Towards the ordination of women in the Catholic Church

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

  1. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    Just that my life has been influenced growing up Greek in the U.S. in ways that show me that equlity is not the same thing in the traditional Greek home as the average U.S. home.

    I have also pointed out to some who criticize the Arab customs of dress , that it has similar traits in Greek homes . My grandmother and many other women who I would see mostly at our church would wear Black for the rest of their lives after their husbands died out of respect.No one forced this on the women nor did it ever seem wrong or bad all my life, But our form of equality in the U.S. looks down on that type of thing.There are many of these subtle differences that are very hard to explain to anyone who did not grow up with them. But also the majority of my cousins or people who were exposed do not respect those things now or understand the importance of their effects on society.They have been changed by our countries Equality movement that has not occured that way in Greece.

    This is tradition that the U.S. does not understand or follow. While equality exists in Greece it is not the same as here and most here would criticize those customs as being a put down or being gay, such as there way of men kissing the cheeks of other men. These customs I believe are having unseen effect as well as many more that I have not mentioned. This is a result of our melting pot equality mentality. The old ways were evolved over many millenia and are being thrown out in the name of equality .
     
  2. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    I was in the process of editing my last post and when I submitted it said there was a time limit and would not allow me to post . Therefore I feel that I must not come to this forum any longer as I have trouble typing and will be unhappy if that were to happen again.
     
  3. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

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    Simple remedy, just go to the bottom of the main forum page, and click on the currently active users button (http://www.interfaith.org/forum/online.php)
    leave that tab open and use other tabs to view your topics and respond.
    You will never time out as it automatically refreshes itself.
    Either that or just hit the preview post button every few minutes to review for mistakes and to keep yourself "re-freshed".
    But do what you will.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Path —

    I could be wrong, but I think this rather overstates the case, resting on the history of Northumbria and the influence of Hilda (later St Hilda), without doubt a woman of great influence, but 'one swallow doesn't make a summer' as they say. (I also think there's a fair element of pseudoCeltic romanticism in the case that's often made).

    There were, and are, women of no less importance and influence in the Roman Tradition.

    Nevertheless, within the ecclesial structure of the Church, I think Abbess is the highest a woman can aspire to. There were many successful cases of such in Europe prior to the Reformation, and some after.

    My issue is that the higher echelons of the Church administrative body (the Curia) seems confined or closed to members of the priesthood — so an Abbot, for example, could be made a cardinal, as indeed could a priest, but not an Abbess ... and as to achieve such a post invariably demands all manner of administrative skills (not the least being the management of men who often, I'm sure, think they know better), the Curia is wantonly depriving itself of a great source of wisdom here.

    I see no reason why an abbess could not be 'red hatted' (made a cardinal) ...

    In my time I have had the good fortune to meet Dame Maria Boulding — who's life rather belies the assumption that women have nowhere to go in the Church.

    Actually no, as the case of married Anglican priests who transfer to Catholicism, and the Orthodox, of course. In the West it is required for the priesthood, in the East it is required of bishops, but not priests. In time, I feel sure, we will adopt the Eastern model.

    I'm not sure, but I think the Catholic Church holds a different ordination 'degree' for those married converts from Anglicanism ... this, I personally think, is a 'flaw' from the Latin tendency to legislate to the nth degree, thus we have what I consider artificial distinctions.

    A classic case is a Catholic who marries a non-Catholic, in which case the marriage is not fully sacramental ... and yet St Paul asserts that in the event of a 'mixed marriage', the partnership is sacralised, which means, in effect, that God 'honours' the partnership, even if one party does not 'honour' God!

    Quite, and that was the argument from St Paul's time. I know there are many cases of spouses who suffer miserable lives being married to someone who, in effect, belongs to the community at large.

    And Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers presents us with the wonderful character Mrs Proudie, the wife of Bishop Proudie, a woman who bullies her husband at every turn ...

    My view is, however, that considering the number of priests required to serve a global community, to expect celibacy of all of them is just asking too much. Indeed, if the charism of celibacy was given to all at ordination, I think that would arguably stand as a proof of the existence of God!

