Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why do you stay? Response to "Staying Power"

In response to Staying Power by Cynthia Reville Peabody:

Why do you stay?

The question seems to come with the assumption that something is wrong with the Catholic Church. I won't argue. There are some things wrong with the Church. If there weren't, it wouldn't be an organization made up of human beings. The author of this article, however, seems to consider the main problem being the status of women in the Church. How can women stay in a Church that considers them second-class citizens?

Why do I stay?

The fact that I cannot officiate the sacraments does not make me feel like a second-class citizen. While I would not be against women being allowed to be priests, this is not an issue that I feel passionately about. This is not an issue that makes me love the Church any less.

Just because a priest can't marry or have children like I can, doesn't mean he's being prejudiced against. Similarly, just because I can't officiate the sacraments does not mean I'm being prejudiced against.

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, "Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body," it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, "Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body," it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? -1 Corinthians 12:12-19

This passage in 1 Corinthians continues by expounding on how the parts of the body of Christ cannot do without one another and even the least honorable parts of the body are important.

I cannot be a priest. I can be a wife and mother. I could have gone into religious life. These options are just as honorable as the priesthood.

Of course, when I think of the Church, I think of it's priests, but I also think of the catechists I know (who are predominately women). I think of women like the author of the aforementioned article who work as activists and prophets in the name of Christ.

I don't feel like women are denigrated into the church basements or each others' houses. We are very visible as lectors, cantors, and Eucharistic Ministers. When I go into a parish office, the first face I usually see is a woman working either as a secretary or a parish administrator.

It may be high time for the Vatican to recognize our efforts again, but the Vatican has recognized us before. We are blessed! We have dignity! God works in and through us! To dwell on the issue of women in the priesthood is wasting all of our valuable time and energy. There are many other issues deserving of more attention.

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