Anyone reading this blog could conclude that I have a chip on my shoulder about my Catholic Church. They would be entirely right when we are talking about Vatican politics and the politics of Church authorities. What brings me to write a second posting involving the Church is an opinion piece in the Sunday New York Times by Nicholas D. Kristof "A church Mary can love." I laughed at his opening paragraph dealing with the joke about the pious Catholic who died and went to heaven. He asked to speak to Mary and when he did he said that in all the pictures of her she looked sad. Why? Mary answers that everything was fine "but….well…it's just that we always wanted a daughter."
Kristof notes that St Paul refers in Romans to a first century women "Junia" who was prominent among the early apostles and "Phoebe" who served as a Deacon in the early church. He rightly points out that over the centuries the Church became a male dominated institution which held women in a lessor position then men. I've argued before that the Church will not be fully renewed until women achieve their rightful positions as fully equal partners with men. There has been centuries of discrimination against women who have played a significant role in Church history. We should have women priests, bishops, cardinals and, yes, popes. As Kristof observes:
"That old boys' club in the Vatican became, as self adsorbed as other old boys' clubs, like Lehman Brothers, with similar results. And that is the reason the Vatican is floundering today… the rigid all-male Vatican hierarchy that seems out of touch when it bans condoms even among married couples where one partner is H.I.V. positive."
It's hard to disagree with Kristof's observations.