Friday, July 16, 2010


Pat Brown, from the group Catholic Women's Ordination, called it "a slap in the face to women;" and I suspect that her relatively moderate choice of words was appropriate for a practicing Catholic. From my point of view, however, this may be the closest I have come to finding chutzpah in the activities of the Vatican; and it certainly deserves recognition for its negative connotation. "It" is a document released by the Vatican yesterday that, under other circumstances, might have been seen as a step in the right direction towards confronting pedophilia and other abusive practices by its priests. I say "might have been," because it decided to apply the same strong language to another of its major concerns, thereby at least suggesting those two issues were related. The language in question was the phrase "grave crime;" and I doubt that many would question its applicability to pedophilia. However, the Vatican document then began to plow another row by using the same language to describe any attempt to ordain women as priests; and the implication seems to be that a woman celebrating the Mass is as much an affront to the Catholic religion as is the sexual abuse of a child by an ordained priest. I would like to think that any document from the Vatican must go through several layers of vetting and editing before it is released in its official capacity. This would imply that all those layers of review accepted the use of the same language for these two different practices, which would make the document an act of chutzpah on the part of the entire Vatican bureaucracy. Others might see this as evidence for a new "reformation;" but I just see it as the discovery of a new recipient of the Chutzpah of the Week award!

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