apostles were men. Q.E.D. The website I linked you to contains essays arguing both cases. Pardon the phallocentrism, but they're damned straight shooters over there.
Max,
In proper po-mo/po-structuralist critique, it's not phallocentrism.
It's phallogocentrism. :)

And when you say straight shooters, do you mean they're all hets?
Seriously? WTF??? It saddens me (okay, it actually really just pisses me off) that I know some pretty smart women (and men, but really, I know more Catholic women than men) that still buy into this Vatican nonsense. Maybe this will be the straw that breaks their faith in the "infallibility" of some random dude living in a palace in Europe, making excuses for the sins of everyone except women. Otherwise I'm going to try not to think about it, and get my blood all boiling and stuff.
I'm mad that they are actively recruiting (they being the Catholic hierarchy) from the schism in the Anglican church. The Pope is VERY tolerant if it means converting a female Anglican who is pissed off by tolerance to ordination of openly gay preists. Funny how that works, eh?
dunno, real easy choice, choose not to be Catholic
(and I'll stop it there other than saying my mother used to be Catholic, it is possible to leave the church if they are doing things that you consider morally wrong)
The crazy thing is that his new rules do not include making priests, bishops, etc. turn pedophiles into the local police. Why? WTF? They are still protecting themselves while demeaning women. I left this church years ago. My sister still goes every Sunday. I don't get. I just don't get why people belong to this religion in this day and age.

You should also read about the University of Illinois Professor who has just been fired for teaching that homosexuality is a moral sin. Check it out on Google.
Still not feeling very rational about this news. Over the weekend I was reading about the Synod being held by the Church of England. The most potentially divisive issue before them was the ordination of women as bishops. I am going on memory but I think this is right. There were worries that schism would result if this issue were voted in. Last I saw, the vote was taken and it passed. I just find it odd that Rome issues this document within the same week. Was someone trying to make the point that the Church of Rome would not walk the same path? Seems too convenient and yet, I wonder.

If they had issued just the one statement, it would have been disappointing. To issue it as they have is appalling to me. My own logic evaporates here and so I will stop. All I could think of when I saw the story earlier was that it is no wonder that I have felt more and more estranged from the Church I thought I knew in my childhood.
Anna--you are not wrong. A few months ago, when the Anglicans started seriously considering the whole ordination thing, several Catholic theologians made strong statements saying they would welcome back Anglicans into the Church.
Suddenly, it was 1533 all over again....
From Feb 1, 2010, The Guardian:
When Pope Benedict announced earlier this year that there would be special arrangements made to welcome disaffected Anglican priests as a body, this looked like a triumph for the right in the internal Catholic struggle. But the Anglicans at whom it was aimed are now dithering at the prospect of actually leaping where they have so long looked longingly. The pope says "I am convinced that, if given a warm and open-hearted welcome, such groups will be a blessing for the entire church" but I don't know many other Catholics very convinced.
I'd be terrified of ordaining women too since the men have done such a stellar job, (I know, most of them have). To equate the two shows a tin ear that the Vatican often displays.
Patricia K, your logic in your comment is not correct. And to use your own argument pattern; just because men and women are not the SAME (thank goodness), it does not mean they should not receive EQUAL VALUE as human beings. While some jobs may be more suited to one gender over the other these differentiations seem to be mostly conditioned perception and stereotyping. Please don't bother with such useless arguments such as those based on birthing... while only a woman may give birth, either gender can parent as love and wisdom, the most valuable of parenting tools, are not exclusive to any one gender. Thank goodness in our progress we are breaking through some of these blind notions that limit individuals rather then encouraging each person to reach for their highest, unrestricted by gender issues.
I would love to hear a reasonable explanation why women are not deemed suitable for ordination in the Catholic institution, and why any attempt to do so would be met with the same punishment meted out to rapists. Of course, the Catholic church does not owe anyone, especially non-Catholics an explanation. Just as no one owes the Catholic Church their good opinion either. And for the record, I think very highly of Jesus Christ, and feel him to be a savior of man. And woman.
So Greg and others, you think I should not only quit the Catholic Church, I should quit Christianity, or better yet, any Religion, because I can't agree with everything they or any one Religion preaches? I can think of a million things I associate with that have parts of their belief systems that I don't vehemently disagree with, and I stay within those organizations and continue to try to change them. I speak up. Rail against those that stay and don’t.
Let me be clear: I don't support the Church hierarchy in *not* supporting the ordination of women. I double don't support them in punishing those that ordain women. I triple don't support punishing the women that want to be ordained. I don't support hiding pedophiles. I "believe" in rooting them out and punishing them.

I truly don't understand Patricia, although I've heard her argument by women in the Catholic church.

I can only speak for myself: I am a woman that converted to Catholicism, who would describe herself as a Marian (someone who has a strong connection to Mary), and someone who thinks that these forces against the natural place of women in the church are nothing short of ignorant or evil. I see them as power plays like any other power play in any other large organization. To me, these political machinations don't have much to do with the religion that has become a part of me. Men have been in charge for thousands of years, and want to continue to be so. It doesn't mean they're "right" and no amount of preaching from within the church will tell me that they are.

There are a lot of Catholics like me, believe it or not, and some of them are Catholic women, though not all, that believe in (or "feel") the Goddess as exemplified by Mary Magdalene. We are the people that spend time in sanctuaries like the one you wrote about Lorraine; we are the people that have an important and healing relationship with a nun in their community; we are the women that read books about Saint Teresa of Avila or Saint Francis for God's sake and are inspired by them. My favorite readings are the Gnostic Gospels -- and they are all about the female as Goddess.

So, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But, don't challenge me to stop or drop my religion. And don't think that just because the Pope says something insane that I agree with it. I think that's thinking and asking too much, and in the long run (millennia) may actually impede the religious revolution in a way you would support.
Maybe the Anglican priests are considering whether they really want celibacy and mortal sins....

Patricia...somewhat separate from debating religions, as far as your equation point, I like Math too and I'm wondering --- if it's not equal, what math symbol fits? Greater than? less than? approximate? unequal?
PS I find folks that are "intolerant" against religions are the same folks that were previously religious and were intolerant of non-believers. Same folks. Same effect. Same hate.
"But sometimes, I find myself wondering if "fundamentalist" readings of any religion--Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam, simply cannot accept that women are full human beings, endowed by their Creator with the rights to a full life. "

That about nails it but the Catholic church never ceases to amaze me with the shit they come up with. The latest pronouncement has me scratching me head, do they have a mole coming up with these ideas?

And Patricia K, if you're a mathematician you must not be a very logical one because your "equation" doesn't make sense to me.
If I professed Catholicism and a belief in the Catholic Church, as do the millions who pledge fealty on a daily basis (in words authored by the politicians of the church long ago when an oath of fealty was sacrosanct and failure to pronounce the oath often resulted in death at the hands of ...guess who?) ... I would certainly study, in great seriousness and depth, the history of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I would want to know exactly who and what it is that I am staking my life on, and the core beliefs of my soul on.

