The logic of Vatican’s linking sex abuse, women’s ordination

by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf As usual, the Vatican’s most recent announcement generated as much confusion and controversy as it did … Continued

by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

As usual, the Vatican’s most recent announcement generated as much confusion and controversy as it did clarity.

This week the Vatican (we’ll use “Vatican” as shorthand) announced changes made last May to procedures for dealing with what it terms “exceptionally serious crimes,” in Latin graviora delicta. Since 2001 the Vatican has tried cases involving acts of pedophilia committed by a cleric (priest, deacon or bishop), as one of these “exceptionally serious crimes”.

Among the changes to the legal procedures the Church will now follow to remove a pedophile from the priesthood is the extension of the statute of limitations from 10 years after the victim’s 18th birthday to 20 years. This extension makes it easier for the church tribunal within the Vatican’s “doctrinal department,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (hereafter CDF), to remove priests even when the victim did not come forward before reaching the age of 28.

Other significant changes include canonical/legal procedures for dismissing priests guilty of using child pornography or of sexually abusing adults vulnerable because of mental challenges.

Yet, many Vatican observers and critics were surprised to find in the list of “exceptionally serious crimes,” alongside procedures concerning sexual abuse, also the attempted ordination of women to the priesthood. In taking this step, the Vatican indicated that the latter is, like priestly pedophilia, a serious crime against faith and morals.

Admittedly, the variety of crimes covered might suggest to some, on the one hand, that this is the Vatican’s version of an “omnibus bill:” It deals with many urgent issues without necessarily connecting them.

On the other hand, some charge that the Vatican does connect the crimes and, even worse, equates their gravity.

They are both right and both wrong.

This new revision of that original 2001 document, called “The Safeguarding of the Sanctity of the Sacraments,” brings together various crimes/sins that were historically handled by the CDF.

In 1988 Pope John Paul II stated that the purpose of the CDF was “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world.” More specifically, the Pope gave to the CDF the power to deal with what he called “the more serious crimes (graviora delicta) against morals and the celebration of sacraments.”

In the 2001 document Pope John Paul II determined which crimes committed by clerics would be tried by the CDF’s tribunal. Many of these crimes involved sins committed during the performance of one of the Church’s sacraments. They included profaning the Eucharist and, in the case of priests, breaking the Seal of Confession or soliciting sex from a person during confession. To this list, the Pope added pedophile acts. The 2001 document was revised in 2003 to add other crimes, such as the recording of a confession by anyone.

To be clear, from 2001 onward the CDF has been responsible for the Church’s prosecution of priests accused of pedophilia. That 2001 document, revised in 2003, was updated in May 2010. The changes were published this week.

Pope Benedict XVI directed the CDF to add to the list of the “more serious crimes against morals and the celebration of sacraments.” The revised list of more serious crimes against morality now includes the use of child pornography by clerics and the abuse of vulnerable adults. The revised list of more serious crimes concerning celebration of sacraments now includes the attempt to ordain a woman to the priesthood.

Since the attempt to ordain a woman involves the serious abuse of a sacrament, Holy Orders, it was logical to place those cases before CDF’s tribunal. There was a clear need for an adequate church tribunal for prosecuting those involved in this action, which occurs sporadically in certain fringes of the Church.

The Vatican clarified during a press conference that, in revising the list of more serious crimes, it did not intend to equate the attempted ordination of women to the priesthood to pedophilia.

Like many modern states, and like other Christian churches and denominations, the Catholic Church has a variety of tribunals or courts for dealing with all sorts of cases and persons. A court can simultaneously deal with crimes involving different degrees of moral wrongdoing. Courts in the United States hear cases about crimes ranging from peddling without a license to murder. The fact that a court deals with various crimes does not imply that every crime they handle is equally grave, shocking, or scandalous.

Similarly, no one in the Vatican is saying that the attempted ordination of women does the same kind of damage as the horrific harm sexual abuse inflicts on a minor or a person who is vulnerable.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf is a columnist for weekly Catholic newspaper The Wanderer and has a popular blog at, which offers frank commentary on a range of issues.

  • The-Monk

    Fr. Z does it again. Clear, concise, and making good sense in a world where the senseless would rather mix apples and oranges to their own ends.Bravo!

  • JohnShuster

    Priests always try to explain everything away so that we will continue to give them money and spiritual power. Those days are coming to an end. The Vatican’s history of enabling and covering up sex crimes against children and their ongoing discrimination against the spiritual gifts of women called to priesthood contribute to a fading future of power and influence.

  • markerickson85

    It’s amazing to me that anyone who has ever read the Bible could imagine the Catholic Church is in any way affiliated with the Christian religion. Read a novel called On this Rock by Dave Leonard and then look up even a fraction of the allegations in the book. You’ll find there’s a lot of room to question the Catholic Church on including where it began. It’s been a fraud since day one and is nothing more than a way to hold onto power.

  • crabstu

    Great job, Father.

  • Renshaw

    So trying to ordain a woman is a “crime”. What utter nonsense. And this priest tries to justify this institutionalized hatred of women. And, as I read the actual source document, the woman who “attempts” to be ordained and the bishop who “attempts” to ordain her are immediately excommunicated from the RC Church. But not the priest who rapes children – he remains a Catholic in good standing. Father Z, you wonder why so many Catholics all over the world are leaving your pews? Look at how irrelevant your Church is, your words are, and your credibility has become. Your commentary made me ill. Maybe the majority of your parishioners (women!) should stop going and listening to this pious drivel!

  • Fenugreek

    Logic? This is gobbledygook from a fantasy world.How can those Vatican guys be so clueless? Or at least figure out how to stop digging themselves into an ever deeper hole.

  • elizdelphi

    Very straightforward explanation. These are main types of canonical crimes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith deals with–crimes against the sacraments and against morals. The former type of offense doesn’t register at all in civil law, it’s an offense basically against the Faith rather than against one’s neighbor. Canon law is Church law, not civil law, and it does legitimately encompass both kinds of offenses.

  • Renshaw

    Straightforward idiocy! To even use the word “crime” in a purely canonical way is beyond imagination. The absolute hatred of women in the Church is so obvious. If we only ordain men because only men were apostles, I guess we should only ordain Middle Eastern Jewish men as well. It makes as much logical sense!

  • athelstane

    Renshaw wrote: “The absolute hatred of women in the Church is so obvious.” Only to those who insist on imagining it.

  • elizdelphi

    As a Catholic woman who attends Mass every day, I can assure those who do not participate in the life of the Church that the Church and her leaders do not hate women! It’s very salutary to read Pope John Paul II’s beautiful and empowering “Letter to Women”:”Necessary emphasis should be placed on the “genius of women”, not only by considering great and famous women of the past or present, but also those ordinary women who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives. For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfil their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.” –Pope John Paul IIDoesn’t sound like a hater to me. :-)

  • Renshaw

    Oh, so women have genius, but not enough to be in the leadership of the Church? Women are great, but not great enough to be priests? You are so blind, you can’t even see how abused you are!

