Pope Francis accused by Mary McAleese of ‘ludicrous lack of logic’ in comments on women priests

Former president accused Pope of ‘misogynistic drivel’ following interview justifying exclusion of women

Pope Francis mounted an argument that women not entering ministry was not a ‘deprivation’ due to other avenues available to them.

By Patsy McGarry

Pope Francis has been accused of “misogynistic drivel” by the former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, following an interview with a United States-based Catholic magazine where he said women are not being deprived by being denied the right to become priests.

in an interview with the Jesuit publication America, conducted in the Vatican last month, the Pope said: “The church is more than a ministry. It is the whole people of God. The church is woman. The church is a spouse. Therefore, the dignity of women is mirrored in this way.”

“And why can a woman not enter ordained ministry? It is because the Petrine principle has no place for that,” he said. “That the woman does not enter into the ministerial life is not a deprivation. No. Your place is that which is much more important and which we have yet to develop, the catechesis about women in the way of the Marian principle,” he said.

However, the interview prompted a sharp response from Mrs McAleese. In a short email to the Vatican addressed to the Pope, she said: “It was reassuring and gratifying to observe the utter impenetrability of the reasons you offered, their ludicrous lack of logic or clarity, in short the fact that you offered just more unlikely misogynistic drivel.”

Continuing, she said: “So nothing new then and nothing to fear. Thank you for giving us something to laugh at. If you ever come up with a serious and credible reason please do not hesitate to let us know. Meanwhile keep rambling on. It is such fun and the fun has almost gone out of faith! Best wishes and renewed thanks. Mary McAleese.”

Giving her Roscommon address, she signed the email as Dr Mary McAleese LLB, MA, JCL, JCD, including qualifications in canon law.

Asked in the interview about what he would say to a woman who feels called to be a priest, the Pope said it was “a theological problem.” He said “we amputate the being of the church if we consider only the way of the ministerial dimension of the life of the church. The way is not only (ordained) ministry.”

The “Petrine (from Peter) principle is that of ministry,” he said. “But there is another principle that is still more important, about which we do not speak, that is the Marian principle, which is the principle of femininity in the church, of the woman in the church,” he said.

There was also a third way, “the administrative way,” he said. “It is something of normal administration. And, in this aspect, I believe we have to give more space to women.” At the Vatican “the places where we have put women are functioning better,” he said.

“So there are three principles, two theological and one administrative. The Petrine principle, which is the ministerial dimension, but the church cannot function only with that one. The Marian principle, which is that of the spousal church, the church as spouse, the church as woman. And the administrative principle, which is not theological, but is rather that of administration, about what one does,” he said.

Asked about the abuse issue, he referred to his visit to Ireland in 2018.

“The church takes responsibility for its own sin, and we go forward, sinners, trusting in the mercy of God. When I travel, I generally receive a delegation of victims of abuse.” He recalled “when I was in Ireland, people who had been abused asked for an audience. There were six or seven of them. At the beginning, they were a little angry, and they were right.

“I said to them: `Look, let us do something. Tomorrow, I have to give a homily; why don’t we prepare it together, about this problem?’ And that gave rise to a beautiful phenomenon because what had started as a protest was transformed into something positive and, together, we all created the homily for the next day. That was a positive thing [that happened] in Ireland, one of the most heated situations I have had to face. What should the church do, then? Keep moving forward with seriousness and with shame.”

Complete Article HERE!

How German Catholics pushed Church’s slow reforms

— The Catholic Church in Germany is changing to allow gays and divorcees to join its workforce of 800,000. But the reform does not go far enough for everyone.

by Christoph Strack

It’s an issue that affected the head doctor of a Catholic hospital, who was divorced and wanted to remarry; and the director of a church-run kindergarten, who entered into a same-sex partnership.

Both were dismissed by their employer, the Catholic Church in Germany. That sparked outrage among many German Catholics, who felt the church line made it look hard-hearted and at odds with today’s social norms.

Now, after repeated consultations, Catholic bishops in the country have decided to liberalize regulations covering the approximately 800,000 people who work for the Catholic Church in Germany.

“The core area of private life, in particular relationship life and the intimate sphere, remains separate from legal evaluations,” the announcement stated. In other words, what happens in employees’ bedrooms is outside the Church’s remit.

Reforms in the Church have been driven by the churchgoers
Reforms in the Church have been driven by the churchgoers rather than politicians

More liberal labor laws

The two major churches in Germany, Catholic and Protestant, form the country’s second largest employer after the public authorities. Together, they employ about 1.3 million people, and have their own church labor laws.

