Your GetReligionistas received several angry emails this past week about the following Associated Press story, each of them triggered by a single unattributed term in the piece. In The Washington Post, this piece ran under the following headline:
Pope: Women should play expanded role in Church
Nothing unusual there of course, unless you, like me, were surprised to see the Post copy desk go with an upper-case “C” on the word Church, which is Catholic tradition but not AP style.
No, what set our readers off — some of them non-Catholics, by the way — was a pair of words near the top of this alleged work of straightforward news copy.
Can you spot the red flag?
VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis … lauded women for their sensitivity toward the society’s weak and “gifts” like intuition, insisting they take on greater responsibilities in the Catholic church, as well as in professional and public spheres.
Francis was full of praise about female talent and untapped potential in a speech at the Vatican to an Italian women’s group. But the pope gave no sign that the Vatican glass ceiling against ordaining women for the priesthood might see some cracks during his papacy.
From day one of his papacy in March, Francis has been trying to make the Catholic church more welcoming, but it forbids women from becoming priests, arguing among other things, that Jesus and his apostles were men.
Actually, there are several groaners in there, including the fact that anyone would need to argue about the fact that Jesus and the 12 apostles were all males.
Argue? Isn’t that something like someone needing to “argue” about whether the moon travels around the earth or that the Mother of God was a woman? (Personal note: Yes, I am an Eastern Orthodox layman and accept the teachings of the ancient church on this matter, although that was not the case when I was a Protestant.)
What the AP team meant to say is that arguments about women serving as priests center on what that historical fact MEANS and whether or not 2,000 years of tradition in the ancient churches is still binding on modern believers.
So there is that.