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Women in the Church

December 8, 2021 (401 words)

Concern over finding oneself on the wrong side of history forces intelligent, well-intentioned people to abandon the formal practice of religion, while still thinking of themselves as being “spiritual” at heart. There are any number of problematic issues to be faced, including what is now considered a lack of respect shown toward women on the part of so many orthodox traditions.

With Catholic thought and teaching perhaps the most egregious offender in this regard. Just look at how It denies women equality in priestly ordination, relegating them to a secondary role in which they can only dedicate their lives to serving others as consecrated religious, aka, nuns. Just as a point of reference, the nuns I have encountered over the course of my life have been some of the most self-actualized people you could ever hope to meet. Sharp as a tack, and always on point. As far as I could tell, these highly productive women did not suffer from an inferiority complex. They never sang the second-class-citizen blues.

That teaching also flagrantly violates the contemporary notion of bodily autonomy, stubbornly insisting legal infanticide represents not the emancipation of women from biological determinism, but rather an all-time low in the history of Western civilization.

Catholics get it from both sides, so to speak, as they are disparaged by Evangelicals and other Protestant denominations for venerating the Virgin Mary as the mother of God. This vexes the Protestants, who believe nothing and no one should get in the way of a direct, personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They are unable or unwilling to see that Catholic veneration of Mary only enhances one’s love for Christ as the son of God – true God and true man. And for what he tried to teach our world once he got here.

What also flummoxes those pesky Protestants is the way our calendar is filled with feast days of female saints, whom we regularly call on for their timely help and intersession. We Catholics like having friends in high places. And our admiration is not bound by gender bias.

(Editor’s Note: A saint is someone who battles the same inclination toward sloth and selfishness we all do, but has a higher batting average than our own in warding off such temptation. They do a better job imitating the life of Christ, and therefore serve as examples of how it might be done.)

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
December 8 2021

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