Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cardinals and #MeToo

When I saw the idea in National Catholic Reporter, I thought, "Impossible." But making women cardinals seemed much more plausible when I read the facts given there.

The rule that cardinals must be ordained is only 100 years old. It was part of a new Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917 to curb abuses in naming cardinals.
Some men had little knowledge of theology, and others were, well, very young. 
One was only 8 years old.

John Paul II wanted to appoint a woman cardinal. I can't think of a less likely pope to do that. Timothy Dolan reported on EWTN that John Paul offered it to Mother Teresa, but she didn't want it. This story was corroborated by Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Benedict XVI.

The list of eminent women theologians suggested as candidates makes another good argument in favor of making women cardinals. I mention only those whose names are familiar to me: Elizabeth Johnson, Margaret Farley, M.Shawn Copelend, Phyllis Zagano.

I still think it can't happen until hell freezes over, but I like putting out ideas to subvert the common mindset that automatically places men as authorities over women.

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I aimed to subvert the common mindset in a letter to the StarTribune of Minneapolis last Sunday, September 30. Adding to the discussion, "How to fill the churches: reconciling reason and faith," I said that God was imagined a woman in prehistoric cultures. Myths portrayed the supreme authority in heaven as a great lady.
Before Hera became the jealous wife of Zeus, . . .  She sat on the throne with Zeus at her side. God was known as "Queen of Heaven," "Her Holiness," . . .
Everything changes when God is imagined to be a woman rather than a man.
Greek historian Herodotus wrote that in Egypt, "women go in the marketplace, transact affairs and occupy themselves with business, while the husbands stay home and weave." 
Imagine that.
It's actually not so hard to imagine today because roles in some marriages are already reversed. An American living in Stockholm, Sweden, wrote in Time magazine that he was startled by the number of dads there parenting kids full-time. I have seen the same here and applaud men brave enough to do it.

Thank Goodness, we have made some strides toward equality but what a distance to go! The most pernicious sexist habits happen in church--always, without exception, referring to God as He, Him, or His, and never as She or Her.

Sexist God-talk has got to go if Christians seriously want to address #MeToo.