After such a study, I believe The Catholic Church has always been and always will be a political machine, controlling their interests in governance, land, wealth, and history through the willing minds of those who accept cannon law.

I thank Greg Correll for his well reasoned and thoughtful presentation of his understanding of these issues and factual history which has led him to his conclusions. Ever the voice of reason, Greg.

Lastly, I would gather together people of like mind and continue to practice my faith in the way in which it is meaningful to me, keeping in mind that to "Declare Truth" is to present an assumption that no one but the 'Catholic Church' in Rome is privvy to such knowledge... and that statements like these are made in an effort to exert control over the minds of it's followers. Buyer, just beware.
To me, you either agree with the rules or you don't. You can't pick and choose which rules of your church that you agree with. It's pretty much why I'd don't belong to any church, even my favorite one (Baha'i) considers being homosexual having sex outside of marriage. Not that they'd judge me for it, but those are the tenets of the faith. Why should any person pretend to uphold a vision of the truth they don't agree with?
Well, now, to be fair, I don't think the Catholic Church deliberately said, "Ordaining a woman is just like raping a child." I think it's probably more like, "Oh, shit! We said that? Damn. How do we spin this? Silence. That's the ticket. 'Will not dignify it' and all that..."

Sadly, this codification of the "gravest crimes," with its categories of sins available to everybody and sins that can be committed only by the priesthood, makes sense to the Catholic hierarchy, and possibly to some rank and file Catholics. Not so much to the general public. It is indeed a PR disaster.
I can't help you understand because I don't understand either. It's because of that sort of evil/stupidity that I could never join the Roman Catholic church, despite the fact that my father's side relatives are Roman Catholic. I am a Christian, a "lower-case" catholic and an ordained woman priest. Jesus didn't teach that hate-filled garbage. It's utterly corrupt.
Lorraine, of course I knew where this would end up. When will I ever learn? Righteousness is Righteous. LOL.
So, Jesus, if you had one thing to say to the Catholic faithful?

J. Stop being faithful!

I'm sorry?!

J. How can anyone continue to be faithful to a religion that has become so off-center, so focused on power, property, prestige...

Penises!

J. Yes, those too. But I don't want to get into the gender issues here.

Sorry.

J. It's OK. I know your humor here is self-preservation. You know only too well ... I am the one who should be expressing my sorrow -- to you. My mother weeps daily for you and for all the children who have been hurt by men and women claiming to be my "holy" followers. So, again, I say to them, Stop being faithful. It is time to stop enabling this organization to abuse children.

Like the Sadducees in ancient Israel, there is a tendency for religious authorities to think that any compromise with evil is justified if it protects the "Temple," the religious establishment and traditions. What I say to today's Catholics is, It's time to turn over the tables of those who traffic in children. Stop giving money to feed this corrupt "temple" and instead support causes of justice by giving your time and commitment as well as money. Money is easy to give if you have it. But time, effort and personal commitment to the pursuit of justice is much more costly, and much more valuable.
Oh this just gets my blood boiling. Thanks for posting on this!
the Roman Catholic hierarchy will do anything to deflect serious discussion of women's roles and commitment to Christ and any real discussion about their continued practice of condoning, enabling and covering up cases of rape and child molestation by priests. if they equate the two, they're defusing two paramount issues. that we can even have this discussion shows they have succeeded to a certain extent.

American Catholics need to break away from Rome and create their own church. this is ignorance and lunacy personafied.
Nicely done, Lorraine. Fair, passionate. As for the picture, it's gorgeous. I'd frame that and hang it in my house. Her expression is deeper, more reflective than the more famous Mona Lisa. Is it Mary?
Lorraine, I appreciate, as always, your attempt to discriminate between the hierarchy of an institution and its grassroots followers. I have only glanced at some of the comments, which followed the trajectory I expected. As someone who was raised Catholic and attended 16 years of Catholic schooling, I can attest to two things: It is not, for some, a simple matter of saying no to Catholicism, given the family history and connections. And many of us are simply cultural Catholics, which is to say we identify ourselves as such because of our steep history with its traditions and people if not for the ideology. I liken it to Jews who don't attend temple or even believe in God but who can't quite dismiss their Jewish heritage. (I realize this is not a perfect analogy for many reasons, but it's good enough). I wonder if we substituted some other identifiers for Catholic here if it wouldn't feel a bit more uncomfortable for everybody.

The pope is an idiot. But the people who sit in the pews have their host of reasons (ha! pun intended :), many of which would surprise us I suppose. Mainly I just want to defend the notion of belonging to a group whose entire package of details doesn't mesh. Most of the social justice work that my family does is done through the conduit of the urban Catholic organizations on the ground, in the trenches, here in Cleveland. I'm talking soup kitchens, employment services for the mentally ill, and putting up Sudanese refugees in our home. Of course such "corporal works of mercy" don't need to be done through any church, much less the Catholic one, but for some of us, starting our own independent charity that replicates the work of others already up and running is just not doable on top of jobs and family obligations. So we compromise. Such is life.

Cheers to an interesting, enlightening conversation as always.
One last point to clarify where I'm coming from: I would never choose Catholicism if I were "religion shopping" as an adult. Frankly, I wouldn't choose any of them. But definitely not Catholicism. I'm not religious or even spiritual. But I'm "Catholic" in a way that means I've been inculcated with environmental bias. Fortunately for the world, I was steeped in the Golden Rule, the "turn the other cheek," the boots-on-the-ground social justice aspect. I'd be lying if I didn't connect my egalitarianism and liberalism to my Catholic upbringing, including and most especially my incredibly thoughtful and intellectual Catholic education. People who simply don't know the facts have no idea how much the Jesuits or the Paulists are steeped in intellectualism, skeptical inquiry, and humanism. I am who I am because of my upbringing. I understand that this creates cognitive disequilibrium among many OSers, but that's because of the recent politicization of the conservative Catholics. Does anyone remember John Kennedy or Dorothy Day or Philip Berrigan? These are the Catholic heroes of my day and they remain so for many, many Catholic individuals and institutions of higher learning.
I'm not so sure this will win many hearts and minds. Maybe after all this guy is NOT infallible?
I call myself a cafeteria Catholic... I figure if fundies can cherry pick the Bible verses they use to support their views, I can choose to follow the spirit of the law and not all the shalts and shalt nots that men came up with to form the church laws. And sometimes it's more about the people than the doctrine. Monkey's idea about an American Catholic church is interesting.
But why do you NOT wish to slam the Catholic religion? This is bigoted ignorant immoral power mongering. Why should it be afforded any respect? They deserve slamming. My only regret as an atheist - that there isn't a hell b/c these people would surely find themselves burning there, and they would get poked by demon pitchforks for every time a child was violated by one of their own. And I don't mean in the ribs.
Lainey I admire those people too, but I don't attribute their great qualities to Catholocism, or even religion.
Sandra, I don't have any problem slamming the Catholic religion. I was just defending the idea that many of us--most in fact--belong however tentatively to some groups whose entire body of work/beliefs don't mesh with our own. We're all cherry picking, when you think of it. When the disconnect becomes too enormous, then we move. That's all. I'm with you all in castigating the Church for this nonsense. As for those qualities being attributed to their Catholicism, I have no idea. But I promise you that much of what you like about me comes directly from it.
As I am appalled by many of the things the historical church has done, I see no point in fighting. Instead, I post this joyous Youtube link. Inherently offensive to many, and has a catchy refrain you'll be singing in the shower (but the Pope won't). The Church of Woman!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOHCR1JQ5AY
Blame Paul, not Jesus.