  • gabe3

    It amazes me how the hierarchy of the Catholic church can pick and choose which sacraments cannot be “tampered with.” The sacrament of Confirmation is one that changes from diocese ot diocese, and from year to year. When I received the sacrament, I was in the 8th grade and my brother in the 6th received it at the same time. There were so many students, that there was one sponsor for the boys and one for the girls. We were slapped across the face by the bishop as a sign that we would endure torture rather than give up our faith, as we were now “soldiers of Christ.” When my younger sisters received the sacrament, they were in high school, and taught that it was simply a reinforcement of the Holy Spirit coming into their lives. So, if that sacrament can change so drastically, why not Holy Orders? Why not? Because the hierarchy of the Catholic church is afraid of women, plain and simple. They are afraid of their “genius” and their logic and their justice. They would rather continue in the thinking of the “old boys’ school” where pedophile priests don’t have to be excommunicated, only priests who ordain women.

  • snapjudy

    Logic ? what logic…. this is insane..!!!

  • crabstu

    Changing the age of confirmation is not changing it drastically.

  • SarahTX2

    Any woman still in the Catholic Church is so spiritually lazy that she wouldn’t do any good anywhere else. Might’s well stay.

  • petelafond

    Again, more deflections and escape from crimes already committed. Lives destroyed and the cover ups continue. What has this church done to help those victims and families? Many victims committed suicide and others mentally ill today as a result of these horrific crimes. The church does nothing but act as it was nothing. Again, the church has zero concept of humanity. If they did, they would realize that the most violent acts of pedophilia will likely not be caught even by extending statutes another 10 years. Many victims don’t come forward earlier due to the mental illness caused, some never able to as the damage was so severe.Then again, what do we care about their statutes, after all, these are criminal offenses that need to be prosecuted by the justice system. Then again the RCC interferes with that too, since they pay lobbyist to deny victims again.This is not a religion, it is pure evil.

  • usapdx

    There are many good religious people in the RCC but there are some bad apples too. Thoes that commit the crime of sexual abuse against a child must be put totally out of RCC religious life. But thoes in the administration of the RCC that cover up these crimes to protect the image of the RCC have done more damage to the RCC and MUST resign no matter how high. It is time for a NEW pope with clean hands of any cover up crime what so ever and then VATICAN III to turn the RCC around. The RCC administration blameing everone but them selfs is rotten as their crimes of covering up the TRUTH to protect the IMAGE.

  • probably-no-deity

    oopps. At least If Ye & or Brother, family, friends et al; Who Attended cathoholic Parochial School that was PAYED BY YOU (Parents, Supporter etc) Can’t Get ‘Punitive Damages” etc.. but You can Justly Recover, if Shown ASSAULT, inhuman treatment etc.. and show the Amount Payed or given to the RCC school (i.e. if 5 Years Attendance costing $15,000 U.S.) THENYou will be able to receive Compensation (like Reparations for Being a Victim of War) The FULL AMOUNT PAYED INTO Your & Siblings EDU/Schooling there (Retroactively with or Without the Prevailing Interest Rate at the Time). Having records of both Financial and School Records (i.e., Forced to sit in Corners like a dunce hat or not; or Slapped on Hand with Paddle, ruler etc).It is critical to realize Why So Many ADULTS whom been victimized; Act like Children!? Or Grown MEM/WOM who are in Prison as a result of what traumatized them at very young age.? Something else about using “THE-LAW” (hence “THE-PEOPLE”) & out smarting their Satan (mr. Jesus other Brother, other 1/2), includes brother sister Angels (good or Bad) against Them Momzers. opps Monsters; IsUnder Secular Law [i.e., U.S.A.] There is a TOOL that makes it Mandatory/Automatic to “SEAL THE RECORDS” of Pre-Adults (i.e. Juvenile Violence Etc.) History’s of those folks [Perps or ViCTIMS] while under the 18th Amendment in some cases while the 21st Amendment. But But Technically & Legally Any Meaning: Because Sing, “Haaaaa,p,yyyy, Evvvvvvv,Veryyyyy,dayyyy TOoooo YOUuuuu (or US).!

  • athelstane

    USAPDX wrote: “It is time for a NEW pope with clean hands of any cover up crime what so ever and then VATICAN III to turn the RCC around.”Vatican III? Are you serious? We’re still recovering from Vatican II.

  • morristhewise

    Sin acts as a binding chain, without sin the Catholic Church would lose control of its followers. Pedophilia and women acting as priests are two of its many sins, and the church will not let even one of them go.

  • basilisky

    With their latest reinterpretation of canonical law, the Church leadership avoided yet another opportunity to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward sexual predators in their midst. Instead, by referring to the possibility of admitting women into the clergy as “an egregious violation of moral law” while allowing known pedophiles to continue to populate the clergy, the Church has demonstrated clearly how warped both their humanist and moral compasses have become. There is no “logic”concerning their latest decision, other than an indefensible defense of Church dogma for political purposes.Once the Church learns of sexual abuse by its clergy, the only choice under either God’s or man’s law must be to remove that person from the clergy. Arguments in defense of the redemption of priests who have abused children either before or after they became priests is the same thing as arguing for the continuation of the abuse. Is the life of even one child worth the risk?The Church’s failure to take strong enough steps to completely eradicate pedophilia by priests is the same thing as condoning it, and for that the Church’s leadership must be held fully responsible.

  • ies0716

    A lot of the comments here show an almost irrational hatred of the Church. The CDF handles grave crimes against faith (such as desecration of the Eucharist and mockery of the sacraments) as well as grave crimes against morals (child abuse, abuse of vulnerable adults, etc). They aren’t “equal” in terms of depravity and effects on the victims, but they both need to be dealt with in a clear, straightforward manner. I would suggest that the hostile posters here do some research (maybe by reading Fr. Z’s blog) on the issues facing the Catholic Church today before spewing forth anonymous hatred.

  • Renshaw

    I don’t read an irrational hatred – just a complete disgust about irrational people who think that excommunicating women who want to be ordained and the bishops who ordain while NOT excommunicating priest abusers and the bishops who cover for them is perfectly fine.So, IES0716, do you think that a priest who orally and anally sodomizes a nine year old boy shouldn’t be excommunicated but a faithful and holy woman who feels called by God and is ordained by a bishop should? That’s what the Church teaches and believes, as reflected in this document. I’m so glad you want to defend rapists and condemn women who wish to minister. That shows the Catholic Christian spirit!

