Sometimes to make my central point of “organic popular will better than unbreakable laws” I look to the UK, which has more in the tradition of absolute democracy. One can certainly look in the other direction, at liberal modern states based almost entirely on archaic formal laws and not on the popular will at all.
Of course, this gives us the topic on everyone’s minds – and everyone’s praises – the Catholic Church. A nation of laws and laws alone if there ever was one, and it’s consistent application of these laws across the board receives great intellectual respect. And it’s, in my opinion, entirely the sort of thing we need to be getting away from.
In all this talk of the Pope’s legacy, with every political commentator mentioning things they disagreed with the Pope about, but saying they felt much affinity because of where they agreed, there’s little mention of the role of women.The Catholic Church does not allow women to be equal to men.
In Catholicism, the role of priests is more important than almost any other religion for its clergy (I think, feel free to correct me. It’s certainly a very large role) – in terms of how the priest relates an individual to God, and how the entire centralized policy-making apparatus has to be priests. To say women cannot be part of that at all, is nearly barbaric in this day and age.
No one seems to get particularly upset over this anymore (okay, the mainstream liberal and conservative blogs aren’t as upset over this as I’d expect them to be), because of an attitude like “hey, that’s some wacky scriptural vestige. Christ didn’t ordain female priests or give us the power to ordain female priests. Sure, it’s probably because women were treated like shit back then and we do know Christ respected women more than anyone else in his culture at the time did, but… we gotta go with this because Christ kinda-sortasaid so. Sorry gals.” And since it’s infallible law (reinforced by John Paul 2
, just so no one lets him off the hook), no one would expect the Church to change it, and our commentators focus more on pronouncements on war or the death penalty.
Yeah well. Clearly that’s silly to someone who thinks that the egalitarian “now” is better than the “then”.
A lot of talk is made over how the Church is declining in Europe but is soaring in the global south. Like this reflects on the lack of faith in the spoiled countries and those who are growing up in struggle can really appreciate Christianity. Well maybe it’s that the modern countries are tired of BS repressive un-changeable doctrines dominating their social life, while the controlling powers in Africa and Latin America are happy to welcome an institution that says women can never have as much power as men. And which direction would we rather follow?
I respect the Church, the parochial school I went to was one of the most intellectual and liberal institutions in the Midwest city I grew up in and led me to meet a lot of good people. Its “culture of life” positions are more consistent than anyone else’s and as an intellectual I respect that. And even on birth control and abortion, I feel the Church issues moral pronouncements that are more along the lines of “there is a cost to this sexual culture, and we will internalize that cost” than actually having the power to prohibit it or trying to (JP2 after all, did not run Planned Parenthood – and more than a few missionaries have been willing to turn a blind eye and do what was clearly utilitarian in third world countries when needed). And they certainly recognized that material well-being of the poor is the most important issue on the planet.
But saying that women and men are equal in the eyes of God, and giving them the power that validates that, especially in the countries where that affirmation is needed the most
is specifically part of the Church and the Pope’s power, and the lack thereof is something so absurd, so pre-Enlightenment, that I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s adherence to foolish consistencies from archaic times that I feel is the strongest example of why we should disregard super-laws and constitutionalism.
I am of course always curious how my liberal Catholic friends, such as Namespace Collision (with whom I have discussed this somewhat), deal with this. I tend to think that this exclusion is so massive, so capricious in source, that liberals just ignore what seems so out of place.