Women and the Priesthood
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Women and the Priesthood

Response to Rembert Weakland

Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee recently wrote an article published many places, one being the New York Times on December 8, 1992 where it was titled "Out of the Kitchen, into the Vatican." It was about women and the Church.

To his article, a practicing Roman Catholic can react in several ways:

First, one can react metaphysically as does the Church: that males and females are different; that ignoring of such differences is as un-natural as toxins in a lake; that the loss of complementarily between men and women is obviously linked to the decline of the family (and the kitchen) and all the problems resultant; that the loss of roles is the problem rather than the solution; that women, contraceptively filled with toxins become psychological hermaphrodites no longer responsible for sexuality as are the rest of the females in the animal kingdom of which mankind is evolutionarily a part i.e., contraceptive women, not being males, are not really natural females any longer either and the males know it; and, finally, that males of all species need their counterparts to be female.

Secondly, one can react with tense proclaiming that the Church calls for service and not power. Obviously, the Archbishop is in touch with the times rather than the timeless messages of the Church, such that the permanent things are neither tangible "things" nor the acting out of one's feelings. That he is caught up in the sociological peer pressure of his times is not only un-Catholic but, for a prince of the Church, anti-Catholic. The man is a fool...and not for the Lord.

Third, one can react informatively, telling the Archbishop that the only major area where a woman is inferior to a man is in her inability to tolerate with equanimity and productiveness, the incontrovertible inequality evident between everybody. This is most evident by some women's demands for equality being always linked to special needs or considerations that actually prove inequality all over again.

Fourth, if women are to be priests, then this will occur for reasons other than (1) a quest for power, (2) a "poor me" feeling of inferiority to be compensated, or (3) a squealing claim of the alleged presence of the Holy Spirit. None of these three reasons stands scrutiny. They are all unhumble, unmeek, selfish motives inconsistent with resigned virtue in the face of suffering which is what the Church is all about anyway. Neither the Archbishop nor many women seem to understand this, rendering them without leadership ability in the Church founded by Jesus.

Fifth, if an all male priesthood is perceived as reinforcing the idea that "women are inferior to men" as the Archbishop wrote, then one can guess that the Equality Goddess has shot him. She always shoots women in their egos and men in their brains. However, equality is a will-o-the-wisp. No one is equal except in birth and in the sight of God. This does not translate into social equality in anything from singing bass, playing football, or living in the Vatican. Inferiority is truly in the eye of the beholder and is not to be given power because it is a simple feeling.

Sixth, one can be puzzled at the Archbishop's parroting of the Galileo propaganda stories repeated so long and often that they remain unrefutable even though basically untrue. That he does not know better undercuts his scholarship and, afortiori, his believability. Really, if he does not know the Catholic side of the Galileo Controversy, what can he know about anything Catholic? He must be the Great Impostor.

Seventh, one can react with confusion at the Archbishop's lack of experience with women in power, i.e., often with their whining incompetence, snarling dogmatism, prettified pouting and gods-help-us PMSing far exceeding the few flashes of productivity or reason. In other words, more of the same, only with disarming coquetishness or paralyzing "how dare you" ploys that no he-man would ever try. Three of every four chancery office nuns prove this every day. Where has the Archbishop been? And he wants to put them in the Vatican?

Finally, to balance all equally, which the Archbishop inanely seems to want to do, he should do something for men. He should come out as strong for the elimination of the engagement ring...the most invidious inequality existent today. Indeed, engagement rings symbolize the subordination of women and the superiority of hemen far in excess of women's absence from the Vatican.


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