    Oooh, steady. Recall that all traditions forbids ...

    I think this is a huge subject ... I have some very firm views, but I do not disagree with anything you've said. What I would say is that it's taken years for the abuse of women by men to come to light, but there are reports that say that abuses by women is still something under the radar, as it were ...

    ... be that as it may, I very much doubt it's on the same scale as men.

    The figures are terrible, and probably of the same order here — but to me this speaks of the inherent faults within contemporary culture, a fault which it is not addressing, and in many ways making worse.

    The sexualisation of the body, especially in the UK, has produced, and is growing: record cases of self-harm among girls, and other psychological illnesses to do with self-image; the promotion of 'equality' to mean women can make as big a fool of themselves as men do, rampant teenage pregnancy, rampant spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections ... all of which the medical and social services respond to by: Changing the name of Sexually Transmitted Diseases to Sexually Transmitted Infections, because that sounds nicer and by handing out condoms and other means of birth control.

    So you will understandably excuse the Catholic Church if we argue that, since the 'freedom' of women via birth control etc., the status of the feminine in culture has undergone a steady decline.

    But hey — excuse the rant — I've got three daughters, and none of 'em made it unscathed through the growing process, neither physically nor psychologically; in fact my 19-year-old had her mobile stolen out of her hand just this weekend ... and my 17-year-old nephew has his mobile nicked by the same guys who don't even bother to beat him up any more, they just walk up and say 'let's make this easy'...

    (If they knew his dad half as well as I do, they'd pick on anyone else before they try him again ... but then that's the un-reconstructed male for you ... very protective of his young)

    Absolutely ... But on the other hand, when I'm glibly informed that 'all men are potential rapists', or that women are absolutely blameless for what's going on in society, or when I get treated as if I'm some mentally-challenged unfortunate because I don't think or relate like women do, then I tend to get rather un-PC ... but this is a whole other discussion ...

    OK. But I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about women who inflict emotional and mental and physical abuse on their children and their spouses on a par with male abuse ... as has been reported here in the UK, such a thing is still 'unthinkable', but it goes on.

    ... I'm not saying it happens in the same numbers, but it happens.

    And suicide in the UK is highest among young men in their late teen early twenties.

    There is something deeply rotten in the state, and perhaps those secular voices who clamour for change in the Catholic Church, without understanding why things are the way they are, might better be employed actually trying to change something they can, rather than bleating on about something they won't.

    Yep. We gotta acknowledge the problem, before we can sort it out ... institutions, byt their (bureaucratic) nature, have a tendency to try and hide the problem.

    +++

    Yes and no ... now here's some ground for an interesting discussion ... not one I intend to pursue, however I'll post some points:

    I think there is a metacosmic reason behind gender ...

    A 'fully developed human being' is still, I believe, a biological entity ...
    (God has no need of purely spiritual beings — He's already got 'em — angels) ...

    Human is 'higher' than angelic because the human is the place where spirit and matter meet. We do actually 'walk between worlds' ...

    I believe in the spiritualised, or rather resurrected human being, the relationship of the physical to the spiritual is corrected, and thus reverses the current arrangement, and this relationship will be as staggering to us now, as the discovery of Quantum Physics ... (including 'shape-changing', relocation, etc...) ...

    We are not here to transcend the physical, we're here to sacralise it ... we're here to bring it with us, not leave it behind...

    And I think it also liberates us from the notion that governs all the others: the notion of the primacy of the 'individual'. This is, as I see it, a fundamental marker of contemporary culture, and what sets it most at odds with the Church.

    Thomas
     
  5. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sinful Hypocrite [​IMG]
    The statistics of crime do not bear out your opinion of equality in the U.S..

    Women have Equality there in every place but in the Home .It is the same as in the day of Noah, mutual respect while accepting their roles.This is not to say their divorce rate or loss of this home life has not been effected as well. But it bears our attention and has been pointed out by many respected law authorities in the U.S.(Italy was mentioned in a study) as why our way of life may need help from these old ways.


