In the recent Democratic primaries we saw, writ large, the insidious forces of sexism and racism in our society. It took Christian leaders nineteen centuries formally to outlaw the latter; in stark contrast the former remains officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church.
Despite real progress toward gender equality in Western democracies, recent popes adamantly refuse to abandon a male lock on ecclesiastical power. They buttress their claim of gender superiority through a self-serving interpretation of Scripture, seeking legitimization there, and passing the political buck to Christ as the inspired source of their prejudice. Women cannot be priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles; women cannot image Christ because he was and remains a man.
I have today posted an article examining the scriptural basis of the Vatican’s position. I find in the Gospels Jesus’ acceptance of women as equals to men in the kingdom of His Father. Only political spin underwrites inequality. In the Early Church as presented in the Acts of the Apostles and in the letters to various Christian communities, women participated as full and equal partners with men in the spreading, nurturing, and growing of their shared faith in the Risen Lord. The few, oft-quoted passages trumpeting male dominance and female inferiority stand revealed as socio-cultural expressions of patriarchal societies, not as some definitive divine judgment on the relative status of women.
I invite readers to explore with me the tenacious roots of sexism in our religious communities. After you have read the “Equality of Women: The New Testament,” I welcome the opportunity for dialogue.
As an aid to capture your interest, I have also posted a “Precis: Equality of Women: The New Testament.”