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Switch to Forum Live View Why can't women be priests?
4 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2010 - 9:12AM #11
angpuppy
Posts: 520

If you want extensive reading on the subject, I advise you read the book "Women and the Priesthood" by Peter Kreeft and Alice Von Hildebrand.


To give you a summary of the arguments I find most convincing. 


1.  Christ (who is God) intentionally and specifically choose men to be apostles and presbyters (priests).  This is consistant with our Jewish roots.  The God of the Jews (of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob) is our God.  God revealed himself to the chosen people, and unlike the pagan religions in the surrounding regions which had priestesses, God did not give such a role to women.  And again, during Christ's time, the pagan religions still had priestesses while Judaism did not.  God's Word made Flesh, specificially and intentionally took on the form of a man, chose male apostles and created a patriarchical religion. 


This of course to our modern ears appears offensive to us?  Let's analyze why we think its offensive.  What does a patriarchical religion mean to us?  What we see by this is a lack of equality of the sexes.  We get offended at passages like in Ephesians which compares men to God and women to the Church, because we interpret this to mean that men are powerful like God and women ought to be merely obedient like the Church.  We thus see this as a power play and a surpression of women.  Moreover, historically we have seen men rationalize abuse toward women by taking their roles to mean that they are more like God than women are.  Historically men have tended to misquote and misinterpret scripture to mean that the man is powerful and the woman is weak.  This however is not the position of the Church on male and female roles.


2.  God's symbolism in the meaning of being made male and female.  This gets into the theology of our religion.  What is the meaning of men being called to the ministrial priesthood, of God being referred to as He, and the Church being referred to as the Bride of Christ.   It isn't surpression in the least.  Rather this gets into the core of the nature of who and what God is.  If you have this wrong, your beliefs aren't Christian. 


The core of this is that God is the SOURCE of all life.  He is not a part of creation.  He creates out of nothing and makes new life.  He pours out His grace upon us.  As such, in creation He takes a masculine role - like a man's seed entering the womb of a woman.  As such, all of creation takes on a feminine role, that is the role of a receiver.  Our role toward God is to be receptive to His love and grace.  Creation is the receiver of all that God gives her.  As such, all men in relationship to God are feminine as well.  If men decide that because they are male they get to domineer like gods over women, they are forgetting their own femininity toward God.  They are also forgetting how God loves His creation and that message is found on the cross.  As such, the appropriate role for a man toward a woman is to lay down his self concerns and to love his wife as his own body.  For instance, right now I'm pregnant.  I don't have a lot of energy so my husband lately has been doing most of the housework and is constantly going out to get me things that I don't have the energy to get myself.  That is a man being the truly Christ-like.  If he were to turn to me and say these tasks were women's work and that I were to act like a slave to him, He would neither be acting manly nor like God. 


So as for the ministerial priesthood, male priests take the role of being in persona Christe.  Their masculinity is a symbol for us, that we are the receivers of God's grace and that our role is to be receptive.  A female priesthood would speak and entirely different message of one where there was no symbolic meaning in God creating us male and female, and where human sexuality had no deeper spiritual meaning beyond its biological function and urge.  Or if a symbolic meaning could be found (and I have seen supporters of female priesthood argue this heresy), it is the belief that God is not something outside of creation, but a part of creation.  What you end up with is a more panthesistic theology about God similiar to Budahism.  You continue to end up with non-Christian ideas like you are a part of God rather than an adopted child of God as Christianity teaches.  God has only one begotten son.  While we are God's sons and daughters, we are said to be adopted, and this notion of adoption is to affirm our otherness from God.  We are invited into a relationship with Him and are invited into a spiritual adoption so that we can grow closer to Him who is the source of our life an existance, but it is not something we automatically inherit due to our mere existance.


As such, the premises that support an all male priesthood are essential Christian premises.  You unravel and de-Christianize much of Christianity by denying these premises.

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4 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2010 - 9:49AM #12
angpuppy
Posts: 520

One more thing I would like to recommend is the book "The privledge of being a woman" by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand.  Its been some years since I read the book, but I know when I read it, I was very impressed.


Here's one of the most wonderful things to realize about Catholicism.  So, we've got a male Pope.  We've got a male St. Peter and male apostles.  The Pope isn't the King though.  The King is Christ, God.  The Queen Mother has a far more elevated role than the King's Steward (which is pretty much what the Pope and bishops are.)  Who is the Queen Mother?  That is our Beautiful Lady: Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth.  A woman has the most elevated and highest role in the Church (and I'm including the Church triuphant here.  Let us not forget those in Heaven).


We women have an honored place in the Church, but we're so busy thinking in human terms that we fail to see it. 

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4 years ago  ::  Aug 15, 2010 - 6:09AM #13
Mysty101
Posts: 2,006

Hi---and congratulations !!!


Thanks for the posts.  Peter Kreeft is great, and has been really helpful to me in understanding things myself, as well as helping explain to others.


Good to see you again. When is the blessed event?


Love and prayers,


SuZ


(I make a nice prayer card for expectant moms.  If you would like a few e-mail me your address)


 

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 06, 2010 - 11:16AM #14
Fraggle
Posts: 210

why can't men bear children?  wouldn't it be fair of God to allow this miracle of life to be possible for both men and women?  after all, there are plenty of species on earth that reproduce asexually or can even switch genetic genders when necessary.  yeah, it would be fair if we want to think that all that God is is an Arbitrator of fairness.


but God designed human men and women and the life they bear to be a reflection of the union of the Holy Trinity (we're made in the image and likeness of God, are we not). and for whatever reason, it seems to be best for us, in terms of sacramentality to have women be bearers of life and men be physical or spiritual protectors of that life. and it is in this communion of differences that causes humanity to flourish and is the means of God operating His salvation for us.


now, in Catholicism, preaching and ministry is not exclusive to the ecclesial priesthood.  it is a charge of the priesthood of the faithful, men and women alike.  this is a spiritual inheritance in Christ conferred onto us in the Sacrament of Baptism when we become sons and daughters of God through spiritual adoption.  there are many lay ministries and teaching offices that women can do, as well as men.  i, a woman, have been a Lector, who reads to the congregation the readings from Scripture. 


the differences between the priesthood of the laity and the ecclesial priesthood is that the ecclesial priesthood is through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, conferring apostolic authority through the laying of hands, so that these men, as living sacraments, can be the person of Christ. the ecclesial priesthood is charged to leading and protecting the flock of the faithful, to defend the faith, to ensure the continuance of apostolic tradition, and to administer the Sacraments to the faithful.


so rather than looking at this as an outsider with an outsider's worldview, try to understand the Catholic perspect, the Catholic sense of sacramentality.  this is not about sexism, not about oppressing women.  it's about sacrament.

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 06, 2010 - 11:22AM #15
Fraggle
Posts: 210

I highly recommend reading from Catholic feminist and saint, Edith Stein; especially her essays on the subject of "Woman"


www.amazon.com/Essays-Woman-Collected-Wo...


She was a contemporary of Pope John Paul II, and he was strongly influenced by her writings, leading him to the language of "feminine genius"


 


I also recomend  the website, Dignity of Women:


www.dignityofwomen.com/

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