Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stranger things have happened

From a column by Melinda Henneberger:
On Wednesday, the Vatican announced a crackdown on American nuns, charging the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents most of the country’s 57,000 women religious, with falling prey to “radical feminism’’ and falling out of step with church teaching on women’s ordination and homosexuality. The response from the general public was enormous and overwhelmingly sympathetic to the sisters. The forced reform immediately sparked online petitions, tributes and T-shirts that say, “I’m with her.”
Whenever one thinks Roman Catholic Bishops can't do worse damage to themselves, they find another way. How could they underestimate the high regard & affection of American Catholic laity for the declining, aging population of Sisters in religious orders? Or don't they care? Probably a bit of both. The only real "authority" the Sisters have is moral, which is exactly that constituent of power the Bishops have lost. So the Bishops use the power they do have to accuse the Sisters of being morally in error. It's a comedy as written by Dante Alighieri: priests sluggishly pushing boulders inch-by-inch up the mountain of Purgatory, yelling accusations at the Sisters as the women march past them on the way to Paradise.

Of course, I'm not familiar with Catholic feminist theological arguments for the legitimacy of female ordination. Ordained protestant pastors, female & male,  are merely  protestants with specialized training;  they have no supernatural powers not hypothetically available to every Christian, & among those metaphysically turning wine  into blood isn't on the list.  But now, through the sophistry of the Vatican's greatest male minds, a married Anglican priest may  repudiate Anglicism & through the mystery of Catholic sacramental ordination become a married Catholic priest among celibate, unmarried priests.  Yet the Pope can confidently assert woman will never be priests. Stranger things have happened in the 2000 years Christians have been waiting for the end of time, which is what the Pope means by never.

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