Jesus told his disciples to ALWAYS "pray without ceasing" (Luke 21:36), and Paul repeated these words to the gentiles (I Thessalonians 5:17).

However, this is the only point on which Jesus and Paul agree. Paul taught a completely different theology from that of Jesus and the original apostles.

Jesus repeatedly spoke of God's tender care for the nonhuman creation (Matthew 6:26-30, 10:29-31; Luke 12:6-7, 24-28). Paul, on the other hand, in I Corinthians 9:9-10, asked scornfully, "Does God take care for oxen?" when referring to one of the commandments in Mosaic Law calling for the humane treatment of animals.

In The Story of Christian Origins, secular scholar Dr. Martin A. Larson notes further that Paul declares that his followers may even eat food offered to pagan idols (contradicting the resurrected Jesus in Revelation 2:14,20). Whereas Jesus honored women and found in them his most devoted followers, Paul never tires of proclaiming their inferiority.

Christians think they are no longer under Mosaic Law, because Paul referred to his background as a former Pharisee and previous adherence to Mosaic Law (with its dietary laws and commandments calling for the humane treatment of animals) as "so much garbage." (Philippians 3:4-8)

Nothing in the synoptic gospels suggests a break with Judaism. Jesus was called "Rabbi," meaning "Master" or "Teacher," 42 times in the gospels. Jesus' ministry was a rabbinic one. He went to the synagogue (Matthew 12:9), taught in the synagogues (Matthew 4:23, 13:54; Mark 1:39), expressed concern for Jairus, "one of the rulers of the synagogue" (Mark 5:36) and it "was his custom" to go to the synagogue (Luke 4:16).

Jesus himself said, "Do not suppose I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill...till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle pass from the Law till all is fulfilled. Whoever, therefore, breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven...unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-20)

Jesus also upheld the Torah in Luke 16:17: "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest portion of the Law to become invalid."

Nor do these words refer merely to the Ten Commandments. Jesus meant the entire Torah: 613 commandments. When a man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied, "You know the commandments." He quoted not just the Ten Commandments, but a commandment from Leviticus 19:13 as well: "Do not defraud." (Mark 10:17-22)

Jesus' disciples were once accused by the scribes and Pharisees of violating rabbinical tradition (Matthew 15:1-2; Mark 7:5), but not biblical law. Jesus never says anywhere in the entire New Testament that the Law is abolished; this was Paul's theology.

Sometimes Christians cite Matthew 7:12, where Jesus says "Do unto others..." and this "covers" the Law and the prophets. But Jesus was merely repeating in the positive what Rabbi Hillel taught a generation earlier. No one took Hillel's words to mean the Law had been abolished--why should we assume this of Jesus?

If Jesus really did come to abolish the Law and the prophets, Simon (Peter) would not have resisted a divine command to kill and eat both "clean" and "unclean" animals (Acts 10), nor would there have been a debate in the early church as to what extent the gentiles were to observe Mosaic Law (Acts 15). When Paul visited the church at Jerusalem, James and the elders told him all its members were "zealous for the Law," and they were worried because they heard rumors Paul was preaching against Mosaic Law (Acts 21). None of these events would have happened had Jesus really come to abolish the Law and the prophets.

Paul says if anyone has confidence in the Law, "I am ahead of him."

Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who said he did not come to abolish the Law and the prophets? Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who said whoever sets aside even the least of the Law's demands shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-19)?

Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who taught that following the commandments of God is the only way to eternal life (Mark 10:17-22)? Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus who said that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest portion of the Law to become invalid (Luke 16:17)?

Paul may have regarded the Law as "so much garbage," but it should be obvious JESUS DIDN'T THINK THE LAW WAS "GARBAGE"!

Christians believe in Paul, not Jesus. Bertrand Russell called Paul the "inventor" of Christianity.
SO glad I ran from the Catholic Church! SICK - but no surprise.

Sometimes I miss the church in which I grew up. Then, stories like this remind me why, for my own well-being, the Church and I need to be far, far apart. Kudos to those trying to fix things from the inside, but if I am in a community looking for love and support, it does not benefit me to be restricted to second-class status and locked into a role of subservience to other humans. It's sorta like being gay and an American citizen -- a no-win situation and a lifelong kick in the teeth. Act up and fight back! And love yourself. If that means avoiding the RCC, do it, do it, do it!
FLW, this is the work of a group of very old men in the Vatican who are bewildered by the pace of the world and who act on the assumption that they still have influence. It's still enough to make me bloody furious though.
Those in power are always those most resistant to change. Love the Botticelli. A man could only hope that she would be filled with "insatiable carnal lust".
It's, also, interesting that witches were condemned, but wizards were sort of given a bye. The idea of a priesthood in which women were on, at least, equal footing with men must have been infuriating to the invading R.C.C.
I was raised Catholic, to the point of spending two years of my early youth in a Catholic seminary. But I have now overcome that childish faith with an educated understanding of just how corrupt, silly and evil is the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The beliefs and attributes of all religion, especially Islam and Catholicism, are beyond violent and disgusting.

But among the most amazing issues of all of these religions is how they treat women. Without women, the buildings which house these religions would be empty at times of their ceremonies. Without women, little would be accomplished in the care and feeding of the religion. And, yet, the hierarchy refuses women full participation. They can only perform as slaves.

And as much as I condemn these religions, I am still left with one, nagging question:

"Why does even one woman participate in this insanity? Why?"
As a non-Catholic I suppose I have little right to criticize how they run their church. I disagree and think it is stupid...but it is their church, not mine.

But as an observer you have got to wonder just who decided issuing a statement regarding child abuse should include a statement regarding ordination of women. What bizarre mind set put these two together as related? "Ooooh...Benny, while we are condemning heinous crimes like raping children, let's throw in something about no girls can join our club 'cause girls are just icky and have cooties."

And they wonder why American Catholics don't follow doctrine?
I am Catholic.

In dogmatic terms it would be correct to say that the Church considers the ordination of women a heresy. That doesn't change the fact that it is absurd. In the Gospels Jesus never establishes that only men can be ordained. Declaring Peter as the "rock" of the Church doesn't logically mean only men can be rightfully ordained. As you rightly point out, the ones who stand by him on the Cross (except for John) are the women, and it is the women who first learn of His Resurrection.

If one were to ask most Catholics they will tell you that most of the dogmatic, stress on dogmatic please, beliefs of the Church are quite absurd. That has not manifested itself into a new posting of 95 Theses.

