April 11, 2010

"I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals..."

"... blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity."


Rialby said...

I guess letting women into the priesthood would have been a better move than letting in closeted homosexuals.

JAL said...

I am not a Roman Catholic.

But Maureen Dowd has got to be smoking something not good for her if she can leap from a country dominated by a religion which does not allow women (even fully covered) to drive a car, does not allow an unrelated man and woman to have a cup of coffee together in a public setting.

The abuses which occurred in the Roman Catholic church are horrible. But to equate those crimes with the subjugation and hypersexualization of women (as evil which must be covered to decrease their power over men) is just plain weird.

And quite expedient if one wants to keep reinforcing one's reputation as a clear visioned progressive who is at all times on the lookout to castigate the West is Evil meme in all situations, at all costs, intellectual as well as practical.

I mean, c'mon Maureen. You would not even exist in Saudi Arabia.

Meade said...

No nun has ever abused a child.

Roger J. said...

Ms Dowd continues her long slide into pure idiocy.

JAL said...

My sense from friends who went to Catholic parochial school was that those nuns were some of the smartest women in the world. And a few were the most evil.

So much for Catholic women's brains, talents, hearts. And sin.

Just like men.

Moose said...

Define abuse.

Moose said...

Western women wouldn't know a true patriarchy if it bit them on the ass.

Especially Dowd.

victoria said...

Meade, love you but you don't know what you're talking about. I had a number of nuns in grammar school who subjected many children, me included, to some pretty cruel punishments. I had a nun jam the eraser end of a pencil in to my skull to punish me for talking. I was smacked on the knuckles by rulers, my ear lobes were pulled on. I had masking tape over my mouth and was repeatedly told I was bad, bad, bad. If that is not abuse, I don't know what is. My case is not isolated, plenty of kids of my generation suffered the same indignities. Was it rape, gratefully no. Was it humiliating, damn right.

Vicki from Pasadena

YoungHegelian said...

It's interesting in her condemnation of the abuses in the Oakland case, Dowd doesn't seem too concerned that the court gave the priest probation, merely a slap on the wrist for his perversion. I wonder why?

Dowd also must know that whatever a secular court decides, the defrocking of a priest is a matter of canon law and is completely independent. 6 years for a defrocking is about par for the course under canon law.

Would those who accuse Catholicism of misogyny please point out another faith that considers a woman (Mary) to be the acme of creation?

danielle said...

i dont think she was claiming moral equivalency.

it seems like maureen was just feeling a bit embarrassed by her own feminist stance on women in Islam since there has always been rampant misogyny in the religion she practices, and that she didnt attack with the same feminist judgment.

if her point was that if you grow up within a system, it can be hard to see its flaws, then fair enough.

...now i'm not sure I buy that "Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care" ..... but I wouldnt mind reading a well thought out essay that tries to support that thesis.

buster said...

Maureen Dowd is an idiot. JAL, Roger J, and Mead are spot on.

The Catholic Church's refusal to accept women into the priesthood is based on theological objections, not misogyny. The requirement of celebacy is based on ideals of mortifying the flesh and dedicating oneself to the service of God and His people. These ideals are hardly unique to Catholicism or Christianity.

I have no special knowledge of the matter, but I'm sure there is no more and no less misogyny in the upper reaches of the Catholic hierarchy than among any other group of elderly bachelors. There's no evidence that I'm aware of that pedophilia or ephebophilia is more prevalent among priests than in any other occupation dealing with children and young people. But Rialby is probably that homosexuality is a big problem for the priesthood.

IMHO, the scandal that is wracking the Church--i.e., the bishops ignoring or covering up sexual abuse of children and adolescents by their underlings--has nothing to do with the absence of women in the priesthood or the devaluing of children. It has everything to do with men being seduced by power and corrupted by institutional concerns, and as a result betraying their mission.

It's all a terrible tragedy, made worse by the fact that the main victims are children and adolescents. But its causes are not unique to the Catholic Church or religion. The same factors are at play in political, economic, academic, and other powerful institutions everywhere. And they yield similar results. Just think of the trafficking in child prostitutes by UN peacekeeping forces in Africa and elsewhere. Haven't heard the Secretary General is doing much about it.

Chip Ahoy said...

