19 November 2014

Cardinal O'Malley - The Pope's Buddy - Tells a Big Lie About Women Priests

Cardinal O'Malley was on 60 Minutes this week. He said, "The tradition in the Church is that we ordain men.” That wasn't the lie. It is true that Catholics don't let women become priests. Then when Norah O'Donnell (apparently this was an all Irish interview) pointed out that the church doesn't discriminate by race but only by gender, he told his lie. "O’Malley smiled and said, 'If I were founding a church, I’d love to have women priests. But Christ founded it, and what he has given us is something different.'"

Basically, O'Malley said that he was enlightened enough to include women in his priesthood but Christ was not. 

In fact, there are plenty of verses to suggest that women did play a role as early apostles. The verses that explicitly say that "Women should be silent in the church" in I Corinthians 14 don't appear in manuscripts from before the 6th century. They were inserted by Bishop Victor of Capua between 541 and 546 AD. [Thanks Lori for the precise dates.]

A preacher spreads the good news that Christ is risen. When Christ first rose, he appeared first to Mary (Mark 16:9) and she went and told others. If she didn't qualify as spreading the good news about the risen Christ it's hard to imagine who does. 

Paul calls Junia (a woman) an apostle in Romans 16:7 and refers to Phoebe (Romans 16:1) as a deacon. In Acts 2:17, Peter is preaching and says that now scripture is being fulfilled from Joel, "I will pour forth my spirit on all mankind and your sons and daughters shall prophesy." Deborah, in the Old Testament, was a prophet (Judges 4 and 5). 

O'Malley rightfully said that the Catholic Church tradition is to exclude women from the priesthood. He lies when he said that he and the pope are just excluding women because Jesus did. In fact, we have no record of Jesus ever speaking to this topic and lots of verses in other places that suggest the early Christians did include women ministers. 

People who start religions are going to make up stuff. That's unavoidable. It seems terribly cowardly, though, to make it up (or defend something made up centuries ago) and then blame it on Jesus, implying in the process that while Jesus is perfect, O'Malley is an even better person but simply can't act on that nobler sentiment because of some oddly misogynist quirk of the son of God.

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