The story goes on to say that despite Father O'neal's personal out of body experience and face-time with the Almighty, his boss, the Archbishop of Boston, Sean P. O'Malley, called a press conference to say that Father O'neal was full of near-death crap, and that God was indisputably male.
What does this story tell us, apart from the fact that it helps to have an Irish surname if you want to work for the Boston archdiocese? It tells us that Father O'neal is one tough old bastard. Most people who have taken the trouble to be dead for 48 minutes just keep on being dead for much longer, but Father O'neal obviously isn't one to just go with the flow. He came back, and he came back with a scoop.
The breaking news that God is female does not bother me. Like most agnostic types, I would be happy to discover that there is an afterlife presided over by a nice God in which you can mingle with or avoid all of your dead relatives, whichever seems best to you. If the Almighty is a She, it wouldn't trouble me one bit, as long as the beer is cold and the manna is tasty for all eternity.
So why is the Cardinal all P-Oed? A female God does not work well with the Biblical storybook is the answer. If God was female, would She have banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden just for bringing a snake into the house and then eating some fruit She had told them to keep their mitts off of because she was saving it for a dinner party she was having later? No. She would have been mad, of course, and Adam and Eve might have had their TV time curtailed or gotten a serious time out, but eternal banishment from the Garden for them and all their descendants? No. Moms don't roll that way.
A Mom God would not have asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son to her. She might have asked Abraham to pay a little more attention to him, adding loudly and a trifle sarcastically, "AT LEAST AS MUCH ATTENTION AS YOU PAY TO ANY FLOOZIE IN A SHORT ROBE AND HIGH SANDALS THAT WALKS BY," or she might have asked Abraham to watch the kid for a few minutes because She needed to make a hurricane, but She would not approve of child sacrifice.
Likewise, it wouldn't have taken Her 40 years to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land as a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night, because She would have admitted She was lost and stopped to ask for directions.
But the most important thing is that She would be the co-parent of Mary, the Mother of God, according to standard Catholic theology. This means that Jesus Christ, the only perfect human being that ever lived, was the product of a same-sex relationship.
That's mind-boggling, and nothing the Cardinal is going to tolerate. It's not going to work out well for Father O'neal. He's going to get his priest license yanked and his black book full of altar boy phone numbers confiscated. You know what he must be thinking:
"The next time I go to heaven, I'm not coming back."
Good for him.