Oh the hidden wisdom! At first I thought The Vatican’s equating women priests with pedophile priests beneath contempt and literally too absurd for words. But I’ve since been analyzing it logically — doubtless under the influence of a day spent reading Plato’s ‘Republic’ in the sun — and have come to see the true sophistication of it. This is really the Vatican way of saying that maybe women priests wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
The logic that has eluded pundits so far:
It all comes down to how you define ‘grave.’ Pedophilia is not grave enough to call in the cops, for instance, nor grave enough to impose any serious penalties (or in most cases any penalties at all). In fact, as sin goes, the Vatican places it on the same level of gravity as ordaining women as priests. The ineluctable conclusion: if pedophile priests are not that awful in the eyes of the Church, then women priests would not be so awful either. Just as pedophilia has found acceptability within the Vatican, so too, despite all appearances to the contrary, has the idea of women priests.
The Vatican has defended this admirably progressive position with its usual finesse, pointing out that not all grave sins are the same (an impeccably logical stand, or the plural noun would not be required), and that some grave sins might be a tad graver than others. The precise size of that tad is yet to be determined, the science of tadology being so advanced as to require an inordinate number of advanced theological degrees and ordinate centuries of study.
While I’m in the frame of mind for Vatican logic (thanks again, my sunny friend Plato), it must also be said that the Church’s opposition to the idea of priests marrying has, as it were, its virtues. While would-be reformers maintain that celibacy is a major part of the pedophile-priest problem, as though marriage, in an oddly Victorian way, would provide a “natural outlet” for “urges,” the Church, in its wisdom, perceives the truth: Marriage not only provides a mask for pedophiles, but also creates the temptation — witness the dismaying numbers of non-priests who abuse their own children and step-children. Such grave sins (presumably, since family members are concerned, on the tad graver side of gravity) could clearly not be tolerated by any self-respecting church, and the Vatican has thus no option but to rise to the defense of the hypothetical abused children of hypothetically married priests by standing firm on celibacy.
And you doubted the blessings of the Ratzinger papacy — oh ye of little faith.