On Pope Benedict: Forgive Me If I Withhold My Benediction
It’s been about a week that we got the news that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. Frankly, I didn’t have any plans to write about this subject. Who cares? Many, I would think. But I’m not one of them. Even though I was born into a Catholic home, I gave up on the Catholic church a long time ago. Although before I did, when I was a tween, I toyed with the idea of becoming a nun. I don’t remember if it was before or after I dreamed of being a race car driver.
Anyhow, I haven’t been a fan of the Catholic church for a long time, and even less of this Pope. As a mother, I cringe to think of the thousands of sexually-abused children by paedophiliac priests who were protected by the Church for years. As a woman, I am sickened by the sexism of the Catholic church. It’s true that the Catholic Church has always been quite misogynist. Eve is blamed for our banishment from the Garden of Eden and all the subsequent ills that have since befallen mankind. Then, on a more earthly level, the Catholic Church has repeatedly refused to allow women to become ordained as priests (perhaps as payback for Eve’s disobedience).
But this Pope has been particularly hostile towards women. The Vatican was at the heart of an investigation dating from 2008-2012 which accused American nuns of being radical feminists too concerned with poverty instead of being more pro-life and anti-gay (see my post Nun Of That…Nonsense).
So, when I read the Pope’s declaration about his resignation, two words stuck out: “Dear Brothers,” and they are the reason why I wrote this post. There is absolutely no acknowledgement whatsoever of the Sisters who, in my opinion, are the glue of the Catholic church. Priests might inspire with their sermons (although, unfortunately, too many don’t). But the nuns carry out the word of God through the charitable and community work that they do throughout the world.
We talk about the GOP’s war on women but the Vatican, with its extreme views on contraception and its partiality to men, has been engaged in one for thousands of years. Coming from a religious institution whose very existence is due to a woman—no Mary, no Jesus—I would say that this is rather unforgivable. Wouldn’t you?