Towards the ordination of women in the Catholic Church

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Thomas, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Elsewhere, Nick has raised the question of the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. I'd like to post some comments here.

    My main issue is the rather absurdist and theatrical exercise to publicise the point. I recall Sinead O'Conner doing much the same thing.

    There is another, and better, way.

    John Wijngaards was a priest who resigned over the issue of the Church’s current position on women’s ordination. Since then he has worked to champion the cuase he obviously so passionate believes in.

    "The Ordination of Women in the Catholic Church" argues that the ban on a female priesthood was an import from secular culture, particularly from Roman law. This does not sufficiently answer the question in the East, but that is another matter.

    Wijngaards book includes the texts of the documents he cites, in an accurate translation with all the sensitive terms (deacon, deaconess, ordination, etc.) given also in the original Greek.

    For a Catholic like myself this kind of scholarship brings out important and the only valid evidence.

    Example: Mary of Magdala, and other women mentioned in the gospels, are called "women deacons" in the 3rd century Didascalia.

    Phoebe, mentioned in Romans 16:1, is called a deacon by St Paul.

    There is a fourth-century tombstone in Jerusalem to "the woman deacon Sophia, the second Phoebe".

    Origen drew a quite explicit lesson: "This text teaches at the same time two things: that there are, as we have already said, women deacons in the Church, and that women, who have given assistance to so many people and who by their good works deserve to be praised by the Apostle, ought to be accepted in the diaconate."

    St John Chrysostom (the 'golden-mouthed') had waxed eloquently about the apostle Junia (Romans 16:7), precisely because she was, according to St Paul, a woman "of note among the apostles".

    +++

    On the other hand, scholars have noted that the institution of a female diaconate was different from that of men, and that women did not undergo full ordination, and therefore could not proceed to the priesthood.

    These and other issues remain to be ironed out ... but certainly Rome's rather outspoken reaction to the issue does not bode well for a fair hearing of the issue.

    But stunts like those in America are not helping anyone, nor advancing the cause in any way meaningfully.

    Thomas
     
  2. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

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    but, it gives the cause media attention, and means people like us speak about it. Can't be a bad thing, Thomas?
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I tend to think so, yes ...

    People get a vicarious thrill in talking about such things, but really all that amounts to nothing.

    Next week, they'll be talking about something else, and this will be forgotten.

    It's talking about things one can do nothing about that detracts (or avoids) the things one can do something about ... oneself.

    Thomas
     
  4. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    At the risk of sounding chauvinist ,I must say that we are not the same obviously. I am all for women achieving all they can and am all for equallity. There just is no way that you can overlook that we are different in certain ways. And that just as you do not put a women in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson,Maybe you should understand as a Christian that God chose the disciples and Prophets to be males. I always tell people though that Noah could not have built his Ark without his wife's help and support. And likewise Noah had to be respectful and obedient to her needs and wishes.

    There is a reason men cannot get pregnant. And the majority of women are physically weaker than men. This is what we are . You or I cannot change that with all the efforts that could be possible. So in a christian way it may not be God's way.

    I am no expert but in my humble opinion equality is never going to be possible because we are different.
     
  5. Dragonseer

    Dragonseer Soul Searcher

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    Sinful,

    I am not picking on you by quoting from your post. But what you've written sparks something that's long bothered me.

    The Bible states that human beings are to do on earth as is done in heaven. It also states that there is no concept of sexual division--neither male nor female--in heaven. To me, this is an indication that sexual division on earth exists for the purpose of instruction. And, thus, the sexes are really two halves of one whole, are different yet entirely equal (if that makes sense).
     
  6. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    as a jew, however, i notice seven famous female prophets, including miriam, hannah, deborah, huldah and i can't remember the rest, but suffice it to say that you are factually incorrect. i also can't help noticing that there are quite a few female saints and so on, so i'm not entirely sure you have a leg to stand on here.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Dragonseer —

    There is a school of theology that the 'pure' human nature is transgender (which Christ alludes to: For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven" Matthew 22:30).