Catholics have to stop blindly accepting dogma. Jesus upturned the money dealers' tables at His Father's temple. There is a time for questioning.
I was brainwashed early. I'm so grateful I had the sense to leave when I left for college. Excellent post.
The Vatican is certainly not equating the ordination of women with the rape of children. This is a deliberate confusion of the facts in order to advance an argument. I find the same kind of rhetorical tactic in the ranks of the tea-baggers: I am sure that the author does not wish to rub shoulders with such a crew.

The fact that excommunication is part of the response to pedophilic rape and anti-canonical ordination does not mean that the rape and the ordination are equated. Excommunication is the consequence of anyone who willfully steps contrary to and outside of church law. The Roman Catholic Church is patriarchal and has patriarchal rules: if one doesn't like these rules and dismisses them and works against them, then one has excommunicated oneself practically already.

A pedophile gets a lot more than excommunication.

In any case, if the author doesn't want to "slam" the Catholic religion, then she shouldn't.

But these days, anyone can say anything they want about conservative Christianity without civility or responsibility.

This article is a case in point.

The Vatican is entitled to
I remember growing up as a Catholic girl feeling this inequity. I went through of a phase of thinking I could become a boy so I could then be a priest, then I was just indignant about the double standard.

Anyhow, I am raising my children as Reform Jews. Maybe one of my children will decide to be a Rabbi one day. Or not.
The Catholic Church proves its irrelevency once again. Why do people keep hanging on to this outmoded institution? Who knows?
There is a reference to relevancy that is repeated like incantation in this comments.

I am not a Catholic, but it should be clear to anyone that if the claims of the Church about Christ are true (which I believe is so), then the Church can not care about such a mediocre pop-culture concern like "relevancy."

Rather, it is the surrounding culture that should be concerned whether it is "relevant" to Christ and His Church, not the other way around.

The Church will never satisfy your sociological tastes (which are unavoidably materialistic and colonial), your psychological prejudices (which are self-absorbed and consumerist), and your religious allergies.

Why bother with the Catholics? Why bother the Catholics with your demands for institutional revision? If they are so irrelevant, why are you so irritated?
It's even worse than it sounds! After a conversation this morning with a man I know and respect, and who has been involved in the Catholic Church's response to the child sexual abuse scandal, I learned that the church hasn't just elevated the gravity of ordaining women to the same level as pedophilia, IT JUST ELEVATED THE OFFENSE OF PEDOPHILIA TO THAT OF THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN!! In other words, the ordination of women has long been viewed by the church as a more grave offense than pedophilia, and the church is JUST NOW thinking pedophilia just MIGHT be as serious as the ordination of women. I just have to wonder about an organization with that kind of moral code.
Growing up Mormon, I was well acquainted with an institution that not only did not ordain women, but did not ordain blacks. When that changed in 1978, I knew many Mormon feminists who said now that they knew God was not a racist, they refused to believe he was sexist. More interesting to me was that those same Mormon feminists ascribed that change, or the original policy, to deity and not to the men who created it.

Being away from the computer much of the day I didn't want to comment on this story until I had studied it at its source. I had hoped the original documents would be referenced here. Lorraine, if you are still able to do that, I would recommend it, although I appreciate you are not going for journalism in this piece. I don't generally like to get my news from opinion, and don't generally like to form opinions from anything other than news. As I read the documents they are primarily clarifications of previous policy with some edits, and are primarily focused on addressing sexual abuse in the clergy. Equally noteworthy to me in them is that they extended the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims against clergy to 20 years instead of 10.

Ordination of women appears to be in the category of historical social argument. Given a church that claims origins 2,000 years ago, it would not be reasonable or logical to assume at its base that female ordination would be the norm. The study of history would show that up until the last century in western civilization any thought or discussion of it would not be expected. My understanding is that the early church did in fact ordain deaconnesses, though, and I would expect the logical progression in Catholic tradition would be a return to this before any discussion of anything further. Additionally, it is noteworthy that the Catholic Church does recognize two forms of priesthood: the priesthood of holy orders, which is the one most visible to the outside world as the ordained clergy, and the priesthood of the laity, or the priesthood of the faithful, which does include everyone of both genders. That is not well recognized or mentioned when these issues are discussed.

It's interesting to ponder the impact of canon law on the world outside the Catholic Church, and I'm always fascinated to see responses from anyone outside of any given church to what is going on within it, including the current controversies of ordination within the Anglican communion. Even in my lifetime I've seen significant shifts with how women are admitted into the US military and the way they are treated there, and the way gay men and women are regarded in the same. I expect as we go forward and society evolves we'll continue to see some shifting in religious institutions. It's important to be mindful of which things within those institutions are considered to be absolutes and which are more in response to social history, tradition and accepted norms.

I grew up in a religion where, at the time, it was considered a woman could not even be "saved" without a man, or marriage to a man. Ordination to a priesthood I did not desire and did not aspire to did not even enter into my theological musings; I wondered why I was not considered to be good enough as a woman to be saved on my own merits. A noteworthy example of someone who left the Mormon tradition of my childhood and did aspire to be ordained as a woman is Carolyn Tanner Irish, who became the Episcopal Bishop of Utah and the fourth woman in the Episcopal Church to be ordained to the position of bishop.
I slept through many of the comments that have been made.
I expected that there would be some who would be offended by the post, and I tried, as best I could, to separate hiearchy from laypersons. Often, they are not of the same mind, and the Church has ways for enforcing discipline. Ask my grandmother.
But, I do believe that the Church does good works. I have much preferred a religion built upon a notion of "good works" earning a way into heaven as opposed to the cold pronouncements of Calvin of an "elect" and a "damned" that were selected before the Fall or after the Fall (depending on whether you're prelapsarian or not).
To those who have claimed that I have read selectively. Well, I can only report on what I've seen, and as yet, I have not seen the document that went out to priests. If the hierarchy wants to release it publicly, I'd be happy to parse it, and discuss it, and figure out what it is saying.
What I know right now is that the Church has decided that the ordination of women is the same class of sin, of wrong against the church, as the raping of an innocent.
I'm not making false equivalencies.
The hierarchy is.
You can argue with me all you want, but it's the hierarchy of the Church for whom your arguments should be saved.
As to why it's relevant? Africa and AIDS. Rape and abortion and other social issues.
Jesus never condemned homosexuals.
He never condemned abortion.


Denese--if you're still here. Yes. Marian devotion is interesting to me, and I, too, have read a lot on the women mystics of the Church. I agree with you that their influence, their avenue to spirituality, is one that I might have followed.

