It’s funny, but Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a Democrat and secular Jewish fellow who says he is “not much of a believer” seems to “get” John Paul II so very well.
We’ll be seeing and reading a lot about how “Catholic women are dissatisfied” with the church, and that JPII did not do enough.
Please keep in mind that the folks making these claims are not speaking for all Catholic women.
There is authentic and thoughtful teaching behind all of the issues which critics say the church “MUST bring into the 21st century.” I heard someone on tv – I think it was MSNBC – declare with utmost certainty that in order for the Catholic church to survive it must get “up to date with abortion, female ordination, divorce and gay rights…”
Because, you know…the ECUSA has done so well for itself and its people by embracing the modern on just those issues. The Church of England – up to date as all get out – is imploding.
MInistry is open to women within the church. Ministry has ALWAYS been open to women in the church. It was open to women in the church when the secular world had nothing at all to offer women beyond marriage and children.
But too many modern women think that ordination is the be-all-and-end-all of ministry. Perhaps they are thinking in terms of power, not service…I don’t know.
I do know a woman who is angry – eternally angry – at the church for its “oppression of women,” and she is unable to see the value of a crucifix because “it is an image of torture.”
Actually, it is an image of suffering and sacrifice and an affirmation and reminder that there is nothing we humans can endure on earth which God has not also experienced – pain, humiliation, thirst, mockery, helplessness, victimization, injustice…it’s all there.
Call me old-fashioned, but I a priest who cannot see that is of no help to me, and so this woman, who says, “I’d make a GREAT priest,” would be, I think…not so great.
Take everything you are going to hear about JPII and women with a grain of salt.
Rather than listen to people with agendas, check out his own writings:
I linked to this terrific, comprehensive article by John Allen the other day, and he has these little pearls regarding John Paul and women.
Wojtyla was the only speaker at the council to address the basilica “Venerable Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,” recognizing the women auditors.
One running clash between John Paul and the West was on women. The pope championed an anthropological concept called “complementarity.” The idea is that bodily differences give men and women different, but equally important, roles that “complete” one another. The concept was employed to support the ban on the ordination of women to the priesthood, and hence was rejected by Western progressives who saw it as a smokescreen for patriarchy. Yet some observers believe that “complementarity” offers untapped resources for justifying a greater role for women in all areas of church life, if the female perspective really is essential to “complete” the masculine. Some futurists even predict that if the Catholic church does one day ordain women, John Paul will be the pope who created the intellectual basis for doing so.
If so, it would not be what he had in mind. In 1994, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, he wanted to close the theological debate over women priests. Gauged by the volume of ongoing debate (there is even a Web site, www.womenpriests.org, devoted to the cause), this was perhaps the least effective ambition of his reign. In 1979, an American woman religious, Mercy Sr. Teresa Kane, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, in a welcoming address, urged the pope to include “half of humankind” in “all the ministries of the church.” John Paul’s stony silence in response became a defining moment for many Catholic women. Kane herself was frozen out of future prominent roles in the church.
In 1999, during a lunch in the papal apartments, John Paul asked another American sister to carry his regards to Teresa Kane. No public rehabilitation, however, was forthcoming.
It should be noted that John Paul’s immovability on the ordination question did not translate into a generalized ambivalence about women. In Toronto in 2002, for example, during World Youth Day, papal minions tried to scuttle a planned meeting between the pope and the women’s religious order that had hosted him, fearing another Kane incident. When the organizer of the event asked John Paul if he wanted to meet the sisters, however, his unhesitating reply was “of course,” and the meeting went ahead.