    God, in His wisdom, in the foreknowledge of the Fall, separated the essence into two genders. Another view is that gender, like one's height or hair colour, is an 'accident' of nature, a different order, but gender is not according to the essence, but according to the necessity of physicality.

    Gregory of Nyssa wrote a good deal on this topic.

    The 'aim' of the two genders is that 'the two become as one flesh' — and certainly the prayer of Christ is that God and man might 'become one' — so I think you are right when you say that gender is a learning.

    The 'right' way is the total gift of self to the other, the wrong way is for one to use the other for its own ends.

    Thomas

    Thomas
     
  8. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    Well my mistake , I should have said major Prophets of the old testament.
    But I do not mean disrespect to women . There is a place for women in God's church.

    I spoke recently of Mother Teresa who had a place in the world exceeding most men , but was accomplished through her work as a Nun and missionary as far as my humble knowledge of her great work. She is now being canonized as a Saint of our lifetime.

    Had God wanted Women to lead the Christian church he would have made that evident in the New testament Gospels by having appointed women Disciples to fill that role. I really feel there are places for them to fill that we are ignoring as not important. Family unity has lost strength because of weak leadership or and our push for equality , so has God's work been set aside so that we can be equals, which we can never truly be.

    I think we should accept our roles and work as 1. It worked for Noah and his family. Just my humble thought .


    God have mercy on us
     
  9. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    That really struck me as making perfect sense. This is what I was trying to say many times , and not doing so well at explaining myself.

    We both have separate purpose in life, both equally important and necessary.

    But unlike the animal kingdom which functions this way, we have freewill and have subverted our roles and lost our ability to function as one in many ways.
    This applies to the church as well even though I am not a regular participant. I come from being an altar boy and Women are not allowed even there. But there are roles that are overlooked and under-worked as subservient and this is against Jesus teachings about being a servant to others if you want a higher place in his kingdom in heaven. Of course that applies to men and women.

    One other thing that seems important to this discussion is one of the last things Jesus said from the cross. His instruction to the disciple to take Mary as his mother. He could have said to her or Mary Magdaline to carry on his mission or given some relevant instruction to that cause.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Two things that strike me about the women of Scripture.

    One is that the first person to be informed of the Incarnation was a women: Mary, by which I mean the Angel did not make the announcement to Joseph, along the lines of, "Your wife will bear a child ... ", which would have been the case according to certain social constructs (in which the wife is the property and chattel of the husband).

    So the angel tells the woman, she tells her husband, and then the angel affirms the message to the man.

    The other is that the first person to be informed of the Resurrection was also a woman, the Magdalene. It is she who informs the disciples that Christ has risen — indeed, when Peter and John race to the tomb, Christ is gone (I do not for a moment believed that Mary Magdalene 'bumped into' Jesus as He was making a surreptitious departure)

    As these two events are absolutely pivotal to Christianity, and were revealed to women first ...

    Thomas
     
  11. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    You are correct Thomas , and this is why this issue is so difficult . Jesus absolutely knew she would be there first that day. I do not pretend to know the answer as much as believe we have to work together. And this means we must humbly accept our roles as best we can.

    Jesus told Peter he would be the cornerstone of the church. And he said God chose the disciples, to spread the New testament and establish his Church.

    This can be seen as a necessity of those times, or that we have not changed enough in 2000 years to make any difference.
    No one really can be sure that God wants to change our roles now just to be fair . The one that is most humbled is the one who God will make highest.

    Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on us
     
  12. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    First, there is no cross-cultural grounding in evidence for the assumption that there are universal gender differences. There are very slight differences in average behavior and of course differences in various physical aspects, but that is all. So the assumption that women are this way, and men that, and there's a huge gulf is a cultural assumption and not borne out by the global evidence.

    Second, women are not physically weaker than men. Our strengths are different. Women are physically less prone to illness. Men have a higher oxygen-carrying capacity and more rapidly recover from muscular activity, as well as being on average slightly larger, which is why they typically can do better than women in short-burst activity such as weight-lifting. The differences in behavior only demonstrate that men are more likely to be aggressive than women, who generally need more provocation. Otherwise, there is not much difference on a global scale, and gender diversity is something that is largely culturally dictated.

