The cause of the Catholic clergy’s sex-abuse scandal is no mystery: insular groups of men often do bad things. So why not break up the all-male club? (http://www.newsweek.com/id/235882)
This is the opening question in an article in Newsweek. And it’s not a bad question. Actually, for me, it’s kind of a “well, duh” moment. No need to tell us Lutheran women why we should be fully included in the leadership of the church. Been there. Done that.
So why can’t the Roman Catholic Church get its act together? I don’t think the all-male clergy is working very well for them. Do you? Even if the sex scandals ever end, their moral authority is pretty far eroded. Yet the Catholic church flat-out refuses to even consider ordaining women, and higher administrative positions within the church are denied to women as well.
All this in a church that constantly relies on both the presence of women in the pews and the offerings they place in the basket.
The chasm between the church’s stated principles and its functional reality yawns wide. In the U.S., 60 percent of Sunday massgoers are women; thus most of the contributions to the collection plate—$6 billion a year—are made by women. (Newsweek)
How long can the Catholic church rely on those faithful women who are still giving their time, their money and their resources to a culture that has systematically denied them leadership? Richard Sipe, a former priest, contributes in the same article that “Clergy are a group that are very privileged in their own mind. They have a sense of entitlement. Think about it. What other culture do you know of that’s all male, theoretically and practically?”
I think we’re seeing how destructive that culture can be. A culture of entitlement has covered up acts of true evil. ELCA Lutherans broke up the all-male club and are better for it. So are the Episcopalians. Why can’t the Catholics do it?
Emily Hansen is director for stewardship and development for Women of the ELCA.