Religion. Faith. Sometimes the two compliment each other. Other times a religion’s bureaucracy and litany of rules, regulations and customs are provided a false pedestal over the spiritual.
This can be evidenced with a Frank Bruni column in the New York Times as he writes about women, the Catholic Church and Pope Francis. The almost laughable headline is “Catholicism Undervalues Women”. An amazing grasp of the obvious, though “Catholic Church” would have been more appropriate than Catholicism. To me, the former is the bureaucratic structure and the latter refers to the faith. Either way, Bruni is mainly spot on about a Church in close to a total disconnect with women.
They can’t be priests. They hold no positions of power in the Vatican. Via the Sisterhood, they do some of the most important work of the Church, yet have never been made equal by the all-male Curia. This forces many talented and loving women out of the Sisterhood as they become estranged from the Church.
One of the essentially beautiful things to me growing up Catholic was the reverence to Mary. She was always spiritually comforting, accepting and nurturing. Without her? Where’s Jesus? Who would he have been? This was over 2000 years ago and yet Mary, not Joseph, was the transcendent one.
This was my Church. The Immaculate Conception: Mary, conceived without sin and sinless in her life. This mirrored my reality in which women and men, such as my mother and a father, were not the same — each with their particular gifts — but they were equal. It is impossible to envision a world in which we could avoid this simple, powerful truth. But somehow the Church manages to do so. I was taught by Jesuits. They know better.