Pope Francis is trying once again to be cool while also adhering to outdated church law at the same time and, once again, it’s not going all that well. On Monday, Francis changed a law that would formally expand women’s roles during mass. The Washington Post reports that women will now be allowed to read the gospel, serve at the altar, and even distribute communion wafers—but one small tiny sacrament that still eludes women in the Catholic church: priesthood. Despite allowing women to now stick dry wafers into strangers’ mouths, the law forbidding women to become ordained Catholic priests still stands.
In Catholicism, the priesthood is reserved solely for men, who must remain unmarried and celibate throughout their lives. This canon law is derived directly from the practices of Christ himself (via the Bible), who chose 12 male apostles; upon his departure from earth, the church believes the apostles chose other men to form the church. The Church itself claims to be built on a man other than Jesus, the apostle Peter; this is referenced in the bible when Jesus says to Peter that he is a rock and “on this rock, I will build my church.” The most important building in the Catholic Church is arguably the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter which has this verse and renderings of Peter across the ceiling. So men are kind of a big deal.
But the canon law that the Pope amended, which according to the BBC originally said “laymen” could perform certain tasks but now says “layperson,” can hardly be considered progress. In fact, the canonical law excluding women from the priesthood isn’t even aligned with the teachings of Christ and goes against the biblical precedent of women faith leaders like Deborah, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Nazareth, Miriam, and Priscilla, just to name a few. To say now that there should be no impediment to women serving the eucharist after they’ve been doing it for *counts on fingers* centuries is merely adding a semi-useless opinion to actions already occurring.
The useful part of Francis’s rule change is that now, conservative bishops and priests who were previously denying women the opportunity to serve at mass, the Post reports, can no longer do that, as the decision has been backed by the Pope and can no longer be ignored. But considering that other Christian denominations allow for the ordination of women and their installment as deacons, the Catholic Church is showing how immovable it’s been over the course of its 2000 year lifetime. For Christ’s actual sake, just let women lead a mass, you cowards.