The church is the earnest contender of what is and has been. It's purpose is to maintain the ideals which have survived for the sake of safe transit of moral values from one age to another. The church checks the force of progress while seeking to translate from one generation to another the imperishable values of old while cautiously passing to new forms that are less stabilized patterns of thought and conduct. I'm saying the church is the institutional brake in place to retard progress so that society does not go flying off whole hearted into uncharted and untested territory.

So relax yourself, Dowd, for I too sought the hastening of a world softened by the presence of feminine leadership until Thatcher disabused me of the absurdity that women are more gentle than men, then Pelosi and M. Waters squelched the hope for a contribution of brains.

↑ See what I did there? I do like that 'I too' construction.

Julie C said...

I'm thinking Meade was being ironic.

I was scared stiff of the nuns at my church. They were just plain mean, and seemed to almost relish being nasty. My dad told some hair-raising tales of the nuns he knew - he went to Catholic school all his life and had the scars to prove it!

Nowadays the nuns are a lot nicer - there just aren't as many of them. Of course, today's nuns seem to be more of the "social justice" warrior types who never met a left-wing cause they didn't want to promote. Except abortion of course.

PatCA said...

I went to Catholic schools, and the nuns were actually more of a torment than the priests.

Yes, the church has some bad points but beheading dissenters is not one of them.

I think Dowd is just sick of western culture and blames it for her own unhappiness. Don the burqa, baby--the clarity must be very serene.

Skeptical said...

"Take it from a sister"? Oh, fuck off.

Skeptical said...

Maureen Dowd, meet Dorothy Day. Ask her about the place of women in the Church. Take it from a sister, indeed.

Joe said...

Dowd is an idiot, but Razzinger is still a moral imp who put the church ahead of people.

Moose said...

The problem with ironic humor is that people who aren't as smart as you might, you know, misinterpret your wicked smart humor.

danielle said...

buster, theological objections ?

u know, every christian theological system weighs different aspects of the text over others ... ignores some parts, makes some parts central. the real question is which parts they leave in and why ...

edutcher said...

Somehow, I can't help thinking MoDo is about as devout a Catholic as Teddy Kennedy. That the Gray Lady is jumping gleefully on this has more to do with the Left trying to put a stake through the heart of one of it's most implacable enemies than any concern for justice. They honestly believe they're going to force Benedict to resign or something, Ray Donovan fashion.

That said, it's always been my feeling that Vatican II let a lot of slugs into the priesthood and we're still cleaning up the mess.

As to the business of women as priests, etc., it always struck me that the standard parish was set up like a family with the priests, whom you only saw on Sunday at Mass acting as surrogate fathers (duh!) and the nuns teaching the kids in school as the mothers. That relationship tends to preclude the idea of women being priests.

Also, the image of the tough, no nonsense nun is up there with the tough drill sergeant. Most Catholics have at least one in their memory. but a lot remember at least one who was a favorite and something of a friend (Sister Marietta was mine) and remember when priests and nuns laid down the law with no small affection, victoria notwithstanding.

danielle said...

well done, educher, it seems you got the memo from the Vatican on proper gender roles.

women's only role in the family is teaching the children. and only women can do that, not men. and women cant do anything else in a family but teach children.

congrats for not questioning it, or seeing through it. interesting that you're far more critical of others' so called failings, than your own blind acceptance of constraining and sexist stereotypes.

HokiePundit said...

Women aren't priests in the Catholic Church not merely because they aren't allowed to be but because they CAN'T be. As a man, I CAN'T be a mother, even if I wanted to be one. It's the same sort of "CAN'T" as "God CAN'T create a rock so heavy He couldn't move it, as the proposition itself is nonsense."

It's not even up to the Pope and the bishops: the issue has already been definitely and irrevocably settled. To declare otherwise would actually cause the entire structure of the Catholic Church to come crumbling down, as it would no longer have the ability to claim the magisterium, and without that it's just another claimant for Christ's legacy. To declare that one thinks that women should be Catholic priests is to reveal oneself to be either ignorant of Catholic dogma or to not believe in Catholicism.

Could there be a higher place for women in the Church? Sure. It just can't be the priesthood.

YoungHegelian said...


From the standard RC viewpoint, there has never been women priests, even in the inchoate early church. If one assumes a guiding providential hand in church history, (as one must, or the claims of the church are BS) then it means something that there's no precedent for female clergy.

A feminist critique would claim that the church's view on gender are part of an epoch of discrimination it must move beyond. Gender roles are under changeable disciplines, not eternal doctrines.

