Monday, April 28, 2008

Old-guard feminists and Catholicism

~by Kathryn Jean Lopez in Dallas News
In the run-up to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, there was a tremendous display of unseriousness at the National Press Club, followed by a sacrilege at a nearby Washington, D.C., church.

A misguided group called the Women's Ordination Conference held a protest – a press conference and an all-woman "Mass" at a local Methodist church. The group, as the name suggests, wants to see "the ordination of women as priests, deacons and bishops." Sadly, the group doesn't understand women or the Catholic Church.

In a prepared statement, WOC executive director Aisha Taylor declared:

"The failure to ordain women is a blatant manifestation of sexism in the church that has wider repercussions in the world.

"In the three years of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has made a few encouraging statements about women, but he has done nothing that suggests willingness to open the discussion on women's ordination. That's why for his 81st birthday, we are offering the pope a present: the gift of women, their leadership, talents, experiences and unique perspectives."

The group trailed the popemobile to papal events with a billboard truck that asked: "Pope Benedict, How long must women wait for equality? Ordain Catholic Women."

As they are stuck on their version of "equality," the fundamental problem with the group and its message is that whatever Benedict says or does will not be enough for them. They are not open to listening, but to dictating an unworkable agenda. If they were open to it, they would hear and see the Roman Catholic Church's embrace and celebration of women. Women will not be priests, but they will always be an essential part of the Church...

... When I recently toured St. Peter's Basilica for the first time, my group of traveling American female commentators couldn't help but to notice the overwhelming presence of women in the home of St. Peter and his papal successors. Female saints and virtues portrayed as women: Charity, Truth, Prudence and Justice. Charity is presented as a mother nursing a baby, with additional children at her feet. I thought of the many stay-at-home moms doing the grassroots work of civilization-building.

To take the conventional feminist view of the Catholic Church in relation to how it views women is to miss the real message of new feminism it offers: a prayerful ode to the important differences between men and women, the obscuring of which has degraded our broader culture over the last few decades.

To state that "in the face of one closed door after another, Catholic women have been innovative, courageous and faithful to the church," as the women of the Women's Ordination Conference do, suggests they've never been to St. Peter's, where the doors are open and full of celebration for an essential part of God's creation: women.
I like that: a tremendous display of unseriousness!

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