I want to thank you all for participating. I know this is not an easy topic, and I'd like to say one last thing. I'd like men, for just one moment, to put themselves in the place of women. (Or whites in the place of African-Americans, if you prefer) Please imagine what it's like to be told from the day that you are born that you are lesser.
Then, ask yourselves why women struggle in this world. Ask yourself how you would feel. Ask. Feel it.
Feels kinda' icky, huh?
Kathy,
Thanks for your clarifications. At the time I wrote this piece, the documents were not available, simply the newspaper articles that had received the press releases. (and we all know what press releases are). I will get to the documents.
As to your Mormon upbringing, well, you're a more religious person than me. I do remember the days of women fighting for ordination, and remember when African-Americans were finally declared to be fully human.
I live in the part of the country where the visions took place, so I pass the places that many members of the LDS Church make their pilgrimages to.
Thank you again.
In answer to the question: the Botticelli is the Madonna.
http://press.catholica.va/news_services/bulletin/news/25863.php?index=25863&lang=en#TRADUZIONE%20%20%20IN%20LINGUA%20INGLESE

If you actually were to look at the norms, you would see that it isn't a declaration that atempting to ordain a woman is as bad as raping a child. It's a clarification of which delicts are under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. It That's all it does. It clarifies who has jurisdiction. It's no different than the FBI having jurisdiction over both bankruptcy fraud and hate crimes. It doesn't mean the FBI thinks bankruptcy fraud is equivalent to hate crime, just that both are federal crimes under their jurisdiction. Here, the CDF is simply clarifying which acts full under its jurisdiction, as opposed to the jurisdiction of the local Bishop, just like the FBI has certain crimes that are under its jurisdiction and not the jurisdiction of the local sheriff.

Again, there is NO equivalency here. It simply clarifies which authority under canon law has jurisdiction.
As a point of clarification, I left the LDS Church in the late 1970s. I generally refer to that faith tradition in my writing as the church of my childhood. I apologize if that was not clear.
I, a woman, was called to ministry by God who gave me the talents to serve as a minister. Fortunately, I'm a Protestant who was ordained. How can these men say God did not call me to be an ordained minister? They were not there.
Here's the NY Times article from yesterday morning, which also includes a link to the original Vatican document:

Vatican Revises Abuse Process, but Causes Stir
Kathy--Help! I think we need Max on this.
Okay, I've read through Changes Made to "Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela"

What I see is a lot of clarifications. I see a lot about what constitutes pedophilia, including the clarification that the mentally disabled above the age of 18 still constitute children, but then the rules go on. And then there's rule 13, which throws in the part about ordaining women.

So, if this is purely "accidental" (as in Thomistic thought) then it's just a weird coincidence that when the Church decided to clarify a bunch of its rules, it inadvertently clarified child molestation and the ordination of women in the same document?
"fat fingers of patriarchy"
How much of male religion's fear of women is based on what Stellaa said?
A "fallen away" or recovering Catholic who used to say mass in my closet at home as a child, I am not stunned by this.
I wonder though what John Paul would have said--As I recall he was a marian and spoke of elevating Mary to a par with her son. Mary is a lot more popular worldwide.
Lorraine,

The CDF is trying to give a list of those offenses against the sacraments and against morals that are under the CDF's jurisdiction. Some of these are offenses against both (e.g., solicitation during confession), some are against only morals (e.g., child sex abuse outside of confession), and some are against only the sacraments (e.g., pretending to celebrate Mass). Because the Church believes that it can't ordain women (many also hold that women can't be ordained, but the Church is not quite as strict on that point, just that there's no reason to believe the Church is a competent authority to ordain them), any ordination of women is a false performance of the sacraments. The only reason it's included in the same list is that some offenses are both against the sacraments and against morals, and that local Bishops simply aren't equipped to deal with such offenses effectively.
The Guardian story I reference came out before the NY Times one, I believe, since there's no date stamp on the NYT story, but it's in today's print version, not published version.
For those I have heartily offended, mea culpa.
And now, I feel as if I'm done dancing on the head of a pin.
By the way, the NYT article says much the same as the things I've posited here: namely, that releasing a document with both clarifications on the same page has created huge consternation among American Catholics.
I also want to say "thank you" for the attempt on the part of many to keep this a discussion of what the new rules are saying, and not declaring that Catholicism is evil.
I do not believe that religion is evil.
I am not a believer, but I respect religion. Still, much as I would write about a decision by the U.S. gov't, or by any other gov't that puts women on less equal footing, I don't believe that religion is sacrosanct from commentary.
Lorraine, I don't think it was unintentional that they were included in the same document, as it was intended to be inclusive. They were not the only two offenses listed in that document, and were in different sections of the document. The Vatican generally posts the original document to its own website and to Zenit prior to or coincident with any public release, whether or not news organizations choose to link it, so you can always look there for the original at either vatican.va or zenit.org.
Reuters spoke to someone at the Vatican this morning by telephone for clarification on the story. This just came over the wires:

Women priests and sex abuse not equal crimes: Vatican
Wow. An OS post that takes an aspect of the Catechism, fails to explain the Church's complex reasoning behind it, discusses it from a secular and uninformed viewpoint rooted in emotion, and culls a slew of ignorant comments from the angry masses.

I'm just shocked!
Please forgive my insensitivity today, but, why does it matter to you ladies? Are you thinking of applying to be a Catholic priest? Are you suggesting to your girlfriends that they do? Is it the best job ever? Not at all! So, don't go to the Vatican job fair, they don't hire your kind.

So, women can't be (Catholic) Priests, men can't be Nuns, a bite of a donut tastes better than its caloric equivalent in celery sticks... life isn't clean simple math. Men also can't be servers at Hooters and Women can't be quarterbacks for the NFL, how about we attack the Dallas Cowboys instead of piling on the attempts that some people bravely make for offering a possible way to reconcile this particular injustice.

Men and women are just not equal. I'm personally fine with that. I think women are more valuable in many ways, and also shouldn't have to do things like be cops, soldiers, or construction workers... too dangerous. Also, I have noticed the Pope and his Church can be jerks sometimes. Who would want them for a boss anyway?

With regard to the original post, though, the most logical and sensible comment here, as made by James Roberts above, points out that since the beginning of Church law, it has been high heresy to ordain a woman; the fresh news is that now it is considered heresy of the same type for other offenses, including clerical pedophilia, as of this recent clarification. Not to say that previously it was a no-worries free-for-all to molest kids in your parish, but that before it was only a crime against your soul, and now it's also a crime against the Church. Restructuring Catholic doctrines, offering clarifications based on current situations, that is news. Change moves at a very slow pace in Vatican City, and we should be more supportive that it's giving proper attention to new forms of injustice, even while it lets dust sit on the old ones.

I'm struck most that the general sentiment of irritation seems to be that because women are ineligible for ordination that it makes them "inferior." That's a personal interpretation that deserves a little reflection, I think. Protecting women from the servitude and sacrifices inherent in being a Priest is quite kind, in my mind... sure, there are glamorous things involved with the Priesthood, fancy robes, your own parking spot at the church, first dibs on the Holy Water... but it's not a job most women want. Not that one. Not the Catholic one. If, as a Christian woman, you feel called to the Cloth, there are lots of BETTER FOR YOU denominations to support.

And a last thought: disagreeing with something, feeling passion, outrage, smelling injustice... it all helps re-affirm your own beliefs. Apathy is a silent but deadly sin of mankind. The fact that this struck you, moved you to post, took up minutes of your day and cells of your brain... that's God working for you. Good! Argue, believe, feel, talk, react. It's WJWD.
A colleague of my husband's related a story about one of his classes at a Jesuit university. Women had recently been admitted to the institution and on the first day of class, the professor asked all the women to cross their legs. When it appeared the women had complied, the professor stated that the class could proceed "now that the gates of Hell were closed." Granted, this was probably close to 40 years ago and statements like this are rarely if ever made in public here these days. The attitude, however, remains much the same. Let us pray that the Catholic church finds a cure for its recto-cranial inversion sometime in the near future.
The hierarchy of the church is equal to corporate structure. The people at the top get all the goodies and those on the bottom are stuck explaining the mess made by the greedy ones. You could take the pope and his cardinals and bishops, dress them up in pin-stripe suits, place them on Wall Street. Before the trading day was over, they'd own the world. Oh, wait. They do.

On the other hand, there is good and bad in all of us and in organizations. It's a matter of degree. Our decision is whether we will support the pirates at the top or not.

You know: there's more of us than them.
You could just as easily say, Here is yet another case where the Church, never having bothered to learn how the World thinks, has shot herself in the ass, PR-wise. Anyone with the tiniest bit of sense could have seen how commentators would interpret this.
But church hierarchy and canon lawyers don't see it that way, Max. It's like the Supreme Court issuing a document. They don't spend time thinking about the consequences if they intend for it to be inclusive. If they'd included everything but the attempted ordination of women in this document there would have been those who'd have questioned the omission. If the document needed to be inclusive, it needed to be inclusive.
What does it matter? This is a very powerful, wealthy and political religion. They have used their money and power to influence laws all over the world and not paid a dime in taxes; laws that affect my life, my daughter’s life and my granddaughter’s life. I doubt that you were around when abortion was illegal in this country. You didn’t watch as your friends almost died from back alley abortions or returned from other countries and had to be hospitalized before they nearly bled to death. You weren’t around before The Pill came into being. Women fought hard in this country for their rights, only you missed it. You only reaped the benefits. It always amazes me how many people pretend to be good Catholics while secretly using birth control. Who do you think fought for those rights? It was women!

And, let me make it clear right here and now, I have never had an abortion nor could I, because I truly believe life begins at conception. I have never so much as driven a friend to an abortion clinic, but I have sat with them when they nearly died. I have never been raped nor abused sexually by my father, nor anyone else in my family. Yet, I was asked by my Church, the Catholic Church, to refrain from receiving communion simply because I believed abortion should be legal. Were men who have had vasectomies asked to refrain? No! Were families who use birth control asked to refrain? No! Only people who believe that abortion is healthcare were told to stay away from the alter. This is when I knew that the church I had grown up in wasn’t for me. Did they believe that by ostracizing parishioners they would step back in line? The Church became the thought police, but then I guess they always had that going for them.

You don’t think women should be cops? When and if you are ever raped, you are going to pray there is a female police officer there to help you. Construction work pays very well, why would you not think that a woman should not be allowed to drive a truck or hold a sign or measure a street to support herself and her family? I suppose you think women shouldn't be engineers. What kind of magical thinking is that?

Are you aware that once upon a time priests were allowed to marry? Why is this religion so threatened by women? What do they think is going to happen if a female says Mass? Will lightening strike? You say things move slowly at the Vatican, but they sure as hell move quickly when it comes to transferring pedophiles from parish to parish and from country to country. If you believe they aren’t practicing this any longer, please visit Togo, West Africa where they have placed a Polish priest who now molests poor African children who have no money to sue. Molesting children is a crime. I don’t care how the Church defines it. In society there are laws against it, and the Church ignores those laws to this day.

You basically say if you are a Christian woman and called to the cloth, go someplace else. I noticed you didn’t use the term “Catholic woman,” because there is no option for Catholic women who are called to the cloth. They are forced to leave their religion if they are so called. Again, the Church ostracizes women. If they do not play a subservient role, they have no role at all.
There was no urgency to reiterate the ban on women priests. It had been in effect since 2007. In combining it in the same document as the updated rules on child abusers, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith probably thought it was being efficient. (As I've written elsewhere, a lot of overdue work tends to get flushed out of the pipeline in a hurry right before the pope heads to Castel Gandolfo for the summer.) Still, in this instance, it would have done better to choose sensitivity over efficiency.
"How dare these old men claim that the ordination of women is the equivalent of raping a child?"

They aren't.

For example, let's say that you belong to a private club, and the club's bylaws state that you can be expelled for not paying your dues or for murdering someone. Does that mean that not paying dues is "the equivalent of" murder? Of course not. Come on, you're a smart lady and you know that.

Also, there's not much that the Catholic Church can do in the way of discipline. One of the few things they can do is excommunication. What excommunication means is not that the person is "kicked out" but that the person has chosen to separate him- or herself from the church. There are lots of things for which a person can be excommunicated, but it doesn't mean they are all "equivalent."
MAWB, yes, I realize I am fortunate to have been born mostly exempt from that. I understand the struggles of those before me, and am grateful for their toil.

Women, as you have shown, are thinkers, feelers, questioners of authority, strong of will, brilliant and valuable contributors to the fabric of society. And, your supposition is quite inaccurate; I think women would actually make the best engineers.

Again, I feel the incongruence is that many appear to believe that denying women the "honor" of being one thing or another means that there is oppression and misogyny; where I can't see that. Well, I can technically deduce how someone arrives at the opinion, but I don't believe it's completely true, and beg that it be reviewed under different light. I just don't understand why women are so quick to take offense to being called out as "different" than men. We are.
Let's remember, Mishima, that the Church uses excommunication as a last resort -- typically after months or years of fraternal correction. Canon law may divide abusing children and ordaining women may fall into separate subcategories, but as of now, both belong that that very short list of offenses for which excommunication is automatic, and for which offenders can gain absolution only through the Apostolic Penitentiary, in Rome.

However, Blase Cupich, bishop of Spokane, recently said something that helped me see the glass as half full. He pointed out that canon law has always recognized the gravity of offenses against the Sacraments. As I'm sure you know, if any priest violates the seal of the confessional, or if anyone at all desecrates the Host, his ass is going down. Like it or not, ordaining women consitutes one of those sacramental violations. The fact that the CDF is willing to treat child abuse with the same severity shows it gets it.
I do not doubt that we are different from men... I totally agree with that! I like to think we are better! I was told once only after you have spent time on this earth and learned many hard earned lessons, God allows you to return as a woman!
Did you know that under the rules of the National League that I can't be a designated hitter? That's bigoted and shameful that my talents should be so limited. How dare they pass rules that I feel are unfair!

The Catholic church will also not allow me to become a Nun and they won't even let me play the virgin Mary in the Christmas play. If I were you I wouldn't become a Catholic they can't force you not any more.

Maybe a nice Muslim where you could become your husbands property or an Orthodox Jew where you would be considered unclean
Maybe Druidism is for you because in Druidism only women can become Prietesses but that really not fair to men now is it?
I think some of your commenters are some of the greatest minds of the 12th Century. Ditto the church hierarchy ['church' not capitalized on purpose].
raving - " just don't understand why women are so quick to take offense to being called out as "different" than men. "

I don't think women (and men here) are taking offense at being called out as different - but, rather, as being refused a role, the priesthood, that does not have anything to do with gender. Even more narrowly, the outrage here is having the ordination of women equated with child rape.