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Renshaw:”…complete disgust about irrational people who think that excommunicating women who want to be ordained and the bishops who ordain while NOT excommunicating priest abusers and the bishops who cover for them is perfectly fine.”Renshaw:The Church doesn’t excommunicate thieves. By your logic, the Church thinks that is “perfectly fine”; the Church doesn’t excommunicate adulterers…murderers…tax cheats…people who despoil the environment. Are you really going to claim the Church thinks all those things are “perfectly fine”? Really?In fact, there are a whole lot of things that people do, that are terribly wrong, that don’t get them excommunicated.This may seem very odd to you–but that may be because you misunderstand what “excommunication” is. You seem to think it’s the worst penalty the Church can inflict, therefore anything that gets one excommunicated must be the worst thing you can do.But actually, the worst penalty isn’t the Church’s to dole out. It’s called eternal damnation, and the Church cannot inflict it, and does not try.Actually, the Church tries to keep people from it. So what is “excommunication”? In essence, it is simply a statement of fact: if you do thus-and-so, you have strained your relationship with the Church to the breaking point. Now, to varying degrees, every sin does that; but the Church only applies excommunication where there seems a need to spell this out.

  • Renshaw

    Fr. Fox – I didn’t write the document that said women who attempt ordination are excommunicated and ordained men who rape children are not. The Vatican wrote that.

  • Renshaw

    And another question for Fr. Fox: you don’t think that a priest who orally and anally rapes a 9 year old boy violates the sacrament of Holy Orders but a woman who attempts ordination does? Are you really defending this?

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Basilisky said:”Once the Church learns of sexual abuse by its clergy, the only choice under either God’s or man’s law must be to remove that person from the clergy.”Basilisky:Every year, all over the U.S., there are teachers who commit abuse against children. And I hope they are removed from teaching, and I’m sure you agree.But my question is, would you insist that the federal government must carry it out? Would you complain bitterly that it was done, instead, by local authorities? I would not; but I would complain if it weren’t done.So why do you complain that the Vatican is not ejecting all the priests, when, in comparison to the U.S. government, has vastly fewer resources to impose its will on the Church, than the feds do to impose their will on the 50s states?Now, perhaps you will say, but the Vatican must tell all the bishops to do it. Well, perhaps they should, but unless it’s spelled out in some detail, I’m not sure how helpful or effective that would be in practice, so I’m not sure why that would be so meaningful to you. I might add, as far as I know, no one in the federal government has issued such an edit for the 50 states, as far as education or other state and local institutions working with children; but I could be mistaken. Can you cite examples, in this case, of such mandates?It’s one thing to say, “there ought to be a law!”; it’s another to answer the question, “OK, let’s write that law; what will it say?”For example, if the Vatican tells bishops to do something, how will a handful of officials in Rome track and observe compliance, in 200 countries? In any case, are not unaware that “zero tolerance” is actually the law for the Catholic Church in the U.S.?

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Renshaw:I really don’t think you’re reading my comments very carefully. I’ll say it again: not-being-excommunicated does not mean the Church thinks something isn’t terrible. OK?You may think that excommunication = worst things possible; ergo all the worst things should get someone excommunicated; but that’s not what excommunication is for.You keep thinking of excommunication as a punishment; that’s not essentially what it is.By the way, a cleric who rapes a child gets permanently removed from the clerical state; which is a worse penalty than excommunication. Because an excommunication can be

  • paulc2

    I applaud the Washington Post for giving voice to an authentic Catholic voice in Father Z. Perhaps this is the start of something good because it allows those that actually read the posts to learn what the Church really is doing.Unfortunately, many posters on this blog disregard what is written and instead use it as an excuse for their anti-catholic agenda. For instance, JOHNSHUSTER claims that priests explain things away so people will give them money. Hardly. Priest work for room/board and a very small stipend for other needs. Markerickson85 claims that its surprising that anyone who ever read the bible would consider the Catholic Church Christian. Unfortunately, what Mark doesn’t realize is that the books of the New Testament were written by Catholic Saints and that the Bible was compiled by the Catholic Church as a teaching and liturgical tool. The key criteria for books to be included in the Bible Canon were that they were Apostolic and consistent with Catholic teaching. Renshaw is in favor of the ordination of women and is convinced that the reason women aren’t ordained is that the Catholic Church hates women. Of Course, Renshaw probably doesn’t know that there are 3 women doctors of the Church, thousands of women canonized saints and that the most highly regarded Saint in Catholicism is Mary, mother of Jesus. True, women have different roles than men in the Church. They are not ordained to be priests because we follow what Jesus said and did. He only named men apostles, even though he had many womenn disciples. But you see, the priest represents Jesus. SarahTX2 insults all Catholic women by saying that they have to be spiritually lazy to remain Catholics. She obviously doesn’t know about Mother Angelica or Mother Teresa and she certainly doesn’t know about the hundred or so women that attend DAILY mass at my parish.PetelaFond says the Catholic church is not a religion, its pure evil I’m sure he doesn’t know about Catholic Charitiies, the biggest charity in the world and I doubt he knows what the Catholic Church really teaches. Maybe if he would google” Catholic Catechism” and read, he would have a better appreciation.USAPDX wants a new pope. Well, we will get one eventually but for now we should be very happy with Benedict XVI. Perhaps USAPDX would have a greater appreciation of this pope if she read one of his books, like “Jesus of Nazareth”

  • morristhewise

    There is a list of sins kept in a vault at the Vatican and devout Catholics never commit any of those sins. The more a person sins the less of a Catholic they become. The media is now publicizing the sin of allowing a woman to enter the priesthood and the sin of molesting a youth. They are both evil and both are creations of the Devil. But the worst sinners are those that doubt the existence of God, they must be avoided like STD.

  • francisco1

    The Church authorities have always had trouble dealing with women. St Gregory of Tours (+594) in his ‘Historia Francorum’(8, 20)reports that at the second Synod of Mâcon(585), which he attended, a bishop raised the question “whether woman could be called ‘HOMO’.”It was a philological question apparently raised because of the higher value that men placed on themselves:HOMO in Latin means “person” as well as “man”.After an interesting debate, Gregory reports, the issue was settled: the term HOMO was to be applied to women as well as to men. After all God created man (HOMO), “male and female he created them”, and Jesus is called “Son of Man” (filius HOMINIS), although he was the son of a virgin, and hence the son of a woman.Given these clarifications, how can one justify the exclusion of women from the rights that men enjoy?

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Francisco writes:”The Church authorities have always had trouble dealing with women.”Silly. The first “Church authority” had women all around him; he broke barriers left and right, shocked lots of people, did unconventional things, till he was crucified. But he never chose women as apostles. The early Church relied on collaboration and leadership of women, as the New Testament attests; St. Paul lauds many women for helping in many ways. The early Church could have either drawn from Jewish tradition, in which women were judges (i.e., rulers of Israel), queens, and prophets; but never priests. Or it could have drawn from pagan society around it, in which women were often priestesses, but may–or may not–have been deemed equal. St. Paul clearly teaches there is neither “male nor female” but all belong to Christ.Yet neither Paul, nor any of the Apostles, ordained women as bishops, priests or deacons.Francisco asks, “how can one justify the exclusion of women from the rights that men enjoy?”What “right” do you mean? If you refer to a “right to ordination,” there is no such right. Men enjoy no such right; all Catholic men, even all Catholic single men, do not enjoy a “right” to be ordained.

