Scandal and confusion?

by Maureen Fiedler

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I just read the NCR story on the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago and the pressure brought to bear by Cardinal George over a Sept. 8 event in which they showed the film, "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican", and sponsored a talk by Maryknoll priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who has been ordered to recant his public support for women in the priesthood.

According to the story, "George stated the event could lead to scandal and confusion among the faithful over the church's teaching on ordination."

Scandal and confusion? Really? The hierarchy loves to use these words to describe events or statements or publications with which they disagree. And they are ludicrous.

Let's be clear: no one is confused. Every thinking Catholic knows that the Vatican opposes women's ordination, and most know that the vast majority of the laity support it.

And let's be clear about this as well: What we have here is not a "scandal." It's a disagreement. Granted, the hierarchy is outnumbered by Catholics who disagree, and that might be an embarrassment for the hierarchy. But it's not a scandal; it's an issue for serious dialogue and ultimately, change.

The real scandal in the church today is the denial of equality to women, especially in light of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council: "Every type of discrimination based on sex is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent." (Church in the Modern World, #29). This is compounded by the attempt to stifle freedom of conscience at the 8th Day Center for Justice and the freedom of the laity to make their concerns about church life and practices known to each other and church leaders.

After years of coddling sex abusers (a real scandal), the hierarchy has lost all credibility even when it comes to using the word.

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