Saturday, October 27, 2018

"Vatican Stalls on Married Catholic Priests" "Gradually look in depth", no "drastic change" by Deborah Rose-Milavec Future Church

The 330 or so clerics and lay people taking part in the talks, which end on Sunday, were tackling the thorny issue of how to make the Roman Catholic Church appeal to youngsters.
"I am disappointed by the lack of reaction. One bishop compared it to stalactites that take a long time to grow," Kockerols told AFP.
"Numerous bishops sought me out during coffee breaks, saying 'you are right, we should be heading in that direction,' but I notice the subject was never looked into in the working groups," he said.
The number of priests and nuns dropped sharply in 2016 in Europe – and the Americas to a lesser extent. The picture is rosier in Africa and Asia, according to the Fides Catholic agency.
As the Argentine pontiff has repeatedly said, there is no doctrinal prohibition on married men becoming priests, and therefore the discipline can be changed.
'Taboo' subject
Saint Peter, the church's first pope, had a mother-in-law, according to the bible.
Celibacy was imposed in the 11th century, possibly partly to prevent descendants of priests from inheriting church property.
But some within the church believe it is time to join many eastern rite Catholic Churches in permitting married men to take the cloth. Married Anglican priests keen to convert to Catholicism have already been welcomed over.
The Vatican's number two man, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, suggested in an interview at the start of the synod that the church could "gradually look in depth" at the issue, while ruling out a "drastic change".
Some 60 000 priests have given up their vocation over the past few decades, often to marry, according to a book on the topic presented a stone's throw from the Vatican during the synod.
There were 414 000 Roman Catholic priests around the world in 2016. Some 1 000 of them are quitting each year, according to the book by Vatican expert Enzo Romeo.
While there are no official statistics on the number of married ex-priests, he estimates that there are around 8 000 of them in Italy alone.
"Priests' emotions are still often a taboo subject, swept under the carpet at the heart of the church," Romeo said.
The decision to leave the priesthood – despite the job security and free accommodation – usually happens after 13 years on the job or is sparked by a mid-life crisis, he says.
Lonely hearts, rejects
One of the former priests quoted in Romeo's book says he quit not only because he fell in love, but also because he found it difficult to preach to others about the church's moral stance on sexuality.
Pope Paul VI's refusal to open the door to the use of the pill in the Swinging Sixties saw many priests abandon their calling.
"Celibacy is an extreme form of poverty which lumps those who practice it in with the loneliest people, the rejects," one older cleric, defending his radical choice, told Romeo.
Pope Francis suggested in 2017 that the church "reflect" on the question of ordaining "viri probati", married men of proven virtue, particularly in far-flung places where priests are thin on the ground.
The idea is likely to be on the table at a synod next year dedicated specially to the Amazon, an immense territory where clergy are scarce.
Sensing a possible shift in attitude, some 300 or so married, former priests in Italy sent a letter to Francis at the start of October offering to take up the cloth once more should he need them.
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Friday, October 26, 2018

