A frequent complaint of Christian progressives is the absence of women in formal leadership roles in the Roman Catholic Church. (All the mainline Protestant denominations have caved, and they don’t seem to care about the Orthodox. The new papacy of liberation theology-friendly Francis has them excited again, as we see at this post on Andrew Sullivan.
In truth women are a big part of the horrorshow* that is the Catholic Church. Is “horrorshow” too strong a word? I think not. While I feel some cultural loyalty to the ancient church, the modern version is corrupt as can possibly be, just about. My father has a high school friend who is a Catholic priest. He’s come and visited my father a few times while I was visiting. He mentioned once that the Vatican has a guy who is posted in the US, and whose job is to monitor what the Catholic Church in the US is doing. That and the fact that almost every bishop had the exact same policy on child molesters, shows to me that the policy on these perverts went all the way to the top, to John Paul II himself. (Apparently Benedict did something to rein these people in, but he’s just a mean old baddie.)
But getting back to the women- the Catholic Church, at least the Irish Catholic version I grew up with, is run by lay women for all practical purposes, post-menopausal lay women specifically. A regular church-going Catholic will get ten minutes of preaching a week, an absolution without comment when he goes to confession, and probably have no other contact with a priest his whole life. The people who enforce Catholic norms on a daily basis are older women. They hate sex, they hate men, they don’t care much for younger women, they hate fun, they hate boys, they hate freedom. In the old days nuns did this in schools, and I think the sisterhood was what the Church did largely with angry lesbians, although there were a number of angry lesbians among the married Catholic women I knew.
If any progressive was to acknowledge this, they would say oppression of women is what made them angry, and giving them formal power would bring out the peace and love in them. But this never works. Giving nasty people who are plausibly nasty because they are oppressed power never makes them less nasty, it just gives them an outlet.
The problem the Catholic Church has goes back to its feminization, which according to Leon Podles dates to the 1200’s. I suspect this was the source of the schisms that began around then, and later the source of the Reformation. It’s hard to put up with listening to crap from gay men and angry, anti-sex, frequently lesbian women.
*I get “horrorshow” from “A Clockwork Orange” in which the kids use it to mean “cool”. But it seems like a great word for so many things.