Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Communion is not a reward for good behavior, and it certainly isn't a weapon

In the latest episode of American Bishops Saying Awful Things, the Archbishop of Detroit has apparently said that supporters of gay marriage should not be allowed to take communion.  He is far from the first bishop to say such an outrageous thing, just the most recent.

I am really, really sick of seeing bishops use communion as a weapon.  I don't care what social or political point you are trying to make, communion does not belong in the arsenal.  No adult who professes a belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist should be denied it.  Ever.  For any reason.

Because if you come right down to it, none of us deserve to receive the Eucharist.  I don't deserve it.  The congregation around me doesn't deserve it.  The priests who consecrate it don't deserve it.  None of us are worthy, because we are all sinners.  The Eucharist is a gift from God.  It is not something that we earn.  It cannot be earned.  Eucharist is divine, and we are human. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stubenville and the stark gender divide in how we think and talk about rape

Like many of my friends, I've been reeling over the past couple of days at the media's coverage of the Stubenville verdict.  The extent of sympathy for the perpetrators of the crime, the implicit message that the life of the young woman who was raped is so much less valuable than the lives of the young men who raped her, it all fills me with inarticulate rage.

As a 20-something feminist, I have a lot of feminist discussions with my friends on social media.  We pass commentary around.  We discuss rape, birth control, and women's rights in what is essentially an ongoing conversation, discussion flowing from the comments on one post to the next in an endless stream.  This is the kind of good thing that the facebook news feed enables.

What stuns me, though, is how much this stays a discussion among women.  Even though we hold it on a public forum, where plenty of guys can see it.  On the one hand, this is a good thing, because it means that our male friends are either thoughtful enough or have enough respect for our debate skills not to come in and make douchey comments.  On the other hand, isn't "yay the guys in our lives don't barge in and say asshole things about women's issues!" a really low bar to set?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Non habemus papam

Apparently the Pope is resigning.  Which is, well, earth-shattering.  It's been something like six centuries since a Pope has resigned at all, and two centuries more since a Pope has done so voluntarily.  (The 15th century occurrence was the resolution to a schism, so it's hard to call it voluntary.)

I respect Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down.  Whatever the motivation, both inward and outward recognition that one is no longer able to fulfill a role in the way that one desires to fulfill it is incredibly difficult, and few people have the strength of character to do so, especially when it involves giving up that kind of power.  My respect for Pope Benedict's decision only deepens when I think about the way that Pope John Paul II carried on in failing health, and the cost that the church may have paid for not having a vigorous leader during his failing years.  Being willing to step down when no longer effective shows a love for the church over love for self, and that is something I can admire.

However, given the timing of his resignation, the Pope's decision to step down provides an opportunity for the church to heal some of the wounds of the abuse scandal.