Regarding Hugh Cortazzi’s May 14 article, “Human rights and religion“: It’s pretty obvious that, with regard to Roman Catholicism’s all-male clergy, Cortazzi has not bothered to at least give a fair hearing to the church’s side of the issue. If he had bothered, he wouldn’t have been so quick to lump it under a paragraph in which he states that “Other religions have also been guilty of practices that infringe on basic human rights” — after he’d mentioned real human rights abuses by Boko Haram, the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Jesus Christ treated women with a level of equality and respect that was absolutely unheard of in His earthly time and place. He spoke with them in public, ate and drank with them, and admitted them into the company of His closest followers — all highly scandalous acts in ancient Israel.

He even forgave them for grave sins that had enraged stone-throwing mobs. Yet He commissioned no woman, not even his Blessed Mother, with the sacramental duties of the priesthood or the episcopate. He certainly had the opportunity to do so, as He had many devoted female followers. That He freely chose to reserve this role for men means that the Catholic Church has no authority to ordain women even if it wanted to.

It is the Catholic Church that socially institutionalized the idea that all people — regardless of gender, race, socio-economic status and so on — possess natural rights and dignity as equals before God. It wouldn’t surprise me to see such church-bashing and moral relativism among the anonymous remarks in some Internet forum, but not from a former British ambassador.

ken foye
muroran, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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