IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN NEED OF REFORM?

Pope Benedict XVI spoke out recently against exploitation, discrimination and violence waged against the world’s women. He noted that women are discriminated against or undervalued in some places and cultures “just for the fact that they are women.”

Surely it is difficult to plumb the depth of irony in these papal sentiments. Anyone watching a Vatican gathering must first notice that all the participants are septuagarian celibate males. Is there another locale in the world where discrimination against women is more visible than at the Vatican?

With (refutable) claims that the ban against female ordination and leadership in the church is rooted in biology, scripture and tradition, Rome keeps women on the margins simply because they are women.

Pope Benedict’s noncompliance with his own directives must surely show the rest of the world that his words need not be taken at face value.

Do you agree that the leaderships of the Catholic church discriminates against women?

Is there anyone out there who can name a single woman who is in a leadership position in Rome? (There is nothing that I know that would prevent a woman becoming Pope.)

Do you think Catholic women will be licitly ordained priests in your life time?

28 Comments »

  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    You’re comparing being stoned to death with refusal to ordain?

    Oh yeah, Catholic women are sooooooo oppressed. Wah.

    The best predictor of future results is past results. Has the Church ever budged on issues such as remarriage after divorce, homosexuality, abortion, etc? No. So what does that predict? The Church isn’t going to budge on male-only ordination.

    The Church believes that male-only ordination is revealed by God. When the Church believes that, it doesn’t budge.

    If people are so convinced that the Church is not infallible and does not witness to Divine Revelation, why do they persist in remaining members? If people a group believes that a particular tenet is divinely revealed, they’re not going to change.

    Not only will female ordination not happen in my lifetime, it will never happen. Just like the Church has never renounced a doctrine it has solemnly proclaimed.

  2. 2
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “You’re comparing being stoned to death with refusal to ordain?”

    That’s not how I read it… he’s just pointing out (again) how COMPLETELY hypocritical the pope is being!! Nothing new with catholics – I know.

    How can you make the statement: ‘women are discriminated against or undervalued in some places and cultures just for the fact that they are women.’ when your own org holds women back just because they’re women!!

    There is no denying that the RCC holds women back – god told them to they say. Well – fine then…. but could you at least refrain from denouncing others for doing what you claim god has told you to do??!!

    “If people are so convinced that the Church is not infallible and does not witness to Divine Revelation, why do they persist in remaining members?”

    I’m not a member… but I think people remain catholic because it’s simply a ‘x’ marked beside catholic on certain forms and nothing more to them. Some friends are catholic so they might aswell be catholic too. They don’t have to go to church, confess sins or forgive their enemies – they’ll still get communion if they ever show up at church.

    In short – are there any REAL catholics left anyway??

  3. 3
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all! All three Religions of The Book – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – blame Eve for the downfall of Man. Ever since, women have always been suppressed and oppressed, with a ready-made, God-ordained excuse. Excuse. Not reason, not something that makes sense, not something that impels a reasonable accession to logic, EXCUSE. God said so.
    Exactly WHERE does it say that this must be so? Where exactly IS the chapter and verse? In which commandment? In which book? In whose opinion, and by what standard of measurement?
    Man will not really mature as a species, until the treehouse is open to the other gender. Who is to say that a female Pope might not do a better job of leading her people to acts of faith, of hope and of charity?
    Perhaps — that may be what they have feared all along — that a woman may show them how to do it right. CTZen.

  4. 4
    SUZANNE Says:

    Actually, Catholicism blames Adam.

    Where does it say? From the fact that Paul would not allow women to teach the Assembley. Plus, it was accepted from Divine Tradition, which is equivalent to Written tradition. The fact that the Church always understood men to be the only recipients of ordination and that it was revealed by God means it was revealed by God. That is the way it works in Catholicism.

    Who is to say that a female Pope might not do a better job of leading her people to acts of faith, of hope and of charity?

    Could be. But that’s not the job God gave to womenkind.

    Perhaps — that may be what they have feared all along — that a woman may show them how to do it right.

    I have no doubt a woman could do it better. But that’s not the role God wants for women.

  5. 5
    SUZANNE Says:

    That’s not how I read it… he’s just pointing out (again) how COMPLETELY hypocritical the pope is being!! Nothing new with catholics – I know.

    It’s only hypocritical if the Church believes refusing ordination is some kind of injustice. She does not.

    How can you make the statement: ‘women are discriminated against or undervalued in some places and cultures just for the fact that they are women.’ when your own org holds women back just because they’re women!!

