Why Are Pedophilia-Hiding, Child-Abusing Church Fathers Allowed to Write Laws About Women's Bodies?
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There isn't much that non-Catholics can do to force the church to abandon its 2,000-year-old misogynistic ways. We can't force it to ordain women and married men, or value a woman's life over a fertilized egg, or see homosexuality as something other than, in Pope John Paul II's memorable words, "intrinsic moral evil." Catholics themselves will have to do that, whether by leaving the church in numbers large enough to get the bishops' attention or by organizing within it, like Catholics for Choice, Women-Church Convergence or the international group We Are Church. But certainly the rest of us can demand that the Obama administration, Congress and government generally stop catering to the Vatican. The bishops can't even make their own flock obey their outmoded and cruel rules and regulations, so why should they exercise power over the entire country? The United States should not have an ambassador to the Holy See in Rome any more than it has an ambassador to the Diocese of Canterbury or the Satmars of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And if the church wants to interfere with the making of laws, it should lose its tax-exempt status.
In February Bishop Margot Kaessmann, the first woman to head the German Protestant Church and a much-admired public figure, was caught running a red light while intoxicated. There was a lot of sympathy for her, even in the conservative media, which disagreed with her liberal and antiwar views, and she received the support of the church's governing body. Nonetheless, within four days Kaessmann resigned, saying that her moral authority had been so compromised she could no longer do right by her high office. Maybe Pope Benedict and his bishops could learn something from her example.
Katha Pollitt is a columnist for The Nation.