  • Renshaw

    Father Fox: I have read your statements and I know that excommunication is not the greatest punishment. I also know that one who is excommunicated cannot receive communion, be anointed, etc. until or unless they admit their “crime” and seek confession. That being said, I think it is disgusting that the word “crime” is even used in this conversation regarding women’s ordination. Just because she does not have male genitalia, she cannot be ordained? What utter nonsense! And you did not answer my question: Do you personally think that a woman who attempts to be ordained violates the Sacrament of Holy Orders but an ordained priest who orally and anally sodomizes a nine year old boy doesn’t? Whether you like it or not, your Vatican authorities put these subjects together in this document and made it quite clear what the “punishment” would be for a woman who tries to be ordained. And while a priest may be removed from the clerical state, he can still receive communion, be anointed, etc. And I believe you folks teach that there is no salvation outside the Church and that the Sacraments are vehicles of God’s grace helping the faithful along on the road to salvation. When one is excommunicated, aren’t they outside the Church and, because of that, not able to be saved according to your doctrine? And to those who think I don’t know about the women doctors of the Church and the wonderful female saints – I do. My question is this – if the Church thinks women are so wonderful, why won’t they ordain them? All of that other stuff is sheer pedastalism. It’s faint praise.And to the one who said, “He only named men priests” – I think you’re referring to the apostles. They were only Jewish as well and from the Middle East. How far do you carry your own twisted logic? Maybe we should only ordain Jewish men from the Middle East.I don’t know why I’m so amazed that even the priests commenting here are defending their rapist brothers while condemning half of the human race to subservient status. This Church has lost all credibility.

  • suburbanbanshee

    Re: the first comment on the 2nd Synod of Macon, the significance of the account is entirely one of linguistic history. Many Indo-European languages, including Latin and Old English, had a scheme of three terms for humans: man, woman, and person. In Latin: vir, femina, and homo. In Old English and other Germanic languages: wer or guma, wif or frouwe — and man just meant a person. The Franks were in the process of losing the word for “person”, just as the English did. The Latin “homo” was taking the place of wer/guma — which is why the French call a male human “homme”, instead of it being a neutral word. So the reason the whole discussion came up is that the Franks — or at least one single Frankish bishop, who meekly accepted instruction on the point if you read Historia Francorum — didn’t understand the Latin words “vir” and “homo” anymore, and thought “homo” meant a male human only. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not women were human, and everything to do with vocabulary shifts.(And if you think that’s freaky, you should study what happened to Welsh in a single generation, after Rome pulled out of Britain.)

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Renshaw says:”I think it is disgusting that the word “crime” is even used in this conversation regarding women’s ordination. Just because she does not have male genitalia, she cannot be ordained? What utter nonsense!”Well, you are entitled to your opinion; but not to impose it on others. The Church does, indeed, consider distortions of the sacraments to be crimes. You don’t have to agree. If you belong to a church, your church can have its sacred rites as it sees fit. The Catholic Church does what Christ did in this regard.”And you did not answer my question: Do you personally think that a woman who attempts to be ordained violates the Sacrament of Holy Orders but an ordained priest who orally and anally sodomizes a nine year old boy doesn’t?”I think both are wrong, but wrong in different ways–the harm they do is different. Both harm the sacrament of holy orders, but in different ways.One reason the issue of attempted ordination gains a certain amount of attention some sections of canon law, is because there is a need of But there is a fair amount of confusion on who can receive the sacrament of holy orders; ergo, that By the way, you say excommunication means no sacraments, till confessed. Actually, that’s true of every mortal sin. Again, you misunderstand what excommunication is. You keep insisting its a punishment. Well, in some other church, perhaps it is; but not in the Catholic Church. It’s not a penalty so much as a statement of relationship; it makes explicit something which might otherwise be unclear. If ever our society gets so deranged that people are unclear about the depravity of rape, then it may be necessary for the Church to excommunicate rapists. Thankfully, no one is unclear about this being a grave crime.

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Renshaw:…let me put it another way; suppose the Church simply stopped having excommunication; would that mean even a single more person could receive the sacraments?No.Because the reason they can’t receive the sacraments is because they are in a state of mortal sin; or else they simply aren’t Catholics. (President Obama can’t receive the sacraments, but this has nothing to do with the state of his soul, which I do not know nor care to speculate about. He’s not Catholic.)Excommunicates don’t receive the sacraments because they did something gravely sinful, whether they are ever excommunicated, or not.Their being excommunicated is not about punishment, therefore, but about clarifying their relationship to the Church.

  • Renshaw

    So excommunication is a simple clarification of a relationship? I wonder how that would be received by all the thousands of Protestants who were burned at the stake during the time of the Reformation and beyond, the Jews in Spain, and all of the other “excommunicates”, excuse me – people who needed a clarified relationship?

  • Renshaw

    “Perhaps you are fuzzy on this, but I think just about everyone knows that clergy aren’t supposed to rape people; no one is confused on that subject, so no clarification is needed.”Really? Everybody knows? Even the bishops who covered for the priests rapists? Even Cardinal Law? And even the popes who knew and did nothing? They all knew? Father, how can you defend rapists?

  • Girgadis

    SarahTx2I would beg to differ with you about Catholic women and your allegation that we are spiritually lazy. Perhaps what we realize, that you don’t, is that the priesthood isn’t a career choice, it’s a vocation and an ancient calling as old as the Church itself. There is something larger here than a perceived power struggle based on gender. None of us are greater than our Creator or more important than the Church. One does not have to be ordained a priest to carry out the work of God. If anyone doubts the impact women have had on the Church, they need only to look at the honor given to Mary, the Mother of God and many of the female saints, some of whom were made Doctors of the Church because of their writings. As for your ridiculous assertion that Catholic women would not be worth anything outside the Church, I wonder if you will touch as many lives as Mother Teresa did?

  • bruno5

    Another winner Fr. Z. Very clear and straight forward without an emotional bias.

  • sdent60

    The Vatican clarified (under Canon Law) what is and is not, and the Church’s own punishment, on top or alongside any civil punishment for crimes committed.While not all homosexuals are attracted to young men, (Ephebophilia) there are a sizable number that are, and cannot exercise the self discipline to refrain from engaging in sexual acts. That many of these older men are in a position of authority, and sit in judgment over whether or not a man is ever ordained… there is that “abuse of power.”If it weren’t for the preponderance of pederasty (homosexual partnership/relationship between a young man and a much older man) occurring at many seminaries and religious institutions. This might not be an issue.If those that initiate these relationship would take “no” for an answer when they attempt to engage someone NOT WILLING, and once “rejected” not take vengeance, again, it might not have been a problem.MY personal opinion, sexually active homosexuals/heterosexuals really have no business being ordained in the Catholic Church. But then I am just a member of the laity and have no voice or vote in this.We’ve (The Catholic Church) has been through this before; we don’t need more men in the model of the de Medicis or the Borgias.That’s the problem when you have a billion members, even a minute fraction of a percent is still a lot of bad apples.

