Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh Puhhleeeaaase. It's Truly Time For A Real Reality Check

Sex abuse and women's ordination?
By Bryan Cones - US Catholic - 7/9/2010

Great news from the Vatican, according to Catholic News Service: New norms against the sexual abuse of children will double length of time a victim has to bring charges from 10 to 20 years after the victim's 18th birthday. It will also extend the penalties for sexual abuse of children to those who abuse the mentally disabled.

Bad news: The new norms will simultaneously add to the list of grave offenses against the sacrament of holy orders the "attempted ordination of women."


Why is that bad? First, the "attempted ordination of women" already brings with it automatic excommunication, so making it one of the "delicta graviora" is redundant. Second, it conflates two completely separate issues, and in effect, or at least in the minds of many people who will read the news, seems to equate the "attempted ordination of women" with the rape and torture of children. (Now ordaining a woman will get a priest laicised and excommunicated, but bonking a three year old only gets one laicised. There's some Vatican justice for ya.)

Quite frankly, it is an outrage to pair the two, a complete injustice to connect the aspirations of some women among the baptized to ordained ministry with what are some of the worst crimes that can be committed against the least of Christ's members.

Furthermore, if I were a member or supporter of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, I would be opening a bottle of champagne right now. The Vatican has in effect given legitimacy and momentum to what is still an incredibly tiny movement with this clumsy legal manuver, tantamount to the United States dropping a nuclear weapon on Luxembourg--only more ridiculous because this will do absolutely no damage to women's ordination movement. It is more like a gift. None of those women are afraid of excommunication any longer; indeed, it is now the Vatican that appears fearful.

This decision boggles the mind: The faithful have been justly demanding for nearly a decade clear guidelines for dealing with the sexual abuse of children, along with just punishments for both offenders and bishops who have abetted these crimes. What we have gotten is half of what we have been asking for (still no sanctions for bishops), along with a completely unconnected and unnecessary condemnation of the ordination of women. This is especially ironic given that many Catholics, and I include myself among them, see the absence of women in positions of power in the church as a contributor to the ongoing sex abuse crisis.

This move is a mistake, plain and simple, imprudent at best, at worst a serious further blow to Rome's already damaged credibility.


Another example of Vatican logic has reduced me to tears---of laughter. Only the Vatican could come up with norms which equate attempting to ordain women with actually raping their children. That too me is what is so sad/funny about equating the two. Catholic theology already states that the whole idea of ordaining a woman is a fantasy, can't happen, isn't real, doesn't work. Yet now they turn around and assign it the moral equivalence to the very real act of raping children?

Since I can't really believe the Vatican really is this delusional, I'm going to have to assume the Vatican really knows really ordained bishops really did ordain real women and that their ordinations really are real--if illicit. They have to adopt this posture because if they don't then by gosh we might start questioning the reality of really ordained male priests by really installed bishops and really wonder if anything real actually really happens. There for it is really important to really punish anyone involved in these fantastical ordinations really hard by really excommunicating them and really laicising them. Really.

And as for the reality of sexual abuse, it is all to real that the reality of this norm does not extend to real bishops and their all too real involvement in actual abuse and it's cover up. That fantasy concerning bishop accountability is still very much the official reality.

And all of this leads me to believe the whole thing is really just one circular delusion.


  1. May it be said the Vatican has a circular firing squad here? ;)

  2. Maybe that's the really effective solution to the real problem of ending the Vatican fantasy.

  3. Punish "attempted" ordination - sounds so silly. Do they mean they will disrupt the process before it gets going, so that they abort the "attempt" and then punish the attempters? Or do they view the "real" ordination as simply a charade, an "attempt" - as God wouldn't ordain the ordination.

    But now....

    What about "attempted child rape" then? If attempted ordination is terrible, worse than anything, maybe "attempted child rape" is even WORSE than actual rape? Yes, that must be what they're getting at... ;)

    Yes... circular firing squad.

    Here's an idea. There's an age of Reason one reaches. And stays in for some time. And if some live long enough and addle their brains sufficiently, they read the Age of Unreason.

  4. The only way this makes logical sense is that who ever wrote these norms saw both clerical abuse and ordination women as grave violations of priestly discipline. The trouble with this is that it tacitly admits ordaining women is somehow a spiritual priestly reality. That's actually quite an admission.

