I must be one of those ‘unwoke’ women that people like Lena Dunham need to educate – not that I voted for Trump, I’m a Brit, but because I believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching that women can not be priests. Yes, so consumed by the patriarchy am I that my self hatred doesn’t allow me to see the need for women to be priests.
Now that I’ve finished being sarcastic, let me exain how the dreadful treatment of Father Jacques perfectly exemplifies why I think there is, at the heart of it, ignorance or a lust for power when it comes to this belief that women should be ordained.
What happened to Father Jacques was shocking and horrific, but unfortunately is common place around the world and certainly was when Jesus formed the Church. It’s just that for the last few hundred years in Christendom there has been a period of physical safety for priests, social derision (at times just) the power that they hold, spiritual temptation surely – but their physical serves have been safe.
Can you imagine the call for a female priesthood being quite as loud in Pakistan? Somalia? Iraq? No, and there’s a good reason for this. These priests face death and they must put these fears aside and continue to offer the mass for all those souls brave enough to attend.
Now, in the safe west we are starting to face more intense persecution. People are losing their livelihoods, it is not unthinkable that forms of persecution will become more extreme. No matter how horrific the attack on Father Jacques was, would you replace him with an elderly, female priest? It’s true that nuns are brutalised in the most horrific way, but the very fact that they don’t offer the mass and therefore stand in the place of Jesus means that they have the spiritual room to remove themselves from persecution that a priest can’t.
All priests are called to face death like Christ, this call was there with the first apostle Andrea each priest since.
I pray God is with you; please pray He is with me too.