Love this post from Alexandra Petri on how Cardinal Leo Burke (formerly the highest ranking official in the US Catholic Church until the Pope had the good sense to knock him down a peg) is just utterly clueless when it comes to gender and society:
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke is right.
Women are scary. Women are terrifying. They come into churches and bring cooties with them, and there is no ritual for casting out cooties. Demons, yes. Cooties, no. They come into boardrooms and take seats. They serve the altar — and they are good at it.
These are all alarming facts to consider…
He notes near the very beginning of the interview that “the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.”
Yes. That is what has happened. When I look at men, the first word that springs to mind is “marginalized.” (The second word is “Cumberbatch.”) Men can barely hold every single Catholic priesthood and they are a mere 100 percent of presidents and 80 percent of Congress. They are struggling on the fringes, barely able to bring home their $1.29 on a woman’s dollar. They are forced to spend paternity leaves being creatively stifled and drinking. Their lot, in short, is not a happy one. “Marginalized” sums it up nicely.
Burke observed: “The Church becomes very feminized. Women are wonderful, of course. They respond very naturally to the invitation to be active in the Church. Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.”
Well, sure. Women are wonderful. Only, if they’re involved, everything is RUINED. Other than that, they are great and it is wonderful that they are participating.
Burke noted: “The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service. Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural.” [emphasis mine]
Really?! That last bit just gets me for its obtuseness. You think just maybe all the reports of priests sexually abusing boys might have had just a little bit more to do with boys not being altar servers.
“I think that this has contributed to a loss of priestly vocations. It requires a certain manly discipline to serve as an altar boy in service at the side of priest, and most priests have their first deep experiences of the liturgy as altar boys. If we are not training young men as altar boys, giving them an experience of serving God in the liturgy, we should not be surprised that vocations have fallen dramatically.”
Of course, if it were only possible for these girls who were very good at altar service to grow into women who could experience their own vocations — no, of course, that would be silly, because they are girls, ew.
Again, seriously? I’ve been to many a Catholic Mass. There are no “manly virtues” in holding up a book for the priest to read from, etc. Goodness. Petri continues:
These are the words of someone who is afraid.
These are the words of someone who is petrified of women, who thinks that any gain or advance made by a woman comes at the cost of a place for a man. That it is impossible that having women involved in a thing might be good for everyone. That “feminization” means “making worse and weaker.” That manliness and womanliness exist in opposition, not in tandem, and that gains for one can only be losses for the other.
Women are scary if you think, as he genuinely seems to, that this is a zero-sum game.
If you think that once women come into places and do things, there won’t be room for men to come into those places and do things any more, you are scared that the power you have is undeserved. Or you would not be so desperate to keep the door closed.
Agreed. What is telling and disturbing is that a man with such retrograde and just plain silly views rose to the very highest levels of the Catholic Church. This, sadly, is the church and legacy of JPII. Here’s to Pope Francis (who to be clear, has come out against women in the priesthood) changing that.