Neither of these views are immediately obvious as right or wrong. Why hammer edutcher if he thinks the first is correct?

buster said...

Danielle said:

"theological objections ?

u know, every christian theological system weighs different aspects of the text over others ... ignores some parts, makes some parts central. the real question is which parts they leave in and why ..."

Oh bullshit. I'm not a theologian, have read little theology, and what I have read was written for the layman (e.g., C.S. Lewis). But once I attended a course of theology lectures at Oxford, and I can tell you that theological styles of argument are very similar to philosophical styles. That means that arguments are taken at face value and rigorously criticized. It's not enough to insinuate that your opponent is secretly sexist; you have to make an actual argument to show why.

Your claim that "every christian theological system weighs different aspects of the text over others ... ignores some parts, makes some parts central" is either trivial or wrong. Christian theology is nearly two thousand years old, and is ultimately based on the Scriptures and the writings of a few towering intellects, such as Augustine. I really doubt that any part of the texts has been systematically ignored over the centuries. Of course one must make choices when interpreting something as complex as the Old Testament, the Gospels, or The City of God. But if there's a theological argument that women should be priests, then let the theologian make it.

Of course there are such arguments, and they have been made. In the end, the Church has rejected them. This is no different (and no less internally controversial) than the Supreme Court deciding that the ban on cruel and unusual punishment does not preclude the death penalty. That's what authoritative institutions do, and the Church is no different than the Supreme Court in this regard.

edutcher said...

danielle said...

well done, educher, it seems you got the memo from the Vatican on proper gender roles.

And you got the memo from NOW, it would seem.

Women make better mothers than men and men make better fathers. We've been trying to ignore that reality the last forty years or so, but Mother Nature keeps reminding us of some of her more pungent truths.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Meade said...

No nun has ever abused a child.

Plenty of women teachers have, though.

traditionalguy said...

Everybody knows how the Christians ought to be acting about everything. Christians are too mean, and Chrisians are too forgiving. They never seem to be approved forgetting anything right. They must be following some hard act to follow. But what is that perfect performance they are being compared with to be found this side of Heaven?

From Inwood said...

MoDo could always, ya know, leave.

On 10/29/10 The Archbishop of NY answered MoDo's previous rant, which would apply equally here:

• Finally, the most combustible example ...came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.

True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.


The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

Another better analysis of the MoDos, etc. than I could write is by the late Richard Neuhaus:

There are several problems with this, aside from the fact that, as Father Greeley undoubtedly knows, he has been writing the exact same thing in almost the exact same words for, lo, these forty-plus years…

1) The people… who incessantly lament the gap between teaching and the reception of teaching are typically the same people who have for years worked to undermine the credibility of the Church’s teaching office;

2) Their measure of whether the Church is listening is whether teaching is brought into line with their preferences;

3) The curia in Rome coordinates and corrects as necessary, but the teachers of the Church are the bishops, priests, and catechists who too often find it easier to blame Rome than to do their job;

4) Catholic Americans are about 6 percent of the universal Church, and Greeley’s think-for-themselves educated Catholics who are unhappy with church teaching, usually on matters sexual, are a much smaller part of that 6 percent. It is an egregious instance of chauvinistic hubris to think that the Church through the ages, currently composed of 1.2 billion members of every nation and culture, should change its teaching to please the disaffected of the latte class of Americans. There are many answers to Father Greeley’s question “What went wrong?” Some of the more dubious are to be found in his answer.

And Neuhaus, referring to this from a former America editor:

"The reason so many Catholics have lapsed is that Catholic loyalty was once 'based on family pressure, ethnic neighborhoods, and lack of competition rather than personal commitment.' They also stuck with the Church ‘out of fear of damnation,’ but people don’t believe that kind of thing any more. Catholics 'became educated, got better jobs, and moved out of their ghettos and into the suburbs.

notes that

One is reminded of the Washington Post description of evangelicals as poor, uneducated, and easily led.

First Things, Aug/Sept 2008.

Funny, but when we, the Jesuit educated, moved from our "ghettos" like Inwood to the 'burbs, we were told by the good Jebbies that we were racist! And that we were contributing to "urban sprawl" & raping the land. "They paved paradise and made it a parking lot". Guess we became educated ad absurdum.

Penny said...

"The church that through the ages taught me and other children right from wrong..."

