I am been amazed, and a bit amused, by the lightening speed with which the Vatican has been reacting to any slight sound or movement in favor of women’s ordination, especially among the hierarchy or clergy.
Recently, the Patriarch of Lisbon was called in for “conversations” of his publicly stated belief that there is no “fundamental obstacle” to women’s ordination. Bishop William Morris of Australia was removed for suggesting that the ordination of women might be one solution to the growing worldwide shortage of priests. And of course, Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois, under fire for years, and has now received his second canonical warning calling on him to recant his belief that women can be called to priesthood… or be thrown out of his order.
In addition to that, in July 2010, a Vatican document listed “women’s ordination” as a “crime” at the same level of gravity as pedophilia!
I never cease to be amazed that this topic engenders serious Vatican action and movement, when the scandal of abusive priests, and the bishops who covered up the scandal, received little notice or reprimand from that same Vatican until the secular press and the civil courts called them account.
Celebration, NCR's sister publication, will publish a new reflection each day during Advent. Learn more here
But aside from this obvious and scandalous difference, there is a deeper question: why is the Vatican so fearful of women as priests or deacons? Many analysts have said that the men in Rome simply want to perpetuate the “old boys’ club” of the church where they all feel comfortable. Others have cited sexism, pure and simple. Still others have said they continue to believe their own flawed theology.
But I wonder if something deeper is wrong… something psychological, some form of corruption… But at this point, the actions of the Vatican on this issue are so bizarre, it’s worth asking new questions.