Jaw-droppingly stupid and offensive

Dana over at North Shore Politics writes “although I am not even a practicing Catholic, I was offended by it.”

By what? This statement made this morning on ABC news:

What our viewers will notice is that, among these 115 cardinals, who are wearing what looks like women’s garb, that there are no women. That is something the next pope is going to have to address.

Says Dana: I was disgusted by that. How disrespectful for one (thing) and pompous for another.

I thought it was a stupid, thoughtless, biased, agendized and clumsy thing to say, myself.

Just to check, because I know sometimes I can be prickly and take offense where none exists, I sent the ABC blurb to my slightly left-of-center, very devout brother Thom, and his response was succinct: How astoundingly offensive.

Hmmm…seems the vote in unanimous.

Dana sees a connection between this morning’s remark and this, from Sunday night:

The night before the Catholic Cardinals were to begin their conclave to choose a new Pope, the U.S. broadcast network evening newscasts painted the role of women as the most important issue and gave a platform to left-wing church activist Joan Chittister. “The future of the church is now in the hands of 115 men. Some Catholic women find that offensive,” ABC’s David Wright asserted Sunday night in leading into a Chittister soundbite. Wright proceeded to showcase a woman upset that her unborn daughter cannot become a priest, before concluding: “Men and women may be equal in the eyes of God, but many Catholics say in the eyes of the church, there’s still a long way to go.” Wright gave a soundbite to a church defender, but not CBS’s John Roberts who sandwiched two denunciation from Chittister around touting how “a new CBS News poll finds the majority of Catholics think the next Pope should admit women into the priesthood, let priests marry, and allow birth control.” Plus, “52 percent of American Catholics think the church is out of touch.”
Sr. Joan Chittister has a lot of good things to say on prayer and the practice of monasticism, but she sounds very silly here.

I wonder about those polls. Somehow I figure they’ve polled the Upper West Side and pushed the questions. I wonder what sort of response they’d get if they polled, say, Nebraska. Or St. Louis. Or Denver.

Sr. Joan Chittister, who has been all over the television spouting off her opinion also said here: ” (if women are not allowed ordination) …we’re going to lose an entire generation of young women and we’re going to lose them quickly.”

Oh, sister, what HOGWASH! Seems to me the Church of England ordained women and STILL lost at least an entire generation of “young women” AND “young men” (is it worse to lose the women than the men?). That so-very-progressive Church will cease to exist in twenty years, but by all means, let’s jump on board the careening train as it jumps the rails.

All of these folks who are insisting that “the church must change and get with the times” are quite simply full of it. Those churches which have decided to live the age throughout the faith are falthering and flaming out – they lost all credibility when they decided that everything they preached for 2000 years didn’t really matter, after all. Female ordination has fixed nothing.

As I have said over and over (check out the feminism catagory) there are tons of opportunities for legitimate ministry for women in the church. Women’s voices have carried and supported and healed the church throughout the ages. No one is being oppressed, unless they want to think they are. And ordination is not the be-all-and-end-all, and it is not empowering. It’s supposed to be about service and self-abnegation, not self-actualization.

I am frankly so tired of hearing from atheists, agnostics, non-catholics and catholic “progressives” what the church “NEEDS to do,” or “MUST do” in order to become legitimate in their eyes. As my brother Thom says, scroom.

What the press is not telling you – will not cover – is that there is a true springtime occuring within the church, that for all of the hand-wringing about vocations, the numbers are up across the board, for female religious, male religious and priests. Worldwide, there are more seminarians studying for the priesthood today than in 1961. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a shortage – there is – the church has continued to grow, even during the past three decades of turbulence and lost vocations. But things are changing. Young adults are embracing orthodoxy and moving away from the tired, baby-boomer, it’s all about US, the laity rhetoric and daring to be truly revolutionary in proclaiming that IT’S ALL ABOUT CHRIST, not us.

There is nothing more radical and counter-cultural, particularly today, than a committed Christian willing to live in opposition to the times and mores.

The greying, one-noted boomers still think they are fighting the establishment. They don’t understand that they have BECOME the establishment, and they are being examined and found wanting.

One last remark by Sr. Joan: “We can’t say that we have answers from the 13th century, the 16th century, that can be applied now. We have to bring all of the people of the church into the discussion of these issues, or the church itself will be totally ineffective.”

With all due respect to the sister, God – and Faith and Truth – are outside of time. Fashion and cultural norms aside, the whole point of the Christ being ETERNAL, is that He is the same, yesterday and today, and tomorrow.

I can hear someone out there saying, “well, what about the meat-on-Friday’s routine! It used to be a sin to eat meat on Friday, and now it’s not.”

