Our beautiful, friendly and much deluded Pope Francis also known as Jorge Borgoglio, has decided in his wisdom to call a Synod of Bishops to review the Catholic Church’s teaching on family life in October this year. You would think what a wholesome and good thing to do until you start lifting the stones that are scattered around in this area. The Pope wants 150 good men and true to guide him through the modern conundrum that is family life today.
But our beautiful, friendly and not so daft former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, who only lives across the lake from us when she is not so busy studying Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, thinks differently. She used a prestigious occasion at University College in Dublin, where she received the university’s highest honour, the Ulysses medal to comment on the Pope’s synod.
She described the Pope as “completely bonkers”. She said there was “just something profoundly wrong and skewed about asking 150 male celibates” to review the Catholic Church’s teaching on family life. She said the Pope had raised expectations of change but the odds of this happening were very poor.
The Pope has said while he wanted a new role for women in the Church, discussion of women priests was off the table, while other senior roles in the Vatican continue to be filled by men in a manner that lacked transparency. She said “you don’t need a new theology for women, you just need to end the old boys club”.
In advance of the Synod the Vatican has circulated a working questionnaire seeking feed back on pastoral issues of marriage and family. This questionnaire was written by a panel of Jesuits, what better men to pontificate on these matters.
Mrs McAleese wrote back immediately on receipt of this paper and said “I’ve got a much simpler questionnaire and its only got one question and here it is. How many of the men who will gather top advise you as pope on the family have ever changed a baby’s nappy. I regard this as a very, very serious question”.
34 years ago John Paul II in the first synod of his papacy issued a similar instrumentum laboris , a paper for discussion and most of the problems are still alive today. So Catholic women do not hold your breath.
In a way Mary McAleese is right in calling the Pope to the plate, a Pope who says everything and probably does nothing but I wonder whether she has missed his point. I know and hopefully Francis knows that these 150 men who form the synod probably know more about changing nappies than Mary does. These men in their 50s,60s and 70s in the pursuit of their ministries would not have just had one wife but a series of wives. They will have spread their seed to produce numerous children. No doubt each one of them in the course of their priestly duties may have had up to ten children, because for them family planning and the use of contraceptives would also have not been on the table or even in his wallet. No, I firmly believe Francis was right in picking these 150 celibate in name but not in nature men. They are probably the most house trained men in the world.
Of course do not just take my word for it. Click here. Richard Sipe is a former Benedictine monk who spent years counselling errant priests and is considered by most to be a world expert on the celibacy of priests.