The Christlike Reversal: a Pink Smoke Over the Vatican Review
Guest Post by Janice Poss, WOC Member
“The Buddha and Jesus have to meet every moment in each of us. Each of us in our daily practice needs to touch the spirit of Buddha and the spirit of Jesus so that they manifest…It is like cooking, if you love French cooking, it does not mean that you are forbidden to love Chinese cooking…You love the apple, yes, you are authorized to love apple, but no one prevents you from also loving the mango.” – Thich Nhat Hahn
I came across this quote from Thich Nhat Hahn in his book, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers that appeared in We Walk the Path Together by Brian J. Pierce OP because in viewing the documentary, Pink Smoke over the Vatican, along with about eighty other interested, faithful, and involved Catholics, analogies surfaced to describe the bravery, courage and hope that women bring to our Church and how for over two thousand years, they have had to walk in silence and without an equal voice or as equal participants at the table of plenty. Where in this quote do we find any reference to the other half of humanity; although ‘we walk this path together’? Half the story is missing, or is it? Half the voices of truth are missing, or are they indirectly couched in the analogy of cooking and fruit? Although ‘we walk this path together’; it is direct vs. indirect. The indirect silence is deafening and is too loud to ignore anymore because ‘we must walk this path together’. Indeed, since Vatican II, the indirect part of this story has been emerging in small, but distinct ways. More and more women theologians are out there writing the other half of humanity’s story, filling in the blanks with our direct experience and our direct spirituality that can no longer be silenced or couched in metaphoric analogy by anyone and certainly not an all male clergy and hierarchy who see women as a threat. We are not a threat. We want equality. We want the other half of the table to be populated with us, the whole table that all people of faith have been cheated of for two thousand years!
How long will it take for our Church to stop cheating us of the other half of humanity that needs to share the table and partake in real co-celebration of the Mass next to that all male clergy; so we truly can walk this path together? How long will the all male hierarchy of our Church prevent us from taking our rightful place as sisters in our own Imago Dei next to our brothers who serve at the table sharing with them in the joyous offerings and thanksgiving of our sacraments? How long will they make us wait to walk this path together?
Well, we have already waited too long; and so as action in service is part of the mission of our Church, there are women who have courageously begun a movement within the Church by becoming Roman Catholic Women Priests. Historically it has been women who have had to take matters into their own hands in order to institute societal change and so once again, this movement has done just that. This important documentary, Pink Smoke over the Vatican, beautifully and truthfully tracks the movement from its inception up to the most recent ordinations. There are now over 100 womenpriests in the United States alone and the number is growing. The Vatican has tried to squelch these prophetic voices, but it cannot. Women have their own voices and no longer need the frightened approval of a disordered and distorted hierarchy that will not admit guilt in covering up sexual abuse of minors, but wants to excommunicate women for hearing and responding to Christ’s and God’s call to them to become the priestly people ad verum that they have been called to be, many have had this call for decades. As demonstrated in the film, their calling is as genuine as any males’ and why should it not be considered such? We are all equal anthropological products of half the gene pool of our Mothers and half the gene pool of our Fathers. How can the Vatican claim that a woman’s call to lead and be in persona Christi is less valid than her equal male counterpart? Aristotelian anthropology needs to be thrown out and real facts brought to bear as truth. These men must realize that we are not refuting tradition, it is our tradition as much as theirs; we want updated truths wanting our part to be inserted because it has been missing for far too long. Women’s deafening silence has become so loud that it now must be heard.
It strikes me as quite interesting to be witness to the idea that all these men who have spoken for so long have now been silenced by the actions of a few women who have dared to stand up to the Vatican and that our numbers are growing. No, the Vatican has no control over this. It will move forward in grace, spirit and service to those who need ministering, filling a spiritual void because so many ordained men do not know how to minister well. Their own lack of knowing and having contact with real women makes them cling to idealized versions of women of their own invention, primarily modeled on their mothers, thus keeping them in a perpetual state of fear of a female coup d’état from which they believe they will never recover.
There are many malepriests who support us, but are sotto voce because they fear hierarchical retribution. They are imprisoned in another form of silence. Bishop Zavala’s situation has come to light—albeit differently; but along with Roy Bourgeois, we hope and pray the support will grow because priests need to begin to stand up in solidarity with women because in the end it is the only way to heal the unhealthy nonsensical rhetoric against women as evil Eves and aborted males that this Aristotelian/Thomistic/Augustinian/Chrysotomian construct has created in our Church and society. What is wrong must be made right, now, because apples and mangoes can walk the path together as they must.