    Women are entitled to respect, to not be assaulted, to have their accomplishments be respected, etc.

    They are not entitled to be priests.

    There is no denying that the RCC holds women back – god told them to they say. Well – fine then…. but could you at least refrain from denouncing others for doing what you claim god has told you to do??!!

    Catholics, in general, don’t stone women. Don’t refuse women education. Don’t kill fetuses for being women. Don’t think wife-beating is okay.

    They don’t have to go to church, confess sins or forgive their enemies – they’ll still get communion if they ever show up at church.

    And that’s something I believe that should be stopped. There should be a higher requirement to being Catholic than simply being baptized.

    Generally, we uphold what we believe to be true.

    We do not think it’s true that women are entitled to ordination. Personal security is a right. Ordination is not.

    In short – are there any REAL catholics left anyway??

    There are. But with some notable exceptions, they’re ignored by the Church elite. It’s true.

  6. 6
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil asks: “Is there anyone out there who can name a single woman who is in a leadership position in Rome?”

    Mary, mother of Christ?

    I mean, haven’t Catholics been praying to her for guidance for, what, two millenia now?

  7. 7
    Chimera Says:

    Well, we’re back to this, are we? And on an interesting side note, the numbers of Catholics in the world has just been surpassed by the numbers of Muslims — the new kid on the religious block — and another fine example of gynocide in motion.

    If this god of yours is so determined to keep women from becoming priests, Suzanne, why does he allow them to live and spread what you are pleased to call their heresy?

    Women have been ordained already. They serve their communities as priests. They are not only being accepted, but supported by their parishoners. They conduct mass, baptisms, funerals, weddings, hear confessions, administer the sacraments…everything a male priest does. And they advise women about sex and marriage and their responsibilities as women. They do better at that than the men do, because, well, the women priests know what they’re talking about.

    The time of the old-school church is gone. The new church has been born, and will grow. It will probably be a woman pope who eventually conducts the Last Rites of an organization that is already dead, but simply doesn’t have the sense to lie down.

  8. 8
    Jim Says:

    Now picture this.
    Jesus, the Pope and the Virgin Mary are hanging about one day having a little chat. There is a moment of silence and then Mary says to her Son “you and the other kids are all grown up now and I feel a need to help others and after having giving it some serious thought for quite a while I’ve decided I would like to become a priest”. Now, it is well known that Jesus had never refused his Mother on anything. “Sure Mom, go for it. The Pope here will get things rolling for you” What do you think the Pope said?

  9. 9
    Joe Agnost Says:

    ” What do you think the Pope said?”

    Nothing… he was at the bar asking Santa Claus to pour him a beer while the tooth fairy got him some pretzels. 🙂

  10. 10
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    As a Roman Catholic I believe in the infallibility of the Pope on faith and morals. I am not sure that all Popes believe in it including our present Pope. Scripture teaches that “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”.

    This is not a black and white issue or dualistic one, it is paradoxical and creates tension. The Church prefers to make it dualistic and chooses the binding part and that is why there are no women priests. The Church has to make laws and choose both binding and loosing. Only then will it make just moral laws on birth control, homosexuality and Women Priests.

  11. 11
    SUZANNE Says:

    Peter: if the Church says: God revealed this, it’s not going to go back on that.

    Just look at the history folks: Has the Church ever gone back on a doctrine solemnly proclaimed? No.

    Chimera:

    If this god of yours is so determined to keep women from becoming priests, Suzanne, why does he allow them to live and spread what you are pleased to call their heresy?

    God gives everyone free will. So?

    Once the Church decides that something is divinely revealed, she doesn’t go back.

  12. 12
    Chimera Says:

    “God gives everyone free will. So?”

    If that’s true, then it applies to everyone, including those old men who run the church rules committee. They have the ability to change their minds and ordain women from the Vatican instead of leaving it up to “renegade” bishops in the field. They’re just refusing to do it. They’re refusing to listen to the people who want the church to change with the times.

    Why should anyone continue to listen to them?

  13. 13

    At least he said something. If he remained silent on such issues everyone would be on his hat. Nothing is perfect. Every institution is wrought with inner-contradictions. Heck, I will bet my life -right here and now – all of us have committed hypocritical acts.

    Catholic theology is waaaayyyy deeper than depicted sometimes.

