Jul 23 2008

Sisters ordainin’ it for themselves, part 2

It is difficult for an atheist such as myself to get too worked up over the internecine squabbles of various religious sects. Universally, religions are nothing but skeletons from which hangs the greasy blubber of patriarchal ideology. Even when they’re not overtly oppressing women — although I’ve never met a religion that wasn’t — they’re spreading crazy rumors, clinging to outdated cultural identities, and dominating people. So it is with mixed feelings when I read that another edgy bunch of renegade Boston Catholics has ordained 3 women as priests, and that, predictably, the devout godliness of the faithful is so offended by this unholy insubordination that the “womenpriest” pretenders must be excommunicated.

On one hand, putting pointy hats on women exposes the misogyny of the mothership religion, and, as exposing misogyny is the life’s work of the spinster aunt, I have to give the renegades blaming points for that.

On the other hand, even if Catholicism were completely taken over by women, it would still be an instrument of ignorance and delusion, on accounta it’s a religion.

Overall, I declare it a wash.

I bore you with this tedious preamble merely to present you with this comment from a Boston Globe reader, who writes,

THE CONTESTED ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood presents an interesting dilemma to the Roman Catholic hierarchy which so far has declared the participants to be neither Catholic nor priests and the ordination and subsequent service invalid. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply declare the participants not women?

Now we’re cookin’ with gas! Everybody should be declared not women. It would solve everything.

Read Part 1 (it’s funnier).


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  1. Betty Boondoggle

    “It is difficult for an atheist such as myself to get too worked up over the internecine squabbles of various religious sects.”

    I’m also an atheist and perhaps a somewhat naive as well because I’m somewhat shocked that the Catholic Church is mad about some women being ordained and has (or will)
    excommunicate them . . . while it didn’t excommunicate the priests involved in the sex abuse cases.

    So, ordained women are more offensive to the church than rapists?

    I’m flummoxed. Why do ANY women belong to such an organization?

  2. Orange

    It is impossible to declare female ordained priests not to be women on accounta they still have those impertinent vaginas (to steal Twisty’s phrase from Part 1).

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Remember the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages or thereabouts, with all that wealth tied up in cathedrals and church property and whatnot? I’m thinking the combination of male power and money/property is as potent a motivator as ever. And really, the Catholic Church’s policies haven’t liberalized in any substantive way in the last 500 years.

  3. Jezebella

    I’m sorry, were you saying something important? Because you linked to a post with a picture of a *golden retriever puppy*, fer crissake. How do you expect a woman to think rational thoughts when such cuteness is at hand?

    I think we need a Bert update. Is he jealous of your new boyfriend? How’s his haunch fur? What about his art career?

  4. norbizness

    I would never belong to any organized religion that would have me as a member.

  5. Betty Boondoggle

    Now, where I have heard that before? ;)

  6. tenderhooligan

    Wouldn’t it be easier to simply declare the participants not women?

    Surely I’m not the only one who doesn’t even know what that means!

  7. Marla the Invisible

    What’s the big deal? The fish hats have been declaring impossible things for millennia. Declaring someone not a woman is a no-brainer.

  8. bert-fan

    Yes, please, Twisty — more pictures of Bert. We haven’t seen hide nor hair of him for quite some time now. Nothing against Stanley, of course, but we watched Bert grow up. And now he’s just up and disappeared in the Texas wilderness.

  9. Tina H

    Oh sure. Rape is not a violation of a sacrament, only of a person. Much different. My dad used to freak out that laity would dare to distribute communion. Ahh, the good old days.

    It’s so much nicer being a Recovering Catholic.

  10. Cass

    I’m flummoxed, too. I hope, however, you weren’t comparing (in Part I) the directorship of a symphony orchestra with pointy-hat status in the Catholic Church!

  11. The Obtusely Reverend B. Dagger Lee

    I say if there be Smurfs, there should be Smurfettes; but it’s still not a cartoon that I want to watch.

    I like the way the Boston Globe commenter thinks, but here’s another suggestion: couldn’t the papists work something out with some Albanian Sworn Virgins?

  12. Shaina

    Sometimes I wonder why anyone even TRIES to change dumb things like misogynist religious rules. They seem to be such a crapshoot to me. But I guess, in some small way, it helps to bring these issues to the forefront to remind people that yes, women are still quite hated in society.

  13. Ayla

    So, after they are kicked out, what’s to stop them from continuing to do their whole priest thing anyway? It’s not like priests/pastors/other religious figures are generally required to meet a certain set of rules, impose a certain set of rules, or interpret religious texts in the “correct” way in order to keep their status, because if that were true, Islam would be the religion of peace and male and female Muslims would be treated equally, right? Because actually Islam IS about equality, it’s just those silly pre-Islamic tribes people who messed it all up, somehow managing to get all manner of offensive filth placed into the holy book, right?


