Male Patterned


Skip Caray died last week.  He was the epitome of an announcer worth listening to.  In Minnesota we have not had a baseball announcer like that since the 2006 baseball season, on television or radio.  Whomever Skip was announcing with, no matter what the score, the game was a joy to share.  He was someone I would invite into my home for his insights.  And he made his partners seem like Hall of Famers.  Skip was Harry Caray’s son.  Skip was also in touch with the current world of baseball and knew the connection to the tradition.  I lived in Chicago when Harry was broadcasting there but for me Skip brought insight to the game that I never heard from his father. 

I used to think leadership was about finding someone whose philosophy was well grounded.  I used to think leadership was about someone who was normal and likeable.  Whether it was a baseball announcer or a clergyman or a politician, I was in search of someone worth listening to.  Or who I thought was.

On Sunday I was in a golf tournament with my 69-year old aunt.  She is a former nun.  Her habit has been shed for close to 40 years.  I am using the age of her 37-year-old daughter as a frame of reference.  She was educated after high school with a class of 46 nuns.  She told me 40 of those nuns recently gathered.   Over time, six had died.  I asked of the 46 classmates, how many had remained nuns their entire life.  The answer was 6. 

That was a pretty good barometer how women felt about male leadership in the Roman Catholic Church.  Guys with miters are not particularly any more inclusive in leadership decisions today than they were before woman had the right to vote.  And the statistics would seem to suggest there is a polarization of woman which has continued.  The wonder is that women, half the Catholic world, still care about their church that preached that the Truth would set them free and taught the importance of freedom of religion for all people as a basic human right.

Acceptance is a basic quest of all people.  In 1979, Theresa Kane, then-president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and a Sister of Mercy, was at the official welcome ceremony in Washington, D.C., and addressed Pope John Paul asking that women be included as equal members of this Church.  She was denied a conversation with Pope John Paul II in her official capacity.  The Pope generally does not answer questions.  My mind carries a televised image of conflict that occurrred  when John Paul II made his first papal trip to the United States which seems very much alive.  Since he later came to Iowa, I recall almost every moment being carried on Iowa Public Televison.   


Power generally was always kept in the hands of the rich, of the educatedNatural law is a theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and which therefore has validity everywhere.  It would seem that validity would involve both men and women.  Joseph Flavius in the 1st century understood theocracy as a fourth form of government in which only God and his law is sovereign.  As in the stories of Genesis, man has always had trouble passing on the tradition, of sharing the accumulation of wealth, of culture.  The stories of Isaac and his son Jacob reflected the basic human condition.  Rebekah hatched a scheme with her son in the days of primogenitor that Jacob might be the one to inherit the culture, the power found in the tradition.   


How had civilization progressed beyond those times?  The temporal power of Rome and the power structure had changed very little over the years, and was not much different that the world of religious fundamentalism.  That was the conflict with the modern world, a world seemingly more free.   


One scientist discovered over time that male pattern baldness came from the mother’s side of the family.  I meant to determine if he was a product of a Catholic education.  It must have taken some creativity to finally arrive at that conclusion.  


In the meantime I was saying a prayer for Skip Caray, and for the current world that we might find more leaders in touch with the current world, who knew that connection to the tradition.   





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