- Delicts against sacraments
- Delicts against morals
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Is it a worse crime for clergy to objectify, rape, kill or ordain a woman, according to the Catholic Church?
As I mentioned in my previous blog posting, inspired by the church naming female ordination as a grave delict, I’ve read and been thinking about the Vatican’s substantive norms enumerating all the grave delicts, the gravest infractions according to Roman Catholic Canon Law. I embarked on this process to understand through comparison what is or isn’t considered “really bad” by the church as well as to understand church leader's value of women. I’ve learned a lot in the process.
Grave delicts fall into one of two categories:
Here’s a quick summary of the church’s list of the “worst of the worst” offenses.
Article 3 pertains to delicts against the sacrament of Eucharist. Those offenses include sacrilegious use of the consecrated species and simulation of celebrating the Eucharist.
Article 4 pertains to delicts against the sacrament of Penance. This includes simulating the sacrament, violating the sacramental seal and adulterous involvement by priests with penitents.
Article 5 pertains to delicts against the sacrament of Holy Orders. The only delicts involving ordination are related to ordaining women.
Article 6 is the only one related to moral delicts and pertains to those against the 6th commandment (adultery) committed by a member of the clergy with a minor or someone with the reasoning skills of a minor. It also pertains to the acquisition, possession or distribution of pornographic images of youth under the age of 14 “for the purposes of sexual gratification” by a member of the clergy. This one category awaits a sustained record of effective enforcement.
I’m dumbfounded that the list of moral delicts is so short. A priest who murders a person doesn’t commit a grave delict? A priest who rapes an adult doesn’t commit a grave delict? A priest who acquires, possesses or distributes pornographic images of males or females over the age of 13 doesn’t commit a grave delict?
Since female ordination is included on the list of grave delicts, it seems the church believes ordaining women is worse than all things not on the list. Therefore, are church leaders then saying they think it’s better for clergy to rape a woman than ordain her? Do they think it’s better for clergy to be sexually gratified viewing pornographic images of a woman than to ordain her? Do they think it’s better for clergy to kill a woman than to ordain her?
And church leaders wonder why many women are outraged?