    Add this to the statistics for murder in most of Old world Europe to the U.S. here at the CIA's website for statistics from over 60 countries
    and you will see what equality and lack of the old world customs I gave examples of above do to serious Crime. Note though that Britain is in the same percentile as us and the difference is their home life is much different than Greece or Italy.

    It must be also said that the pilgrims also pointed out that difference 300 years ago when they left England for Holland. Only because there was a new world to go to did they leave Holland.So there were different ways of life that effect crime even 300 years ago. The Dutch men also Kiss on cheeks in greetings.

    http://Nationmaster.com
     
  6. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    You can also type responses in Word and then cut/paste into the box here.
     
  7. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Certainly could be a bit of that. I'm not immune. But the place of women among the Celts and the Romans was vastly different, and like the very different worldviews concerning wilderness, made obvious impacts on the way Christianity unfolded within those cultures.

    I hear from a lot of Catholics I know that they don't have any personal belief that women could not be given higher administrative roles (or, indeed, enter the priesthood). Maybe it's just a matter of time.

    Yes, other similar problems are felt by politicians and the like, no doubt.

    No doubt! LOL Yes- I think the global population and the number of priests necessary precludes all of them being innately gifted with celibacy. From a gender studies perspective, a person who would easily be innately happy with celibacy and have very few or no sexual feelings would be asexual, the most rare of sexual orientations (for obvious reasons).

    Oddly, a thought that just popped into my mind was that they'd probably get closer to the goal of a happily celibate priesthood by allowing women in as priests. Considering women, on average, think about sex far less often and adapt better to life without a marriage partner...


    I forgot about that... That's a whole other issue.

    I am not sure it is a problem with contemporary culture. It is a problem in many, many cultures. Women have often been raped, traded, forcibly married, and so forth in a wide range of cultures, times, and places. The systemic issue of how women have been treated goes far, far beyond the modern statistics.

    It's not only the sexualization of the body, in my opinion, but also sexuality being outside of the sacred. Really, the disconnect of most of everyday life from the sacred is, in my opinion, a cause of many of the world's problems.

    Of course, because culture defines what is feminine, and that definition is changing. At the same time, the value of women has, in my opinion, increased. I am no longer considered a burden to marry off so some guy can take care of me. I am no longer without the right to choose when and whom I will marry. I am no longer property of another person. Women who can't bear children are no longer worthless.

    Yes, we do need what I could consider a complete feminism... an appreciation and valuing of those women who, due to their gifts and desires, choose to be homemakers, mothers, and so on. We ought to value women for the individuals they are, not force everyone to be a stereotype of maleness, which is really just another bow to patriarchal ideals. However, we also ought not to consider women who are not stereotypically "feminine" as lesser in their womanhood.

    I think that's just a general parental trait... and a good evolutionary one at that! :D

    Of course. All men aren't rapists. Indeed, there are societies in which rape is practically unheard of. So it can't just be a male trait- it must be some what our society trains women and men to deal with sex. And women aren't blameless, but at the same time, nothing will get me on a soapbox faster than the asinine arguments that men are some sort of unthinking instinctual beasts that inherently become too turned on to stop themselves if a woman wears provocative clothing or starts a sexual act and then changes her mind. I'm not saying you're saying that... just putting that clarity out there.

    And as I said, I think that needs to be dealt with. No one should suffer abuse from anyone.

    Can't agree with you there, but that's OK. There has to be some differences in our beliefs, given our different religions! :D

    I should throw in the caveat that I do think there's a metacosmic reason behind gender diversity, but I don't see gender as dual (male/female). So it is a spectrum of gender... and I do believe there is a metacosmic reason for that spectrum existing. What I don't buy into is the whole gender-dualist "two halves make a whole and you complete me" bit. To me, that is spiritualizing co-dependency. I'm not half a person, and my husband isn't half a person. We're whole people who have chosen to walk together.

    Despite our quite different belief systems, I entirely agree with this. I don't think we must wait for resurrection (post death), but I do think that when we come into right alignment with the Divine, we find that the world and our place in it is quite different than it was before. Everything, to me, is sacred. It's just for us to become aware of it.


