There is a terrible logical confusion concerning gender discrimination, possibly even misogyny, within the Catholic Church. It’s most certainly true that the organisation, the institution, has views concerning the relative jobs and places of men and women which look more than a tad archaic to the modern eye. They’re also pretty much what the relative jobs and places were for the first 1800 years or so from the founding event. It’s only in very recent decades that we’ve flown free from the physical constraints which imposed those jobs. We here are just fine with, celebrate even, that flight but it’s still true that there’s no problem with whatever the Church does believe. It’s an organisation with a voluntary membership, d’ye see?

“Powerful vested interests” within the Catholic church are being challenged at a conference in Rome on International Women’s Day as calls grow for women to be given positions of authority and influence in the church.

In a sign that a new assertive mood around women’s rights has reached the Vatican, the Voices of Faith gathering will on Thursday hear demands for bold steps towards gender equality within the male-dominated church.

Meanwhile a manifesto of women for the church, which calls for women’s roles that “are coherent with our competences and capacities”, is circulating on social media. It says: “As adult women we experience daily the subordinate role of women in the church.”

Here’s the problem with such calls. It’s no longer true that you get strapped to faggots and burnt if you’re not a Catholic, nor if you harbour heretical views about what being a Catholic means. They’ll not even ban you from a church these days, only deny you sacraments. It’s an entirely voluntary decision to be or not be a Catholic. So, complaining about the rules of a club you don’t have to be a member of isn’t logically valid. Go start your own club with different rules.

We can take another view of course – this is the institution guarding the revealed word of God. Do what they say or lose that eternity in heaven. Well, OK, not that we’re all that taken with Pascal’s Wager. But if that is true then there’s no arguing with the rules, is there? Them’s the Word of God.

It’s either a human institution in which case make your own if you don’t like it or it isn’t a human institution in which case shut up and accept the rules.

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