by LifeSiteNews.com Feb 15, 2010 Excerpts only, from a long interview.
LSN: It's been reported that you hold positions that are divergent from Catholic magisterial teaching.
JC: Well, yes, I guess it is correct. It's not an opposition position. It is a position of query, of theological and scriptural commitment and search. I'm asking the question, for instance, how do we understand God if God made women inferior to men, incapable of functioning as full adults, full moral agents, in a society. What makes God a sexist? And if God is not a sexist, when are we going to discuss this question as a Church? The way we treat women is a result of our theology. What we keep them out of, what we allow them to do, what we respect in them. It emerged out of making a statement some years ago that I felt that the question of the role and place of women in the Church was a necessary discussion, and that it stood on strong theological concerns.
LSN: How do you see the Church being sexist, as you said. In what particular ways do you see that happening?
JC: Well, I think it's pretty obvious. For instance, we have always had marital instructions for women that their role was submission to the husband. Now when we see that on television, and we see it in China, or Japan, or Islam, we think it's terrible. But it was our operational theology for years and years. And even now we claim that there's very strong separate roles for women. We argue that they are not – not only are they not fit matter to be ordained, as if Jesus came to earth to be male instead of flesh, but we don't even see women as fit matter to have their feet washed in a church on Holy Thursday. Now, we have a double standard, and we have had it for a long long time. It needs to be reviewed. We have a Church that is based, like the rest of society, admittedly, on a patriarchal system – men are at the top, men are the last word, men are the first authority in everything. The problem is - it seems to me, as a follower of Jesus, when I look at Jesus and the way Jesus dealt with men and women in his society and I look at the way the Church excludes women from the heart of the system, both in the Vatican, and in chanceries, and in dioceses, and in seminaries everywhere, that I have to wonder how it is that secular institutions are leading the development of women in society,
LSN: Okay. Where do you stand on something like the woman's right to choose?
JC: Let's put it this way. I'm opposed to abortion. I have no problem with that whatsoever. I would never see abortion as a birth control method of choice. But having said that, I would never condemn a woman who finds herself in the position where she believes that, or her doctor believes that, abortion is the only answer for her at that moment. My problem lies in the fact that we make it an absolute. We say that we can never, under any circumstances whatsoever allow abortion, and yet we allow death – men, men can kill for a number of reasons. Men can kill to defend themselves, men can kill to defend the country, men can kill to punish the people that they believe should be killed. And we never call those deaths absolute. We allow men to sit down at a table and plan the destruction of the globe and we never ever say that that is totally, absolutely, gravely immoral and sinful. But in abortion, we allow no discussion whatsoever of possible times when it would not be a matter. That just seems to me to be anti-Catholic. In every other dimension of moral, of the moral life, we recognize grades and degrees of innocence and guilt. This is the one place where we say there are no grades or degrees of innocence. There's only total absolute evil and sin. I don't understand that.
LSN: Okay. So are you questioning whether there shouldn't be grey areas in terms of other kinds of deaths, or are you saying there should be grey areas in terms of abortion?
JC: I'm saying we should be theologically consistent. I'm just simply saying that these are questions. They're obviously questions, and I think they need to be treated by the Church as if they were questions.