No. Actually, it was never “a sin” to eat meat on Friday. Here’s the truth: it has long been a discipline of the church to make a sacrifice on each Friday – the day of the week when Christ died – in reparation and also in order to be mindful, to be made mindful once more, that Christ died for us – (so that on Sunday we can be mindful, once more, that he Rose). For several reasons it became common for Catholics to give up meat on that day – remember meat used to be a big deal for people, a luxury, and a means of “treating themselves.” So, giving up meat might be considered an especially big sacrifice.

The Second Vatican council simply instructed Catholics to feel free in choosing their own sacrifice of remembrance on Friday. It could be walking or riding a bike instead of driving. It could be eating only bread and water for breakfast and lunch, or fasting, or turning off the tv, or reading an extra psalm…just something, some action by which one put themselves, once again, into a mindfulness of Christ’s gift to us.

Typically, as with pretty much everything else, what came out of the VCII was poorly taught by Rome and the progressives, who also ignored the council’s suggestion that new music be “intermingled” with the old, rather than the old simply thrown out, shouted: YOU CAN EAT MEAT ON FRIDAY, without telling the rest of it.

The fact is, nothing the church has put out there is mindless or useless – but so very much of it has been taught so badly, and it’s been badly taught for a long time. I’ve always said the Catholic church is its own worst enemy in that respect.

A little self-denial at the end of the week, in preparation for the Saturday evening to Sunday evening sabbath, is not a terrible thing.

And neither is an all-male priesthood.

Extra thought: Interestingly, Chittister has said repeatedly that she, herself, does not feel called to ordination, but she’s concerned for all of those women who DO feel called.

Although, now that I think of it , I know a lot of Catholic women, from all sides of the spectrum, and I’ve never heard ONE of them say they felt “called.”

I’ve heard them say they should be able to be ordained. I’ve heard them rant about what they want. But I have never actually heard a Catholic woman say she feels called. A calling and a craving are two different things.

To my way of thinking, if what you are experiencing is bringing negativity into your heart, it’s probably more of a craving than a calling, and a craving can originate from anywhere, including from the evil.

A calling from Christ cannot create anger, hate, distrust or negativity within you. There are no negatives in Jesus. What was it St. Benedict wrote in the prologue of his Rule, What, dear brothers, is more delightful than this voice of the Lord calling to us? See how the Lord in his love shows us the way of life.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Tracy

    Did you happen to see the two articles in USA Today’s forum (http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/front.htm) – one was about Cardinal Arinze and the other was about women in the Catholic Church. The first, even though about Arinze, drifted into “allow women in the priesthood” territory. I don’t know about the religious persuasion of the author of the second article, but the first was written by Desmond Tutu, who is Anglican. Unless he’s gone through RCIA and I don’t know about it, maybe he needs to keep quiet about the Catholic Church and look to the problems in his own church. The ordination of woman, as you point out, sure has not helped them. And the second article was along the lines of the College of Cardinals being an old, discriminatory boys’ club.

  • Robert

    All I can say is, if the Pope really does need to allow ordination of women, it isn’t because of some silly poll. It would be because that’s what God wants. It’s not surprising the media can’t comprehend that, but it’s a bit disconcerting that “progressive” Catholics cannot mount an argument in favor of their position with more Scriptural rigor.

    Those churches that have replaced sound doctrine with the prevailing winds of fashionable thought are like salt that has lost its savor.

  • Wanda

    The ‘no meat on Friday’ thing has always been a complaint for lazy people who like easy, superficial arguments. For one thing, they like it because it sounds stupidly arbitrary, like ‘no wearing of underwear on Tuesdays’. As you point out, there’s a sensible explanation for why this particular tradition was adopted, and it doesn’t mean that another variation on it wouldn’t work just as well. There’s nothing *mystical* about eating or meat that would make this particular rule an absolute requirement (well, yes I guess technically there is something mystical about everything, but you know what I mean.) There’s also no attempt to understand what a rule like this is FOR. It’s a discipline, like a lot of things the Church teaches, and doing them is partially just a matter of keeping ourselves in training. You do the easy things until they’re second nature – it makes it possible for you to go on to the next thing. I know a fellow who’s a magician. When he was a kid, he practiced palming little objects – hours and hours of it, and of any little thing he happened to pick up. It didn’t matter if it was a rubber ball or a brussels sprout, he’d practice it. Now he’s a professional magician, and when he performs, guess what? He doesn’t palm brussels sprouts or little rubber balls – he’s moved on to much more ambitious stuff. But it wouldn’t make much sense to tell him that he wasted his time doing all that practicing on absurd little objects around the house; the point of doing it then was to be able to do the next thing. Spiritual discipline is the same – even little things are worth doing, because they build strength.