    Otherwise this coupling of the two under the same norms is truly ignorant at best, or intentionally mysoginistic at worst.

  5. Hmmm.

    "Child abuse is bad." That's a good development.

    The use of the word "attempted" seems legalese, avoiding the possibility of acknowledging an ordination, even an illegitimate one.

    I have some good news. It may only be on a small scale but I thought you might share my joy.

    In our little parish there is a very conservative, home schooling, Opus Dei leaning group who invited the Legionaries of Christ to establish their programs here last year. I was the only person to speak out against them. It gave me no pleasure to sit through their powerpoint. I couldn't stand to hear a fellow parishioner attempt to gloss over the LC/RC's misogyny, corruption and deception about MM's child sexual abuse etc.

    Today I heard that those most responsible for attempting to undermine our parish had met with our parish priest. Apparently it became a shouting match about the "true" Catholic Church. They said our parish was not a "real" Catholic Church and in the end they announced they were leaving. Good riddance, I say.

    We're having the parish priest over for dinner ASAP.


  6. p2p the fear level in the True Catholic must be rising. I sometimes wonder if Benedict's dilly dallying on the abuse crisis and other issues has them facing the truth that they may be running out of time to shove their Church down everyone's throat and Benedict may not have been the champion they thought he was going to be.

  7. colkoch-
    You have exactly right! They are running scared: the Vatican down to the LC (and their minions). The Lord has cast down the mighty. Isn't that the beginning of salvation...according to the gospels?

  8. The mind which conflates these two issues....If I met someone at a party who linked the two I would immediately leave their presence because I simply would not want to hear further what that person had to say about anything!!

    I do agree it helps the women priests movement immensely and brings them to the forefront with gusto.

  9. Real Reality Check

    Not so long ago the "Traditionalists", the "Orthodox", and the SSPX were riding high.

    Mel Gibson hasn't much been discussed here. The Passion of the Christ was en enormous success both at the box office and in encouraging a particular religious point of view. Mel Gibson, a follower of the SSPX and believed to be bankrolled by Opus Dei, was an off screen role model.

    We're all sinners but... the pattern of denial, repression, then the incredible explosive release of that which had been denied... isn't just coincidental.


  10. Wow, p2p we are really on the same wavelength. I was going to write on Mel Gibson and the Passion of the Christ but decided to put it off until tomorrow.

    All morning I've been sort of tweaked about Mel. It's an important story and for some of the reasons you mention. All I will say about it for now is that the general response to Mel's latest abusive hatefest is that the over all response has been one of great sadness.

  11. Speaking of Mel Gibson, he reminds me of the character played by Robert Deniro in Raging Bull in how he treats women. Maybe something will awaken in him for him and his ilk to learn and grow from. .... wishful thinking.

    If Mel can't control his drinking, he can control his women, so he thinks.... However, that is not working for him. He winds up putting his foot in his mouth each time he opens it.... reminds me of the Vatican men in trying to control the women in the Church. Can't be done.

  12. Yes it is pretty awful that the Church seems to be linking ordination of women with abuse of children. It is telling that those involved in the ordination of women are excommunicated but those that abuse or even rape children are just removed from their parishes and maybe the priesthood. In the past, those that raped and abused children were often just transferred to another parish. I wonder how many of these men were not allowed to hear confesson in their new parishes because they raped or molested a child.

  13. This entire article was quite thought provoking.

  14. p2p I said I was going to write about Mad Mel, but it's kind of a hard thing for me to do. So I'll do it here.

    When I saw the Passion of the Christ, I saw Mel Gibson. When I saw Apocalypto, I saw Mel Gibson. When I saw Mad Max and the Road Warrior way back in 1982 I saw Mel Gibson.

    I see a man chased by demons desparately seeking redemption. When he's drunk the demons win, and when he's sober he's trying to find redemption.

  15. Colleen,

    Thank you for your short, almost haiku-like, comment on Mel.


    The Japanese say:

    Man drinks drink,
    Drink drinks drink,
    Drink drinks man.


  16. Colleen,
    Thanks for the link to the U.S. Catholic blog post and for the commentary. Per fair use copyright rule, would you mind only posting a short selection, maybe just a paragraph, from our blog along with your commentary rather than copy and pasting the whole post? Thanks for reading!
    Megan Sweas
    Online Editor, U.S. Catholic