    So we learn how to be a man or woman, for the most part.

    Now, I'm not going to conjecture why the Bible says men were disciples, even though women were prophets and sometimes the first to know important events. I will point out that there are apocryphal texts, and it is possible that certain texts written by women or indicating greater leadership by women were intentionally left out of the canon due to Roman cultural ideas about the proper place of women. One only need to look at the difference of women in Celtic Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism in the early years of the church to see the enormous difference that culture and politics made on the intepretation of Christianity for gender roles.

    So it is a matter of faith, not fact, that women were not allowed to be priests. This is not a denigration of faith, but a statement of what is.

    As for the necessity argument, clearly, in the First World, that has passed. Thankfully, our culture is quite different from Rome at around 150 AD/CE, and most Christian denominations allow female pastors and priests without problem. In fact, I would argue that while the underlying reasons may be sound in theory for having an unmarried male priesthood, clearly the social implications and results have not been the best possible outcome. Abuse, particularly sexual abuse, clearly has some factors in the limitations of relationship and gender. Furthermore, from what I've heard from a variety of pastors, albeit through first-hand and insufficiently researched information, while I've heard of many male pastors and priests using their position to sexually abuse others or engage in other sexual misconduct (including with children and women), I have heard of virtually no incidences of female pastors or priests doing so.

    Every religion's population has as its right to define priesthood as they see fit, in my opinion, and so long as gender-biased ideals don't infiltrate the secular society or infringe on my rights, it matters little to me. I see those issues as issues for people of that faith to work out. However, as a social scientist, I do think it would behoove everyone to work those issues out with eyes wide open to the real data about gender that exists, rather than accepting outmoded and unfactual cultural assumptions about gender as fact. To treat beliefs about gender as faith is fine. To state assumptions about gender as fact is blatantly dishonest with oneself, with history, and with both women and men (as well as those who are neither/both).

    As a final thought, or perhaps more aptly question-

    If the point of sexual development in Christianity is, in part, to be both genders and/or neither gender, then why are so many factions of Christianity so opposed to those individuals that are inherently so? Why is there a general and continued ignorance of those that are intersexed, androgynous, genderqueer, or gender fluid? Would not the incorporation of both maleness and femaleness, of occupying the middle and non-gendered or differently gendered state, be therefore desirable? An indication of spiritual growth and development, so that rigid gender norms are unnecessary? My own personal belief is we don't need a partner (spouse) to become whole. We are able to unite the female and male within ourselves to become whole on our own. And I would put forth that particularly if a religion insists on celibacy for its priests and nuns, then it recognizes, on some level, that wholeness comes from within an individual.

    Thoughts?
     
  13. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    Please name any Global sport where men and women are equally rated and play together.

    Or which basketball, football , hockey , track and field ,baseball , triathlon, are women beating men consistently. And I am not even into sports much.

    Seems to me your the one dreaming up stuff to fit with the current mindset. Evolution works over Millions of years not the 2000 since Roman times.

    I do not mean to be rude .Women are better at certain things than men so it is a ying-yang thing culturally as well as evident in nature for survival of all species. This is not always crystal clear and no I am not sure. Just that we need to work together and realize it is necessary for our own good either way.

    Women get defensive of this longstanding cultural stance .The Equal rights movement has also caused problems . Maybe more than it has solved . You are assuming it a success as most westernized people do . The jury is still out. It has had detrimental effects on the family structure and caused many societal problems that cannot be fully understood yet.
     
  14. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Again, you seem to have completely ignored that I said men and women have different strengths. I would still say that aside from brute force, there are other strengths, including pain tolerance, endurance (many women around the world are the primary workers in the fields, carrying water, building homes, etc.), and resistance to illness. Physical strength can indicate more than the type that assists one in sports. If you look at my post again, you'll note I did indicate men have certain strengths, and women have others.

