The Effect of Gender Restriction on the Catholic Church Today
I find it fascinating the extent to which the Catholic Church goes to minimize the effect of living women on the Church (it has no problem with women being powerful as long as they’re dead). Even to taking the most unlikely path of reinterpreting female names in Acts as male, or finding any other reason for mention other than deaconization or apostle-ship.
Still, gender-thinking has led to some change in the Church. It has led to the creation of councils to reassess the above (though results are still pending and unlikely to change), to the allowance for female altar servers (still hotly protested in some quarters), and so forth. These small changes are encouraging, but the visible, leadership of the Church is still all-male and seems unlikely to change.
I think what is needed is more powerful females in all roles except those excluded to them. Women have the right to be more powerful in the Church than they currently are. If they truly used that power and got into people’s heads and showed all echelons that female leadership is possible and good, I think it would crack open more minds and more doors. But because the high positions are closed, many women find themselves seeking out only the low positions, leaving the middle and higher levels to be filled with like-thinkers with few reasons to promote change.
This means that most ethics of the Church are still very centered around the experiences of that high priesthood, which is all male and (supposedly) celibate. A far cry from the experiences of most women today! This can lead to everything from bad advice (“You struggle with lust for your boyfriend? Then you should marry him”) to a separation of one’s personal life from the will of the Church entirely, as the latter seems too out of touch with reality to have any bearing on it. The lack of the female voice in the assessment of canon law, the creation of doctrine, etc. has led to a divide that is becoming more and more visible each day as people start to realize these androcentric views aren’t the norm and aren’t reality as it should be.