Jesus, Mary and Joseph- Fleeing Migrants

Viganò's third screed unintentionally reveals his true motives Oct 26, 2018 by Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò speaks at a dinner honoring then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, at right, in May 2012. (CNS/PMS/Michael Rogel)
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò speaks at a dinner honoring then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, at right, in May 2012. (CNS/PMS/Michael Rogel)
All this summer, combating wacky right-wing conspiracy theories felt like an endless game of whack-a-mole. Now, as the cool winds of autumn cause the red and orange leaves to rustle and fall to the ground, the generic has become the specific and discriminating journalists are called upon to play the game of Whack-a-Viganò.
You would have thought that the letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the conservative prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, chastising Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and characterizing his previous testimonies as a "political frame job" might have caused the ex-nuncio to rethink his stance. Ouellet, appointed to his post by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, had worked closely with Viganò and he was not conspicuous in his support for some of Pope Francis' reform efforts. His letter must have stung. It should have invited a reassessment by the Vatican's most famous crybaby. It did not.
Instead, Viganò has come out with a third "testimony" and the third time was not the charm. Viganò begins with his usual self-promotion, explaining that his is the voice of conscience and anti-corruption. He notes he is issuing this third epistle on the feast of the North American Martyrs and he clearly sees himself as the victim of persecution, as he did in the famous Vatileaks memos.
But Viganò also unintentionally reveals his true motives in this third screed in a way he did not previously. He writes:
I have been accused of creating confusion and division in the Church through my testimony. To those who believe such confusion and division were negligible prior to August 2018, perhaps such a claim is plausible. Most impartial observers, however, will have been aware of a longstanding excess of both, as is inevitable when the successor of Peter is negligent in exercising his principal mission, which is to confirm the brothers in the faith and in sound moral doctrine. When he then exacerbates the crisis by contradictory or perplexing statements about these doctrines, the confusion is worsened.
Therefore I spoke.
So, he spoke not because his concern for the victims of clergy sex abuse at long last got the better of him. He spoke because he didn't like the pope's approach to theology, especially moral theology. And Viganò clearly thinks he can and does stand in judgment of the pope. This, from the man who labeled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a conscientious objector and presented her to the pope as such, even though it was obvious to all that Davis went to jail not because the government refused to let her perform her religious obligations but because she tried to force her religious obligations on others through the exercise of her civil office.
Davis must have appealed to Viganò because she was an anti-gay bigot, and while his earlier epistles also betrayed more than a whiff of anti-gay fervor, this third iteration is the most vulgar in its prejudice. Without citing any scientific data, he frets about "the underlying reason why there are so many victims, namely, the corrupting influence of homosexuality in the priesthood and in the hierarchy. ... This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. ... It is well established that homosexual predators exploit clerical privilege to their advantage." 
Scapegoating minorities has a long and ugly history. Writers as thoughtful as Kenneth Woodward, in the pages of Commonweal, wrote a little too breezily for my taste about the purported existence of "networks" of gay clergy, "lavender lobbies."
I do not doubt that in the face of suspicions and bigotry, many minorities develop ties with each other for mutual support. But, in my experience, some gay clergy are ultra-liberal and others are ultra-conservative, and so the idea that some kind of common ideological or political agenda would spring from a common awareness of themselves as gay clergy is preposterous.
Besides, the ugly history of such claims — "The Jews all stick together," for example — should give anyone pause about raising such concerns without more proof than either Viganò or Woodward offers.
The other lie that Viganò perpetuates that must be confronted is the idea that there were sanctions leveled against now-former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Benedict XVI and that Francis lifted those sanctions and afforded McCarrick great influence. On this latter point, Ouellet's letter is definitive, noting, "I have never heard Pope Francis refer to this so-called great adviser of his pontificate for appointments in America, although he does not hide the trust he accords to some prelates."
Ouellet's definitive rebuttal does not keep writers at the National Catholic Register from repeating Vigano's allegations, even the most wild ones, and speculating that they might be true. Question for Joan Desmond: When, precisely, did McCarrick's career even overlap with that of Cardinals Blase Cupich or Joseph Tobin such as to warrant this idea that he was their patron? He barely knew them.

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U.S. bishops, including then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (third from right), celebrate the Eucharist in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica during their January 2012 "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)
U.S. bishops, including then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (third from right), celebrate the Eucharist in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica during their January 2012 "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)
And while Viganò now backtracks from his initial charge that there were canonical sanctions leveled against McCarrick, and now admits it was more or less mere advice to keep a low profile, the fact of the matter is that even this mere advice was not followed by Benedict himself. We have seen the pictures of McCarrick celebrating Mass in St. Peter's after these supposed sanctions were decreed. We have seen the video of Benedict greeting McCarrick with all the other cardinals on his last day as pope in 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio would have seen that also, as he was in the room.
Viganò may have wished for stronger sanctions against McCarrick. He may have wished they were enforced. Despite the video of Viganò praising McCarrick, he may have really hated him. But to expect a new pope to enforce sanctions that did not really deserve the name sanction, and which were never enforced in any event, is expecting a bit much. Oh, wait. It was Francis who removed McCarrick from public ministry and ordered him to a life of prayer and penance.
I assume Viganò enjoys this limelight. He is acting as a small and bitter man, who would rather destroy the church he pretends to love than let people he feels have wronged him lead it in ways he does not approve. Put differently, he wants his toys back. That was the gist of his letters to Benedict back in 2011. That is the gist of these frantic lies dressed up as testimonies he issues today. He has become a pathetic spectacle.
[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]
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Women's Ordination Conference: New York Times: Vatican Faces Modern Day Suffragists

New York Times: Vatican Faces Modern-Day Suffragists
Dear Bridget,

We hope you realize the enormous impact we are making together. Because of our demonstrations, dialogues, petitions, and international media coverage, bishops have been asked to confront sexism at their front door throughout the Synod in Rome. 

