Should women be ordained in the Catholic Church?
This was the topic of a very interesting interview I heard on CBC yesterday. A Catholic female lawyer from Manitoba named Therese Koturbash is fighting for women to be ordained in the Catholic Church because she believes it’s time for change, time for the “old men’s club” in the Vatican to make room for women who, historically, may have been marginalized, but are now considered the intellectual equals of men. Arguing against her was another female Catholic from the U.K., who wants to maintain the status quo in the belief that priests represent Christ in all forms, particularly that of being an unmarried male.
I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating, as the Vatican’s refusal to give women positions of power is a huge point of contention for me. I am not Catholic, which puts me in the awkward position of feeling I can’t justify launching full-out protests, but it doesn’t prevent me from believing wholeheartedly that the Vatican is dead wrong in failing to modernize their policies. Not only that, but their decision shows terrible lack of forethought. How does the Church expect to continue attracting younger generations of Christians if it remains stuck in that archaic mentality of “men can do the job better than women?” For that reason, I am overjoyed to hear that someone like Therese Koturbash is making this her mission.
I find it infuriating that a debate like this even has to take place in 2012. I feel like we’ve regressed in time and are arguing over women getting the vote and black emancipation. These are historic debates that seem ridiculously backward in retrospect, yet here we are, once again, discussing whether or not women can be priests. Sure, Christ was male and he appointed twelve male apostles before his Resurrection, but, as Koturbash points out, he immediately appointed Mary Magdalene following his Resurrection. Priests are meant to emulate the Virgin Mary; why can’t a woman do what another woman is worshiped for? Biblical details aside, I just feel that we’re living in a totally different society than the patriarchal one in which Christ lived. Women were not recognized then as the equals they are today, so his decision to create male apostles may have been more related to the societal times than an actual belief that Church leaders had to be men.
My Catholic-born husband hears my tirade against the Vatican’s treatment of women on a regular basis and agrees totally with its absurdity. It’s why we’ve agreed not to baptize our children in the Catholic Church (see related post here), because what kind of hypocritical message would that send to the kids? “Sons, come and associate yourselves with an organization that makes men all-powerful and doesn’t allow women equal opportunity!” “Daughters, welcome to a place where you have no hope of being viewed as equals, of ever holding a position of power, and can only be a nun or deacon if you wish to serve the Church!” No thanks. It’s also why we refuse to send them to the Catholic elementary school across the street. Until the Vatican allows women to be ordained, we’ll be keeping my kids as far away as possible because we both believe in a different kind of world — one that preaches and lives gender equality.
My issue is with the Vatican and its doctrines, not the Catholic community which is comprised of many wonderful, godly, compassionate people. As I mentioned, my husband and his lovely family are all Catholic. I have lived in Catholic countries and probably have more Catholic friends than Protestant ones, yet I see the same disconnect everywhere: a sense of disillusionment with the Vatican and its seeming inability to grasp that times have changed, that women deserve better treatment, that something has to give…
So here’s to Therese Koturbash and her thrilling, difficult quest to ordain women in the Catholic Church! You go, girl!!
What do you readers think of this debate? Are you for or against the ordination of women? I’d love to hear your thoughts.