I love to read the bits of Mickens which are free, before he shows us a clean pair of heels and disappears behind his paywall ...
"One day, in maybe 50 or 100 years from now, these words, or others similar to them, but probably even lengthier, will be the preamble to the papal encyclical or conciliar document that will finally open the ordained priesthood to women. Then there will be paragraphs about Mary of Magdala, who was the first to proclaim the real presence of the Risen Christ to the 'other' disciples. Seriously.".
(1) During the years when we were resisting the sacerdotal ordination of women in the Church of England by saying "it would create a new barrier between ourselves, Rome, and Orthodoxy", we were continually given the reply: "The next pope but one will authorise it in the RC Church." It is interesting that this timespan has now been authoritatively lengthened. Poor Cardinal Martini of Milan, you will remember, spent longer as The Next Pope than any other man in history.
(3) I have lived long enough to know that it is the unexpected that happens. Bobby still has upon him the engaging gloss of youthful naivete; he really does believe that in the distant future, papal encyclicals and conciliar decrees will be whizzing around; that Mary of Magdala will still be plying her fish-trade on the Sea of Tiberias. The happy ingenu! Moi, I don't think the Apostle Junia will still be gliding across the dance floor on her zimmer frame in a century's time. Still less, that the critical issues of that moment will still be those of the 1980s. Things move on. Stuff happens. As the late Euripides so wisely and so often reminded the Athenian Demos, "polla d'aelptos krainousi theoi; kai ta dokethent' ouk etelesthe, ton d'adoketon poron heure theos ... "
(4) Mickens still clings to the old 1960s ultrahypersuperueberpapalist superstition that a papal encyclical can change everything.
God bless his cotton socks! Long may he cling!