Our chant: "Knock, Knock! Who's there? More than half the Church,"brought the many closed doors women face in the Catholic Church into clear view. 

In just two weeks, more than 9,300 people signed a petition for voting rights for women religious superiors at the Synod. We've been deemed the "Vatican Suffragettes"  and "Modern-day Suffragists" by international media. And bishops and cardinals have had to answer questions about women's participation in the Church nearly every day at the Synod press briefings.

Back in April of this year, we launched our series, Catholic Women Called, and set a goal of bringing the stories of women called to renewed priesthood, equality, and full participation in the life of the Church to Rome. 

And we did.  Our online Catholic Women Called series was viewed more than 21,000 times. Our roundtable discussion, Discerning Women, featured two women called to priesthood and two international theologians calling for reform and inclusion just five minutes away from the Synod Hall. 

In our final installment of Catholic Women Called, we have woven together the voices of women called to renewed priesthood, and we challenge the institutional Church to celebrate and empower the ministries of women. Knock, knock: More than half the Church already does. 

Catholic Women Called: Are we Listening?
Thank you for your solidarity and generosity this season. We refuse to be silenced by Church polices and structures that discriminate, and because of your support, we are louder and more visible than ever. 
For equality,

Kate McElwee, Executive Director
Katie Lacz, Program Associate 

P.S. Thanks to so many of you who have renewed your membership and sent donations in to support our work this Fall. If you didn't receive a renewal notice in the mail, please consider making a membership gift today to support our grassroots movement for equality. We are so much stronger with your support. 
NCR Editorial: 'Knock, knock. Who's there? More than half the church!'

Most Catholic women are long over papal constructions of "feminine genius" or being cast as strawberries atop a cake or interpretations of Mary that stop at some magical virginal docility and ignore the harsh reality of a mother dealing with an itinerant preacher son who ends up on the wrong side of civil and religious law.

Knock. Knock.

More than half the church wants in. They have a lot to offer that's been missing.

New York Times: Vatican Faces Modern-Day Suffragists, Demanding the Right to Vote

"Two modern-day American suffragists had a plan.

During this month's Synod of Bishops, an international gathering at the Vatican, Deborah Rose-Milavec and Kate McElwee, who lead groups dedicated to advancing women in leadership roles in the Roman Catholic Church, made sure that Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the synod's general secretary, was presented with a hefty pink folder.

Inside was a petition with more than 9,000 signatures and one specific request: Allow female religious superiors at the synod to 'vote as equals alongside their Brothers in Christ.'" 

Huffington Post: Catholic Activists Demand Women's Voting Rights At Major Vatican Meeting

"The debate over whether women can vote at the Synod of Bishops has become a flashpoint for those seeking proof the centuries-old, male-dominated Catholic church is finally willing to listen to women's voices." 
Petition Delivery: 9,300 signatures to the Synod Office

Kate McElwee and FutureChurch Executive Director, Deb Rose-Milavec brought the "Votes For Catholic Women" petition to the Synod office in Rome. 

Thanks to everyone who signed and shared the petition. We now know the USG and UISG (men and women's religious umbrella groups) are working to draft a proposal to Pope Francis to address voting rights at Synods. Read the article on Global Sisters Report.

Day 25 in Rome Bishops’ voices trump; How’s your Italian?; What’s in a name? by Deborah Rose-Milavec Reporting from Rome

We are in the final days of the synod and the presentations at the press briefings are beginning to run together.

Folks continue to sing, “Everything is beautiful.”

I’m not buying it.

But I also hope I am way off base with my assessment in the end.

In the beginning of October, there was a promise of a new order — a church that received wisdom from the People of God — a new listening church.