  • Renshaw

    “Another winner Fr. Z. Very clear and straight forward without an emotional bias. A report that connects the dots and lets us see why decisions were made the way they were!”Do you mean the Fr. Z who put this up on his website about the commentators here: “A few contributors can both read and think, but there are some deeply confused people over there. And a couple are simply wackos to be ignored.”Such clarity without emotion, calling people who offer their opinions next to his as “confused” and “wackos”. What a holy priest! He also asked his cult following to come over here and leave comments because, of course, a bullying mob is always better than a straight forward dialogue.

  • hummingbird2

    There are many generalizations here, but the comments are not anywhere close to what this article is about. What the Vatican released was a document on “urgent issues without necessarily connecting them” No one saw that point in this article if they actually read it, however most have tried to connect them and they are in error.”The Vatican clarified during a press conference that, in revising the list of more serious crimes, it did not intend to equate the attempted ordination of women to the priesthood to pedophilia.” (from the article above)In the Catholic Church women are not priests, nor should they attempt to become one. This is an important issue in my faith. If you are going against the teachings of the church and bringing people along it is a serious issue. The church is in the business of saving souls. It has nothing to do with hating women. If women want a religious role, there are many convents which need them, but the priesthood is not it. (I am a woman and perfectly fine with that)There are many good Priests who only want to lead people to Christ. Unfortunately, there are those guilty of the most heinous crime. They have done a terrible thing and need to be punished, that is the other mention in this article … that of protecting the victims of this tragedy. Terrible things have been done, but the Church is trying to make it right… and also keeping people from error.

  • andy1979

    “So excommunication is a simple clarification of a relationship? I wonder how that would be received by all the thousands of Protestants who were burned at the stake during the time of the Reformation and beyond, the Jews in Spain, and all of the other ‘excommunicates’, excuse me – people who needed a clarified relationship?”Actually, the actions that were undertaken against these groups weren’t excommunication. Perhaps some of the Protestants who had previously been Catholics would have been excommunicated, but you cannot excommunicate somebody who was never in communion with the Church in the first place and that would certainly include Jewish people as well as many if not most post-Reformation Protestants. You can debate about the Church’s actions against other religious groups, as well as those groups’ actions against Catholics in countries that were under their control, but those actions had little if anything to do with excommunication because most of those on the non-Catholic side weren’t “communicated” in the first place.

  • athelstane

    Hello Mr. Renshaw:”He also asked his cult following to come over here and leave comments because, of course, a bullying mob is always better than a straight forward dialogue.”If there’s been any dialogue at all here, you certainly have not contributed to it.It’s as if you didn’t even bother to read the article. All we get from you are pre-fabricated rants about how evil the Catholic Church is. It seems like a muscle reflex for you.Offer a constructive comment, and you might be surprised what develops.

  • SEMurphy

    Renshaw, not a single priest or any other Catholic who has posted here has defended a rapist. The author of the column, and Fr Fox, and a couple of other people have tried to explain, sometimes to you, specifically, the rationale behind the Vatican’s recent statement. You keep shouting over them “you’re defending rapists, you’re defending rapists!” Come off it, you know nobody is defending rapists.

  • Renshaw

    No, they just defend the fact that women who attempt ordination and the people who ordain them are thrown out of the Church but the priests who rape children and the bishops who cover it up are not thrown out of the Church. This whole thing just smells of the same stink women have put up with for thousands of years. The church tells women that they cannot have control over their bodies, they cannot be priests solely because God chooses men over women which is something I don’t buy – God is not a bigot – and they tell women to just pray, pay and obey. I think all women should just say to hell with it and get up and walk out.And by the way, to the person who referred to me as “Mr” Renshaw. How do you know what my gender is? I’ve never said what it is. Why do you assume I am a man?

  • misnich

    Wow. More than a few commenters require a lesson in civility, not to mention the fact that so many people have merely proven that they are incapable of keeping their comments somewhat focussed on the issues at hand.The writer of the article has laid out the information in a straight forward manner. The thought that comes to mind is: now if only other groups would tighten up their procedures for screening and weeding out corrupt individuals. Let’s see if groups dealing with teachers, doctors, physicians and coaches will catch up to the Church by making their standards as tough and procedures as thorough as the Vatican has done. The media, drunk on the blood of priests, have largely ignored the vast number of abuse cases which occur. If people insist on letting their bigotry blind them, causing them to ignore the real threat, only the innocent will suffer. If people are hell bent on demonizing priests and the Church, they are missing the fact that abusive priests were/are but a very, very small percentage of the abusers. The only ones benefitting from a society distracted by bigotry and an irrational preoccupation with attacking the Church are lawyers and the pedophiles who go undetected because society thinks it already has the devil in its sights.

  • athelstane

    Hello Renshaw,That was my mistake. Please accept my apologies for hastily assuming your gender.It is still not clear to me – despite the efforts of Fr. Fox – that you understand what “excommunication” is, nor what is entailed in other canonical penalties. Excommunication does not “kick out” anyone from the Church or undo their baptism; what it does is deprive them of all participation in the blessings of the ecclesiastical Church. It is medicinal more than punitive; and as Fr. Fox notes, it neither deprives a Catholic of membership in the Church nor even a priest of his priesthood. A priest who rapes a child loses that as well – so in this sense there are more severe remedies provided for. And he is just as forbidden from communion as an excommunicate. I think much of the problem is that you are approaching Church law and society in secular (American) terms, and that just does not work. Being a priest is not just a “job” like being a doctor or plumber or carpenter. It is a vocation to which a few are called, one of a number of different vocations. No one has a “right” to be a priest (or a nun). And this is true of all of the Eastern Churches as well, both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian, and has been true since the very beginning. Christ ordained only men for Apostles (when he was a free actor to do as he wished); their Judaism was not determinative since the Apostles, following the instructions of Christ after the Resurrection, promptly ordained gentile men from a number of backgrounds – but never women. This is the teaching the Church (both East and West) receives and does not feel authorized to reject.It may help to read The Catholic Priesthood and Women, by Sr. Sara Butler, a noted (woman) theologian who actually initially favored women’s ordination but changed her mind after examining the question in depth. Link here:

  • Renshaw

    Misnich – priests represent God to people. Why do they focus in on priests? Because priests represent God to people. The other professions do not. The sexual abuse of a minor is evil, no matter who the abuser is. But it is twice so when a priest is the rapist because he is held to the higher standard. Athelstane – you’re on the other website as well, I think. You can preach to me until the cows come home. The Church has had many changes in its history. Your own argument – the apostles chose to ordain gentiles – tells me that they, the church hierarchy, can “choose” to ordain women if they wished. And did Jesus really “ordain” the apostles? Where they called “Father”? Did they wear black cassocks? Were they in charge of parishes? I don’t think so. You people have really drunk the kool aid, haven’t you? At the end of the day, the Vatican put the ordination of women in the same category as priests raping babies. It’s your Church who did it, not mine. You can twist words all you want, but in the last sentence, it is your clergy who raped and your bishops who covered it up. It is your pope who knew about priests in Germany who had been accused of rape who transferred them. It is your pope who said that they would work with civil authorities until the civil authorities raided the offices of the cardinal in Belgium. It is your pope who stood by on Good Friday listening to the anti-Semitic rantings of a priest and said nothing. It is your pope who called the Islamic religion a violent religion forgetting all the blood on his religion’s hands.I read through the website of Fr. Z and I can see the hatred for non-Catholics all over that site. The arrogance of the people there is incredible, as if the last 100 years haven’t happened. People are more concerned about how a priest dresses than whether or not he is a good man. They worry about to eat the communion host. Honestly, where do you people get off? When your child is the next child abused and the Church tries to silence you, intimidate you, tell you that nothing happened, and moves the priest who abused your baby to another parish so he can abuse more – we’ll see what song you sing?I’m done talking with you drones. You can’t even think for yourselves. Go back to thinking that you’re all so holy and going to heaven and your loving God will send most of the people he created to hell because they aren’t Catholic or Christian. Maybe that’s why so many Catholics stood by and did nothing as they burned Jews alive in WWII Germany, where Benedict was part of the Nazi youth.