    Yes. For me, though I am currently an individual, that is not my essence or what is lasting. Realizing this is liberating, as I can see myself as process, as connection, as relationship...
     
  8. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    SH (yay, a way to shorten your name without making it sound awful!)-

    If I didn't have equality in my home, I would not have married. My idea of a worthwhile marriage is mutual respect and love, support of one another, and working out what each partner is good at, wants to grow in, and can contribute. If there are set gender roles, then the people involved in the marriage have no impetus to grow. They don't need to know who they really are and what they want. They don't need to work out who does what and let that change over time.

    Frankly, I don't gain much inspiration from people who just follow whatever rules they've been taught as kids. Now, if someone finds their happiness in traditional gender roles, great for them. But the idea of a whole society of similar people who just do the same thing, no matter their real diversity in personality... I know from my studies this is no indication of happiness.

    Second, on crime and family structure... statistical correlation does not prove causal relationship. I was inquiring about the proposed causal relationship. Statistical correlation can be due to all sorts of factors.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Oh quite ... each culture seeks 'the desert' in its own way ... but with regard to the feminine, I'll go with your word.

    I think so. But the debate must continue, and I think the laity will have to supply the pressure to keep it going. I am positive that the Church in Her members is not naive nor ignorant of the kind of gender issues you relate (I spoke to someone on my course a while ago who said she could spot certain gender types because of physical characteristics) ... but from some of the tosh coming out of the Curia, if we leave it to them ... oh dear ...

    Really? ... what else is there to think about?

    Blimey! Now you're sounding like me!

    You might not be ... my daughters, on the other hand .. :eek: .. I'm sorry, I really shouldn't, but this is the only place I can say such things and get away with it! At home its "speak and run!"

    It needs putting. But don't start me talking ...

    As a professional typographer, I've worked in advertising agencies and design groups — now there's a gender study waiting to be done! Ad agencies are the domain of the caveman ethic, with lots of fluffy 'girlies' to make the place look pretty (female creatives were a real rarity when I started work) ... in Design Groups there are a higher proportion of female creatives, so gender relations were completely different ... I worked for years in agencies, then went to design groups, then back to agencies, and couldn't believe the old attitudes still survived ...

    Yes! I couldn't agree more ... I think the 'two become one flesh' of Scripture is pointing towards total harmony, total comic and metacosmic unity, that we express both as a nuptial and as a filial mystery.

    Hurrah! Big cheer for the Cosmos ... Science might be able to explain how the cosmos works, but not why it looks so bloomin' breath-taking!

    Yep ... that's what the Doctrine of the Trinity is all about ... that's what Christianity is all about ... one of the reasons I like Catholicism/Orthodoxy (and I pray for their reunion — another example of dysfunctional family) is that it includes all of created nature ... it's not a flight from the created ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  10. Janz

    Janz What's Amatta U

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    I have so enjoyed this discussion.. esp between Thomas and POO. Very enlightening and encouraging. I love to lurk around here. ;)
     
  11. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    What aspect of the discussion? The sex?:D

    I don't like patriarchal ideals either. Are men supposed to be macho macho, taking risks, facing danger, doing damage to themselves, hurting themselves all the time? Taking control, acting strong, leading, being confident, not being afraid.

    I don't like alpha males. I think they're phony and lacking in substance. I don't think being macho, alpha male or patriarchal is what being a man is all about. To me, being a man is being whatever and whoever you are. What you see is what you get. We are already men. There is no need to pretend. Every man is a real man. Anything else is fantasy.

    I hate the "man up" mantra. As if I'm not a man already. The real man is the one who admits that what he is is what he is. Reality. Reality maketh man.

    Is that possible?:eek:

    Don't you just hate it -- when you hear stories about couples who have sex three times a week? You start thinking that you have to do that to be happy. Heck, I grew up with the idea that people didn't have sex until after marriage. Three times a week is 156 times a year. Really, do people really have to do it that often? Blame it on the invention of contraceptives. I don't think people had sex that often before the 20th century. Love and romance back then would have been less about sex and more about something else.

