The Irish Association of Catholic Priests (‘representing over 1,000 priests’) has written a tetchy letter condemning Pope Francis’s latest statement on women deacons. Of course, everyone is familiar with catholic priests (usually of a certain age) who spend their time noisily dissociating themselves from the perennial teachings of the Church. But these Irish clergy reveal what is becoming a familiar sentiment among the disaffected: disappointment with Francis.
“We had come to expect reactions like this from previous Popes, but we thought Francis was different, and consequently our disappointment is greater.”
Why the anger? Francis, after all, was only relaying the conclusions of a commission set up to report on the matter. Its opinions were inconclusive. But historical evidence is irrelevant to these people. Theirs is an ethical a priori position, as they go on to make plain.
Francis’s statement, they claim, “confirms that women are not good enough” and that in the eyes of the official Church, “men are more worthy than women.”
“It confirms that the Church continues to be a clerical hierarchical patriarchy. It confirms that injustice is built into the heart of the Church. This is an enormous blow to reforming the Church and bringing it into the 21st Century.”
Against such assertions no argument will stand.