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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Priestly Celibacy: Men & Women are Wired Differently

We know that the brains of men and women are wired differently. Men have more cerebral mass and synapses connecting cells in a particular section of the brain. The ratios of white and gray matter, as well as the density of nerve cells differ. Women have more developed neuropils (the space between cells) and a larger corpus collosum. The neuropils are composed of synapses, dendrites and axons. Such allows better communication between neurons. The more developed corpus collosum allows women a faster data transfer rate between the right and left hemispheres. The deeper limbic system in females allows them to be more in touch and in sync with their feelings than men. This brings us to my real concern here, what does this all mean in the world outside of our heads?

While the person in the Christian estimation is more than thinking meat, and has an immortal soul, our physical attributes impact upon how we perceive and interact with one another. Men and women are complementing one another but they are physically different. This difference also exists in how our minds work.

Men’s brains are specialized, with various parts devoted to specific tasks while women’s brains tend to use both hemispheres and diffuse the mental work throughout the whole brain. Women are highly effective at communicating with one another. They process information quickly and talk faster than men. Women tend toward the creative while men want to fix things. Men tend to process information slower, something that is evidenced in their more paced speech. It is no wonder that there is certain confusion between men and women. Women can literally talk too quickly for men to follow. While it may be that men think deeper, they can easily get lost in thought. How many times have we heard a woman angrily ask a man, “Are you listening to me?” Women frequently complain about the man’s general confusion or the dull look on his face. Women multitask while men are intensely linear, doing one thing at a time, even if it takes longer.

Looking at the home, the woman might shout for her husband to help her and get angry with his slow response. But I have heard men say, in all honesty, that they did not know where to begin? Give him one thing and he will do it well. Give him a list of things to do and he will do them one after the other until completed. Give him a series to do simultaneously and he will look at you like you are crazy.

The female mental diffusion is complemented in the male where it can be tightly focused. Men can be largely engrossed in athleticism and sexual themes; but they are also intensely interested in the ultimate questions of truth and meaning. Women may be curious or follow this philosophical lead; but they are more likely to dismiss it with chatter about the price of eggs and baby’s new tooth. Women are incredibly bonded to the earth and everyday details. Yes, there are exceptions, as well as culturally conditioned stereotypes. While women are very hormonal, they are about more than their emotions. They want to make sense of life’s complexities. Men are good about this if they are not distracted, and they are easily distracted, particularly by sexual themes. The celibate priest can provide the sage’s illumination in a remarkable way. Women long for such leadership and are frequently more religious or devout than men. Women clergy in Protestant churches, like female help in Catholic ones, treat their work much like the care of a home. They balance multiple jobs at one time and there is a harried busy-ness. They also prize creativity, sometimes at the cost of routine or tradition. Compared to men, there are few female philosophers; but there are millions upon millions of faithful and believing women. You would think that Catholic women would be upset that only men can be priests; but the vast majority is content with a male-only priesthood. They recognize that he can give them something that maybe a woman could not.