    The other problem I have with sex today is how it can mess with your mind. Having sex causes changes in hormonal levels. After sex or an orgasm, your prolactin levels go up, and your dopamine levels go down. With couples' dopamine levels going up and down at different times and not being in sync, I wonder how that affects the relationship.:eek:

    Your Brain on Sex | Reuniting

    Talk about doing something you didn't want to do. For about fifteen years of my early life, I was a victim of bullying and harrassment. My social skills were very lacking and that left me vulnerable to "exploitation." Due to my inability to negotiate in some critical situations, I did things I never really wanted to do because I felt that I had an obligation to do what someone else asked me to do. At the time I didn't understand life, people and myself well enough to consider options or alternatives. The guy (yes he was male) who did this to me (also male) had a better understanding of the world and people than I did and therefore had power over me that I did not understand. He claimed to be my friend and used that as a way of compelling me to do things that I did not have a reason to do myself, but did anyway because I didn't understand why else I should be doing them but because he told me it was a good idea.

    I'd like to highlight that this wasn't about sex (it involved no sex at all). I'm just using this as an example to "lead in" to what I'd like to say about women who "change their mind" later about sex. It was purely social domination. It happened in the last four of those fifteen years of bullying that I experienced. He was the last person to bully me and what he did to me was different to what the others did to me in that he actually claimed he was a friend. I took that personally because I believed that whatever I was doing, I was doing in the name of friendship. I did what he told me to do because I believed that to be a "good friend," I had to do what he asked and that his reasons for asking were good.

    When it comes to sexual harrassment -- harrassment of a sexual nature, harrassment that may involve sex and/or sexual references and/or the discomforting discussion of sex, I've been told it isn't about the sex, but the power it involves.

    Sex is an act that involves consent, but it also involves trust and faith. It is a favour, a kind that involves the trust and faith in the person for whom you are doing the favour. Just like the guy who got me to do things I never really wanted to do, the guy who "violates" a woman will provide a reason for the woman to provide the favour.

    It may involve a trade. I will give you my friendship, love, support, admiration, or whatever if you give me your "sexual favours." The woman is made to feel that she is doing it for the right reasons. The "alleged oppressor" uses a reason, to make the woman believe that the sexual favour is required of her. The reasoning, the argument, is the "power" that the "alleged oppressor" wields over the woman.

    If the woman cannot think of options and alternatives, that the sexual favour is the most rational choice, she will go ahead with the favour. It is afterwards when she reflects on her choice that she may think that her choice was wrong, that she either had other options and alternatives, or that there were reasons and arguments why the favour was not the most rational choice.

    The timing of this realisation and the expression of regret will vary. If the woman remains silent for longer than a day, the "alleged oppressor" will go on thinking, for a while, that there was nothing wrong with asking for the favour.

    This is just a theory.:)

    I'm not here to blame anyone here, but men being men, once sex is over and done with, they won't go back and reflect on how to rationalise it. It's over and done with.

    It's kind of ironic isn't it that sexual harassment isn't about sex, but about power -- power to get someone to do something for you, power to influence another person's behaviour or feelings? I don't think it's always about oppressor vs victim. I don't think you can always blame someone. Sometimes it's about a misunderstanding. It's about being hurt and damaged emotionally just as much as it is about power.

    People who bully and harrass others are usually just ordinary people who become villains out of ignorance, neglect, carelessness and recklessness. I have come to think that sex must always be rationalised, even if you personally don't attach much importance to it. It must be because someone else might think it means something.

    (Just think about it.)

    .........individually and collectively................:)

    As an individual, I consider myself sacred. Actually, I consider all humanity to be sacred. What should really be sacred is our humanity.
     
  12. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    If for example Noah was to try building an Ark in his yard today the average man would find himself outside on the Curb with no tools let alone a bed ,probably even get thrown in a mental ward. This is really no different than what Noah's neighbors thought but our society will not allow it as much because of equal rights in the home.

    God is not going to be happy with the result this time.
     