Pope Francis had implemented pre-synod listening processes and the voices of young people were heard in the pre-synod document as well as the working document, the Instrumentum Laboris. The real promise of this particular synod was that Pope Francis set in motion a more synodal process, one more open to and inclusive of people who don’t wear pointy hats.

And bishops at the synod vowed to listen. They were genuinely inspired by the candor and energy of the 30+ young people among them.

The stories of mutual admiration were beautiful. Who wouldn’t love to be around people like Yadira Vieyra, Pope Francis, Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecká, Cardinal Tagle, Brother Alois, or Sr. Sally Hodgdon?

Bishops and young people alike hailed the rise of the listening church, an accompanying church, a learning church — a synodal church.

It was exciting. It was inspiring. It was hopeful.

I thought, “this is the genius of Francis. Where prelates might be dismissive of older adults, who could resist vivacious and faith-filled young people filled with bold ideas about how the church could be renewed?”

There was talk of a Pontifical Council made of young people. I was so excited because as an advisor for Voices of Faith, we had made a similar proposal to a number of cardinals with regards to women.

I thought the youth might actually be able to accomplish what their older counterparts could not.

I was practically dancing with anticipation.

Bishops’ voices trump

But as the days wore on, there were hints that the promises made were not going to be honored. The honeymoon that had lit a fire in the hearts of so many began to lose its light.

And some bishops’s voices began to drown out, to call into question, to trump the voices of young Catholics.

And my own heart, with its almost 63 years of living, began to break a bit — for the young people there and everywhere — for the whole People of God who need a renewed, bold, Gospel infused church more than ever — for those bishops who are in some ways hopelessly lost in the clerical world they inhabit.

So my prayer today is that I will be wrong about how this will turn out. Very wrong.

How’s your Italian?

The final draft document was handed to participants on Tuesday. It has been debated in the synod hall. As a result, more revisions are being added today and tomorrow. 

Everyone will be back at 4:30pm on Friday for a reading of the final document.

The draft document was distributed in Italian only. The final document that receives votes from bishops around the world will be available only in Italian.

On Friday, it will be read in Italian with simultaneous translation.

The reading will occur once.

It astounds me that this crucial document — the end product of months and months of work — will not be translated in the same way much of the preparation, the discussions, the negotiations, and the proposed amendments were transacted — according to and within the major language groups; Spanish, Italian, German, French, and English.

Now that is an absurd way to make policy.

On Saturday, the bishops, cardinals, and male religious superiors will vote, paragraph by paragraph.

Then Pope Francis will decide how he wants to use the document. Given his new document for synods, Episcopalis Communio, it is possible the document could become part of the ordinary magisterium of the Church.

And maybe, the unintended consequence of Pope Francis’ new directive is that it sharpened the battle lines within the episcopate.

Maybe that is why the draft document is reported to have had language and an emphasis that did not actually come out of the synod talks.

Cardinal Oscar Gracias of India, a member of the C9 council, and a member of the drafting committee for the final synod document told John Allen and Ines San Martin that the language on “synodality” and “discernment” in a draft distributed to bishops on Tuesday came from neither synod discussions nor the committee.

Gracias believed it was inserted by officials appointed by Pope Francis to run the event including Synod head Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and special secretaries Father Giacomo Costa and Father Rossana Sala.

Gracias presumes that Baldisseri and his aides were trying to capture the mind of the pope, even if it wasn’t a major theme of the summit itself.

Gracias said, “They’ve very heavily stressed, discernment and synodality, which really were not very much prominent in the discussions. It wasn’t very prominent in the minds of the synod fathers, but it’s come out very strongly.”

Further, Gracias told Crux, that acronym, LGBT, first adopted in the Instrumentum Laborisbecause it came from youth at the pre-synod meeting, will not show up in the document. Instead language about “sexual orientation” won out. And that language did not result from input at the synod hall, according to Gracias.

When the bishops received the document on Tuesday, there was some pushback, according to Gracias.

So after more discussion, the committee worked on revising the draft on Thursday.
That final document, will be presented on Friday for a final reading and a vote on Saturday. Gracias believes it will sail right through.

