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Today Augusta, tomorrow Rome

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It was inevitable.

Holding the girls out was a stance that became unsustainable. Augusta, that most exclusive of the elite all boys clubs, long having prided itself for holding on to traditions, simply could no longer justify excluding women -- not without ridicule.

Like many of you, when I read yesterday that Augusta was to finally open its doors I immediately thought of the challenge our own church faces.

I thought of the wholly unsustainable nature of our church's official theology -- that Jesus was primarily male, incidentally human, that he really came to model the essential maleness of ordination ministry, that essential elements of Catholic ecclesiology are based on human genitals.

As noted above, unsustainable. Completely unsustainable.

Just as the men behind the closed doors in Augusta, the men running our own closed door church will eventually be forced to change their minds. The problem is we will pay an incalculable price in credibility between now and then.

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Here are a few paragraphs from an editorial in the New York Times today:

Women at Augusta year this has been for women breaking barriers. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi took a seat in Myanmar’s Parliament. Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar let women compete on their Olympic teams for the first time. And now another bastion of male authority and rigorous devotion to antiquated laws has heeded the call of equality.

Yes, indeed. The Augusta National Golf Club has decided to stop embarrassing itself and move into the mid-20th century by admitting two women as members. They are Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, and Darla Moore, a South Carolina business executive — not exactly radical choices, but welcome nonetheless. ...

Excuse our lack of enthusiasm for a decision to do the right thing a few generations too late. It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since the last uproar. Augusta National, which added its first black member in 1990, has missed lots of chances to broaden and diversify its membership. Now, with two women in the club, it has finally reached the point of gender tokenism.

Alas, even gender tokenism, as far as Catholicism goes, is nowhere in sight.

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September 12-25, 2014

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