  • wireman65

    The Catholic church is irrelevant.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    Place a young man in a seminary with orders not to have sex relations with a woman nor act out sexually in any manor and eventually they are tempted to turn to men and boys and many do. Place a young man in prison for a time with no contact with women and walla. What part of DAHH don’t some get?

  • Tom81

    When John Paul II writes: “….the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives…” he defines feminity as a service career. But how is it that someone (women) whose essence is to serve cannot be a priest whose sole mission is to serve. I guess they must mean “subservient” Do you think?

  • tojby_2000

    T’was once thought the noblest deed done to a heretic was to save his soul with the purifying fires of the stake.T’is now believed that a priestess would lead true but gullible believers into darkness.Who now doth sayeth the RCC doesn’t keep up?

  • rannrann

    The Catholic Church or any religious institution can only be as intelligent as it’s followers demand it to be. The demand for the Vatican to grow and evolve has been limp at best from it’s “sheep.”The Catholic Church is only relevant to Catholics, no one else really gives a hoot what they do or don’t do. If one is unintelligent enough to put up with the “baloney” of the Vatican then so be it.

  • digiphase

    The Catholic hierarchy is an old boys club.

  • jimfilyaw

    one of the more amazing things in life is how supposedly intelligent creatures persist in falling for the same lines, over and over ad infinitum.the roman catholic church is the sole property of these unnatural men leading unnatural lives. period. the rest of you genuflecting morons are of little more importance to their church than the mice which scurry through the sanctuary’s nooks and crannys. what little use they have of you comes of your credulous willingness to support their instituiton, fight their wars, offer your children to their private lusts, and serve as their loudmouthed champion in the manner of idiots like bill donohue or claire booth luce.if i am an atheist, i assure you that it was not because i was convinced by hitchens or dawkins. what convinced me were the folks who proclaim themselves christians.

  • MarkDavidovich

    So The Vatican was really, really, really tactless. But an important part of teaching, including teaching about morals, is tact. Teachers who insult the intelligence or sensibilities of their students fail as teachers.

  • vigor

    I can’t see why anyone believes the Vatican has ANY kind of moral authority now.They’ve been defending sick perverts before the safety of children.That was NOT Jesus’ message.

  • sailmaker1943

    There are a number of givens in the present equation: (1) Pope Benedict is a brilliant man whose papacy is about to be defined by his failures; (2) the Church has an unnatural interest in sex, and has had for centuries; and (3) women in the Church are second class citizens. To the point, any time the Church speaks in glowing terms about the “special gifts” of women, you can bet the accolades are immediately circumscribed by the good ol’ boys’ ecclesiastical club which, in its last gasp to cling to exclusivity, power and control, insists that possession of an XY chromosomal set is God’s own requirement for service in His Church as a priest. T’ain’t so, Magee! The Church in 1976 concluded that there was no scriptural impediment to women serving as priests. Faced with that conclusion, the Church has resorted to its usual collection of smoke and mirrors to argue all of its various positions why women can’t be priests, none of which are worth recounting here. In point of fact, the priesthood of old men is collapsing around our ears, which collapse makes inevitable the opening of the fullness of the Church to the statistical other half of its population, i.e., women. Women will become priests in our Church, and sooner rather than later. It is inevitable, and it is right for this to occur. Then, perhaps, the Church’s unhealthy interest in, and outright interference in, the sex lives of its communicants will diminish entirely or even disappear. In my view, the NO GURLS ALLOWD sign is about to fall from the clubhouse door.

  • imacfarlane

    Raised a Catholic didn’t give me any particular insight but living as a human being did. Religions pander to the inherent fear of death by promising eternal life. Period.The concept of of our individual death appears to be the most difficult human beings must absorb but until we do we will continue to “justifiably” murder each other through, among other things, wars fought in the name of whatever god happens to be in our sphere of belief.Religious belief permits most of humanity to accept and even justify some to engage in the barbarity of murder through war and capital punishment. Defend what you will but don’t gloss over the truth of existence with words of belief.

  • ColoradoLiberal

    The Vatican long ago lost any moral credibility, and lost it long before the priest pedophile scandal. Anyone who expends the effort will find the material (as in Aaron and Loftus, ‘Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis and The Swiss Banks, 1998, and Christopher Simpson’s: ‘Blowback: America’s recruitment of Nazis, and its disastrous effect on our domestic and foreign policy’)) to show how the Vatican assisted in helping thousands of SS, Nazis escape along “ratlines” to South America.The priest sex abuse scandals merely reaffirmed that these reprobates lack any moral authority or credibility – and this ocnflation of women’s ordination with that sex abuse shows these miter-heads have lost all rational moorings.The Vatican should henceforth be ignored as the anachronistic closed fraternity that it is.

  • terencef100

    How extraordinary that so many non-Catholics deem themselves qualified to comment on Catholic doctrine. If you think the Church is irrelevant, as many of you suggest, then why don’t you save your energy? Your bigoted drivel convinces no one.

  • Fr_Martin_Fox

    Renshaw said:”Father, how can you defend rapists?”Renshaw:I haven’t defended rapists, which any fair-minded person can see.Since you now choose to argue by lie, consider our conversation at an end.

  • newagent99

    the catholic chuch is very anti-Christ.

  • cadam72

    I am not a catholic basher, but consistantly find myself viewing this as a power issue within a religious institution and not “acts of religion”. The single biggest ommission in the new rules about pedophiles in the ranks is that its does not REQUIRE superiors to give names of alleged priests to police or other authorites for public investigation. This alone shows me there is a struggle between moral authority & self preservation in the church. As to the ordination of women, as long as the Vatican says “Jesus did not choose women”, it becomes a slippery slope or looking ONLY at historical texts they want to. With that in mind, Jesus never choose anglo men, african men, etc. It is as refutable to say one class shold not be allowed as any other. It is about conservative power within the church, not “historical truths.”

  • jontomus

    After all is said and done, the catholic church thought more of itself than it did for the molested children. It thought first of protecting itself, second, third fourth … spreading the molesters around so they could have new fresh victims … it’s almost like the church wanted these children abused.