    All species do not work this way. It is only in species in which there is some evidence of polygyny (multiple females with one male) that there is sexual dichotomy. Even among primates, one finds less dichotomy in socieites of multiple males and multiple females (compare humans and chimps to baboons and gorillas). Among monogamous pair-bonded species, generally there is no difference between males and females. It is quite difficult in such species to tell the sexes apart. Ascribing human cultural traits to biology in general is a mistake.

    This may be a "long-standing" cultural stance in certain cultures. But it is not universal. And what is "long-standing" depends on one's perspective. 2000 years ago, women among the Celts were in the priesthood, led warriors into battle, and were rulers. At the same time, women among the Romans were oppressed and treated as property. You can find similar differences all over the world. There is no one cultural stance that has been universal for human history. There's just a bunch of diversity, then and now. Furthermore, for 90% of human history we were hunter-gatherers, and while women and men did different tasks, societies were generally egalitarian in rights, religious engagement, etc.

    No, I don't assume it is a success. I define what is successful in my own life, and quite frankly, for me, I would not be happy as a mother and homemaker. I wasn't given the gifts to do those roles. I was given other gifts. Likewise, some men are given those gifts and would be happier not being in politics, religion, or other such careers. I believe people should be supported in realizing their own soul's purpose and gifts (spiritual and otherwise) and in looking at the tremendous diversity of people's intelligences and personalities within our culture and globally, I see little to no relationship between these innate factors and being male or female.

    What I've seen is that the Equal Rights movement has, for the first time in some 1500 years in Western society, given women the choice to do what they want. If women don't want to take care of a house and a family, would it really be an optimal society for them to do so against their will? When we look at the reality of history rather than perceiving it as some sort of mythical Golden Age, we find that throughout Western history since the oppression of women, there has been widespread and deep unhappiness. This resulted in many dysfunctional families, both from women being unfulfilled and doing tasks they were unsuited for and from men being given the power to oppress, abuse, and harm women. You can find such evidence throughout historical literature in the West, in diaries, court proceedings, novels, newspaper clippings, sermons, and so on. There is a consistent effort to force women to conform to a standard that clearly does not coincide with many women's innate gifts and character. If it did coincide with the way we inherently are, there wouldn't be so much need to force us to behave these ways. There wouldn't be a need for laws that restricted our rights, or the subsequent battle we fought to gain them. An excellent scholarly treatise on the "nature" of women and how it has exactly tracked economic needs of American society can be found in "True to Her Nature," which analyzes gender roles and the religiously upheld appropriate family from the 1600s through the modern day in the U.S. It provides a clear overview of the truth that social scientists find throughout the world- gender roles have more to do with a society's economic structure than with innate traits of being male or female.

    The primary detrimental effects of family structure were due to the U.S. economy adjusting to a two-income household. If we cared more about having a parent at home and child-rearing, we would demand another social economic structure, becoming more socialist like much of Europe, where people demanded much longer post-partum leave periods, rights for fathers' leave, and higher and more stable wages overall.

    If you are referring to divorce, it is well-known in the research that a dysfunctional marriage is more detrimental to a child than a divorce. The abuse that many women and children suffered before divorce was accepted in society was surely more detrimental to the children's pysches than children who come through divorce with well-adjusted parents. Now, of course, there are many children who lack any sort of fit parent at all- and this occurs in both single-parent and dual-parent families, which is most unfortunate. I would actually maintain that given the profound number of parents who are unsuited and often, in fact, seemingly unhappy to be parents along with the population at an unsustainable level, what would be optimal is precisely what is happening in the first world- people stay single longer, they marry later (and hopefully have children later), and many do not have children at all.

    If one looks at human history, it is clear that the desirability of children was most clearly related to the need for a large number of agricultural workers on family farms. People began having many more children when they became agriculturists, and generally speaking, once societies move into industrial and post-industrial levels, people stop having so many kids. To me, being a parent, whether mother or father, is perhaps one of the most difficult vocations that exist. And therefore, should be taken far more seriously than going to medical school, enlisting in the military, or even going to seminary. To take responsibility for the upbringing of another soul is one of the most profoundly challenging and important jobs. And so to me, it would naturally follow suit that many, perhaps most, people are not optimally suited for such work. In my opinion, people should be far more careful about procreation and those without children should support those with children, creating a more supportive network for families, which would assist in lowering the stress and unhappiness that leads to abuse, neglect, lack of effectiveness, and overall dysfunction.

