"This is just nonsense... It is simply not a realistic possibility," said Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi in response to reports that the Pope might ordain two Irish women as cardinals.
Just nonsense? Jeez. I can't imagine what else has to happen for Catholic women to recognize their institutionally inferior status—other than for the Vatican to come right out and say, "Now, look! Chicks are too moody to be in a position of authority, so let it go already!" And if I were a good, church-going woman and heard some crotchety, white-haired, hunched-over preacher refer to the concept of a female priest as "just nonsense," I'd flip him the ba fungu and dunk my furry vagina in the holy water on the way out the door.
To have or not to have female priests is a debate that arises periodically within the Vatican, but the door was apparently shut on the possibility by Pope John Paul II in his 1994 apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis—or, as I like to call it: Justo Nonsensicalis.
Quoting from the scriptures (and other apostolic letters), the pontiff provided a list of reasons for the ban on women priests. These are:
1. "Priestly ordination has, in the Catholic Church, always been reserved to men alone."
Translation: We can't ordain women now because we never did it before.
2. "[It has been] the consistent practice of the Church..."
Translation: We can't ordain women because we always ordain men.
3. "The example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men..."
Translation: We can't ordain women because Christ didn't pick any chick apostles.
4. "The Apostles [chose only males to] succeed them in their ministry."
Translation: We must enforce a sexist ban on women priests because the apostles had a sexist ban on women priests.
5. "[T]he exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church."
Translation: Only males can be priests and only priests can be messengers of God, and we male priests say God's message for the Church is that it be run by priests, who can only be males—so suck it.
6. "Furthermore, the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, [never received] the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination... cannot be construed as a discrimination against them."
Translation: The fact that women cannot be ordained is not a reason for them to feel discriminated against because the most revered woman in the Church—the Virgin Mary—was never ordained.
I guess it makes sense. What better symbol for a historically gynophobic institution than a virgin who makes magic babies and has no administrative authority?
And there you have it. Justo Nonsensicalis: an apostolic letter that does an awful lot of wriggling and reaching to justify the oldest bigotry in the world—vagina-terror. I mean, seriously, half of these reasons are the same reason: "We do it because we always did it"—which is known as the argumentum ad antiquitatem fallacy and is only put forth by nincompoops.
As for their primary argument—that women can't be ordained because Jesus didn't have any females apostles—wow! That's, like, 10 philosophical fallacies rolled into one. You've got argumentum ad nauseam, argumentum e silentio, deus vult, petition principia, onus probandi and, perhaps the most applicable fallacy, ignorantiam assumptiani de sexisto assholum papum.
OK, sure, Jesus didn't have any female apostles. Jesus didn't have any bald apostles, either. He didn't have any black apostles. He didn't have gay apostles (there were some who doubted Thomas, but he was just effeminate). And he certainly didn't have any crotchety, white-haired, hunched-over halitosis-suffering apostles. Jesus' peeps were all young men, so maybe old farts should be banned from the priesthood, as well?
The fact that Jesus only had male apostles is not proof that he wasn't open to the idea any more than the fact that I didn't use the word "xylophone" in this column means I have it out for xylophones. It's not like there's any passages in the Bible supporting this theory. It'd be one thing if the scriptures mentioned a sign on the front door of the Last Supper that said, "No Gurls!" Or if the Bible had a passage like, "And Jesus passed the bread to his disciples and said, 'This is my body. Don't share it with your bitches, yo. Bitches be whack!' And if that were Jesus' position, well, then screw Jesus. Guess he wasn't the altruistic warrior for the underdog everyone thought he was. Not that I believe that.
The fact that Jesus had only male apostles is more likely because of women's inferior status at that time than an undercurrent of misogyny on his part. Most of the women of his day were cooking and cleaning for their
husbands masters and too busy to apply for any apostle positions, which is why following that argument with "And it's always been that way" is beyond fucked.
Yeah, sure, it has always been that way. The world has always been misogynistic, sexist and bigoted. That's what we're trying to change.
Write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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