Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Even the dogs

- Jesus to his disciples: "This woman has taught me that my message is for the Gentiles as well. If I can learn, so can you." (Jesus)

Thinking of the Canaanite woman and the dogs today ...

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.

What brought it to mind was reading what Pope Francis had to say about women being cardinals ... "It's a sound bite and I don't know where it came from. Women in the church must be valued, not 'clericalized.' Whoever is thinking about women cardinals suffers a little bit from clericalism."

From all I've read of Francis' views of women and their place in the church, he appears to see us as something akin to high-functioning pets rather than fellow human beings with men. I've tried to be hopeful about him - God knows I'm grateful we finally have a pope who seems humble, who seems to care about economic justice, who is ecumenical, who seems less antagonistic to LGBT people, who notices there's a sex abuse problem. But his goodness in these areas doesn't excuse his sexism - it only makes it more painful.

Further reading - We are at a crossroads for women in the church, Joan Chittister


Anonymous Richard said...

Hi Crystal, I had to look up "clericalism." I took the statement as an attempt, perhaps clumsy, to devalue the office of cardinal, not to suggest that women weren't up to it. Anyway. he used the term frequently in his message today:

Hope you are well.

4:46 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Richard.

I thought by clericism he meant the idea that being in holy orders - deacon, priest, cardinal - was a superior state, and that he meant by what he said that to think it would be good for women to be able to be cardinals is a clericism type of thing to think.

But that's kind of disingenuous ... women don't want to be in holy orders because they think they could then have positions superior to lay jobs. They want to have those positions becaue they feel called, just like men.

So maybe my thinking on what he said is kind of tortured ;) but I'm just getting so tired of the stuff he says about women ... that we need to be studied, that we need a theology of women, that we have some special feminine genius, that we're really best at making and caring for children. I don't think he sees us as real people.

5:34 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Sorry - I was in a hurry and I'm not sure my comment even made sense ;) It's just that Francis speaks of men and women almost as if they are two different species - the regular people (men), and those "special" beings, women, whose nature and abilities and destiny he defines for us. If he spoke this way about any other group, he'd be called a bigot.

5:54 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

No I get it. You made sense both times. It just needs to change. The cardinal thing is just Window dressing.

11:09 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I guess when B16 was pope, all we progressive Catholics could commiserate over his totally accepted wrongness - now with Francis, he's so close to being our dream pope that it's tempting to just be thankful and not kvetch over the details. I'm very detail oriented, though :)

11:21 PM  

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