    To me, it isn't about what I am as a woman or another person is as a man. It isn't about gender roles or having mom bake cookies in her apron... that all-pervasive image from the glorious 50s (when, in fact, many women were intensely unhappy and alcoholism and adultery ran rampant... in fact, adultery of both sexes was twice as prevalent as it is today!)... rather, it's about a society that is pro-child, pro-family, and pro-individuals finding their highest calling. This might be having a child and getting married. It might be having a career and being single. Or any combination in between.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Path —

    Cosmological gender differences, agreed. I think metacosmic gender difference might be a different issue...

    I think this is more likely probable.

    I do question that somewhat ... I've not come across any evidence to suggest a different ecclesial structure within Celtic Christianity?

    I don't think women ever served as priests in the Orthodox or Catholic Traditions. Deacons, yes.

    While there are grounds for agreement, I would argue that the instance of abuse roughly parallels the cultural pattern, so it's a cultural fault that finds its way into every quarter of life.

    I tend to the Orthodox view that 'celibacy' as a charism (spiritual gift) is extra to the ordination of a priest. In the West there has been the view that a priest is called to a vocation (rather than self-elected) of which celibacy is a constituent of the vocation — which I think is easily demonstrable as wrong.

    Frankly I doubt that. I think that reflects the societal notion that men abuse, and women don't. In America female sociologists are bringing to light the types and nature of abuse practices by women on children, men, and so on. It differs from the masculine form, but it is no less an abuse. So it may be that there are no instances of women abusing in the way men do, but what goes unremarked is a different order of abuse altogether.

    As a father who watched three daughters go through the school system, I was shocked at the kind of things girls have to put up with from their schoolmates. The patterns are clearly visible there. 'Bullying' in boys is seen as physical intimidation ... in girls it's different, but it's still bullying.

    And, tragically, look at the abuses within female monastic communities in Ireland, for example.

    Thank you.

    Agreed. Frankly I've been horrified by some comments emerging from the curia as the litany of abuses came to light.

    I don't think it's that?

    I wonder what is being discussed, and where, by whom. I don't think the Church is entirely oblivious, nor is the discussion limited to the biological, there's the moral and theological to review.

    No, I don't think so.

    Nor do we.

    Is that not a philosophical more than biological notion? I could agree, on some terms, disagree on others.

     
  16. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    The statistics of crime do not bear out your opinion of equality in the U.S..
    Our countries CIA has a website called nationmaster.com where you can see the Old countries of Europe have a much lower murder rate than our countries . This has been pointed out as being caused by our lack of family structure. I have friends and family there and have spent much time with them and have seen this at work first hand. They also do not institutionalize their old people like the U.S..

    I know you mentioned them as socialist but we share all the programs alike that categorize Socialism. The difference is unlike them we are isolated from different countries by vast distances and as such have much more intolerance of different cultures as well as gender differences. They also speak more languages and this is a natural intolerance breaker. It is easy to hate someone when you do not understand what they are saying.

    I am not the type who wants to keep others down and assert my superiority like many men and power hungry women as well. I think we agree more than you realize.:)

    Your second paragragh , first sentence was what I was referring to.
    I also believe you are better at some things if you would read my previous posts in the thread.:p
     
  17. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

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    ...pound for pound, or kilo for kilo, women are actually stronger than men. Women are also more resilient to pain (unless they're ginger!), and, intellectually, more able, too. I find it difficult to believe that "God" deigns women to be inferior, or not fit for priesthood. Man does this, not God. I, and many other women, wish for women to be recognised as equals by the church... when will that be?

    I am happy that the Anglican church in the UK is beginning to accept women. I'm still waiting for the catholic church to do the same.

