You really have to wonder how, in the 21st century, the leadership of the Catholic Church still doesn’t ‘get it.’
At the moment a synod on the family is taking place in Rome. But women, who are being repeatedly lectured by the Church about their indespensable role in the family unit, are not present at the synod.
Married men are not present either. The body discussing issues facing the family today is made up of mostly elderly celibate men – who are not married and who do not have children. It’s hard to imagine that a more unrepresentative body could be put together to discuss modern family life.
Almost the entire body of synod participants is made up of archbishops and cardinals.
Ten men religious (leaders of male religious orders), including one lay brother, are also attending the synod. These are allowed to vote, alongside the archbishops and cardinals.
Three women religious – a tiny number – have been permitted to attend the synod. These are present in the same capacity as their male religious counterparts except for one glaring distinction – they are not allowed to vote.
Isn’t that extraordinary? The three female religious are not allowed to vote simply on the basis of their gender, simply because they are women.
If that’s not active discrimination, then what is? Is it any surprise that so many women feel disconnected from and disillusioned with the Church? That so many have walked away?
Time is running out for our Church leadership to start treating women with the respect and equality that is their right by virtue of their baptism. It’s last chance saloon time for our Church fathers.
They could start, at least, by taking on board Canadian Archbishop Paul-André Durocher’s suggestion to ordain women deacons.
But that’s unlikely, too. According to reports, the archhbishop’s proposal found little support in the synod hall.
We can only hope that the pope, at least, heard him and will decide to act before it is too late.
Gerard Moloney; 14 October 2015