• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Farewell Winter March 20, 2018
      In the last two weeks or so it really feels as though we've turned a corner here in the Twin Cities with many signs of winter's weakening grip. I saw firsthand these signs on a recent walk down to Minnehaha Creek to what I've come to call the Prayer Tree (left).Of course, none of this is surprising given that the vernal (spring) equinox and th […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • A Day to Celebrate the Survival of the Old Ways March 17, 2018
      St Patrick's Day – a very, very bizarre celebration indeed. A [a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop] who attempted to annihilate the Druids, who conducted exorcisms to banish the great Irish faery deity Aine, who told lies about the faery, who claimed he threw Pagan women who would not convert into the ocean and they became mer […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Mystical Czech artist, Marie Brozova February 22, 2018
      About Life, Universe and All…The luminous Czech artist, Marie Brozova, creator of the wonderful 'Forest Shaman' painting featured on my blog, lives with her husband and seven cats deep in a Czech forest - without electricity or running water. No computers, no cell phones, no TV. Only the silence and the sounds of nature and the spirits. Artist Mari […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • SPICING UP THE CHURCH: February 14, 2018
      Here is the website of the wonderful meeting group for gay Christians in the Czech republic, Logos. And below is their position statement. Check them out. Logos – Gay Christians in the Czech RepublicWe are an ecumenical fellowship of gay and lesbian Christians and their friends, in which we share our faith in all its diverse manifestations, and try to suppor […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Trump congratulates Putin March 21, 2018
      - Make Everything Great AgainTrump calls Putin to congratulate him on his (sham) win and says they'll be getting together soon, this despite Russian meddling in our elections and what they did in the UK ...Noooo, that's not even a little suspicious.
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)
  • Advertisements

Vatican Paper Asks: “Where Were the Women?”

For many years, it seemed that the institutional Church was content to ignore the unfolding stories of widespread sexual abuse by priests, or at best to address only the specific problems of individual perpetrators and the pain of victims. Recently, as the scale of the problems expands (Switzerland is the latest country reported to be investigating complaints) numerous observers have remarked on how swiftly the tone has changed, with an increasing number of high ranking prelates starting to talk about the real issues contributing to the enabling environment.    Just in the past few days, Cardinals from Austria (Schonborn) and Brazil (Hummes) have been calling into question the rigid rule on compulsory celibacy.

Times have changed, and society too, and the Church will have to consider how this type of life can be maintained or what it has to change,” Salzburg Archbishop Alois Kothgasser said on Austria’s ORF television on Thursday evening.

In a diocesan newsletter, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna said the Church had to ask difficult questions about the abuse scandals. “That includes the issue of celibacy and the personal development” of priests, he wrote.


The Catholic Church is studying ways to loosen the centuries-old requirement that priests abstain from sex in an effort to rebuild its image in the wake of pedophile scandals, Rome-based la Repubblica reported today. Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who once said “celibacy is not a dogma,” is in charge of the project as head the congregation of the clergy, according to the report.

Business Week

Outside the ranks of the powerful others have been calling for greater lay participation in the selection and oversight of their bishops.

Now, right at the heart of the Vatican, the newspaper L’Osservatore Romano is suggesting that it is time to revisit that other church bugbear – the place of women. The article does not call for women’s ordination, mind – it stresses the old discredited “separate but equal” argument. still, it has the honesty to admit that up to now, we have had separate but not equal, and calls for this to change. I was personally interested to see the use of an argument I made in a comment here at the OT, in the thread relating to women’s ordination:  that at one time, the Church was ahead of society in the place and status it gave to women.  In modern tmies however, as women have made giant advances in the secular world, the Church has fallen behind.

Now, I do not for a second believe that the sudden upsurge of institutional concern about the growing number of complaints of sexual abuse will lead any time soon to married priests, full female inclusion, or democratic election of bishops.  I do think however, that it is significant that these issues are now being raised, and raised by ecclesiastical insiders, and no longer just the progressive fringe.  For years, the official position was that these were sacred cows, which could not even be discussed.  That approach is simply no longer tenable. they must be discussed, and will be discussed, more and more frankly. As he scale of internal disagreements becomes clear, the path to genuine reform will become open.  The important remaining question is not “Will there be reform?”, but “When?”.  Will it arrive in time to stave off a full scale revolt, in a new Reformation?

(These extracts from L’Osservatore are taken from an English translation posted at  Whispers in the Loggia, where you can read the full article):

The changes in Western society that have allowed women to occupy spaces previously reserved only to men — changes that are influencing other cultures in the world — have provoked a revolution in the configuration of gender roles, also placing before the Catholic church the question of enlarging the role of women. It brings up a problem of equality on which the Christian tradition has been quite clear since its origins, sparking an authentic revolution in the clashes over ways of conceiving sexual differences. In its time, this radical change originated contemporaneously with the feminist revolution in Western society. But if, in centuries past, the church showed itself more open than the secular world in confronting the issue of woman, today the situation is turned on its head, and the external and internal pressure is strong and urgent for the Catholic world to tackle it.

John Paul II’s Mulieris dignitatem indeed reminded us that women must be attributed roles of equal importance, albeit of different nature, to those of men in the life of the Church, a principle likewise recalled by Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in hisLetter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World.

The problem, however, is that this important theoretical articulation was not also followed up with as clear a transformation in the female participation in the life of the church, or at least, a participation which, even if significantly broadened, has been almost always kept outside the spheres of decision-making, and the areas of cultural expression.

One example suffices: in the sorrowing and shameful situations in which the molestation and sexual abuse by ecclesiastics on the young entrusted to them come to light, we can hypothesize that a greater, non-subordinated feminine presence would have been able to rip the veil of the code of masculine silence [“omertà”] that in the past often covered over in silence the denunciation of misdeeds. Indeed, women, religious and lay, would be by nature more inclined to the defense of the young in cases of sexual abuse, ridding the church of the evils that these guilty attitudes have procured for it.


One Response

  1. Thanks for making this article available here, Terry. It struck me as very important when I read it this morning.

    I wonder how it has been possible for the church to continue along for so much time without having absorbed the insight the article tries to communicate. We’d be a far different and far better church if the voices of women counted for something, effectively so, in the church, and if women had power in the church equal to that of males.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: