Vatican Sensibly Declares Ordaining Women As Bad As Pedophilia

Illustration for article titled Vatican Sensibly Declares Ordaining Women As Bad As Pedophilia

The Catholic Church failed to prevent gay marriage in Argentina, but it's still fighting mightily on another front: ordaining women. Today, it classified attempting to ordain women as being as bad as "clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism."


It is already verboten, of course, to ordain women, but even participating in a ceremony attempting to ordain a woman is now grounds for excommunication:

The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.

The Vatican seemed vaguely aware that lumping the ordination of women with sexual abuse of minors would be controversial, with the Vatican's internal prosecutor saying in a news conference today,

"Sexual abuse and pornography are more grave dealings, they are an egregious violation of moral law. Attempted ordination of women is grave, but on another level; it is a wound that is an attempt against the Catholic faith on the sacramental orders."

Then... why classify them as the same thing, in the same revision on the same day?

At the same time, the Vatican extended its own statute of limitations for clerical sexual abuse — it has been changed from 10 years to 20 years after the 18th birthday of the victim. It also made possession of child pornography and abusing mentally disabled adults actionable under the Vatican's doctrinal office.


The New York Times notes that the measures fell short of what advocates for victims of clerical sexual abuse had pushed for:

It does not contain measures to hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor does it require mandatory reporting of sex abuse to civil authorities even in countries where it is not required by civil law. Instead, the changes codify as law special procedures that allow the Vatican to try priests accused of child sex abuse using faster juridical procedures rather than full ecclesiastical trials, making such procedures the rule, not the exception.


In any case, it is clear where the Vatican's priorities lie. The Times cites the case of Rev. Roy Bourgeois, who was excommunicated two months after he took part in a ceremony ordaining a woman. It took years after bishops' requests, in many cases, to defrock pedophiles.

Vatican Makes Attempted Ordination Of Women A Grave Crime [Guardian]
Vatican Issues New Rules On Responding To Sex Abuse [NYT]



I studied religion in undergrad and was close friends with some very devout (female) Catholics and every time someone would try to explain why a woman can't be a priest, my head would explode. I just read something that said that the church can't make women priests because God made men and women different for different purposes, and it is impossible for a woman to spiritually fulfill the duties of a priest. That is, she could be ordained, but the things she did, like blessing communion, would have no actual spiritual impact because she hadn't "really" become a priest.

That and the fact that Jesus only chose male apostles.