  14. 14
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Suzanne, prior to the Council on Nicea 325 a.d., the Church looked different than it does today. At the last supper Jesus mandated his Disciples to break bread and “do this in memory of me”, not only His Apostles. There were many women among His Disciples. We also know that for many years Priests were alowed to marry. There were also women Deacons, not allowed today.

    The Church has the power to bind and loose on “Whatever”

  15. 15
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    “We HAVE always done it this way. We MUST always do it this way.” Oh, really? In that case, why does the Church no longer burn heretics at the stake, in public? The auto-da-fe was a tradition, wasn’t it? And slavery? When exactly did the Church, in its wisdom, finally decide that slavery was no longer acceptable?
    Father Andrew Greeley put it most succinctly: “In any Irishman’s life, there are four sacred women – his mother, his sister, his wife and his daughter. You might as well ordain them, you won’t be giving them any more power or influence than they already have.”
    The Church fears women, plain and simple. The Benedictine Order portrays the devil as a woman. Did Jesus treat the women of his day, with the disdain and contempt that has pervaded the Church for so very long?
    If the Church has been the best that Christianity had to offer, why was there a Great Schism between Rome and Byzantium? Why did there have to be a Reformation? We know why Henry VIII founded the Church of England.
    All this time, the Church has exploited the energies of women, without any regard for their abilities to contribute to the administration of the Church. The Church has never forgiven Eve. Maybe, it’s about time Holy Mother Church forgave the Mother of All Mankind. Perhaps the Mother of God might put in a word, up there, hmmm? CTZEn

  16. 16
    Barbara Says:

    Cornelius T. Zen, where did you acquire the notion that

    “The Benedictine Order portrays the devil as a woman.”

    I have been in many Benedictine churches in North America, Europe and Asia, known many Benedictine monks and never once did I get that impression. It certainly cannot be found in the Rule which they follow.

  17. 17
    SUZANNE Says:

    Cornelius. The Church can and does change all kinds of things.

    The Church does not go back on doctrine she believes to be part of the Deposit of Faith.

    The burning of heretics is not a Catholic Doctrine. It was a punishment that was widely accepted at the time as an appropriate punishment for threatening the social order.

    A belief or practice that is widely accepted by Catholics or the Church does not make it a Catholic doctrine.

    Slavery was commonly practiced, but it was not a doctrine. For a belief to be a doctrine, it must be preached and assumed to be so since the beginning.

    Divisions happen in the Church. That says nothing of the truth of what is preached. It says more about human nature.

    Peter: As someone who studies Church History, I know the Church was somewhat different, but not as radically different as some make it out to be. If Jesus had intended for women to be ordained, he would have ordained them. He did not. Among the 12 apostles, there were no women. There were no women bishops. There were no women priests. If Jesus had wanted that, he could have easily done it. He didn’t. He did not see that as the women’s role.

    Women deacons were not considered ordained clergy. They were lay helpers, like we have at Mass today. Among the tasks of women deaconnesses was to assist women during baptisms.

    Priests were allowed to marry. But that is a discipline. Not a doctrine. That could change. I doubt it will.

    The Church has the power to bind and loose. But she does not have the power to change Divine Revelation. The Church is not going to change the fact that Jesus literally rose from the dead. Binding and loosing are protected by the Holy Spirit– that is, the Church will not bind or loose the faithful to a doctrine that is untrue. That is the doctrine of infallibility.

  18. 18
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “The Church has the power to bind and loose. But she does not have the power to change Divine Revelation.”

    Of course it does!!

    Look – the bottom line is that church made everything up anyway, why can’t it change things when it wants?? Who will stop them?

    “The Church is not going to change the fact that Jesus literally rose from the dead.”

    Other than the FACT that jesus couldn’t possibly rise from the dead you mean…

    This is another one of their impossible stories to believe… perhaps 1800 years ago it was believable, but today? We know how lightening works, we’ve landed on the moon, we can analize DNA!! There’s nothing divine about lying…

    The church could easily get with the times if it wanted… but progress isn’t interesting enough for them.

    “Binding and loosing are protected by the Holy Spirit– that is, the Church will not bind or loose the faithful to a doctrine that is untrue.”

    But “truth” can’t possibly be of interest to the church!! Haven’t you heard some of their stories??

