Thursday, September 26, 2013

Giving Women a Vote at a Papal Conclave

I don't buy this idea of making women cardinals.

Cardinals are clergy by definition.

That being said, the method of selecting a pope is open to change.

I would have no problem with finding a way to give women a voice in this process.

My concern is that the Vatican is such a male world, how could women get to know the potential candidates?

It makes sense for the cardinals to choose because they know who's who in the Vatican and in the clerical elite. They have an idea how the Church really works and who would make a good pope.

There aren't that many women in the Vatican. There aren't that many women who really know the Church inside out. Heck, I don't even know if there are female Vaticanologists.

Cardinals meet with each other, read about each other, deal with each other.

Without that firsthand experience, I feel like women would be hostage to their limited experience and knowledge.

So you might suggest: put more women in the Vatican.

Here's my problem.

Have you ever noticed that the moment a male-dominated space opens up to women, that space loses its masculine vitality?

Don't tell me you've never noticed it at the parish level.

We opened up all kinds of positions to women. They are now lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, etc.

And the men don't show up.

It's not that I mind women lectors or Eucharistic Ministers per se (although I favour altar service being reserved for boys, but anyhow). It's that once women enter the scene, everything becomes touchy-feely. There's a distinct lack of gravitas.

You can't fault men for being men and not liking touchy feely.

Heck *I* don't like touchy-feely.

So if we open up Vatican up to more women, and find a means to give women a vote in the papal conclave, will that change the institutional Church's character for the worse? It's already bad on the ground, and I really don't want to see it become effeminate the way it is here.

But it would be nice to include women in the process.