But why does the Catholic Church have the right to set its own guidelines for employees in the first place? This is set out in Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law, which grants religious and ideological communities extensive self-determination, including in service or labor law. In past decades, none of the major political parties in Germany wanted to restrict or abolish these provisions of the Basic Law.

That makes it noteworthy that the Catholic bishops are now changing important aspects of their labor laws of their own accord. The pressure came from employees and potential employees, for whom the Church had become an unattractive employer.

Above all, pressure grew from the Church’s base in Germany. Last year, Catholic Church workers caused a stir with an initiative entitled #OutInChurch, which earned support from many church organizations, politicians, and other social groups.

Church employees, including the clergy, came out as queer and pushed for recognition. Many risked losing their jobs, which is why some chose to remain anonymous. But the mood was changing. Some bishops also expressed respect for the initiative and announced that they would no longer fire anyone in their diocese because of their sexual orientation.

The Church’s ‘reform engine’

The “synodal path,” an assembly of lay people and bishops still working to confront abuse scandals and bring the Church closer to contemporary society, discussed the topic and made new demands regarding church labor law. Marc Frings, secretary general of the highest Catholic lay body, the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), described the “synodal path” as “the engine of urgently needed reforms.”

Now many in the Church are eager to see how implementation will take place. The Bishops’ Conference can decide on a new labor law, and each individual bishop in the 27 dioceses is responsible for implementing — or ignoring — the rules in his diocese. Experts believe that several more conservative bishops might refrain from implementing it.

Among the dioceses that promptly announced they would stand behind the new labor law were Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s Archdiocese of Cologne and Bishop Stefan Oster’s Diocese of Passau. Other dioceses, such as Regensburg and Augsburg in Bavaria, have been more reticent.

‘Discrimination remains’

Not everyone has joined the jubilation over the bishops’ change of heart. Würzburg University Pastor Burkhard Hose, for example, still sees “a lot of room for episcopal arbitrariness.” The new labor law, for example, states that “anti-clerical behavior” can be grounds for dismissal, but it does not specify what this might mean, leaving each bishop to interpret it for himself.

German Anti-discrimination Commissioner Ferda Ataman speaks at Christopher Street Day 2022 Berlin,
German Anti-discrimination Commissioner Ferda Ataman has also been calling for more reforms

Jens Ehebrecht-Zumsande, an employee in the Archdiocese of Hamburg and, along with Hose, one of the initiators of the #OutInChurch campaign, has criticized the fact that the new guidelines are based on a “binary gender model …. according to which there are only women and men.” Trans or non-binary people have not been taken into account, he argued.

The German government’s anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, also weighed in, calling for the abolition of all exemptions, except for the clergy. Only that, she said, would protect people like the doctor or the kindergarten teacher who, even under the new regulation, may be fired if they leave the Church.

In general, the federal government lets the actions of the churches pass with little comment.

For Marc Frings, the new labor law is an encouragement for the laity within the churches. He says it is evident from the new labor law “that change and reform come from below.”

Without the #OutInChurch campaign and “engaged Catholic civil society,” we would not be at the current stage of reform, he argues. “This is how we learn that our actions and discussions can have immediate consequences,” he said.

Further reform issues are awaiting action in March 2023, when a final round of the “synodal path” will address, among other things, the demand for equal rights for men and women in the Church.

Complete Article HERE!

Fr Brian Darcy

— ‘The Church needs to learn from transgender people – not just preach Canon Law’

Fr Brian Darcy

Why should we be surprised when a church leader seeks advice about something

I read a beautiful letter from a committed Catholic which shocked me in a good way. I hope it does the same for you.

This is how WE come to terms with difference; it’s how to come to terms with being transgender.

The letter was published in a leading Catholic magazine in the USA called America.

I want to be true to what the writer Christine Zuba wrote and therefore I will quote directly where possible to make sure I am not misinterpreting Christine in any way.

The letter begins: “About eight years ago, after 29 years of marriage to my wife and two beautiful children, I walked into confession with something to discuss.

“For as long as I could remember since about the age of 3 or 4, I knew that I was different.

“As a child, for years I would go to bed praying that I would wake up as a girl. This is a story commonly echoed by many transgender people like myself.”

Christine is a lifelong Catholic. As part of her transition, she took an unusual first step.

She decided to speak to a priest in the Confessional. She was aware in a general way of the teaching of the Catholic Church about being gay.

At that point, however, the church was still relatively silent about transgender persons.

“My faith has always been strong. I’ll never claim to be the perfect Catholic; I do make mistakes. Occasionally (but not often),

“I miss a Sunday Mass, and I’ve been known to utter a bad word once in a while… I do my best to be a good person, though, trying to live each day as if it may be my last.