I'm not a religious type, but that seems like a pretty big deal to me, Maureen.

Why is it that we grow up to think in terms of "I'M RIGHT!" and "YOU'RE WRONG!"...?

jamboree said...

I agree with her basically. My parents had left the Church by the time I was born. My sister, a very dominant individual, had written specifically to tell the Vatican to remove her name from the roles.

Because I had never had to suffer a Catholic girlhood, I tended to sentimentalize because Jesus was somehow involved, and wasn't he a good guy. I maintained a loose spirituality of my own.

Then later after I moved to the suburbs, I needed some community. I started going to an active Church. It was great on a lot of levels, but I couldn't quite get over the woman thing...ever. (Fuck you, Paul. You ruined the Church. You weren't even alive when Jesus was.)

I contemplated, i prayed. I liked having a spiritual community. Then the weekend after I prayed abotu it, the head of the women's ministry filled in because the real minister, the one they ordain, was sick. She used to be a Wall Street Big Wig.

And I said, you know what? NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Why would I join an organization as an adult, that acknowledges my rights and potential as a woman LESS FULLY than my country? Than the United States of America? Oddly, my mother, who had left the Church before I was born said, "Oh just go and ignore it." But you see, that's what they all do. All the women there. 90 percent don't believe that crap. Neither do 80 percent of the guys. They just "ignore it'. But it's built on that - built on a lie.

And that was it for me and my foray into Church. Too bad though, but I won't do a bunch of mental gymnastics to excuse or rationalize what is clearly wrong - like child abuse. I've never regretted it. My vision has cleared to many things.

sunsong said...

Religion and politics. What a great site :-)

I am no fan of organized religion – just as I’m no fan of big government. Institutions tend to grow and liberty yield – to paraphrase somebody. And institutions tend to become more about serving themselves than serving individuals. The Catholic Church is huge and powerful – quick to criticize others – even to try and control others. And yet, they can’t deal with criticism themselves very well? What hypocrisy.

I am thrilled to see the Catholic Church being called on its crap. It is truly disgusting what they have allowed. They should be ashamed! When you claim to speak for God – you need to be prepared to be held to a higher standard. I love the idea of more and more Catholics questioning the Church – questioning the leadership – questioning the doctrine.

Individuals, in the end, have their own very personal, living, breathing relationship with God – whether male or female. There is no intermediary. And the idea that males and females are biologically disposed to certain tasks is indeed ridiculous.

Doug Wright-OG said...

Meade, swatting a kid with a ruler is abuse of a kind. Also, are you really sure there's never been a twisted Sister out there? Seem to recall at least one such case years ago, hushed up as many such priestly cases were hushed.

Still on balance, good point!

kynefski said...

As a young adult, I worked closely, as a teacher, with Franciscan sisters. All those I worked with were bright, compassionate people, and a few would have been excellent priests.

But it seemed to me that they related to the women among the lay teachers depending on whether the latter were married (good) or not (suspect).

Meade said...

Yes, I was being ironic at 2:12. Maureen Dowd is apparently clueless about the truth that misogyny and misandry are unbound by sex and gender.

Sorry to have been unclear.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Maybe I wouldn't have found the article so ridiculous if I hadn't just been reading another one (hat tip Instapundit) about how awful a time the Episcopalians are having.

MadisonMan said...

I still go to the Catholic Church closest to my house. If the priest is not talking about the bishop, and what the bishop wants, he is excellent. I rather like the music and the rituals of the Church.

I have to remind myself that my relationship with God needs no intercessor such as bishop or Pope, for whom I have no respect and to whom I do not listen. The Bully Bishop in Madison and the close-my-eyes-to-evil Pope will answer to God. As will we all.

Palladian said...

Not content with their success in completely destroying the United States as a political entity, women take aim at everyone's Eternal Salvation. Film at 11.

danielle said...

edutcher, you said the priests acted as surrogate fathers, and the nuns taught the children as mothers.

is there something about teaching children (presumably in sunday school) that men cant do ? are you proposing that all teachers should be women (from elementary school teachers to college professors?) because this is a woman's role?

what exactly were the priests doing that you judged to be fatherly, and that excluded the possibility that a woman carry out the same role ?

Class factotum said...