    Women have founded many, many orders within Catholicism. Is their merit not as much as a mans? Why? Because of vaginas, and blood? How friggin' ridiculous men seem, when that is their only objection.

    As for women being "genetically" different -- I have to agree with P.O.O, here the voice of reason... the differences between men and women, in truth, are very slight indeed, and the "differences" you orthodox males see is due to your culture. These differences you cite are social constructs: learned behaviours, assimilation of prejudice...

    "Male and female, in his image he created them" -- says it all really, doesn't it...

    What are you "traditional" men so frightened of? That a dirty priest woman might contaminate the wine with a little of her own foul juices, and feed her taint, her curse, to the congregation?

    Honestly...
     
  18. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    I am inferior to many men and women . Thus my humble name for this forum. As I said in earlier posts if we are truly trying to be good christians we won't need any position as preist to be meek and be good servants.
    Christ told the disciples who were arguing amongst themselves over who was the best that the lowest on earth would be highest in his kingdom.This reminds me of that pettiness that they displayed then.

    I am guilty of it always. Forgive me. I am also trying to understand as much as I am trying to explain how it seems to me.It is not always possible for any of us. Like I have said elsewhere . Try describing a rose to someone who has never seen or smelled one without the actual rose for them to see and smell. A rose by any other name is still as sweet, was also a way of saying that language has limitations .And Shakespeare was a master of language. I find it hard to describe my feelings and thoughts in that way here . Without offending or saying the wrong thing and i am far from good at this anyway. I am struggling just to type .:D
     
  19. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Well, yes. That's a matter that's related to one's beliefs and faith, and isn't open to scientific inquiry, of course.

    From what I understand, which albeit is not at a level of expertise, the stronger position of women as Abbesses in the UK compared to the more male-dominated Roman Catholic region could be related, in part, to the standing of women in Celtic society and the cultural acceptance of women in leadership roles (both males and females were Druids, and also held positions of political and military leadership).

    I don't mean to imply they were priests, but rather that the role of women in the Celtic church was more varied and less constrained due to radically different cultural ideals about gender.

    I would agree that is certainly an issue as well.

    [quote[I tend to the Orthodox view that 'celibacy' as a charism (spiritual gift) is extra to the ordination of a priest. In the West there has been the view that a priest is called to a vocation (rather than self-elected) of which celibacy is a constituent of the vocation — which I think is easily demonstrable as wrong.[/quote]

    However, one cannot be a priest and not be celibate, correct? So while it may be a gift extra to ordination, it is also a prerequisite for ordination?

    I think the theoretical advantage of celibacy in priesthood would be the capacity to be unfettered and not responsible for a family, enabling more time and energy to spent in service to the congregation. Basically, one is in the parental role for a large church family. However, in the age of birth control and the ability of partners to be largely self-sufficient, helping one another rather than having the wife lean on the husband for economic and other support, I am not sure that celibacy is necessary or even desirable. It certainly would not be considered desirable in certain other religions for a variety of reasons. But, it is of course a faith-based issue for people to decide whether or not they feel priests ought to be celibate and if that is an important attribute.

    I'm aware that women and girls can bully and abuse also. My experience, and that of many of the women I know, however, is that we'd take a bit of social bullying any day over the outright physical and sexual abuse women experience at the hands of men. One-third of American women experience rape or assault in their lifetime, and the vast majority of perpetrators are men. Certainly, it is also harmful to have women be manipulative socially or say harmful things. But I can only say that the vast majority of women I've spoken with who have experienced outright physical and/or sexual abuse found that to be the most damaging to them. And while some mothers have been physically abusive, the sexual abuse issue is rarely present. I know a lot of people who have been abused, sadly, I would say more people have experienced abuse than not. Both the women and men I know who have had sexual abuse occur have universally said it was a male who did it. While this isn't saying that women never are sexual abusers, it is rare. And while all abuse hurts, rape and assault are abusive at a magnitude that I think most men, unless they have themselves experienced it, fail to grasp. The fact that this happens to a third of women shows it is a systemic cultural issue and not simply a few bad guys out there. And this is the level of reported sexual abuse against women, which doesn't account for the huge numbers of women who don't know if they're being abused, such as women who are expected to be sexually subservient to their husbands or women who are in power dynamics that make it otherwise their wisest "choice" to comply.