“I was, and still am, very confident in my relationship with my God. I knew I would be the same person walking out of the confessional as walking in, no matter what some might say or claim about me.

“While my “outside” was changing, everything else—my heart, my mind, my soul and my faith—remained unchanged.”

A young woman holding a rainbow gay flag outdoors. Stock image
A young woman holding a rainbow gay flag outdoors.

The priest was sympathetic to Christine and was amazingly open to a discussion.

“…the conversation immediately diverted to sex. “Excuse me, Father,” I remember saying, “this has nothing at all to do with sex; this has to do with who I am.

“You can throw me out if you want, but if you do, I’m coming right back. This is my church too.”

What a superb response! In fairness, the priest said he had no intention of throwing Christine out.

Instead, he suggested they pray together to ask for guidance for the journey. He was so kind that Christine cried as she left the confessional.

Later she spoke to the Parish Leader in Confession. His first words were: “God loves everyone.”

He added that while he understood what it meant for people to identify as gay, “the transgender subject is somewhat new.” He admitted: “I’ll need you to help me learn.”

“I’ve been blessed”, Christine says. “While I had a very positive reaction from my priests, I know others who have experienced the complete opposite.

“They were told that they are sinners, evil or that they were not Catholic. One of my best friends was even physically carried out of the church during Mass after being refused Communion.

“Many people are still learning about transgender persons. Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down our daily lives, I had lunch with a local priest who had baptized my grandson.

” He wanted to learn more about me. One of the first things he asked was if I was ever physically or sexually abused when I was young because it was his understanding that people become transgender as a result of abuse. I have never been abused”

An even bigger surprise was in store for Christine. “A year after my transition, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming an extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

“Shortly thereafter we also started an L.G.B.T.Q.+ ministry in our parish…

“Through Zoom, I’ve participated in numerous parish L.G.B.T.Q.+ ministries as well as informational sessions with priests, and religious and diocesan school administrators to help them better understand and accompany transgender adults, youth and children.

” I’ve met many loving, kind, wonderful L.G.B.T.Q. Catholics and allies.”

But there was an even bigger surprise in store.

“About four years ago, I was invited (along with 17 gay and lesbian Catholics, supportive clergy, and parents) to dinner with Cardinal Joseph Tobin at his residence in Newark, N.J.

“It was a beautiful and amazing evening. An introductory reception preceded a beautiful dinner and conversation, after which Cardinal Tobin sat back and asked each of us, “How can I help you?”

It was an inspired move by Cardinal Tobin. But I have to ask myself why should we be surprised when a church leader seeks advice about something he knows nothing about.

Should not that be what every leader would do? Christine had similar thoughts.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

“I often wonder, however, what it is about me and people like me that causes so much fear among my fellow Catholics.

“Why are the transgender community selectively targeted by some as a threat to the family and the world? Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I understand our faith says that “God made them male and female.” But God made a whole lot more, and everything in between.

“Our world, science, technology, and even our church, have changed over time. Today’s science recognizes that something can happen between the body and mind, causing misalignment between the two.

“I don’t often quote science, though. I just know that “I am,” that God made me this way, and that God made me this way for a reason.

“I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about being transgender. Our lives are no different from anyone else’s. We live, we work, and we pray. We have families.

“We ask simply to be accepted and to be a part of our church, no better or worse than divorced Catholics, or Catholics who may not strictly follow other church teachings.

“Pope Francis has spoken out for L.G.B.T. Catholics, saying that God “does not disown any of his children.”

He is reported to have told Juan Carlos Cruz, a sexual abuse survivor and a gay Catholic man, that “God made you this way and loves you this way,” in reference to his identity. I pray that someday our church will take this to heart and that this message will reach trans Catholics, too.”

There is a powerful and emotional ending to Christine’s letter. In a few words, she outlines a common-sense approach that speaks louder than theology or canon law ever could. This is pure Gospel compassion from Christine Zuba.

“Transgender persons are not an ideology. We are not a threat. All of us are a part of God’s great universe, made in the image and likeness of God, a God who is neither male nor female.”

Now I’m in tears!

Complete Article HERE!

German Catholic Church Changes The Law To Permit Hiring Of LGBTQ People

By Shone Palmer

A new labor law was passed by the Catholic Church in Germany which allows people of the LGBTQ community to work under the church without being discriminated against or fired on the grounds of their sexuality.

The law was passed following a protest conducted last year by the employees of the Church who came out as queer. This new change was part of a greater drive to encourage tolerance and a feeling of oneness inside Catholic institutions.

