Employees of the Catholic Church all over this country are being told that if they express their beliefs with respect to same sex marriage, artificial birth control, abortion, and other politically sensitive issues that the Catholic Church has a position on; and if those statements are not in accordance with the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church, they will be fired!
So much for free speech in the United States. Are similar threats being made elsewhere in the world – Rome, for instance?
One has to wonder when one of the Church’s world-wide leaders; Raymond Cardinal Burke, former Bishop of La Crosse and former Archbishop of St. Louis, can make preposterous and outrageous statements about Catholic men and women and still retain his position as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – itself a demotion from his previous position in the elite Roman Curia.
But then, maybe his statements are in accordance with the beliefs of the Roman church. Maybe he has not overstepped his bounds. Yes, maybe his statements reflect the culture of the vast majority of men in positions of power in the Catholic Church – in Rome and elsewhere around the world.
What did Burke say, do you ask? I will not go into a lot of detail, but feel free to check the La Crosse Tribune of January 9 – or the National Catholic Reporter of January 7.
In a nutshell – and I mean that literally – Burke asserts that the Catholic Church has suffered a shortage of priests, endured much priestly sexual abuse, and experienced a feminization of the church in general because of – get this – the feminist movement in the last half of the 20th century.
Yes ladies. It all your fault! If you ladies had not insisted on becoming mass servers, none of this would have happened. According to Burke, there is a difference between men and women. It’s only natural. Men don’t like to be around women! Thus, when women began to be mass servers, young Catholic boys quite literally ran away. They no longer felt being a server was a “manly” think to do. They no longer looked up to priests and aspired to enter the priesthood. Moreover, those that still did were feminized (apparently by being around women) and of course such feminized priests would be more tempted to abuse young boys.
To “fix” this crisis, Burke seems to suggest that women and young girls should back away from the active liturgy. They should not be mass servers. They should not be liturgists. They should limit their activities to those more appropriate for women.
You all know what those activities are; sweeping and vacuuming the floor around the altar, washing the priestly vestments and altar linens, and kneeling in front of the altar with a rosary.
Yes, apparently women need to leave the manly things to the men of the church – so the men don’t run away.
That Burke has gotten away with this says a lot about the culture within the church hierarchy. It explains a lot about the tenacious way in which the church holds on to its male-only priesthood – a position that is not supported by anything Jesus did or taught.
And finally it may explain why there are no women cardinals.
Cardinals do not have to be priests. They can come from any background. These days, cardinals are most often drawn from bishops but they could easily be drawn from lay theologians including women theologians.
That culture needs to change. Men like Burke need to go.
Perhaps men like Raymond Cardinal Burke need to be reduced once again to the rank of altar boy – to learn how to work with women and girls.
Published in the Winona Daily News on Sunday, January 18, 2014 under the title: Church leaders committing cardinal sins