  13. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    Also path of One I have no doubt that mutual respect and admiration for each other was part of Noah's household as well. Did not mean they were not each given gifts by God and are both necessary. Also I realize this is not always black and white.
     
  14. Sinful Hypocrite

    Sinful Hypocrite Active Member

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    But there are reasons why our crime rate is so much higher .There are experts who pointed to these discrepancies and the family values of those countries as opposed to the U.S as the biggest cause.

    I just happened to have come to that conclusion on my own before that study was reported. My cousins in Greece have women in all the professions. You will not understand it any more than most who I have spoken to about it unless you have close freinds or family who you could see it as you visited with them for a few years of one month vacations as we did. I would never have known this before going there 10 years ago. I would never be telling you this from 40 years growing up here .
     
  15. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    No doubt, the friction (and I don't mean it in a bad way) between laity and clergy is what helps to refine each.

    :p

    A lot of our threads end up this way! LOL :D Somehow the Catholic path and the forest path meet up at a crossroads. :)

    Gives you the virtual stink-eye. LOL

    What gets me is that such beliefs not only are harmful for women, but they treat men like complete moronic delinquents. I really think men are a lot better than that.

    That's gorgeous. Though, tongue in cheek, I must point out that while marriage certainly can produce total comic unity... you probably meant cosmic! :p

    I think people would have much happier marriages, and less divorce, if they didn't see marriage as two people fulfilling one another's needs and saw it as two people coming together to fill the spiritual needs of the world. To me, it's a partnership. From my Pagan perspective, it is a partnership that is a way of uniting different energies in a multitude of human relationships, all rolled into the single ongoing interaction. The spiritual, energetic, physical/sexual, intellectual, social and so on come together in such a relationship in a way that no other type of relationship quite encompasses. To me, the point of this is the spiritual development of each person, independent of the other but nevertheless influenced by the connection. Another purpose, from my perspective, is that a sexual relationship generates a tremendous amount of energy. When this is within a relationship that has, at its heart and essence, the spiritual connection of the people involved, there is an enormous capacity for this confluence of energy and development to positively impact the world in a ripple effect.

    Completely. :) For me, science just illumines how amazing it all is. It's layers of beauty and awe.

    I think it's what a lot of religions are all about at heart. There are various traditions that have beliefs in a triune soul for humankind, as well. For me, it points toward what is lasting and at our core- that we are connections in a network, and the nodes we take as end-points are temporary. What is eternal is the underlying desire for connection itself.

    Bright Blessings, Thomas... I've really enjoyed this conversation...

    Kim
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Kim —

    Oops! cosmic ... but sometimes comic, too!

    So many of the couples we know who have subsequently split up, seem as if their union depended on the continuation of a social circumstance, as if there was a third party in the union holding them together ... when the world changes, they split up. As you say, supposed to be the other way round, it's we who hold the world together.

    That's a wonderful view of the world.

    As I've said here before ... we are carbon-based beings ... carbon atoms are produced in the heart of stellar infernos ... we are the stuff that stars are made of ... stuff made billions of years ago ... that still sends shivers up my spine.

    Likeness and image!

    HaHa! Synchronicity strikes again ... I'm just reading an essay on a Negative Theology of the Trinity according to St John of the Cross, by Rowan Williams ... in 'simple' Trinitarian theology, we have three persons as the terminus of the love that moves between them — in John, and in the theology of the Patristic Era (so close to my heart) love has no terminus, love is not defined by its object ... participation in the Divine Life is the participation in the life of love, not in what is loved ... thus it is a constant darkness that is full, a constant sweet longing ... the 'dark night of the soul' takes on a whole different aspect in this regard.

    Thank you for this conversation, Kim —

    You never know — maybe at the next Council of the Church, the pope might bring his wife ... and the one after that, she'll bring her husband!

