Every Sunday during mass my priest would give a sermon on the ways to embody Jesus’ values in our daily lives. He often reminded us we are all children of god, all brothers and sisters, and therefore all equal. Although difficult, it was impertinent to embrace others, and forgive one another. With every action we should emulate Jesus’ love, compassion, mercy, and selflessness. As Catholic’s we must fight for ourselves and ones less fortunate.
After many years of undeniable allegiance, I suddenly lost faith in the Catholic Church. Towards the end of high school, a dear friend of mine asked me to attend her reformed denomination. Here, a woman led the sermon. She spoke of her experiences and her hopes and dreams for the future. In my church, women did not have the power to speak, but only could sing the word of the lord. Nuns had no rights to share their thoughts or interpretations, but were only allowed to regurgitate passages from Bible. This reformed preacher had even been ordained; a blessing solely allowed for men at my church. When I left I felt so confused and betrayed. How could my church which preached love and selflessness every Sunday so blatantly disregard it in their actual institution? How could I support a place where their morals and actions conflicted? And how could I, an educated woman, not have already seen this? Me, like many of the followers had grown up only seeing this mentality. Sexual discrimination was covered up by a blanket of normalcy. However, this encounter uncovered my eyes to the inequality riddled within the Roman Catholic Church.
Men and woman take the same vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty, and equally devote themselves to Christ and the Roman Catholic Church. However men become ordained, given the power to perform holy orders, while woman can only assist. So although it is not specifically written in the bible, we must follow Jesus’s led and only allow men to fulfill the holy seven sacraments. Essentially, the ultimate sacrifice from a man will give him holy powers. He can baptize, bless the Eucharist, reconcile the sinners, confirm the believers, and anoint the sick. An equal sacrifice from a woman, gives you the right to be subservient to a man. This rule perpetuates the idea that a man’s choice has more value than a woman’s.
The whole entire hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church consists of men, from the Popes to the Priest. Catholicism’s condones and defends this behavior because it follows tradition. And why is it so? What separates The Roman Catholic Church from other Christian demonizations is Catholicism’s emphasis on “tradition”, and the literal interpretation of the Bible. When Jesus appointed his twelve disciples he choose all men, and those twelve apostles only choose men to succeed them and so on and so forth. Supporters argue if the Catholic Church changed its rules on ordination, it would change the doctrine, no longer follow tradition, and therefore could no longer be the Roman Catholic Church.
However this argument is totally invalid. The Catholic Church has made countless of changes since its conception 2000 years ago. The most major and recent one was in the late 1960s when the language at mass was changed from Latin to the vernacular. The Vatican explained this drastic move to help the new modern world understand the ever important scriptures. So, essentially the excuse of tradition is only used when it is convenient.
If the men of the Catholic Church truly followed the will of Jesus Christ, they would stop this sexism and change with the modern world. However, this is unlikely to happen without amass moment of its people. And without education of gender stratification, the world will never know, and will never have the chance to speak out.