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Sinead Ryan: Having women priests is a sin bigger than child abuse, says the Vatican. Will they ever learn?

Some people commenting on the new Vatican publication have suggested, a bit hysterically, that it suggests that the ordination of women priests is as much of a crime as child abuse. This is ridiculous. The ordination of women is a much more serious charge.

Indeed, it's considered a 'crime against sacraments' -- pretty much the top of the list, whereas child abuse by priests (the already ordained-before-God special ones) is merely a 'crime against morals'. So far, so much the status quo.

Nothing has changed. It is putting both in the same document that is the outrageous bit.

Once again, the Vatican has shot itself in the foot.


It seems peculiarly adept at doing so, repeatedly and insensitively. It has shown its terrible, inbred, utter fear of women yet again. Not just misogynistic, the Catholic hierarchy is actually afraid of women. Afraid of what it might signal, were they to be given even the slightest modicum of equality; terrified of the consequences of being held to account; fear that they might be shown up for the arrogant, self-important, superstitious cartel that they are.

Why it felt the need to draw such an insulting and stupid link at this time in the same document which can only serve to invite negative opinion is beyond words. Indeed, it's the kind of PR disaster that a woman, might have advised against. But they're not asked their opinion on that either.

The Anglican church has been ordaining women since 1992. It has suffered no harm. It has never been singled out as having a disproportionate representation of child abusers -- paedophiles in its ranks.

If you want to link the two, go ahead, but the least of the truth is that the admittance of women to its higher ranks, along with the encouragement of a normal, sexual married life, can no longer be discounted as a difference.

Celibacy does not create paedophiles. Nor will having women priests stop it. However, let us be under no illusion that life as a Catholic priest goes against everything nature -- God, if you like -- intended for us humans. It is a lonely, forced, unreal way of life. It brooks no favour with the natural urges to have a life partner and children. Indeed, it sees the suppression of these primeval needs to be a Good Thing -- a sacrifice that somehow proves your worthiness to God.

Of course, it does no such thing, except reinforce the strangeness of the existence. And protect the insanely valuable riches and wealth of the church. Pope Benedict has frequently spoken out about the dangers to the future of humanity of homosexuality. Well, celibacy is hardly furthering the cause, now is it?

Likewise, women, with all their emotions, feelings, connections, warmth, oh -- and let's not forget -- curves, would simply be an abhorrence to that lonely, singular life. The Vatican knows full well what women priests would mean: a dilution of the club; a moving away from absolute rules -- the beginnings of a discussion on how things could be different.

Women always want to 'talk' about things, don't they? How tiresome. They're always going on about 'changing things', or adapting with the times rather than just obeying the God-damn rules and doing what they're told. They might start with saying Mass, but wouldn't you know it -- before long they'd be banging on about rights. They'd be pushing uncomfortable agendas.

No, no. Women shouldn't be given more than a pram to push. It's God's will.

There are probably hundreds of ordinary curates in Ireland mortified by this latest pronouncement. Many of them would welcome female priests. The vast majority wouldn't dream of equating the two 'crimes' of ordination and child abuse. If the message is not being heard at the top therefore, it must be communicated from the bottom. With-holding your presence at Mass, or your money has only ever switched on the listening ears.

Ordinary Catholics can decide on Sunday how exercised they are at this latest faux-pas.