  • http://classicallyeducated.blogspot.com Joi


    And it’s funny to me that so many people seem to think that dropping the little spiritual discplines is a good thing. I grew up in an anti-liturgical church, and they always talked about how we didn’t have to do things like that because we were saved by grace and not by works, blah blah blah.

    But heaven help you if you wore the wrong clothes to church on Sunday, or didn’t sing a solo in church, or sang the wrong solo, or…

    Human beings make rules. We’re wired to do that, and rules can be fun (just try to play any game without them!), even the “arbitrary” ones.

    I’d rather stick with little so-called arbitrary rules that make sense than throw them all out and end up entangled in arbitrary rules that don’t make sense and don’t promote growth.

  • http://www.exultet.blogspot.com Therese Z

    Not one of these complaining nuns seems to be seeking to be married! Wouldn’t you think that if they felt incomplete they’d be going for that?

    But no, they want ordination. They want to usurp a man’s role. They see the priesthood as only a role of power, not fatherhood. I wish some clued-in interviewer would ask them that question.

    I have a little teeny bit of sympathy for those priests and religious who want to see married clergy and religious. They’re wrong, but they are seeking a fulfillment of their sexual roles in a sexual way, which is at least “normal,” if lacking the understanding of what vow they took and what wonderful gift they made of their desire for earthly when they promised to be united to Christ and His Church.

    I am so tired of the Chattering Chittisters. They’re not Scriptural, they’re way too angry, and they’re greedy. Not attractive.

  • http://www.exultet.blogspot.com Therese Z

    make that “their desire for earthly unity” when they promised to be united….”

  • Mir

    The supposedly tolerant liberal media is making a clearly “culturalist” comment when it says they’re wearing “women’s garb.” Many men, millions and millions, in many nations wear long tunics and clothing that one from our culture might perceive as “womem’s garb.” Frankly, those long cottony things they wear in Egypt just look comfy to me. :)

    I hope ABC plans to apologize to all those long “women’s garb” wearing Arabs and Asians and Africans that they indirectly insulted.

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    Isn’t there a point at which MSM criticisms of religious stands are so utterly stupid and gobsmackingly inane that they don’t even have enough credibility to be offensive?

    “Woman’s garb?” Goooooooood Grief.

    What idiots.

  • Darrell

    Good thing the Catholic Church is not a democracy…

  • http://thomasfortoday.blogspot.com Sr Lorraine

    Sr Joan said: “We can’t say that we have answers from the 13th century, the 16th century, that can be applied now.”

    What about answers from the first century, as in the four Gospels?

  • tmt

    Here’s what I think about this women’s ordination thing. It seems to me the Catholic Church holds the view that women and men are different-they have different roles in the church, different jobs if you will, different ministries. They model different aspects of God. One role is not “better” than another. They are just different. Like Mary didn’t have St. Peter’s role but hers was vital. And there are plenty of women saints. Wasn’t it TIME magazine that had this big cover article that was supposed to be news not long ago-the news was “men and women are different.” Well-duh, says church tradition.

  • http://lunarskeletons.blogspot.com Oengus Moonbones

    This was a very interesting post, Anchoress.

  • karen

    I think I read it in one of your posts, Anchoress, that the priest’s role was that of Christ and Christ’s bride is the Church…so, if we had women priests, then wouldn’t they be lesbians? Also, our priest had a neat view on the creation of man. It isn’t who comes first, Adam or Eve. It’s that they are made of the same substance and therefore equal. That is why man and woman walk beside eachother. Maybe if these power-seeking fems knew instictively that they were equal then they wouldn’t want to wear the garb of priests so badly, feminine as the MSM think totally disregarded. Isn’t there a dog show somewhere for MSM to cover so they can leave us Catholics in Peace?

  • Mir

    I think to demand women priests is to show a total ignorance of the tradition of priestly leadership from Genesis through to the New TEstament. God not only did not choose female priests/kings/apostles, he didn’t even allow women into the inner areas of the temple. Paul said women were not to hold authority over men in the church, not even to teach men in the church (a traditional position of authority, since teachers were also mentors and often had disciples live under their roofs or work beside them).
    Do I like those rules. No. As a woman, I bristle. But then, God knew I would bristle (Genesis speaks of a woman wanting dominion over a man). But the fact is that God is God and He gets to make the rules. When I want to break his rules for my convenience, then I make myself God. The original offense in Eden. Wanting to be God.

