Thursday, 15 July 2010

Roman Catholicism: protection of minors, protection from women

You can really tell the nature of an organisation by the way it prioritises the issues it faces.

I was saying just the other day that the Christian Churches seem to be obsessed with sex. Fairness (and when am I ever anything but scrupulously fair?) obliges me to admit that my good friend San objected to my failure to distinguish between gender and sex. He’s right, though in my defence I would maintain that both gender and sex ultimately depend on genitals, and so though distinct they are at least related.

Now try, if you will, to imagine two scenes.

In the first, a priest has persuaded a young choirboy to join him in the seclusion of the sacristy. There he obliges him to strip off and, as the young lad, shivering with cold or trembling with fear, stands with his hands vainly trying to cover his private parts, the priest also begins to undress… I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

In the second scene, a woman deeply imbued with Christian belief, who feels a true calling to preach the word of God to the faithful, is in a line of postulants waiting to be ordained by a bishop and about to realise her lifelong desire to be a priest. The scene is public, in the nave of a cathedral church, in front of a congregation buoyed up by the sense of spirituality of the occasion.

Do these two scenes seem in some sense equal to you? Are they similarly depraved? Are they as sinful as each other?

There's an article you ought to read in the Guardianbut if you don't feel like clicking through to it, let me quote one paragraph:

The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

The sexual abuse of children and the attempt to ordain a woman are crimes of equal gravity.

Now, remind me again, why is it that people aren’t all flocking to join the Catholic Church?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can I suggest that the Vatican might just mean that paedophilia isn't that big a sin?