Decades ago my church decided that the ordination of women was a just and morally responsible thing. Some people left over the decision. Some people still tell me they struggle with the idea. Now many women serve as priests, and many parishioners applaud this fact.
But somehow, despite our belief that both sexes can serve the church, it seems there’s still something unnerving about a priest who is a woman. It has to do with having a woman’s body.
A parishioner told me that he thought I was a great priest, but that if I became pregnant, it would be too weird for him to see me at the altar. Merely holding hands with my husband, even when I am not in clerical clothes, has elicited the comment “Can you do that? I mean, in public?” Another parishioner told me I was too petite to be a priest. I’m 5-10. I have never been called “petite.” I think he meant “female.”
Of course for me, raised Catholic, it’s still odd that ministers/priests should be married, male female or otherwise.