Unfortunately, there is at least one case of a nun sexually abusing students:


danielle said...

so buster, the basic points of your long winded paragraphs are that you think any dissenting opinions should be shut down because the theologians on high are right. and you seem to be saying that i should believe you on this because you sat in on a course at Oxford.

that is: (1) nonsense and (2) similar to the sort of arrogant reasoning that allows the abusing priests to think that they are above questioning and above secular laws.

you cant possibly believe that theological arguments are that similar to philosophical arguments. christian theology is about building a coherent system out of the clearly non-systematic texts in the old and the new testaments ... the later of which is a series of letters written by different people and at different times, and allof which was written over 1600 years !

i'm sure it probably makes you feel better to think that a coherent christian theology is 2000 years old, but that is clearly not the case. the NT itself wasnt assembled till around 150AD, it wasnt till 360AD that they agreed that Jesus was Divine, and till around 500 that the doctrine of the Trinity was agreed upon by many ... and these are just the tenets of western christianity. we havent even gotten to topics like communion, love, charity, or concepts like sin, evil, etc ...

anyhow. i say all of this to say that there were a lot of choices made along the way, and those choices depended on a variety of things, and undoubtedly, one element of those things was the current way of thinking about gender roles and men and women and their capabilities and weaknesses more generally.

you'd have to be a fool to think that not having women at the table when these choices were made about a topic as important and all encompassing as theology (and the humanity that is intertwined in christian theology) isnt reflected in today's religious practices and institutions.

danielle said...

Young Hegelian said "there has never been women priests, even in the inchoate early church."

is that true ? what about Tabitha, Lydia and Priscilla and Mary Magdelene. The mention of these women is very meaningful since at the time the NT was written, the presence of women was not judged as significant yet they still made it in.

in all areas of thought, its important to uncover the underlying assumptions.

i've been called a feminist a few times here today (mostly so that people can try to discount what I write), but i really couldnt tell you the first thing about feminism. but i can for damn sure tell you that no person is going to tell me what I am capable of doing, or what i 'should' be doing because of my gender.

Brian Day said...

Dowd is an idiot, but Razzinger [sic] is still a moral imp who put the church ahead of people.

Correct on Dowd, but FAIL on Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has done more to clean up the mess than any other Vatican official. Was he perfect? No. See this Op-ed from John Allen in the NYT:

A Papal Conversion

Just remember, Ratzinger did not have the authority to address the abuse issue until 2001.

Harsh Pencil said...

The curia is filled with bishops, archbishops, and cardinals who have closed their eyes to evil, and still do, but the pope is not one of them. Anyone who has studied this extensively (and I have) understands that the pope is one of the good guys on this issue and has been since at least 2001. (Google John Allen or Jason Berry at the liberal National Catholic Reporter.)

There is some evidence (but not much) that Ratzinger was part of the "this is all just an attack on the Church" crowd when it came to sex abuse. But in 2001, his office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, was given the responsibility of reviewing every sex abuse allegation. So he saw hundreds of files and read every one and was reportedly shocked and outraged. From 2001 on he has fought battle after battle within the curia (against the Vatican Secretary of State in one famous instance) to bring the hammer down.

There's a lot of evidence that the vatican has some pretty corrupt characters running around it in very high places. Jason Berry's report in the National Catholic Register has an account of how the corrupt Legion of Christ would regularly hand envelopes with thousand of dollars in cash to high ranking cardinals (for their "charities") but really to buy protection for their pedophile leader. Cardinal Ratzinger was specifically mentioned as someone who always refused to play ball and would simply stiff arm them when they tried to give him money. As JPII was dying, Ratzinger reopened the investigation into their leader (against some very powerful protectors in the vatican) and as pope, publicly disgraced and sent their leader into exile (he couldn't be tried since he was way too old) and is currently having five senior bishops investigating the order for possible dissolution.

Again, the pope is one of the good guys in this whole mess.

danielle said...

Brian, doing more than anyone else to clean up the scandal doesnt mean that he has done enough.

he is the pope. the person in charge. what he says goes. he could choose to admit failure, repent, and make harsh changes. but he chooses not to. why is that ? is it to save face ?

Moose said...

Pardon my commentary, but this is taking on a smell of the "devil worship" witchhunts of the 80's. Then every town had daycare centers that were the centers for devil worshiping child molestors that were violating preschoolers in prodigious numbers. Until it turned out they weren't, and that over zealous prosecutors were manipulating the children to get the testimony they wanted.