And the argument that women are being spared the onerous job of priesthood does not fly - that even used to be an argument for not giving women the vote! Nobody would be forcing women to take up the onerous job - but what the situation is, is they aren't given the choice. The choice has been made for them.

Mishima points out that being expelled from the club for different crimes doesn't mean equating those crimes. Well, maybe not, but as Max has pointed out, the church made it very difficult not to see it that way. Even the NYT headlines the story that way.
Myriad's got a good point. There's no obvious, commonsensical way in which women are unqualified to be priests. Humping an anti-tank weapon takes a guyish amount of upper-body strength; elevating the Host does not. No, the Church bases her refusal to recognize women's vocation for the priesthood on a very precise conception of femininity -- a conception that many women, understandably (to me, anyway), find very limiting.

The critics of the critics, who say things like, "If you don't like it, just leave the Church," should consider Catholic ecclesiology. To Catholics, even Catholics who dissent on certain doctrines and disciplines, the Church is the Body of Christ, the People of God. Unless you really stop believing in God, separating yourself from that is an agonizing experience. Staying on board and grinding your teeth as the Magisterium makes crazy-sounding proclamations is agonizing in its own right, but less so. I think those who do so "ad maiora mala vitanda," or "as the lesser evil," deserve some empathy.
Hi Lorraine
I so wanted to respond to so many who commented here. But my comment was long enough already, and I am uncomfortable engaging so much on someone else's post.

Plus you are an excellent emcee (web valet? facilitator? co-respondent?). And unlike many religious posts this one actually has a lot of interesting spinoffs. You attracted thinkers, for the most part.

I like Vasu Murti's comment, and recommend Bart Ehrman and Dr. Robbert Price for anyone who wants deep and wide biblical scholarship. Those two guys prove one can be compassionate and rigorous about the inconsistencies in the ancient wisdom books. And they are literally indisputable. In decades of debates and dozens of books the only way theologians and believers can counter their careful exegesis is to resort to blind faith.

And they prove: it matters that these books were made up, after the fact, are full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies. The premise of Christian belief is ultimately on those books, whatever transient states of grace and spiritual feelings one attaches to the ritual.

Theology is whole cloth fabrication, and nothing like real science. It matters not how ornate the constructs, or well-choreographed the pin-head dancing, the premises are invented. It's a waste of intellect to parse the fictitious trinity.

And a tremendous insult to seculars to attack the hard work of our ordinary morality. To say, much less enforce with deism-distorted secular law, that one cannot be ethical or decent without the supernatural. ALL morality is ordinary. We tend toward co-operation, are rewarded by compassion, naturally. Murder is the exception, cruelty notable by its rarity.

Unless, of course, when religion and its evil twin, statism, undermine judgment and discretion by elevating Authority at the expense of reason.

Owl: you made me look! Actually it's more complex than I asserted. Generally it's true, but there are reasons to hope. See this: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CDMQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Freligions.pewforum.org%2Fpdf%2Freport2-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf&ei=6dNATKncDsOB8ga8nPXeDw&usg=AFQjCNFhmzcvLx5g78IqkyicLnT6HOi_gQ&sig2=6oLy1K3jNvsg-YPyHotESw

and this

http://www.gallup.com/poll/21811/american-beliefs-evolution-vs-bibles-explanation-human-origins.aspx

and this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States#Belief_in_God

Denese, you and I have wrestled with this before. I must encourage you to see this in the round. I am no simplistic stereotype, who was a Hater of non-believers. Quite the opposite: I was raised in both a fundamentalist (Dad's) AND liberal Christian church (Mom's). I did the 60's eastern Yoga/Buddhist thin, then converted enthusiastically to Judaism. I am now an atheist.

I raise specific complaints about Catholicism and Christianity here, and can offer just as many on Judaism, and the Torah that is the foundation document. You choose faith. Pray continue on that path. But in the marketplace of ideas, here, we can examine. Yes, we can. And the Judeo-Christian belief system suffers when examined. It is, viewed objectively, a superstitious and cruel belief that punishes for eternity, and demands endless worship of an imaginary being. You are an intelligent and kind and small "l" liberal, but your kind of faith is not normative anymore.

You selectively believe. I look at the whole thing, and thank goodness for the secular society that protects my right to report the findings. You err when you confuse respect for you personally with respect for sanctified belief. Not believing means not finding merit in sanctity.
Greg,

I encourage you to criticize any organization, including organized religion, that you choose for the actions of their leaders. Please do, particularly if they are immoral and hiding behind the "sanctity" of a belief system. And you have the right to tell me you believe that all religions are superstitious and constitute "magical thinking." That's your right. But please do not label me by the actions of others, particularly when I tell you what I believe in and *what I do.* You have an excuse for that sort of thinking when you don't know or hear form the target of your prejudices (me). Here I am telling you what I think. So, unless you think I'm lying, I believe I deserve the respect that goes with accepting what I say. I tell the truth.

I can't imagine a person telling a Jew or Muslim that *agreed* with them on a certain issue that was at odds with their religion that they should leave that religion in order to be deemed (somehow) worthy (of the big L or the big OS, maybe).

How do you know if my liberalism is a small or large "L"? You underestimate me and all others that belong to "groups" that you have stereotyped.

It occurs to me that maybe I'm just putting too much stock in what you think.
"But please do not label me by the actions of others, particularly when I tell you what I believe in and *what I do.* "

Denese, I have re-read both of my comments and I don't see how I did this with any of my comments.

"Here I am telling you what I think. So, unless you think I'm lying, I believe I deserve the respect that goes with accepting what I say. I tell the truth."

Again, I don't say you are not telling the truth, the Truth, your version of the truth, or anything like that.

"I can't imagine a person telling a Jew or Muslim that *agreed* with them on a certain issue that was at odds with their religion that they should leave that religion in order to be deemed (somehow) worthy (of the big L or the big OS, maybe). "

At no point do I tell you or anyone else to leave their religion. I very carefully contain my comments to what I think is wrong with belief generally and the specific problems with Catholicism, given the contents of the post.

--"How do you know if my liberalism is a small or large "L"? You underestimate me and all others that belong to "groups" that you have stereotyped. "

It's an expression: small "l" liberalism refers to the Age of Enlightenment/Age of Reason precepts that inspired the founding fathers (Descartes, Voltaire, Spinoza, Paine, etc). My comment was meant to indicate that you are part of a tradition I admire, the moderate Christian POV that does not think the bible is literally true. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I meant no disrespect; quite the opposite.

--"It occurs to me that maybe I'm just putting too much stock in what you think."

I completely agree. Don't put stock, faith, or trust in my authority or anyone's else's. Deliberate with me on the specifics and the merits of the case I make, and I will do the same with you.

