Today 190 Church leaders are meeting with Pope Francis to address the Sexual abuse crisis. Hidden underneath it is the patriarchal structure of the church.

At least three NYT articles today are discussing current immorality of church leaders with abuse of Nuns, Children, and other related legacies and current day abuses.

A recent NYT article[i] exposes hypocrisy of Southern Baptist presenting rapist as men of God.  One even served time and is now on the pulpit despite being a sex offender.  The material here is incendiary.  Any incidence of sexual abuse, rape, child molestation, child predators coupled with clergy of any religious denomination hits people deep in their souls – believers, atheist (yes, atheist have a soul), parents, and anybody with moral conscience.  The article takes a shot across the bow of all male run religious institutions of Christianity with both theological reference and historical and current day clergy immorality:   

“Underneath it all is this patriarchy that goes back millennia,” Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary, told me, noting the commonality of the Catholic and Southern Baptist Churches: “They both have very masculine understandings of God, and have a structure where men are considered the closest representatives of God.”

The paradox is that Jesus and the early Christian church seem to have been very open to women. The only person in the New Testament who wins an argument with Jesus is an unnamed woman who begs him to heal her daughter (Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28).

The indifference to criminal behavior is an echo of what has been unearthed in the Roman Catholic Church over the decades. The latest sickening revelations are of priests getting away with raping nuns and with assaulting deaf students.

The author raises Mary of Magdalene as a leader in the church and given a teaching role by Jesus Christ.   In this gnostic gospel, Mary Magdalene appears as a disciple, singled out by Jesus for special teachings. In this excerpt, the other disciples are discouraged and grieving Jesus’ death. Mary stands up and attempts to comfort them, reminding them that Jesus’ presence remains with them. Peter asks her to tell them the words of Jesus which she remembers. To his surprise, she does not reminisce about past conversations with Jesus, but claims that Jesus spoke to her that very day in a vision.[ii]  Being a Gnostic gospel by definition however, places this outside traditional Christian and Catholic fundamental beliefs. 

Putting celibacy aside and child predators as a different category of disorder altogether, what if our conception of God was more feminine and/or Women had equal footing in God’s work?  What if we got it wrong in early Christianity and male disciples was necessary at that time purely due to our primitive social and cultural norms of the time? 


[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/opinion/clergy-sexual-abuse-southern-baptist.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

[ii]https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/mary.html

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