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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/23/13

Women Deserve Better

Message Suzana Megles
Sadly, it is still a man's world, and even though this notion
had not always  perturbed me personally. I am finally grateful
to the women who  have had the courage to pioneer women's rights.
I may not have always completely agreed with their whole
platform, but they were certainly right in most areas. 
For a long time I guess I wasn't smart enough to realize that
men were  being treated far better than women. I finally w oke
up one day and  learned that lesson.  I personally experienced
discrimination in the work place, and I also soon began to
realize how pervasive the lack of women's rights  was in the
Catholic church as well. 
I still can recall with sadness when Pope John Paul II of
blessed memory visited the United States.  At one ceremony
he was approached by  a religious sister who asked that the
Holy Father consider elevating women to the priesthood.  I
believe he was unnerved by this request. I don't know what
his reply was, but  it was obvious that he would never consider
it during his  papal tenure.
Had their been a women priesthood, could the outcome of the
later pedophile situation been different?  I think the
possibility is real.  At the very least, I do not countenance
seeing a women priest doing anything to hide and protect a
pedophile priest.
I am also always disappointed in the prayer petitions during
the liturgy.  A prayer petition is  always invoked for the pope,
bishops, and the  priests.  I have never ever heard them include
religious nuns and brothers in this petition.  Do they not  also
dedicate their lives to Christ and the church? Do  they not also
need and deserve prayers as well? Clearly, in regarding the nuns,
I look on this omission  as a male bias.  The nuns can give their
lives to the church, but they don't obviously need to be prayed
for in  the liturgy petitions.     I was also disappointed in
Vatican II which also classified them with the laity. 
Re the work place, I am sure that I am not the only one who
faced discrimination as far as the "plum" jobs went.  Even though
I had two college degrees, it didn't matter much at my work
place.  The guys usually got the best jobs even without a college
degree.  I was not a fighter at the time, but I regret now that
I didn't do more to advance myself -if only for the reason that
a better paying job  would allow me to do more good for the animals
who I perceive getting a bad rap from most of the world.  They 
too suffer injustice.  For the most part, we treat them abyssmally-
especially our poor farm animals in the cruel CAFOs.   I will
mention them as often as I can in my posts. Hopefully, some
people will get the message and become vegan.     
Re the injustices to women, when I looked at the women in Muslim
countries where many are not even allowed an education, and some
of them have to  cover themselves from head to toe, I realized
things weren't half bad here.  Still. I should never have been
complacent, and should have worked for our rights.  
Now I am forever grateful to the women who crusaded here in the
states for women's rights.  They made us realize we deserved better-
much better, and they fought for our rights- including the right
for equal pay  for equal work.  But surprise, surprise.  Even though
there has been some ground covered over the years in this regard,
I recently heard on TV news that the gap still exists.   How
shameful.  You know that I often wonder if the men who care so
little for us in this regard even ever cared deeply for their
own mothers.  
When thinking about women and their contributions, I always call
to mind Rosalind Franklin who was a pioneer in the discovery of
DNA. In fact, when reading her story, I believe it was her work
which contributed most heavily to it. Sadly she died before the
Nobel Peace committee gave its award to her two fellow scientists-
Francis Crick and James Watson.    
Since the Nobel Peace  committee does not award its prize to anyone
who is deceased, I believe they could have at least mentioned her
large contribution to this great scientific advancement. The award
was made to James Watson and Francis Crick - the latter at least
acknowledging her important work which led to the discovery of DNA.  
Again though -another case where a  woman's contribution  in this
great scientific achievemnet is basically forgotten and instead
given to two men. However, I did appreciate Francis Crick having
the courage to acknowledge  her brilliant work in this regard. In
my opinion he is special for doing so.     
Re the reluctance of the church to ordain women to the priesthood,
I find the reasonings of the church so unworthy.  They justify
this by saying that Jesus only chose men to be priests in the
early church. 
Well, it seems to me that the mores of the time required it. 
Yes, Jesus did defy some of the Judaic teachings of His time,
but to appoint women as apostles then would have been too
controversial because the roles of women and men were so clearly
defined at this time in the Jewish world. 
But, even at the beginning of Christianity, the early church had
WOMEN DEACONESSES. I believe Priscilla was one of them.  They
helped the apostles and the disciples teach the  new catechumens
and later prepared them for baptism when they would become new
members of the Christian church. 
This order of women existed til the 16th Century -especially in
the Byzantine Rite. I don't know who the Pope was or why he and
his advisers  decided that women deaconesses should be done away
with, but  I find it unfair to women generally.  For women  who
seek a greater degree of service to the church, this was an unkind
Though their duties then may not have been commensurate with the
duties of the men's diaconate in today's priesthood, I believe a
kinder church would have found ways to keep this beautiful
apostolate for women in the church alive.  
Yes, it may have led later on to a women priesthood which obviously
the male-dominated church seems not to want,  but I and others do
not view  a women priesthood as a bad thing.   The church leaders
claim to be anxious to stay true to the early church.  Clearly,
in disbanding the order of women deaconesses, they have digressed
from this historical perspective. In doing so, they have deprived
some women with a calling for a  closer service to the church. 
Not all men in the priesthood are so parsimonious in coveting the
priesthood for males only.  I am very proud of Roy Bourgeois, who
after being a Roman Catholic priest for 40 years, was expelled
from the priesthood because of his public support for the ordination
of women. 
As a young priest, he could not help wondering that if he felt he
had a calling from God to be a priest, why could not God's call
to women to be priests be authentic as well?
I quote here his own words in this regard: "Let's face it. The
problem is not with God, but with an all-male clerical culture
that views women as lesser than men.  Though I am not optimistic,
I pray that the newly elected Pope Francis will rethink this
antiquated and unholy doctrine." 
Thank you Father.  The church may have stripped you of this
beautiful title which I believe you so richly deserve, but for
many of us, it is  an indication of a true father who loves all
his children equally - both male and female.  I   hope and pray  that
you will be restored to the priesthood because the church needs
priests who are truly caring for everyone despite their gender.  
This next reflection of how badly some females are treated takes
us to Yemen. On TV I caught this story of horror which happened
to a plucky 8 year-old girl living in this backward country. 
Because of financial incentives, her father arranged for her
marriage to an adult man. Because of her tender young age, the
prospective bridegroom - a heavy-set man promised to  withold
sex until she was older. 
Well, this obviously lecherous man had no intention of keeping
his promise and subjected this very young girl to a painful
sexual penetration.  She even described it so well- telling how
terribly painful it was.   
Yes, this was a nightmare for her, but she was smart enough to
try to do something about it. One day soon after this happening
she heard about a women lawyer in the vicinity.  She was able to
locate her and tell her about this marital nightmare. S he told
the woman she wanted a divorce!
Unbelievably, this woman lawyer took her case to the court and
the judge granted this young child a divorce.  On the internet
I read that there are now some steps being made to require that
the female be at least 18 years old to have a marriage contract
foisted on her.  It makes great sense.  I hope it happens.
Thinking about it now, it almost seemed unlikely that such a scary
situation actually happened.   However, it is true and her story on
the internet reveals that she is now going back to school and is
living with her uncle.  She doesn't ever want to see her father
again.  Her former husband has not contested the divorce and admitted
to the court t hat the "marriage" had been consumated.  Thank God,
this child's nightmare  was over and in a country which I felt was so
heavily stacked against her and women generally.
Will the world ever give women their just due?  I don't know, but
God bless the women and even some good men who feel that in the
eyes of God-we are all equal and deserve equal treatment.    
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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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