    These protestors want to make themselves God, rewrite the commandments and form their own religion. I suggest they do so outside of Christendom, since they are not inclined to really follow Christ.

    Or, they could do the right thing. Submit with humility to God’s way, the way even Christ, the perfect one, did, doing not what he wanted, but what was commanded and needful.

  • http://worthythinking.blogspot.com Truthseeker

    “With all due respect to the sister, God – and Faith and Truth – are outside of time. Fashion and cultural norms aside, the whole point of the Christ being ETERNAL, is that He is the same, yesterday and today, and tomorrow.”
    Bravo Anchoress! God is not bound by time as we are. A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day to God. He sees the end of time from the beginning of time, all time stretches out before Him as a vista. To think that man or woman has become anything different from the original creation due to ‘technology’ or our ‘sophistication’ or over time since that creation, is ludicrous.
    #9 Right on Darrel! #14 Mir, thanks for your honesty!
    Timelessness is what God is, eternal!

  • http://doxology.blogspot.com Rebecca

    Wonderful post.

    I will say that I am so happy to have made it into your blog neighbourhood, because you are definitely one of the Catholic bloggers I look to for answers (even when I’m not sure about the questions!)

    I’ve never been comfortable with women as priests, even in my very evangelical protestant past. Men and women are different, and our gifts are from God to be used for God’s glory, not our own.

  • http://www.nerepublican.blogspot.com Dan M

    First off, sexual distinctions are not accidental, but reflective of PREEXISTING SPIRITUAL differences. Look for instance at how men process information differently, use primarily a single sphere of their brain. Look at how men make love, by entering, whereas the woman receives. Men and women are different in spirit, which is then translated into physiological distinctions.

    BUT WHAT I would like in a Pope, is one that initiates a PURGE. I want entire orders slapped down hard. Certain universities, such as Georgetown for instance, I want promptly shut down. Catholic schools that deem themselves too sophisticated to bother teaching Catholic doctrine will be closed.

    I want an PRIMATE named to oversee the purge, I want him vested with PLENARY authority over all orders, schools, parishes, hospitals and every other American Catholic insititution. I want priests canned.

    I want all seminarians subjected to the modern brain scan lie detector. All Homosexuals need not apply.

    The scandals that have rocked the Church MUST result in purging the offenders, and preventing would be offenders EVER getting in the door of the Seminary.

    Once men see that the ranks of the Priesthood are no longer a refuge for dubious sexuality, you will see a resurgence of interest. BUT FIRST, a purge is necessary.

  • http://www.nerepublican.blogspot.com Dan M

    Re Truthseekers’ comment.

    Two things of note have occurred since the creation of man. The first was the fall, the second was the Incarnation.

    Both had PROFOUND impact upon the NATURE of man.

    The first left him disordered, conflicted with himself, his neighbor and creator.

    The second was an act of eternal restoration, that opened Heaven to him, and allowed him to make his way fortified by Divine Grace.

  • http://astro.temple.edu/~tlclark travis

    Amen and Amen!!

    Women have always served the Body of Christ.

    Here’s one of my favorite examples, inspired by an ealier post of yours on this topic.


    LOVE your stuff and my wife does too! Keep it up!!

  • Beekeeper

    “God – and Faith and Truth – are outside of time.”

    Thanks for your gentle prose.

    It is interesting that those who push the hardest for change that is outside God’s word, do not bother to inspect the results of that change.

    I am an ex-Episcopalian, now Evangelical Christian and mourn for what was, in this country, an encompassing faith. Now it is a social experiment with little to do with God, but a lot to do with self.

    It is nice to see it flourishes outside the US and England, where is still feeds from its true roots.

  • Marcus

    The problem with many intellectuals is that they confuse intelligence and learning with wisdom. “When they are learned, they think they are wise.”

  • Joe

    Am I wrong of did Pope JP II say that the Church has no authority to ordain women priests and that there should be no debate on this issue? Please let me know if this is a matter of faith and morals and if this is thus firm teaching at this point? If so, then would a future change require the change in the teaching of the infalability of the Pope?

  • Laura

    Anchoress, it is so refreshing to hear your views on ordaining women — because I feel that way too! The Church has long held women to have a special role and have special gifts to give. Unfortunately, most are not familiar with JPII’s writings on the subject — who’s fault that is, I do not know. Please read Anna Quindlan’s rant “The Last Word” in this week’s Newsweek (5-2-05) entitled ‘Separate, Not Equal At All’. She even infuriated my 17 year old son, who wants to write her and give her a piece of his mind! I will suggest he read this blog first. He’ll be inspired. Thanks.