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The Vatican and Women: Casting the First Stone

By Tim Padgett

What a rich coincidence we Roman Catholics got to experience at Mass on Sunday, July 18. The scheduled Gospel passage was Luke’s story about Jesus visiting the sisters Martha and Mary of Bethany (who Catholic tradition says was Mary Magdalene). Many biblical scholars believe the narrative shows Jesus encouraging Mary to assume the role of a disciple, [That’s okay.  She is sitting at the Lord’s feet in the manner of a disciple.] like Peter and the guys. [Nooo… he goes to the zoo on that.  But move along.] That notion lent some cable-news significance to the reading — coming as it did just days after the Vatican issued an avowal, as obtuse as it was malicious, [Could be a self-description.] that ordaining women into the priesthood was a sin on par with pedophilia. [Again, anyone who actually read and understood what the Holy See did by issuing the new norms, and who is honest about them, knows that that is not what happened.]

Rome’s misogynous declaration, tossed into its new guidelines on reporting clerical sexual abuse, did more than just highlight the church’s hoary horror at the idea of female priests — or its penchant of late for sticking its papal slippers in its mouth every chance it gets. [Blah blah blah… keep reading…] It also pointed up an increasingly spiteful rhetoric of bigotry. [Look in the mirror, Padgett… but keep reading…] When Argentina in mid-July legalized gay marriage, the country’s Catholic bishops weren’t content to simply denounce the legislation; they used the occasion to argue for the subhumanity of homosexual men and lesbians, the way many white Southern preachers weren’t ashamed to degrade African Americans during the civil rights movement. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio not only called the new law “a scheme to destroy God’s plan”; he termed it “a real and dire anthropological throwback,” as if homosexuality were evolutionarily inferior to heterosexuality. [I don’t think many people would consider it a dire anthropological throwback to say that homosexuality is actually evolutionarily inferior to normal sexuality.  Think about it.]

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