By Herbert Vego
IN a past column, I deplored the opinion of the late Pope Benedict XVI justifying the ban of women priests as part of the Church’s “divine constitution.”
“My real program of governance,” he said, “is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church.”
Any other devout Roman Catholic would agree on the pretext that women were not among Jesus Christ’s 12 apostles.
The Pope was trying to appease progressive Catholic women who were badgering the Church to integrate women into priesthood and fire homosexual priests, apparently because of the dwindling number of manly men entering the seminaries.
This time, let me digress to misogyny as another reason. This we discovered (with fellow columnist Alex Vidal) during a forum at the Meralco Business Center in Antipolo City. One of the speakers was Dr. Michael Tan, a veterinarian, anthropology professor and former chancellor of UP-Diliman.
Tan, agreeing that homosexuals were among the active priests, joked, “Fire the homosexuals? Then there would only be half of the priests left.”
Seriously later, he blamed certain Church fathers for propagating misogyny or sexist treatment of women. Tertulian (150-225 AD), he said, was a North African theologian who depreciated the woman as “the devil’s gateway who still bears the curse of God on Eve.”
St. Ambrose (339-397 AD), while Bishop of Milan, Italy, imputed second-class status on woman because “she was only a rib taken out of Adam’s body.”
St. John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), Bishop of Constantinople, called the woman “an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil for the man.” He urged men not to marry.
St. Augustine (354-450 AD) blamed Eve for the “original sin,” since Adam could not have eaten the forbidden fruit had Eve not transgressed first.
St. Albertus Magus (1200-1280), Dominican theologian, openly despised women in a sermon: “When a woman has relation with a man, she would like, as much as possible, to be lying with another man at the same time. Woman knows nothing about fidelity.”
To St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), “women symbolize decay, deformity and the weakness of the age.”
Pope Gregory I, who reigned from 590 to 604 AD, is badly remembered for his idea that “the woman is fit only for either harlotry or maternity.” Despite that, he was later canonized as St. Gregory the Great.}
If the aforementioned pillars of the Catholic faith were to resurface today and repeat what they had said in their time, today’s women would probably stone them to death.
Another maverick speaker in the same forum, Fr. Percy Bacani(now parish priest of the Precious Blood Catholic Church in Los Angeles, California), said that he loved women and had in fact fallen in love with a young woman who showed signs of reciprocity.
However, when we asked him for specifics, he whispered on the microphone. “Secret….”