Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I realize that the conversation has shifted to same sex marriage, but I'd like to get back to Michael P's original comments in connection with the recent NYT article about the clergy sexual abuse scandal: "[These are the men--the men!--whose insights regarding the complexity of human sexuality we are expected to genuflect before. Gimme a break. If women had been bishops--indeed, if mothers had been bishops--would this have happened?]"
I've often thought the same thing. If there had been women with authority in the Church in most of the meetings between bishops and lawyers as the allegations of sexual abuse began to surface, I do think that things would have been handled differently. I do not think that those women would have needed to be priests, though, to be women with authority in the Church. Personally, I can accept that there might be a sacramental role in the Church that is uniquely suited to men. However, I do not understand why such a unique sacramental role should, in itself, preclude women from holding more positions of authority in the Church, as either consecrated or lay women.
I think that if there had been women with authority in the Church in those early meetings between the bishops and the lawyers, and most particularly if those women had NOT, themselves, been priests, then there would have been some people in those rooms who could have identified more with the victims than with the priests. And I DO think, as Michael P. suggests, that that identification would have been intensified if some of those women in the room were also mothers. If those women had positions of authority in the Church, I do think this whole scandal would have been handled better.