Thursday, August 1, 2013
Are religious women still second-class?
http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2013/aug/01/britt-towery-are-religious-women-still-second/ BRITT TOWERY: Are religious women still second-class? By Britt Towery Thursday, August 1, 2013 SAN ANGELO, Texas — It has been, from time to time, a now-and-then concern of mine for the nuns, sometimes called sisters, of the Roman Catholic Church, whose headquarters in the Vatican, a suburb of Rome, Italy, do some of the finest work of any religion. All women in ministry in this devout organization continue to be second-class employees, according to their own superiors. These women lovingly care for the sick, teach the young and have never been accused of any form of child abuse. Last year the Vatican appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest group of Catholic nuns, saying that the sisters “had serious doctrinal problems.” (Laurie Goodstein, New York Times.) The nuns were reprimanded for publicly disagreeing with the American bishops — the Roman Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals. Having been “a man of the cloth” once upon a time, all the religious doctrines, dogmas or traditional values, for me, have always been trumped by common sense. Common sense, which is anything but common, is seldom in the mix for religious leaders in Protestant and Catholic churches. This could be one of the reasons that religion is not making much of an impact on the present scene. Much of the good work the nuns do goes unnoticed until long after they leave their “earth suit” for glories above, when they might be proclaimed “saints.” (But only if there are enough “miracles” credited to the nun’s ministry.) Women have been getting the blame for everything wrong since Adam, the coward, pointed to Eve and said: “The woman gave the forbidden fruit to me!” (The Roberts-Fisher song “Put The Blame on Mame, Boys” would be a good title for a book about the eternal plight of the so-called “weaker sex.”) ’Tis strange the Roman Catholics look askance at nuns while making much prayer to Mary, the mother of the historical Jesus. They cannot perform Mass. They take orders from priests, monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and papa, all of whom are men. On the website CatholicEducation.org, Matthew Pinto writes: “Although the early Church allowed married clergy, the Church later came to see celibacy as a better example of the norm and model of Jesus’ priesthood.” (One thing Jesus never claimed was being a priest.) This Catholic website goes on to say: “Celibacy surely gains the Catholic clergy a hidden respect from many people.” The priesthood has been one of the most unfortunate inventions of the last 1,000 years. They stand in for God; confession is to them; power grows as they “lead the flock.” In 306 A.D., the Council of Elvira decreed: “Bishops and other in ministry are to abstain completely from sexual intercourse with their wives. If anyone disobeys, he shall be removed from the clerical office.” The subject was violently debated for more than 800 years until at the Second Lateran Council in the year 1139 sex and marriage was out for priests of the Roman Church. It was still a problem until 1322 when Pope John XXII decreed married men were forbidden from the priesthood. (Read the newspapers of the last 20 years for the results of such Middle Ages ignorance.) Sex has always been a “shameful” thing to Puritans and the Catholic male-dominated hierarchy. Why such fear? Who knows, possibly because a woman is involved? Which brings me back to why women in Roman Catholic society and culture are considered unworthy to lead. I thought I might have an answer to women being classified as lower than men, when most of them I have met remind me more of angels. Sometimes I think I can solve riddles, or problems, such as the saying, “Save America from atheists (they are taking over?), or “God bless America” (why not the whole world?), or where did President Barack Obama find so many inept advisers? C.S. Lewis said in his book “The Great Divorce,” “A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and work it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.” © 2013 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/ "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs