“Can I be a doctor, mommy”?
“Of course you can”.
“A dentist? An astronaut? A soldier? A lawyer? A veterinarian? Prime Minister?”
“Yup. That would be awesome. Sure thing. Umm, as long you don’t tell anyone. Rescue animals, awesome! I hope you do!”.
I’ve fielded these questions for a long time and I’ve never had to say “No, you can’t”, until now. A couple of weeks ago, at the orientation for my youngest daughter’s First Communion, she turned to me and asked “Can I be a priest?”
“No, no you can’t honey.” As the words were leaving my mouth, I felt as if I were letting her down. But it’s not me and I don’t believe it’s God either. It’s the middleman. The church.
In North America there are very few “professions” that shut out women so overtly. Yet, the Catholic church continues to do so without remorse and if you ask me at their obvious peril. My daughter’s faith in God right now is profound. She wholeheartedly believes in something she can’t touch, see or hear. To listen to the prayers and stories she writes to God, your heart would gush. But on that night, she looked…..rejected. I saw the confusion in her eyes, and for the first time her faith was shaken. After all, I have been telling her emphatically that there is nothing she can’t do for seven years. That she is an equal with all others. I imagine she’s wondering why God doesn’t think so. I have no answers for her. In fact, I only have more questions.
I have a deep faith in God and no I don’t run around trying to convince anyone to convert or believe. That’s your decision. I live with my faith in God comfortably but I question the church all the time. I struggle with it’s complete unwillingness to evolve. I certainly don’t think we have wiggle room with the Ten Commandments, but birth control for heaven’s sake? Yup, we’ve come a long way baby, but not with the Roman Catholic Church.
If you ask me the Catholic church continues to alienate more than half of their flock. 51% of the earth’s population is women after all. The number of followers is dropping at an astounding rate and is it any wonder? You may have heard that some men in the church have not exactly been living up to God’s expectations. In my opinion, if women were the figure heads, this would not have happened. Maybe, if we allowed our priests to marry, families would relate more to the man at the pulpit. I know, earth shattering stuff for the Catholic Church, yet very normal for the rest of us. Every week at mass, the priest leads the congregation in a prayer for young men to hear the calling and become priests. I’m no expert in matters of theology, I only know what my heart and my faith tell me, but considering the current environment, the lack of trust people have in our current spirtual leaders and the fact that we are excluding 51% of the population, I think we might be praying for a while.
In the end, I doubt very much that my daughter would actually want to devote her life to God, but what if she did? I think God would be disappointed that His church missed that opportunity.