Is ordaining a woman worse than child sex abuse?
Apologists for the Catholic Church are correct that the Vatican is not equating women’s ordination with clerical paedophilia by referring to them in the same document, Normae de Gravioribus Delictis.
In fact, the penalties in the document suggest that the Vatican actually considers attempting to ordain a woman to be a more grave offence than sexually abusing a child.
A cleric who attempts either offence may be punished by dismissal or deposition, but a person who attempts to ordain a woman is also automatically excommunicated, as is the woman who attempts to be ordained.
These are the moral priorities that one might expect from a church that last year excommunicated a Brazilian mother for helping her raped nine-year-old daughter to have an abortion, without seeking to impose any penalties on the man who raped the child.
Ethical issues should be evaluated on the basis of human rights, compassion, well-being and suffering, not on the basis of theological dictates from people who believe they are getting messages from the creator of the universe.