The church officials also stated that according to the new law anyone can be part of the activities of the church that is ultimately meant to serve people and to exist for the general good in the world. There wouldn’t be any sort of biased behavior in terms of their personal choices unless it doesn’t go against the core values of the gospel itself.

Catholic Church In Germany Changes Policy To Includes LGBTQ Workers

The German Catholic Women’s Community hailed the decision and said that this is one of the most progressive decisions taken by the German Catholic Church which would be remembered throughout history.

The German state labor courts had been always critical of the labor laws of German Catholic Institutions as these didn’t go in agreement with the general labor laws of the country.

In 2011, a German labor court stated that the dismissal of a doctor who worked at a Catholic hospital on the grounds of his remarriage was unlawful.

There was a mass protest in January when around 125 employees of the German Catholic church came out in open with their queer status and raised their concern about living without fear under the catholic institutions in Germany.

There were many employees of the Catholic church like Priests, Religious teachers, and staff of administration who participated in the protest to uphold their identity and freedom.

It garnered a lot of publicity and sparked a massive debate over the stand of the Catholic Church on their hostility towards the LGBTQ community.

Usually, the work contracts of employees would be canceled if they were known to be from the LGBTQ community and the Catholic clergies refrained from blessing same-sex marriages as they considered it to be a “sin”.

The new amendment comes as a big step for the Catholic church and a success story for the LGBTQ community worldwide. The Central Committee of the German Catholics remarked that the decision was “overdue”.

Apart from same-sex relationships, the German Catholic Church was critical of people who remarried after divorce. This was also considered to be an unacceptable behavior and these people also were at risk of losing their jobs anytime.

These orthodox rules at the workplace were highly against the spirit of a democratic society as labor rights were applicable to every individual regardless of their personal lifestyle choices. The people who lived under such scrutiny for a long time had finally come out and expressed their anger and frustration through the protest.

The Conference also added that the amendment is directed at fostering a positive attitude among individuals toward the church and the teachings of the gospel.

Around the world, most catholic institutions are not welcoming of the LGBTQ community. Even in the US, the struggle for LGBTQ rights and social acceptance is still being fought every day.

Even though the situation has become much better compared to the past actions of religious prosecution of the queer communities, it still has a long way to go in terms of policy developments, social laws, and equal opportunities.

This amendment made by the German Catholic church shall be among the forerunners in the march towards queer rights.

Complete Article HERE!

Women Priests, Homosexuality, Not Closed Debate In Church, German Bishop Says

Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop of Limburg and President of the Synodal Way Georg Bätzing holds a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, February 5, 2022.

By

A leading German Catholic bishop on Saturday contested the Vatican’s view that debates about women priests and homosexuality were closed, saying they will have to be confronted in the future.

Bishop Georg Bätzing spoke at a news conference at the end of a week of talks between Pope Francis and Vatican officials on one side, and all of Germany’s bishops on the other.

They centred on a controversial German progressive movement, known as the “Synodal Path”, that aims to give lay Catholics a say on some doctrinal matters as well as the appointment of bishops.

The movement has alarmed Catholic conservatives and moderates around the world, who fear that it could lead to massive splintering similar to what happened in Anglican and Protestant Churches after they introduced similar changes in recent decades.

“As far as the ordination of women is concerned, for example, (the Vatican’s) view is very clear, that the question is closed. But the question exists and it has to elaborated and discussed,” said Bätzing, who is bishop of Limburg and head of the German Bishops Conference.

The Catholic Church teaches that women cannot be priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles and that while same-sex attraction is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

Some Church progressives want the Catholic catechism to be changed so that it does not condemn homosexual acts in a committed relationship and to open a process leading to women’s ordination.

“All these questions are on the table (of the German Synodal Path) and all attempts of cancel them will not have success,” Bätzing said.

“Popes have tried to say the question (of women priests) is closed but the fact is that the question exists. Many young women say ‘a church that refuses all of this cannot be my church in the long run,'” he said.

In 2021 the Vatican’s doctrinal office ruled that priests cannot bless same-sex unions.

In September, Flemish Roman Catholic bishops issued a document allowing the practice.

Asked if he would bar priests in his diocese from blessing same-sex unions Bätzing said: “I will not deny God’s blessing from those in committed relationships who are seeking it”.

In July, the Vatican tried to slam brakes on the German movement, saying it risked causing a schism in the universal Church.

Bätzing said he did not see such a risk.

“It (schism) is not an option for any bishop or lay person in Germany. We are Catholics and we will remain Catholics but we want to be Catholics in a different way,” he said.

Complete Article HERE!