    I blame the patriarchy and its right-hand man, religion.

  14. Kristin

    So, after they are kicked out, what’s to stop them from continuing to do their whole priest thing anyway?

    You gotta understand that the Catholic Church operates under a particularly delusional, childish and superstitious worldview. The sacraments that priests perform are magic, and you can’t *see* the magic but you know it’s there because the Pope says it is — and if the Pope says it’s *not* there, then you can go through the motions but it won’t be magic and it won’t do you any good.

    The Pope has taken away the magic from the impertinent-vagina-priests, so they can go through the motions of performing the sacraments but they’re not *real* sacraments. Devout Catholics won’t allow the impertinent vaginas to perform sacraments for them because without the magic, the bad juju will get them. They have to depend on whoever the Pope says has the magic.

  15. Bushfire

    “I say if there be Smurfs, there should be Smurfettes; but it’s still not a cartoon that I want to watch.”

    I love this analogy. Over at Feministe there was this thread of people saying “well, I know religion doesn’t make any sense, and I can’t really reconcile it, but how dare you insult it!” where all I could do was stare and blink. I was trying to point out that religion is a system against women, and we’d be better off to have our own spiritual beliefs, and people were calling me ignorant and hateful. If you take a system that has been enormously fucked up for hundreds of years, and then try really really hard to make it slightly less fucked up, you’re wasting energy. Time to create something worthwhile.

  16. Satsuma

    We do have to take seriously the fact that women all over the world by the millions belong to these blatant woman hating religions. What would happen if women gained in consciousness and walked out of all of them? That is the question of the ages. But they don’t.

    Now the next question is replacement. In order to get rid of a bad habit, you have to substitute a good habit, and keep at it until the new habit sticks. Want to lose weight? Ya stop eating too much in front of the T.V. step 1, but then you have to go for a walk or do something different or you’ll slip back into the bad habit.

    Church is a habit for people worldwide. Women are in the habit of going to these places. Feminism hasn’t been able to come up with a reliable weekly substitute. Heck, there are AA groups worldwide, but where are the drop in feminist groups? We’ve got work to do!

    And Tina H. had this to say:
    “My dad used to freak out that laity would dare to distribute communion. Ahh, the good old days.”

    Tina you had me howling with laughter. Ah the good old days indeed! Needed that good laugh today!

    And for good measure a Blamer throws in the Albanian sworn virgins! Ya gotta love this blog!! Beignets anyone? :-)

  17. Catie

    Apparently in Albania women can be declared men if they take an oath of virginity.


  18. Azundris

    On a less serious note, sometimes it seems like many US women emphasize it as, “*This* religious stuff is bad for me” — and then they become pagans —, while many European women emphasize it as “This *religious stuff* is bad for me” — and then they become atheists.

  19. Neko-Onna

    I have the perfect solution- I’m going to create my own religion that centers around doing really fun stuff that everyone loves (eating chocolate, playing with puppies and kittens, going on picnics, watching bad You Tube videos)AND has a really kick-ass supernatural diety who protects you and loves you and compels you to do rituals involving the afore-mentioned fun stuff as a tradeoff for its superdiety protection and admittance into a sweet sweet afterlife world modeled after the “candyland” in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. I’ll recruit a bunch of really rich people early and have them shell out for some slam-bang cathedrals with stained-glass windows inspired by Tiffany and rockin’ Art Deco movie palace-like interiors. I’ll invite all of the impertinant vaginas* worldwide to come share in the fun, and we’ll show those patriarchal killjoys a thing or two, while STILL getting our daily USDA recomended dose of churchin’.

    *Virginity not required. Strange pointy hats or other “vestements” strongly discouraged.

  20. Amananta

    It’s interesting for me to think about this, having had a sudden epiphany (anti-epiphany) the other day in which I (finally) realized I was an atheist.
    While I identify as a radical feminist, wishing to overturn entirely the patriarchy and its institutions, it seems like such a hopeless task most of the time that I can sympathize with and support entirely all those who seek to reform rather than revolt. I see all feminists who are not radical, such as the women seeking ordination here, in a similar fashion to how Dworkin saw right wing women, as those who believe the task of overthrowing the patriarchy is untenable and make some compromises along the way but are still working to better things for women. The difference is between pragmatism and idealism. I may, for example, disapprove of all state regulations on abortion that aren’t done for the sake of reasonable health guidelines that exist on every other sort of medical procedure, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to support feminist efforts to overturn burdensome regulations like 24 hour waiting periods.

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