What’s in a name

I am truly saddened by the news that LGBT — the self-chosen nomenclature of the young people at the synod and the pre-synod — who may be gay or lesbian but are without doubt advocating for and standing in solidarity their sisters and brothers around the world — has been excised.

Naming is one of the most sacred acts in our church. God names us. We name God. We name ourselves. We take a new name at confirmation. We name each other, sometimes nicknames, a sign that we are known well and intimately to another. We name our children. They name themselves. These are all sacred acts.

When my husband and I divorced many decades ago, we had a ceremony. We had tried to make the marriage work, but it would not hold. I had legally taken my mom’s first name, Rose, as part of my last name – a sign of who I was becoming as I grew into a new and sometimes terrifying awareness of my own strengths and gifts.

We set up three candles, with the middle candle lit, as we had done together on our wedding mass before Mary’s altar. That evening we wept as we took the flame from the middle candle and relit the two separate candles. 

During that ceremony, I asked him to rename me as I wished to be called – Deborah Rose. 

Generous man that he was and is, a few weeks later he gave me a watch with my new name at the top and all our children’s names on the watch face.

It is still one of my most prized and precious treasures.

The give and take of naming is an act of generosity, of love.

So, for me, I wouldn’t care what four letters our young people chose. And I don’t care if some consider the political import of the acronym too controversial for the church to handle.

I just know that four letters did not win out — LOVE.

Deborah Rose-Milavec
Reporting from Rome

Thursday, October 25, 2018

"Experience of women not considered Excluded and marginalized, women are distancing themselves from the Church,", says Italian journalist and historian Lucetta Scaraffia Lucetta Scaraffia Italy October 24, 2018

Here is the response of Lucetta Scaraffia, an Italian journalist and historian who edits the women's monthly magazine of the Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano.

In the crisis that has shaken the Church in recent years, we have seen the emergence of issues that the Church has not wanted or has not known how to confront during the past 50 years: the sexual revolution, power and the question of women.

The sexual revolution has often been condemned — often justifiably — for its negative aspects.

However, it has never been examined seriously, nor has its positive aspects been taken into account. The Catholic community really should...

"The synod: Who is listening to whom?" Oct 23, 2018 by Phyllis Zagano , National Catholic Reporter


Italian synod observer Federica Ancona speaks during small group discussion at the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 19. (CNS/Vatican Media)
Here's the perfect comment on the ongoing 2018 Synod of Bishops:
I call on the Church, my family to live up to the challenge to instill in our family the church a sense of we, to encourage each person — male or female — to develop their skills to serve the Kingdom of God. I ask our Church leaders to recognize how many women who feel called to be in service of the Kingdom of God cannot find a place in our Church. Gifted though some may be many cannot bring their talents to the tables of decision making and pastoral planning. They must go elsewhere to be of service in building the Kingdom of God.
Good idea? It came from U.S. Sacred Heart of Mary Sr. Maureen Kelleher, at the 2015 synod. I know things move slowly, but this is critical. Women, who once did the slow walk away from the church, now never get there in the first place. The new generation (read: youth) followed or were carried out the doors by their mothers, who had had enough. Enough of pederasts and predators, of corrupt or do-nothing pastors, in short, enough of a church completely controlled by men. No woman would allow any creep near a child; no woman would cover up for a philandering cleric. Women might steal, but it is highly unlikely they would drain the parish accounts while off on cruises. And women ministers tend to work, not play golf.
Run the video of any Vatican ceremony and, except for a few women and girls bringing up the gifts or reading in their native languages, it is very clear that it is a men's operation through and through. Who surrounds the altar? Who touches the sacred vessels? Who distributes Communion?
Ceremony represents reality. As early as the fifth century, popes complained about women being unclean. That charge, repeated and ingrained over the years, helped end both the ordinations of women deacons and of married men. Women — by definition unclean — cannot approach the altar. And men who touch women render themselves unclean.
The current kerfuffle about laywomen voting at the Synod of Bishops both gives evidence to and deflects the real discussion. (Backstory: They invited the group representing men's religious orders and institutes to name ten representatives. The men sent eight priests and two brothers, all now voting members. The women's group sent seven sisters, but none has a vote.) The business of men and women religious' representation goes in several directions. If, like the medieval church, you recognize abbots and abbesses as the equivalent of bishops, then their representation and voting today makes sense. But that does not equal voting laypersons — religious or secular — in a synod of bishops.
The working document for the synod — the instrumentum laboris — reads in part like the sociological analysis it contains (pace Archbishop Chaput). But the original idea was to listen to young people. So, here is what young people said they want: recognition of the role of women in the Church and in society (n. 70); renewed reflection on the vocation to ordained ministry (n. 102); and promotion of the dignity of women (n. 158). As it happens, at least five of the synod's individual language groups — two in French and one each in English and German — have called for a greater participation of women in church leadership.
Of course, young people want a lot more, but central to their requests is a call to genuine respect for all persons — young and old, male and female — both inside and outside the church. There is a deep understanding that the Gospel gives the answers, but no clear indication of how the answers can be concretized with action.
That is what Sister Kelleher pointed out: "to encourage each person — male or female — to develop their skills to serve the Kingdom of God. I ask our Church leaders to recognize how many women who feel called to be in service of the Kingdom of God cannot find a place in our Church."
It's time.
[Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Her books include Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (recently published in Canada as Des femmes diacres) and Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church.] 

