Maurice Hayes: Biblical tirade on hedonistic greed is a tale for our times
IN an unwitting by-product of protest, those concerned Christians who boycotted Mass yesterday week missed out on a highly relevant tract for the times (or for a tribunal). The first lesson, a reading from the Book of Amos, could usefully be printed as a leader by any contemporary Irish newspaper.
This is not to beat a drum for the bishops who seem more concerned about scoring points against a pious and elderly lady than to address the substance of her complaint -- the lack of recognition of the existence of women by the Roman Catholic Church. There can be few half-decent arguments left which would justify the exclusion of half the human race from the ministry and declare the priesthood a male reserve forever, according to the order of Melchisedech (or Benedict or John Paul for that matter).
Leaving doctrinal and theological quibbles aside, it is hard to see how they propose to staff the organisation in the future when men are retiring and dying at a faster rate than they are being recruited, where seminaries are virtually empty and where there is no evidence of even the most rudimentary form of succession planning. As parishes are being amalgamated for lack of priests, it seems perverse in the extreme to argue that the only way to preserve the faith is to deny the right of preaching to women who might carry the gospel to those who otherwise would not hear it.