  19. 19
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Suzanne: Jesus did not “ordain” anybody. He had no time to do so. There was no established protocol for ordination. He sent the boys out, “as sheep among wolves.” No purse, no pack, no cloak. It was, at the time, rather informal. There were no popes, bishops, priests, monseigneurs, deacons, whathaveyou. Nobody dressed in anything but their workadays.
    He also told them, in effect, should anyone not accept the Gospel, the “God-spell”, the Good News, to “go to the edge of that village, shake the dust of the village from your sandals, and move on.”
    Proselytize? Knock yourself out. Force it down anyone’s throat? Fuhgeddaboutit. Crusades, Inquisition, Showa notwithstanding, “let he who has ears, hear.”
    Christianity was His invention. The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church was somebody else’s, arrived at by liturgical committee and political compromise. Doctrine? “Love ye one another as I have loved you.” All else is commentary. CTZen.

  20. 20
    SUZANNE Says:

    Jesus had no time to “ordain” anyone? LOL.

    Sure there was an established protocol for ordination. He ordained the apostles after the Resurrection. He breathed on them and said to them that those sins that they retain, will be retained. I.e. he was giving them the power to forgive sins. Which only God can do.

    There were no popes, bishops, priests, monseigneurs, deacons, whathaveyou. Nobody dressed in anything but their workadays.

    Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, i.e. the rock. Because as the rock, he had a special role to play, i.e. as the leader of the church. There were 12 apostles, as the Gospels underscore, and they appointed “overseers”. That’s the basis of the priesthood. Deacons are established in Acts. The hierarchy roughly parallels the hierarchy known in diaspora synagogues.

    You have to distort the history of Christianity to advance the idea that the Catholic church is not substantially one and the same as the early church. The papacy did not just spring up sui generis. Neither did the episcopacy. Neither did the eucharist or other sacraments. There were no “freelancers” in the age of the apostles. The community in Acts and the Epistles was very much one run on authority and central leadership.

  21. 21
    SUZANNE Says:

    Joe

    Your understanding of history and the nature of people in the 1st century is very naive. Just because people did not understand rudimentary laws of nature doesn’t mean they were devoid of critical thinking. This is the age where philosophers like Aristotle were regularly studied.

    But “truth” can’t possibly be of interest to the church!! Haven’t you heard some of their stories??

    If you’re just going to assume that everything that Catholic clergy does is motivated by hate, i.e. be prejudiced, there’s no point in talking to you.

  22. 22
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Just because people did not understand rudimentary laws of nature doesn’t mean they were devoid of critical thinking.”

    If they managed to get people to believe:

    – JC raised up days after dying
    – JC turned water into wine without a still
    – JC walked on water
    – Noah built an arc and saved the animals from a worldwide flood

    and on and on… then I’d say there was VERY LITTLE critical thinking going on.

    I mean really – it’s the very definition of insanity to believe this stuff!

  23. 23
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Suzanne: “Sure there was an established protocol for ordination. He ordained the apostles after the Resurrection. He breathed on them and said to them that those sins that they retain, will be retained. I.e. he was giving them the power to forgive sins. Which only God can do.”
    Jesus breathed on these men, and they immediately acquired the knowledge and judgment required to infallibly know who to forgive and who to condemn. Right. No seminary, no studying of learned writings, no mentorship, no experience to draw on. Just Do It. Always wondered where that came from.
    “You have to distort the history of Christianity to advance the idea that the Catholic church is not substantially one and the same as the early church. The papacy did not just spring up sui generis. Neither did the episcopacy. Neither did the eucharist or other sacraments. There were no “freelancers” in the age of the apostles. The community in Acts and the Epistles was very much one run on authority and central leadership”
    Right. The Curia had always been there. The Pope has always been infallible. Priests have always had to be celibate. Oh, and by the way, Peter and Paul were always such great pals, drinking buddies, frat brothers, even. The Church has always been so perfect that such things as The Great Schism, when Rome declared Byzantium anathema, never happened (because Byzantium drew its tradition on the legacy of James the Just, who had held down the fort in Jerusalem, while Peter went off to Rome, and got crucified upside down for his troubles. You do remember Jerusalem, don’t you, where it all was supposed to have begun? ) And those Crusades? Just a minor misunderstanding, really. A few Orthodox, a few Muslims, some collateral damage among the Jews.
    And that silly Reformation thing. So the Catholics sold a few indulgences, so the Pope could go to war. Come on, didn’t Jesus say it was cool? Unless you count that incident at the Temple, “My Father’s house is a house of prayer. You have made it a den of thieves.”
    The fact is, Suzanne, today’s Christianity does in no wise even vaguely resemble the early Church. For one thing, the early Church was underground for the most part, a secret society, heretically setting out to recast the world In His Image. Jesus told his people, “They will hate you, they will persecute you, they will put you to death. Forgive them, without limit, without condition, without compromise.”
    Today’s Church IS the Establishment. It is very much of this world. The entire premise and practice is control, not redemption. The Church itself demands the worship that is His alone to receive. It claims to be The Voice Of God. It is not. One of the ancient prophets of Judaism heard the Voice of God, not in the thunder, not in the earhquake, not in the tempest, but in the gentle breeze, the one that says, “You are all my children. There is no us and them. There is only us. Let there be peace.” That is the Voice I hear. CTZen.