I don't doubt that there were numbers of priests that molested children. I just don't think that the hoo-ha surrounding the church not reporting this is warranted. There is that small matter of the sanctity of the confessional -n- stuff.

If I were you - I'd take aim at the law enforcement in the various juristictions involved and smack their balls around with a dull spoon...

Moose said...

Wow. Then of course there is Sully marking out his territory in spittle and invective again.

Good lord: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/04/pedobear-and-the-pope.html

TMink said...

"Mark 9:42 (Amplified Bible)
And whoever causes one of these little ones (these believers) who [a]acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin, it would be better (more profitable and wholesome) for him if a [huge] millstone were hung about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea."

I like the Amplified Bible because it attempts to share the implications from the words in the texts. Jesus was quite clear concerning God's view of harming children.


William said...

I was raised as a Catholic. I went to a Catholic grammar school and a Jesuit High School. It was a good education, and I'm grateful for it. The moral instruction came with a heavy dose of sexual hysteria and repression. But even that's OK. My classmates ended up honest citizens, and maybe it's all for the best if high school kids are inhibited and scared of sex. Not that they ever are, but it's worth a try.... There wasn't any outrageous corporal punishment. Some of the teachers were neurotic but more were exceptional in their kindness. Some of the priests asked embarassing questions in the confessional, especially to the girls, but it would have been beyond all imagining that any were sexual predators. I have no reason to feel personally angry with the Catholic Church and many reasons to be grateful. During the years I was a Catholic, it was an institution that worked. A lot of kids came from screwed up homes, and all the rules and rigidity gave some structure to their lives......I know many ex Catholics who blame all their neuroses on their Catholic upbringing and feel that their virtues are a result of their native moral superiority. I'm a failure in some areas of life and reasonably successful in others. It's a mixed bag and hard to tell the dancer from the dance; even so I give more credits than debits to my Catholic upbringing.....Your religious faith is part of your DNA, and you cannot disassociate from it without a profound sense of alienation. As Obama pointed out. Maureen Dowd has squared the circle. Her abiding faith is animosity to the place where she says her prayers.

Penny said...

"Not content with their success in completely destroying the United States as a political entity, women take aim at everyone's Eternal Salvation. Film at 11."


The only truth about what you just said is that someone out there will repeat it at 11, and a shitload of people will line up to agree or disagree.

Count heads if you want. But we both know that means very little in the end as it relates to "truth".

I've seen you be "misunderstood", right here among your friends at Althouse, when the topic of "weight" comes up.

"Truth" is, all too often, PERSONAL.

"Pain", on the other hand, is UNIVERSAL.

Brian Day said...

Brian, doing more than anyone else to clean up the scandal doesn't mean that he has done enough.
Granted. I did say that he was not perfect, which means by definition that he could have done more. But hindsight is always 20/20.

he is the pope. the person in charge. what he says goes. he could choose to admit failure, repent, and make harsh changes. but he chooses not to. why is that ? is it to save face ?
Did you not read the linked article or the comment by Harsh Pencil? He has apologized, met with abuse victims, and was severely critical in his letter to the Irish bishops. As far as harsh changes are concerned, remember that the Church is not a corporation. the pope is constrained by canon law and accused individual have rights under the same canon law. It doesn't make it right, but the clergy does not serve at the pope's pleasure.

Penny said...

Laughing a bit though at Maureen's acknowledging that men in clingy dresses can lead to outdated women's rituals.

Or something like that.

Leaders and followers sometimes get confused...

Synova said...

Being a Lutheran protestant and being raised in a hyper-conservative church... I just never saw the point in separating the clergy as something special and above the laity. Also, the notion that these special people were not supposed to marry... well, Luther dramatically turned away from that notion (at a time when a "good" Catholic priest had only one lover and family that he actually took care of instead of ignoring his bastards' well being).

In any case... going by scripture only and not tradition the argument over the structure and authority of the church gets into nits very quickly. But as much as there were people who seemed to get it rather wrong, just because some people aren't very smart and God doesn't require us to prove we aren't idiots before He'll take us, the Bible isn't all that ambiguous either about the *lack* of special authority given to some special class of teacher, or about who is supposed to be teaching whom... and who is not.

When God says that He sees no difference... not Jew nor Greek, no male nor female, slave or free... that's what it means. There isn't a difference and being a "respecter of persons" is a bad thing and warned against.

