My thought was, "Thank goodness, because you can't." Only she does not know that since we keep telling her she can be whatever she wants if she works at it. And I wasn't ready to clue her in at that moment. This led me down the road I have avoided for many years : how do I feel about this "law" that women can not be priests in the Catholic Church? Isn't it discrimination? Am I condoning discrimination of my daughters and myself by engaging in this church?
Answering this question required some thought and blog writing. Admittedly, in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, I rebelled against Catholicism. This led to the exploration of a variety of religions, trying to find one that made sense. Nothing grabbed me and in medical school and residency, medicine, with its infinite life lessons, became my church. The issue of organized religion was not entertained again until marriage came up, and with that some intense self-reflection. I came back to Catholicism more for cultural reasons than any other. I am Polish American and 99% of Poles are Roman Catholic. My family is Roman Catholic. I was brought up with those traditions. It was what I knew and wanted to extend it to my children, to give them another way to feel connected to the country where their mama was born.
This idea jived with the way our American culture values other cultures. We embrace them, knowing they enrich us, teach us to imagine beyond the familiar, and to think outside our box. World cultures show us that there are infinite ways to live and none is superior to the others. This even includes cultures where women may have an inferior role to men - Chinese, Indian, Turkish, etc. It seems we pick and choose what to exalt from these cultures and what we reject : Killing baby girls - bad, Indian food - good, imprisoning women for rape - bad, celebrating Chinese New Year - good. And so forth and so on. We can do this since we are not embracing being Chinese, Indian, or Turkish.
Religion is different. Supposedly, we are embracing being Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, etc with our hearts and minds. So the question is, does this cultural nit-picking apply to religion? Can you choose which parts or your religion you believe? I suspect the real answer is no. However, if we were to really live our lives the way the Bible teaches we aught to, we should all live serving God, all the time, no exceptions. Upon not so close examination, we can see that we are all picking and choosing the parts of religion that do not inconvenience our daily routines and desires. Truly, do you think God would want you to have your BMW or donate the money to causes benefiting the poor? Spend time shopping or helping in a soup kitchen? This, I suppose, is us being human. We are flawed.
In this context, embracing a religion that is flawed, is okay, because more then likely, they religions are all flawed in some way. They have to be, being created by us flawed humans. I try not to lose sight of what it provides despite these seeming inconsistencies : teachings on how to strive to be a better person, a community, delicious donuts. For now, I feel better having rationalized it that way. Now, I just have to explain it to my daughter.