  • toc59

    It is truly astounding how many people continue to buy into the religion scam and hand so much influence and control in their own lives, and the lives of their children, to catholic priests and ALL other religious witch doctors.All of their twisted, circular logic and rationalizing can’t hide the fact that christianity is based on the proven myths (many of them plagerized from other tribes) of a tiny, ancient semetic tribe.Oh, did Father rape your child? Well, it’s in the interests of the church for you to forget about it and to avoid doing anything that harms our wealthy, powerful boys club.What a scam.

  • Skowronek

    “By the way, a cleric who rapes a child gets permanently removed from the clerical state; which is a worse penalty than excommunication. Because an excommunication can be lifted; but being removed from the clerical state, cannot.”Like many modern states, and like other Christian churches and denominations, the Catholic Church has a variety of tribunals or courts for dealing with all sorts of cases and persons. A court can simultaneously deal with crimes involving different degrees of moral wrongdoing. Courts in the United States hear cases about crimes ranging from peddling without a license to murder. The fact that a court deals with various crimes does not imply that every crime they handle is equally grave, shocking, or scandalous.”The document doesn’t state that if someone is suspected of child abuse and/or pedophilia, they are to be reported immediately to the police or social services. The child is a citizen of the USA and the state of residence. Being Catholic doesn’t supersede that fact. That is the standard for physicians, schools and day care centers. The Catholic church is NOT a “state” within the USA.

  • Renshaw

    It is amazing how these priests can defend other priests and bishops to the nth degree, even when these men have committed such vile and evil acts. They say they’re not defending rapists, but aren’t they? They think that every word that drips from Rome is so sacred, they can’t critically analyze one letter of it. There is no mandate to turn in a priest rapist. Bishops are exempt from these laws, how convenient. There is no mandate to make public the names of all the abusers. And then, of course, come the hurling accusations that those of us who are critical are not Catholic, or Catholics who have gone astray because of the evil Vatican II, uninformed Protestants, or the even more reprobate Jews or Muslims. Go over to Fr. Z’s blog and see how much veiled hatred toward anyone who is not of their ilk is there, the venom gushes forth like a deluge.And women who wish to preside at the Eucharist as priests are “defiling” the sacrament in their minds, much like if someone urinated on a consecrated host. That’s what they really believe about women. The people over at that blog don’t even want women as Eucharistic Ministers or Altar Servers. They want nuns dressed in their Catholic version of the burqa. They want women to be subservient. All they want to see when they step foot in their churches are women whose heads are covered with cloth and bowed in front of the almighty priest.What’s worse, so many of these “faithful” are women themselves who cannot fathom the horizontal hatred they espouse.

  • areyousaying

    The whole issue of pervert priests boils down to a battle between the arrogant, In it’s international racketeering conspiracy to keep child molesters away from civil prosecution, the Pope and his Cardinals raise their collective middle fingers at civil law, claiming they are above it and then ask us to believe they will take care of this criminal activity and obstruction of justice by themselves.History shows us they can’t and won’t. Civil law trumps Canon Law, at least in the US, and it’s time we put them on notice that we won’t stand their criminal sexual terrorism of children and their cover ups anymore.Just because some Catholic parents regard their sons being molested as all just a part of growing up in the Church, doesn’t mean the rest of us will longer tolerate the priestly abuse of children, especially non-Catholic children like I was at 14.It’s time for Ratzinger, his Cardinals and his Bishops to face the authority of civil law instead of being able to hide perverts beneath the billows of their $10,000 dresses. If you think your Chruch, your Pope and his Cardinals and Bishops are above civil laws you are one complicit Catholic.

  • Mastruca

    I could see someone not understanding why we don’t have priestesses in the Catholic Church. But to hate us for it? Do you hate someone who prefers vanila ice cream to chocolate? You want a priestess? Join a group that has them. But don’t hate some other group that does not have them. What happened to tolerance? Do you hate the NFL also? Do you insist they use female players? Sheesh!

  • msiekierski

    Those who wonder why the Catholic Church doesn’t have a regulation requiring that abuse be reported to the proper authorities are forgetting that the Church operates in all of the countries of the world. Should a priest in North Korea be reported to the authorities? What about an underground priest in China?These changes are for the entire Church, not just those Dioceses that exist in the US, and therefore don’t include mandatory reporting. The USCCB, however, did approve and publish this:

  • Whispers

    Cardinal Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI is the chief protector of a worldwide cabal of priests who shun mature sex but are obsessed with sexually violating children. Ratzinger, a former member of the Hitler Youth Brigade compares women equality within the church to pedophelia and yet the MSM treats him and his bunch of pompous robe-wearing perverts with respect. Hell awaits Ratzinger and the Main Stream Media.

  • Brian42

    Thanks for insight into how the Church thinks. I wonder if this tribunal is the same one that has failed to laicize the priests convicted of leading the Rwandan genocide nor called the Archbishop of Kigali to account for his revolting lie that Rwandan Catholic clergy were not involved. Is inciting brutal mass murder along ethnic lines considered “graviora delicta” in your religion, Catholics? Or is that some other category of grave sin? Or is it something uncomfortable that is best not mentioned in polite company? I don’t know why so much barrels of ink are poured on the top of misogyny in this disgusting antique religion. A sane person wouldn’t want anything to do with it.

  • crayon

    As always, the Catholic bigots are out in full force. However, I would like to thank the WaPo for putting Fr. Z on line to clearly and concisely explain what happened.Now, if the WaPo would get rid of the resident Catholyc, Mr. Arroyo, and replace him w/ a real Catholic, Fr. Z.

  • frederic2

    The catholic church, like any other religion, is nothing but a fossilized superstition which serves some tribal purposes. But somehow there seems to be some superstitious part in our brain: To connect something as causal (god, the human invention) which is simply random (nature, the incredibly wonderful!).

  • fakedude1

    I agree with Fr. Z, but I would even go beyond what he says. Advocates of “ordaining” women show the same contempt for God and humanity that sexual perverts do. So to say that they are the feminine equivalent of homosexual men who molest children is simply a realistic observation. Radical feminism has always been heavily (no pun intended) dominated by lesbians. Like homosexual men, they have a distorted view of human sexuality and children. Read their rhetoric – their own words condemn them.

  • fakedude1

    Fr. Z makes sense to me. Sexual abuse of children is largely perpetrated by homosexual men, and the whole feminist theology movement is led by homosexual women. In each case we see people with a homosexual orientation trying to force their views on others. And in both groups we see the same contempt for the Church and its teachings.

  • jiji1

    Sounds good to me. Homosexual men abused the vast majority of children, and homosexual women are leading the feminist movement. They are united by a deep contempt for the Church, and a distorted view of human sexuality.

