Sexism in the Catholic Church
Since the beginning of history, sexism has always been a prominent barrier between sexes. The notion that women are not on the same level as men has always been in existence. Even in the church there are accusations of sexism. We see it during the book of exodus this belief stems from the creation of Eve, through a rib of Adam. From scripture, Eve’s roll was to be considered as a servant and a temptress, the sole reason why Adam ate the apple. Consequently Eve is blamed as being the reason mankind is not living in a paradise. This is why I chose to study sexism, it has always been a topic within the church that I have not fully understood.
Sexism is defined as the discrimination or hatred against people based on their gender rather then their individual merits. We see examples of this in modern day such as; a girl cannot play on a football team because of her gender, and likewise a male cannot be on a cheerleading squad because of his gender. There are multiple organizations and associations that make this more aware to the and help bring recognition to these issues. However sexism has been around since the ancient years and it has roots. Sexism in its general usage is directed against females.
In ancient Greece, going back over twenty-five hundred years ago, women were born as property that belong to their fathers. This ownership was given to the husband as the woman became older. Women were also judged to be not worthy of male accompaniment, in older days women would bring dowries to their husbands. These dowries were used as “payment” for marriage. They would consist of things like gold and livestock. This is a legitimate example of how many sexist laws, beliefs or teaching would have been rooted from ancient and cultural pasts and still carry and alter our opinions today.
The Church has been criticized many times on acts of sexism. The number one, main reason, that people accuse the church of sexism is the rule that women can not become priests. (Russell, 3) Or in that manner anything higher than a nun. People hear this and think well gee a guy can be a priest and a women can not this is a pure example of sexism. Don’t we profess that God created men and women of equal worth and dignity? The Holy Scriptures state clearly in Galatians 3:28 that “There is neither male nor female. In Christ Jesus you are one. ” ( Galatians 3:28) Catholic priests say that the call to be a priest is a gift and comes from God.
How can mans call from God be real but a women’s can not? (Hardon, 2028) However the Church addresses this with much confidence. The Catholic Church states that a priest must be male because a priest must represent Jesus, to stand in his place and since Jesus was male, so should the priest. “Barring women from being Catholic priests is not the result of sexism 2,000 years ago, it’s because women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, “standing in the place of Jesus,””. ( Rogers, 1) Father Stephen Wang defends the Church by stating “ This teaching is not at all a judgment on women’s abilities or rights.
It says something about the specific role of the priest in Catholic understanding – which is to represent Jesus, to stand in his place” (Rogers, 2) Another key point brought up is that Jesus ordained the first priests, the apostles, they were all men, he must have intended for this. (Smith. 3) It is easy for people to over look the details and to see the broad side of things, assuming the church is being sexist towards females wishing to become priests. However to obtain the most authentic connection to god we can achieve the Catholic Church believes that only Males should be priests, to stand in his place.
The Roman Catholic Church sees sexism as a social sin. There are many examples of the Church making statements about the importance of women in the church: Pope Benedict XVI stated “The history of Christianity would have had a very different development if it had not been for the generous support of many women… who played an effective and precious role in spreading the Gospel. Their witness cannot be forgotten. ” (Allen,1). Pope John Paul II also states “”The Church desires to contribute to upholding the dignity, role and rights of women.
Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic. ” (Howards, 3) The Catholic Church shows much importance for women. They state that each of the two sexes is an image of the power of God, with equal personal dignity though in different ways. A symbol of women of the Catholic Church is Mary. This symbol should speak for itself. Mary mother of Jesus Christ who we often pray to shows importance of women in the Catholic Church.
Its easy to look at some of the Church’s policies and instantly assume that they are sexist in one way or another. However through deeper meaning we can see that the church is just trying to be as authentic and honest as possible. I believe that the Catholic Church is not at all sexist and are just trying to preserve their tradition and be authentic as possible. I don’t see the church bashing women claiming that they are not good enough to be a priest but rather they are just not fit for it, just as a man is not fit to give birth to a child. It was at first a little surprising that women have no chance what so ever of becoming a priest.
However after deeper viewing I know understand the reasons behind it and completely agree with the Churches policy. What I found in my research I believe to be true, it came from many valid sources including the pope himself. My research definitely enhanced my faith. I know see how priest are meant to stand in place of Jesus and that only men are priest to keep the mass as authentic and honest as possible. There were not many other instances of the Church being accused of sexism to wright about, I wish I could have found more instances to study. However its good that the Church has not been accused of Sexism often.
In Conclusion Sexism has been around for ages, it stems from ancient times and it is still seen in society today. The Catholic Church is often accused of sexism based of the policy that only men can be priests, however Jesus chose all men to be ordained as the first priests of his time, the apostles, and men are used as priest to be the closest resemblance to Jesus and to stand in his place during our sacred ceremonies. I conclude that the Church is not at all sexist and preach often about their importance of women, they are only trying to achieve the most pure authentic representation of Jesus as possible. They do this using a man.