When criteria for deacons and elders are given it's less clear if the "only men" part applies to only elders or deacons also... but having a single wife instead of several and well brought up children and a household in order... those are practical things and are clear. Women aren't supposed to teach men but you know what? Men aren't supposed to teach women either. Or why is a wife supposed to ask her husband instead of the teacher? And why does it say that women are supposed to be submissive to her own husband and the husband to his wife. One has to wonder what other husband they'd be talking about. But how many times do men in churches assume authority over other men's wives?

There is a separation of genders that we don't tend to follow. Women are warned not to be too busy and are supposed to listen... not to men, but to older women.

The problems that happen so often when men, male pastors or priests, attempt to tell women what to do are only amplified if the situation is changed so that women take that role and attempt to tell men what God wants them to do and how God wants them to live.

Taking what is wrong, changing genders, and doing it over again isn't going to solve the problem. How could it?

The lack of male role models and male teachers in churches tell boys that there is nothing for them there... but if you've made your feminist point, what does that matter, huh?

If the role of pastor or priest is not unnaturally elevated, unbiblically elevated to something *better than* the laity, then the rules about who ought to hold those particular posts are simply matters of practicality.

It's not just the Catholic Church with their priests that gets things so unbalanced that way. I've been to any number of happy-clappy protestant churches that have elevated their minister to a being with a special connection and vision from God so that questioning the minister is questioning God's plan. (This is so wrong Biblically, it's hard to state strongly enough.) In order not to exclude women from equality before God in these churches, then, scripture gets less important... more picking and choosing what to pay attention to, what is acceptable or not to *people* instead of trying to understand what scripture actually says... and what it doesn't say.

In the end of it all, though, does it make any sense to reject God because God fails to reject all the people who get things wrong?

JAL said...

@ Synova
In the end of it all, though, does it make any sense to reject God because God fails to reject all the people who get things wrong?

Interesting way of putting it.

I think that says something important.

Joan said...

Priests are special because they are, in celebrating the sacraments, in persona Christi.

Outside of that, priests are men like all other men, some are good, some not. I don't think Catholicism is so "mixed up" in its attitude towards priests, who serve their congregations. It happens occasionally that a priest will engender a cult of personality, as happened here in AZ rather too recently, with a priest who was later accused of bad behavior. He was kicked out, unrepentant, and started up some new "church" where (deluded) members of his old parish still worship him -- note the lack of the preposition between "worship" and "him". The bishop had strong words regarding that situation, also, telling those still following that guy that they were being led quite astray.

Dowd's a sad case, really. What has she accomplished in her life, and what does she have to look forward to? She is empty. Those that cannot build can only find satisfaction in tearing down.

jag said...

Critics of the church can't resist the "men in dresses" image. As if all of our problems can be boiled down to the way priests are dressed. It's an image rooted in homophobia.

James H said...

Dowd should really be taken off the Attack the Catholic Church rant she is on. It is amazing how she uses victims to advance causes from A to Z. The Clergy views children as Collateral damage? This coming from the woman that advocates abortion on demand

Regardless Dowd is like a lot of Porgressive Catholics. She find the perfect Catholic Church to be like the Episcopal Church USA(which by the way is led by a woman) except we would have Pope(he or she) that would watch out over the Vatican so we would havce a nice place to visit in the Summer.

The problems is the Episcopla Chruch is not in a death spiral, losing members and money, and in one of the most undereported stories of the week is about to cause a world wide schism in the Anglican Communion. Plus The "female" Primate is doing a great job of sueing Orthodox Anglicans out of their Churches.

We have an exmaple of the CHurch of Dowd and it is failing

Joan said...

Elizabeth Scalia, aka the Anchoress, has a nice take-down of Dowd's primary assertion that the Church has been repressing women for centuries.

c3 said...

Where do these phrases come from:
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?

This isn't an opinion piece about the Catholic church its one about Maureen Dowd's further enlightenment.

Every time I read one of her pieces (and that's few and far between) I see her as one of the verbose intellectual characters in a Woody Allen film

Patm said...

Maureen Dowd's odd hysteria isn't even amusing anymore. She needs help.

Patm said...

Meade, sorry but nuns have abused children.

Unless, were you being sarcastic?

Synova said...

My computer suffers from systemic misandry.

The spellchecker knows the word misogyny, making that word automatically more important than misandry, which is not in its internal dictionary.