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Mass from a male perspective

Brooks Smith | Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There’s been a lot of discussion in The Observer recently about women priests and whether or not they should be ordained. Without getting too deep into the pipes and plumbing aspects of all of it, nor giving a recap of the entire women’s rights movement to date, nor even reminding my readers that the Church’s fundamental objection is that “all of Jesus’s disciples were male, so he meant all priests to be male” – an uncanny instance of mind-reading on its part – I would like to humbly offer my own answer to the question of why women should not be priests: Because I don’t think they should. My reason is two words: the male psyche.

For the 50 percent of my readership who does not understand what I mean, let me spell it out explicitly. All men think about is sex. This is one ugly stereotype that I can confirm from firsthand experience with the male mind. Whether I’m in class, at an important meeting or standing in line at the dining hall, you can be sure that I am creating and embellishing some elaborately detailed fantasy, often involving whoever is closest by.

Now as a good Christian boy, you might think that I leave my obsession with sex at the doors of the church. When Mass starts, I stop thinking about sex and start thinking about Jesus, right? In a perfect, sinless world, that would certainly happen. But in practice, if my mind should happen to wander during a lengthy sermon, it’s a 10-to-one bet that it has wandered to one topic, and that topic isn’t Holy Communion. (Quite the opposite.)

It’s one thing to have a venerable male priest presiding over my fantasies, but it would be quite another to have a beautiful young woman breaking bread when I am stuck in place for an hour with nothing to do but think. Additionally, once you factor in all the repression I’m supposed to be doing with these impure thoughts, you can clearly see that there is a disaster waiting to happen here.

Here is a little stream-of-consciousness transcript of what might happen if a young, earnest Catholic boy found himself in a Mass with a beautiful female priest:

“Gosh, this Mass is taking forever. The priestess is pretty hot though. Maybe after Mass I’ll go up and talk to her, compliment her on the sermon. She seems really nice and friendly. Heck, maybe I’ll even invite her out for coffee. No harm in having a cup of coffee with a parishioner who just wants to talk. And after coffee we could …

“No! What a dirty thought! Good heavens, I can’t believe I just pictured that. What is wrong with me? I’m sitting in a Mass!

“This is supposed to be God’s house, not some sort of sleazy singles bar!

“Yes, but what if she was into it too? It must be awful lonely being a priestess … praying alone all the time … nobody to comfort her … maybe I could help relieve her tension … I give great massages …

“No! I see where this is going! I am not going to fantasize about a strong, independent woman expressing her intimate needs to me and letting me take care of her! That is so not what Christianity is about!

“Man, I need to go to Confession and get all these feelings worked out, just purge them once and for all. I wonder if this priestess does Confession? Maybe I could go to her … just admit these things, in a confessional way, and ask her to forgive me … she’ll be flattered, and it’ll be just the two of us, in a dark room … me and a lonely priestess …

“No! These thoughts are so … so … naughty and bad! Jesus is my rock. Jesus is my rock. Jesus is my rock. Man … I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place …

“To the pure all things are pure. To the pure all things are pure. To the pure all things are pure. To the pure …”

Any guy who claims this is an inaccurate representation of what goes on in his head once or twice a day (heck, once or twice an hour) is, to put it charitably, lying to your face. You should take the opportunity to Joe Wilson him on it.

Another objection to female priestesses would be the Internet. Those of you who know about Rule 34 know what I mean. Those of you who don’t know about Rule 34 are better off not knowing.

So that’s why women priestesses are bad. They would light a match to the powder keg of our Catholic repressed sexuality. And Lord knows, the sweet, teenaged, pure, Disney-fied Miley Cyrus is already more temptation than most of us can handle.

Brooks Smith is a junior Math and English major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at bsmith26@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not

necessarily those of The Observer.