'Knock, knock. Who's there? More than half the church!', National Catholic Reporter Editorial, Catholic Women Still Missing, Not Allowed to Vote at Synod, All -Male Clerical Culture Prevails

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Swiss Guards stand in front of the doors to the Vatican's Sistine Chapel as cardinals begin the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI in March 2013. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Swiss Guards stand in front of the doors to the Vatican's Sistine Chapel as cardinals begin the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI in March 2013. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
"Knock, knock. Who's there? More than half the church!"
There is a sense of inevitability to the point behind the chant that grabbed global attention when it was shouted out during a peaceful protest at the Vatican Oct. 3 as bishops and cardinals made their way to the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on young people.
Organized by the Women's Ordination Conference, the protest highlighted the fact that no women were permitted to vote at the synod sessions.
"Knock, knock. Who's there? More than half the church!"
It's a catchy meter.
Speaking of women, as it does, it's true. Visit any church, anywhere, any Sunday. No one needs a scientific survey to accept the claim.
The U.S. bishops, who have stumbled through layer upon layer of that scandal, will attempt a new and admirable approach when they go on retreat in January. The retreat will be led by a venerable spiritual master, yet another man. Would they dare invite a strong feminine voice to the gathering? We could suggest some.And guys — you in the purple and red who to this point in Catholic church history have enjoyed the luxury of sitting in male exclusiveness and pronouncing as princes for the nearly 1.3 billion Catholics in the global church — you haven't heard the last of it.
The women aren't going away. And in this particular instance, you were caught in the web of your own illogic. As Josh McElwee reported recently, Lasallian Br. Robert Schieler, a voting member of the synod, asked a synod official prior to the gathering why women religious attending the meetings were not allowed to vote.
Responded the official: "Well, because you have to be ordained to vote."
But Schieler, as a brother, isn't ordained. So, Schieler wondered, "is that the reason or not?"
It's not. The real reason has nothing to do with ontological differences or any tradition that makes sense. It has to do with biological makeup. Let's call it what it really is — it's sexism. And the church's brand of sexism is no more persuasive than any other for being wrapped in male-conjured theology that teeters atop an exegesis that largely ignores the women who were first to the empty tomb — the very first to carry the Resurrection story — and Jesus' unusual (for the era) reliance on women throughout his ministry. It makes less and less sense with each passing year.
If the wider world's acknowledgment of how mistaken cultures and other theologies have been about the place and value of women is not convincing enough to spur significant change, perhaps the utter scandal to which an all-male clerical culture has subjected the church will force a change.
In a few weeks, the bishops will fill a large ballroom in Baltimore to conduct their annual business meeting, and the only women in the room will be on the sidelines.
Save for overhead screens and electronic voting, one might be heading into a scene from several centuries ago.
Most Catholic women are long over papal constructions of "feminine genius" or being cast as strawberries atop a cake or interpretations of Mary that stop at some magical virginal docility and ignore the harsh reality of a mother dealing with an itinerant preacher son who ends up on the wrong side of civil and religious law.
Knock. Knock.
More than half the church wants in. They have a lot to offer that's been missing.