  24. 24
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    suzanne, He has given women the power to forgive sins as well. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”

  25. 25
    SUZANNE Says:

    Jesus breathed on these men, and they immediately acquired the knowledge and judgment required to infallibly know who to forgive and who to condemn. Right.

    The issue is not infallibility (which is something else). Jesus didn’t say that they would know infallibly: only that they would be retained or forgiven as they judged necessary.

    Right. The Curia had always been there. The Pope has always been infallible. Priests have always had to be celibate. Oh, and by the way, Peter and Paul were always such great pals, drinking buddies, frat brothers, even. The Church has always been so perfect that such things as The Great Schism, when Rome declared Byzantium anathema, never happened (because Byzantium drew its tradition on the legacy of James the Just, who had held down the fort in Jerusalem, while Peter went off to Rome, and got crucified upside down for his troubles. You do remember Jerusalem, don’t you, where it all was supposed to have begun? ) And those Crusades? Just a minor misunderstanding, really. A few Orthodox, a few Muslims, some collateral damage among the Jews.

    Perfection is not the issue. The issue is the beginning of the Church. Again, you are mixing up subjects: the structure of the church, doctrinal issues and non-doctrinal issues. I will say it again: the papacy, the episcopacy and the priesthood did not spring sui generis, and that the early church is, in substance, the same church as the Catholic Church.

    The fact is, Suzanne, today’s Christianity does in no wise even vaguely resemble the early Church. For one thing, the early Church was underground for the most part, a secret society, heretically setting out to recast the world In His Image.

    Sociologically. But structurally, it was very much one with central leadership, with apostles and overseers, presbyters and deacons.

    It wasn’t completely underground, as it spread beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire and didn’t have to be underground everywhere.

    Today’s Church IS the Establishment. It is very much of this world.

    No. If anything, the Church is an extremely politically incorrect institution. It constantly flouts conventional wisdom and is somewhat marginalized in the west.

    The Church itself demands the worship that is His alone to receive. It claims to be The Voice Of God.

    St. Paul said it: the Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth.

    One of the ancient prophets of Judaism heard the Voice of God, not in the thunder, not in the earhquake, not in the tempest, but in the gentle breeze, the one that says, “You are all my children. There is no us and them. There is only us. Let there be peace.” That is the Voice I hear. CTZen.

    God manifests himself in a number of ways. When Jesus was baptized, the crowd could hear the voice of God say “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased”. Jesus himself said that the world would be divided between those who would believe in him, and those who would fight against him.

  26. 26
    Deborah Says:

    Suzanne-
    I suggest you read “What Jesus Meant” by Garry Wills, chapter 5, Heaven’s Reign, which summarizes what any New Testament theology masters divinity course will teach:
    To paraphrase:
    “Paul writes not to a leader of a community but to a gathering in which there are no priests. These groups are not led by “apostles” That word means someone “sent off” – Paul equates apostle with being an ambassador. The idea that there has been an “apostolic succession” did not arise for several centuries, at which time Peter and others were retrospectively called bishops of Rome. (can you name pope #2?) Even so, there has not been an unbroken chain of popes. There were two and three claimants at times, each excommunicating the other. There has not been a lineage guaranteed by papal elections but, at times, bribery and intimidation were the deciding factors. Popes were appointed by temporal rulers and popes were heretical (Liberius, Honorius) they waged wars, ran governments etc.

    Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew gives Peter the keys but in the same gospel gives the power not to Peter exclusively but to the folowers as a body (Mt 18;18).

    I might also point out that the Church for 1,900 plus years did not condem slavery and it also said usery was a sin.

    All you have to do is read scripture and know your history!

  27. 27
    George Z Says:

    Reform! Too gentle….more like a controlled burn in forestry, destruction before new growth!

  28. […] be oppressed by the Catholic Church. And perhaps it’s very obvious why this is the case. Pope Benedict XVI spoke out recently against exploitation, discrimination and violence waged against the world’s women. He noted that women are […]


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