While I took Lent and Easter more seriously than ever this year—in terms of prayer, Scriptural reading, reflection, and discipline—I didn’t go to Mass. In fact, I haven’t been since Christmas.
Most of us have our ups and downs with the church, and this is not the first time I have felt baffled and resentful. But this seems more measured, more serious. One of the precipitating incidents was Fr. Nonomen’s February 26 Commonweal column, “A Holy Order.” While he indicated his appreciation for the special gifts women bring to the church, he ended up sounding patronizing. Instead of confronting the injustices in the church, he avoided thinking about them by focusing on the good.
I believe in the church and want to remain a Catholic. I can’t imagine leaving, or finding a home in another faith, much as I respect other faiths. No religion is without its problems, and no human institution is perfect. But the exclusion of women from full adult participation in the Catholic Church has increasingly become an obstacle for me. I cannot understand, much less accept, the claim that gender should determine who can represent Jesus at the altar.
I can deal with the grasping after money, the popes with children, the Crusades, the persecution of witches, even the sexual abuse of children—we are human beings, and we fail spectacularly and repeatedly (as I have proved to myself on many occasions...