  • cprferry

    “Oh, so women have genius, but not enough to be in the leadership of the Church? Women are great, but not great enough to be priests? You are so blind, you can’t even see how abused you are!Who said the leaders of the Church are geniuses? That priests are great? No one said such things. In fact, a great number of leaders and priests would humbly say they are neither of those things, but they bring their meager talents to God and are open to His graces to able perform the duties He calls them to.Renshaw, your comment reminds me of a modern feminist argument. The one that ignores and maligns the work of maintaining, feeding, caring and raising a family. If a man or woman is to hold any respect in this world, they must ignore such profitless activities and invest themselves outside the home. This attitude does a great disservice to the countless family women and men who go not only unpaid, but are viewed as unnecessary in our society. It would be great is feminists and the rest of society would respect this work force rather than perpetuate the myth (a man-made myth, now encouraged by the feminist agenda) that home work has no value.There is no greater or lesser of the work inside or outside of the home. (Or that of women or men in the Church.) There is the necessary pairing of the two. Neither is greater or lesser, the two are equal and fruitless without the other.

  • Renshaw

    “The one that ignores and maligns the work of maintaining, feeding, caring and raising a family.”Okay, let’s keep women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Let’s tell them that this is the greatest work of all or at least on par with working outside the home while the men stay in the leadership positions and call all the shots. Oh, and don’t lecture me about caring for your family when your own child is raped by a priest who you were supposed to think was of God. Don’t give me this nonsense that women can’t be in leadership because they have the privilege of being at home and having babies. What utter nonsense. Women are fully capable to be priests and bishops, and should be.And I’ll guarantee you this – your children will be safer with women clergy than with the male clergy!

  • reldonbrown

    NB: The Church never said that women are not capable of being ordained but rather that it lacked the authority to ordain them. Unfortunately, certain narrow minded people are only capable of seeing the problem through the prism of the Marxist critique. To them, it is just a power struggle. The fact that women cannot be ordained says nothing about inferiority. Only bread can be consecrated in the Eucharist, but that doesn’t mean it is superior to filet mignon–or crab cakes. There are parallels in civil law of the sin and status of priest-predators compared to those who actively partake in women’s “ordination”. For example, an employee of the federal government can commit similarly disgusting sins with children. But a federal employee who passes state secrets to a foreign aggressor commits treason and is dealt a much more severe penalty (sometimes death) than the sexual predator.

  • RobbyS

    “So trying to ordain a woman is a “crime”. What utter nonsense. And this priest tries to justify this institutionalized hatred of women. And, as I read the actual source document, the woman who “attempts” to be ordained and the bishop who “attempts” to ordain her are immediately excommunicated from the RC Church. But not the priest who rapes children – he remains a Catholic in good standing. “”A crime may be defined to be any act done in violation of those duties which an individual owes to the community…” Black’s Law Dictionary..Crimes differ in severity. Murder is worse than embezzling. Grand larceny worse than petty larceny. In the Catholic Church, a woman who attempts to be ordained is guilty of a crime that is by no means as serious as the abuse of a child, and is basically just participation in an illicit act. More like bigamy, where no party suffers physical harm.

  • petelafond

    Please pay attention to what is going on. The RCC’s PR firm directs them to create controversies causing distraction from the real crimes, the worst ones, the cover up by popes, cardinals and bishops over the course of decades.

  • cprferry

    Renshaw,On the point of women and leadership: Again, I suggest you not view the world and value of work though the man-made prism of dominance – this understanding that lofty titles, holding of monetary assets or wielding power over others make certain humans greater/lesser. Jesus taught the exact opposite and the Church intends to follow in that teaching. Its so called privileged leaders are privileged not to extract power or benefits but to be able to be servants and stewards for all.Indeed all Christians are called not to seek power, but to serve as God intended. God has called many women (and men) to the important and necessary ministries of the house work and vocations that go unappreciated by our society.Likewise God has called many women to positions of so-called leadership or public positions in the Church, not because Title IX requirements or appealing to modern political pressure, but the individuals brought their meager talents and were open to His call – not their call, but His call. Women serve on parish councils, as parish administrators, as diocesan chancellors, as seminary professors, as teachers of youth, as executive directors and chairpersons, etc.. These are roles they had way back to the first days of the Church where they offered up and administered the house churches and also went out to preach. However, the Magisterium and full service of the priesthood has remained with the successors of the apostles, 12 men (13th replacing the fallen Judas) which Jesus handpicked. The successors of those apostles strive to serve the world within the complete revelation of Jesus’ teachings and life, holy Tradition and guidance of the Holy Spirit. They can’t reshape that mission or ignore those teachings because it isn’t politically or socially appropriate now.And don’t give me that claim that women were unappreciated in Judea so He couldn’t. He chose neglected Nazareth (Ancient Israel’s version of New Jersey or Cleveland) as his home place, hung out with prostitutes, praised Samaritans, challenged a new understanding of the Temple, and even installed a tax collector as one of those apostles. He wasn’t bound by the social bias of Ancient Israel.

  • cl00bie

    “Crimes differ in severity. Murder is worse than embezzling. Grand larceny worse than petty larceny. In the Catholic Church, a woman who attempts to be ordained is guilty of a crime that is by no means as serious as the abuse of a child, and is basically just participation in an illicit act. More like bigamy, where no party suffers physical harm.”This actually is incorrect. A woman who pretends to be a priest can put innumerable people’s souls in danger. These are the people who believe they are receiving real sacraments.In the case of a woman pretending to hear confession, the sins of the penitent are not forgiven. In the case of her coming across a car accident and giving the last rites to a person close to death, the sacrament is not efficacious and that person’s immortal soul is placed in danger of eternal damnation.When you’re talking eternity, pedophilia or murder shrinks to insignificance.

  • Renshaw

    “When you’re talking eternity, pedophilia or murder shrinks to insignificance.”Thus sums up the Vatican’s real driving ideology that has been at the root of millions of people’s deaths. Well done, well done!

  • Muddy_Buddy_2000

    The problem is that anything the Catholic Church approved for long enough in the past to make sure it approved under a legitimate Pope, creates real issues for modern Popes. While there certainly were female religious leaders in the Christian Church, and some in the catholic church, I not sure any were acknowledged at the time.

  • francisco1

    Fr Martin Fox in his comment (July 18)asks what ‘rights’ I mean. I do mean the ‘rights’ we (males and females)acquire by virtue of our incorporation into the Church of Christ by baptism.

  • petelafond

    Ignore AMYMACOP.Using foolish deflections. The issue is cover ups of the rraapppes and ssssooodddomies of small helpless children.Bye AMYMACOP, good and mature thinking people don’t like those as you, you’re evil.

  • B2O2

    Any woman who stays in this hopelessly reactionary church in 2010 is just pathologically self-loathing. If you truly value your dignity that little, just get it over with and jump off a cliff already. There’s nothing to be gained in prolonging things, while validating an anachronistic, misogynist institution like this one in the process.

  • B2O2

    Report CardStudent: The Catholic ChurchEvolution vs Creationism: FRecommendation: Student is showing profound learning disabilities. Recommend continued remedial education through watching and (following its customary period of kicking and screaming) ultimately emulating liberal, secular society. Eventually student may catch up to the other kids and be a functioning member of society.

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