Pope Francis Dithering About Women, Skittish About Cops
The ordination of women, whether as deacons, priests, or bishops, is the persistent nightmare of pope after pope who seem to prefer a wizened little church over a robust religious community. Women’s ordination would signify intellectual and spiritual acceptance of gender equality and the end of centuries of discrimination. With a little bit of luck, it might hasten a move in the direction of new, democratic, participatory forms of church. Likewise, turning clergy sexual abuse cases over to law enforcement would be an admission that the church cannot police its own, that thousands of children and vulnerable adults have suffered because church leaders refuse to give up power. Alas, the hierarchy rejects change, manically swatting it away at every turn while Catholics exit in droves.
Even so timid a move as ordaining women deacons—that is, sacramentalizing and acknowledging that the bulk of the church’s ministry is now done by women—is too much for these men. Asked about the work of the commission he set up to study the question of allowing women to be deacons, Francis dipped and dithered in one of his airplane pressers, this time en route back to Rome from North Macedonia. The matter is apparently so trivial that it can be handled off-the-cuff with reporters and not dignified at the outset with a proper report, document, or even press release. Any wonder women feel dissed?