As the life departs from the garden, dry and falling leaves reveal the skeletons of once-vigorous tomato plants, and shriveled skulls of squash. We have opened the “scary door”, and Twilight Zone music begins to tinkle ominously in the background. As the days grow cool and short, it’s becoming a darker ride.
And for some reason, this season change evokes to me the disparity between man and woman. Am I evolving into an evil old crone just in time for Halloween? And why am I so mad at a bunch of old Italian misogynists? It’s bad enough that they used Mother T to make the pitch about how birth control devices are evil and it’s better to die at 24 in your 8th childbirth, or passing your partner’s HIV on to your nursing babies. Yeah for sex!
But even more opprobrium should be heaped on what men have done to women. Here’s some good old time teaching that doesn’t exactly inspire me that the women in Christendom are treated better than distaff muslims:
“This great synod absolutely forbids a bishop, presbyter, deacon or any of the clergy to keep a woman who has been brought in to live with him, with the exception of course of his mother or sister or aunt, or of any person who is above suspicion.”
First Council Of Nicaea - 325 AD. Canons.
"15 No woman under forty years of age is to be ordained a deacon, and then only after close scrutiny. If after receiving ordination and spending some time in the ministry she despises God's grace and gets married, such a person is to be anathematised along with her spouse.
16. “It is not permitted for a virgin who has dedicated herself to the Lord God, or similarly for a monk, to contract marriage. If it is discovered that they have done so, let them be made excommunicate. However, we have decreed that the local bishop should have discretion to deal humanely with them.”
The Council of Chalcedon - 451 A.D.
So, to review. It's ok for a priest to bring his ho into the rectory, but nuns can't so much as change their mind about celibacy and return home. The elders of the Catholic Church are great fans of the ladies. Don’t think of it as a double standard about gender behavior so much as a divinely ordained plan. Turns out men are God’s gift to women.
Besides, who among us women is “above suspicion”?
(My apologies to the person whose pumpkin and candy corn diorama I've borrowed above. I failed to note who the photographer is.)