THE POPE OF VERMONT: BERNIE SANDERS

by Jennifer Hall Lee

The Pope Ascending

Is it moral for women to be excluded from the priesthood?

Bernie visited the Vatican, but he didn't scream for revolution. In fact, he just shook the Pope's hand. The Catholic Church is a bastion of male dominance and as long as Francis is the Pope, it's going to stay that way. This seems perfectly fine for Bernie. 

Why did Bernie go to the Vatican if not to talk about revolution and equality? It was probably for the media coverage, which is a lost opportunity for the angry revolutionary from Vermont. There is a lot to talk about in terms of revolution and the Church, namely a growing chorus for female priests. 

The ordination of women is one of the growing movements for women's equality, however it's still on the edges of our society, unlike the movement for equal pay. Why is it important to have female priests? The Church holds large amounts of power over people's ideas about women. The Pope and Bernie like to talk about income inequality, but cannot seem to see that women cannot be separated from the economy of the world. 

The Pope plays it safe and lightly criticizes capitalism, and many who consider themselves forward thinking intellectuals have vocally praised him for this, but when it comes to the status of women in the Church Francis is doing his part to keep them secondary. At the same time people who praise his words on income equality, stay silent when it comes to his words on women. The Pope and his supporters accept women's second class status in the Church. 

When confronted by activists for women's participation as priests the Pope said that the Church had already spoken on that topic (I didn't know the Church could talk.) and that the door to women priests was "closed." Take that you women's equality activists!

Bernie's meeting with the Pope was less than he expected, as he only got to shake his hand, but according to the New York Times he was "beaming." Sanders made the obligatory statement for the media and said he admired the Pope for his work "...demanding that morality be part of our economy." 

There is no morality in the Pope's refusal to allow women serve as priests equally with men. The Pope is a patriarch and Bernie, a patriarch himself, isn't much of a revolutionary. 

Image Courtesy of The U.S. State Department on Flickr