I will read with interest any response, but I will not engage again. I don't like online fights. I like energetic intelligent debate. If you see my remarks as purely personal we are missing each other on a basic level.
I'm sorry I disappeared today. My dog was incredibly sick, and I've returned from hours at Cornell's vet ER. The dog will live, but she is ill.

I am not going to respond to comments that have attacked my character or my knowledge Church history. True, I'm not an expert, as Max is about Canon Law, but neither am I ignorant. Anyone want to discuss the Fourth Lateran Council? Want to know when transubstantiation became part of the Church's belief? When marriage became a sacrament? I know. Do those who attack me?

I would ask, AGAIN, for people to not attack one another. I have friends who have written to say they are feeling hurt by what's going on. Please, for the love of us all, stop it.

I'm too exhausted to comment any further. Good night.
You're very generous, Lorraine, but the truth is, your dog more of an expert in canon law than I am. Sleep well.
I shake my head and wonder at this butchered view of what is important...
Let's face it..Humans invented the foolishness of religions of all sorts to officially add some cultural legitimacy to nonsense,prejudice, ignorance, racism, gender disparity, reasons to commit genocide, murder, torture and any number of other crimes against all of us. The morons who declare the earth is 6000 years old are ludicrous enough but this recent decision points a bony finger at these old perverts and for that matter of pretty much any of the religions that separate each of us from our gender equals, from one skin colour from another, from one culture from another and so on. It is sickening. One wonders when society will say, Enough of this bull! First of all, take away their tax free status as sure as hell they are more than profitable. Require all children to get a secular education and if mommy and daddy insist of religious training, they can get it after school on their own dime. It is time to get real about where this superstition is taking the human race and that is to a kind of miasma and chaos of ignorance slowing the possibility of human societal evolution. We are in many ways worse off that we were forty years ago with the rise of fundamentalist religions on all fronts, be they Western or otherwise. Fie on all their dogma.
Yarn Over sent me the following news story. I'm quoting it in its entirety because it seems to encapsulate our argument. The Church denies it meant to imply that the two crimes were the same. Its critics point out that this is a PR disaster, and that it's insensitive.
Thanks YO.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican on Friday denied accusations that it viewed the ordination of women as priests and the sexual abuse of minors by clerics as equally criminal.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued a document making sweeping revisions to its laws on sexual abuse, extending the period in which charges can be filed against priests in church courts and broadening the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.

But while it dealt mostly with pedophilia, it also codified the "attempted ordination of a woman" to the priesthood as one of the most serious crimes against Church law.

The inclusion of both issues in the same document caused a stir among some groups around the world, particularly those favoring a female priesthood.

"The Vatican's decision to list women's ordination in the same category as pedophiles and rapists is appalling ...," Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference said. She called the decision "mediaeval at best".

But Monsignor Charles Scicluna, an official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women's ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon (Church) law.

"This is not putting everything into one basket," Scicluna, the Vatican's internal prosecutor for handling sexual abuse cases, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"They are in the same document but this does not put them on the same level or assign them the same gravity," said Scicluna, who helped formulate the revisions.

The document was an attempt to update norms concerning "three sets of canonical crimes that are distinct," and whose jurisdiction is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal department, he said.

CRIME AGAINST MORALITY

While sexual abuse was a "crime against morality," the attempt to ordain a woman was a "crime against a sacrament," he said, referring to Holy Orders (the priesthood). The revisions also updated crimes against the faith such as heresy.

"This should not be interpreted as considering all these crimes to be equal," he said. "They are crimes of a different nature".

The Catholic Church teaches that it cannot ordain women as priests because Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood reject this, saying he was only acting according to the norms of his times.

Some dissenters saw the placing of the two in one document as an attempt by the Vatican to respond to criticism by those who say the cause of at least some sexual abuse can be found in the Church's insistence on a male, celibate priesthood.

"Sexuality is so denied in our Church," said Christian Weisner, a spokesman for the "We Are Church" liberal Catholic reform movement. "The Roman Catholic Church has to revise its sexual teachings because I think that this is the root of pedophile crime," Weisner told Reuters.

Jon O'Brien, president of the U.S.-based group Catholics for Choice, said the Vatican "feels threatened" by a growing movement in the Church that is in favor of a female priesthood.

O'Brien, whose group favors a female priesthood, said that while he understood the technical distinction of different types of Church crimes, putting the two together was another example of what he called bungled communications.

"If there is an opportunity for authorities in the Vatican to shoot themselves in the foot, they do so in both feet," O'Brien told Reuters. (Editing by Philippa Fletcher)
I think that's exactly the same Reuters news story that I posted a few comments above, Lorraine, not long after it crossed the wires yesterday. See link in my comment above.
PR is not the Vatican's strong suit. LOL.
If we understood the irrational fear and entitlement most males have of and over the female - and not just by the highest institutional forms - several thousand years of barbaric misogynistic violence would be explained and, perhaps, another several thousand averted. (Along with about 90% of the world's problems.) Too bad it isn't as simple as saying, "Guys, talk amongst yourselves, then work out your ridiculously uncivilized issues, also amongst yourselves. Come get us when you're there."
Not altogether true, Lainey. No institution on earth appreciates the import of a small gesture more than the Roman Catholic Church. (If you don't believe me, sit in sometime when people are debating the ordinary versus extraordinary forms of the Mass, and be sure to wear kevlar.) Frequently, this savvy does translate into effective goodwill gestures. When John Paul II wanted to mend fences with other faiths, he did more than simply issue documents written in windy Churchese; he stuck a note in the Wailing Wall and prayed in the Ummayad mosque. In both cases, people loved him for it.

If there's any force working to de-sensitize the people in charge, it's the Church's ambivalent relationship with the World. In Catholic jargon, she's supposed to serve as a sign of contradiction -- that is, simply by being holy, she's supposed to piss people off. If too many non-Catholics approve of her actions, obviously something's wrong.

I would submit that the concern to keep the Church as Churchy and un-Wordly as possible holds special power in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This is the body charged with defining Church teachings, and not infrequently, with punishing scholars whose own writings stray too far out of line. It might not go out of its way to excite controversy, but neither would it work too hard to avoid it. Someone might take that as pandering.
May her convictions and faith keep her strong, and an artful touch to tapestry be blessed with heart and soul.
Having once been Catholic, I do understand where Patricia is coming from. I can see that the sexes are complimentary in a sense. However, that is about as far as I can go with it. It is my humble opinion that the enforcement of rigid gender roles in the church has led to more of a "separate but equal" kind of situation in the church that has not generally been helpful to women. Not to be disrespectful, but "barefoot and pregnant" comes to mind. And women seem to have little power in the church. Additionally, I think of instances in which the priests were historically treated like princes and the nuns didn't get the nice living quarters or the best food. I think there are many examples of this throughout the history of the church. The men were elevated; the women were downtrodden. Power corrupts.

It is interesting to see that often one person's orthodoxy is another's heresy. I try to see both sides. Patricia has been a member of the church from Day One. Perhaps she could step out of her paradigm to understand where others are coming from on this.
simple. get them where it hurts. I'm sure they wouldnt want any woman's dirty old money!