    It is a different order of abuse... for most people, a lower order of abuse. This isn't an excuse for women. Abuse of all kinds should not be tolerated and is an indication of the disharmony people have within themselves and the lack of alignment with divinity. But I think most people, if asked to choose between mean girls saying some nasty gossip about you or being raped, they'd choose the former and recognize it as a lesser offence.

    I think it'd actually help the church's standing if more people were up front like this. It would certainly help with healing the wounds some people feel, I would imagine.

    I don't mean that it is the point of Christian development, but rather that if, as the gospels say, there is no gender in heaven, and heaven is seen as the ideal state of humanity... then the logical trajectory is that a fully developed human being on earth would transcend the non-biological gender differences (that are largely ascribed by society). In becoming whole people, we would become more like what we would be in heaven, which means we would not be bound in gender-defined relationships and roles.

    In a dual-gender system, intersexed people are ignored at best, and considered abominations at worst. Putting gender-fluid and androgynous people aside, which though arguably has roots in hormonal (and therefore non-choice) differences, actual biological intersexed people are more prevalent than you'd think. Aside from fetal developmental issues, actual XXY individuals (Klinefelter's Syndrome) occurs in 1/1000 male births. These people carry the genetics of both a female XX and male XY.

    I'm not saying the church is oblivious, but in any system based on two genders alone, and that define gender roles and relationships in certain ways, there is an automatic movement away from the actual fluidity of human gender, which leaves those who are innately out of the fold.

    Of course. I don't mean to suggest everyone should be biologically the same. But rather that the biology affects roles and norms very little. We mostly learn how to be a gender through culture. I think that when we are whole individuals, we no longer need culturally defined identities, because our identity is wrapped up in our connection to the Divine. This liberates us on many levels, including our reliance on gender roles to define our lives.

    Personally and professionally- yes- I see gender as a fluid spectrum. This is clearly the case from both the data and it is what I philosophically agree with. Unfortunately, when a religion and/or culture defines gender as two categories with certain appropriate roles, responsibilities, and characteristics... then the categories are made, and there are two of them. Creating more categories is a bridge for communication between the biological reality of the gender spectrum and the culturally constructed reality of a gender-binary system. If people actually largely viewed gender as fluid and afforded rights, roles, and so on accordingly, the issues of women's rights and the rights of non-gender-normative persons would be a moot point.
     
  20. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I am not sure how equality relates to crime. Please explain.

    Family structure in much of Europe still accommodates equal rights and a relatively high divorce rate. Look at Iceland, Sweden, France, etc. There is a greater social support network, as you describe, in Europe that make it a more family-friendly place, in my opinion. But much of Europe is actually much more liberated in terms of marriage and family than the US and is not well-liked by many Christians here who call for "traditional" family values. But yes, I do think the family-friendly, supportive aspect of many European cultures helps. It also helps that they have less of a wealth gap between rich and poor, more of an economic safety net, and generally do not allow people to have guns (especially hand-guns).

    I entirely agree that it'd be better if US kids learned several languages (at the best time- before age 7). And when I mentioned they are socialist democracies, I didn't mean that as a put-down. I'm pretty much socialist myself, so to me it's better to have nonprofit systems for our most basic needs including education and health care.

    It seems we do! I think I was understanding your argument to be in favor of traditional gender roles, grounded in the assumption that these are universal traits tied to our biology as men and women. I must have been mistaken.

    I do fully acknowledge that the systems we have in place in the US have a lot of dysfunctionality. They have for a long time, preceding the women's liberation movement and still occurring now. I think we need some creative solutions. :)

    To me, that creativity starts with seeing people as human beings, not as men or women, black or white, this or that. But each person as a unique manifestation of God's creativity, with unique gifts to give the world.
     

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