Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Women and the Priesthood


The above link is a very nice article by a woman on why the priesthood is not ever going to be a Catholic vocation for women. I don't know enough about the historicity of the Church's position to make any arguments here. I can only point out the biblical fact that Jesus only chose male apostles among his 12 who were ordained at the Last Supper to perform the sacrament of the holy Eucharist. I won't debate theology with anyone, or travel the road of ambiguous historical evidence. I'm simply not qualified. But the wedding symbolism the article above evokes gives a deeper meaning to the whole question, a panoramic view that gets at the entire purpose of Jesus' life on this earth. He is the Bridegroom, and his Church is the Bride, and the mutuality of the masculine and feminine sexes of humanity is foundational and poetic. It's who we are. Men and women are equal but different images of divinity.

I can't say that I like the chastising tone of the early Church Fathers in regard to women, but their opinions are rather beside the point if one looks at the biblical evidence and contemplates Jesus' intentions in his earthly mission. Then we don't have to get defensive around language that seems hostile toward women. 

It has been impossible in my seeking and journey toward the Catholic Church not to notice these debates, which seem more political than anything, about topics such as women's ordination, homosexuality, abortion, etc., and the accusations that the position the Church takes on these hot button issues is somehow perversely antiquated and hateful. Yet from what I understand, the Church is held by Catholics to be the keeper and protector of the deposit of faith, and her  teachings are guided by the Holy Spirit. We can rest assured that we have the Truth in the Church. This is the only Christian Church that can legitimately make the claim of apostolic authority! How can we be Catholic and not honor the teachings of the Church? One might as well be Protestant or nondenominational and find a church that reflects one's views and go on with life outside the Catholic faith.

What I have read of the opinions of some originally led me to believe that women's ordination is a topic open for debate and that the Church could be persuaded to change it's position. But Pope John Paul II made it clear that this simply isn't possible. Here is his Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

This seems to argue that the teaching of the Church on this matter is definitive without formally declaring it as dogma. I imagine that is where the window appears still to be cracked open for interpretation. Nevertheless, it seems sensible to simply honor the Church's declaration on the matter and pray for peace if you are struggling with it. I always come back to St. Augustine's wise words in regard to faith coming first, and then understanding.

No comments:

Post a Comment