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  17. bob x

    bob x Well-Known Member

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    Here you are taking it for granted that we have heard about whatever incident has you upset. What are you referring to?
    I don't believe that in the first generations there EXISTED anything like the "priesthood": the Greek diakonos means something like "waiter", the servant in charge of distributing the bread and wine at the meal-- and that is what the "mass" consisted of at first. The notion that the mass should be presided over by someone marked as having superior social rank, rather than the status of a servant to the community, was a fatal paganism.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Bob X

    Sorry, I was referring to a post by Nick_the_Pilot "Efforts Rising to Ordain Women as Roman Catholic Priests" ...

    Really? We have material evidence of the threefold structure of deacon, priest and bishop in place before the close of the first century, so I'm not sure what makes you say that?

    The idea of priesthood was fundamental to Judaism, and would have carried over into Christian practice. The role and function, of course, was redefined by Christ.

    Indeed, the first public action of the Church, Peter's address in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, begins with preaching and ends with a Liturgical Rite — the baptism of some 3,000 people — whoever performed that act would have been regarded as a priest of the people.

    The priest never had, and should never think of having, 'a superior social rank', that was a much later error to creep into ecclesial thinking.

    And the 'mass' was the celebration of the Mystery of the Eucharist from the very beginning.

    The big difference I would highlight is that the focus, especially in scholastic thinking after the 1st millenium, on the Eucharist ... prior to that, and especially in the Early Church, Christ was seen as present at the table, rather than present on the table, in the Eucharist.

    That is not to say the theology ofEucharist is intrinsically wrong, far from it, but it has somewhat overshadowed, for example, the theology of the Mystical Body, which is the whole community, not just the ecclesial body.

    The late Cardinal de Lubac traced this subtle shift in emphasis in his "Corpus Mysticum: The Eucharist and the Church in the Middle Ages"

    Thomas
     
  19. bob x

    bob x Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea what you are talking about by "material evidence": source? None of the early Christian literature uses a word like hieros or sacer. We first hear of the episkopos in the Pastoral epistles, which are certainly not by Paul, and in some of the pseudo-Ignatian epistles; Ignatius himself is supposed to have been an important episkopos of Antioch (his predecessor Evodius was said to have been appointed by Peter himself as Peter was leaving on his fatal trip to Rome, so the patriarchs of Antioch claimed that they, not the Roman line, were the "successors" of Peter) but in the epistles which are most securely considered genuine, he refers to diakonoi of no particular prominence (such as Burrus, whoever he was) using the phrase "my fellow servant". So, while I can accept that some "overseer" role must have arisen rather early as the church expanded, I do not think there were firm distinctions of rank, or that there was anybody in the 1st-century Christian community who used a title like "priest".
    The Jewish priests, like pagan priests, were a hereditary caste of animal sacrificers. Their role had become redundant, and has not been missed. Neither Jesus nor any of his early followers considered it essential to "carry over" this institution.
    Huh??? No he wouldn't.
    The use of the title "priest" (hieros or sacer) in place of diakonos (a title implying service) is, precisely, where this error crept in.
    At the beginning, it was a convivial supper. The spectacle of a robed chanting figure holding up a wafer in an expensive display frame is not something that the early Christians would have recognized at all.
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Bob x —

    Tha Acts of the Apostles ... St Paul ... I suppose it's a case of what you bring to the text.

    Christ said He would found a Church — an ekklesia — and I suggest that once of body of people form together, they tend towards a structure, and they most probably would have based that structure upon experience.

    I would also suggest that terms used were somewhat flexible so have to be read in context of the text and the times.

    To understand the office of 'priest' in its Christian context, the best place to start would be the Letter to the Hebrews. We have the election of deacons in Acts of the Apostles. We have the office of the diaconate spoken of in Paul's letter to Titus.

    We have evidence of some form of council among the Twelve, and of the authority of the Twelve; even Peter is obliged to explain himself after baptising Cornelius.

    So I'm saying by the close of Acts, we have a community, or communities, living the common life; within those communities we have the idea of the authority of the 12, their chosen apostles, and a support structure in a diaconate that involved teaching as well as administration.

    All I'm suggesting is that there were 'overseers' in the spirit, as well as the letter. Paul had to argue for his authority to be that of an Apostle (by which he meant one of the 12) — so ecclesial office was there, even if in prototypical form.

    Indeed, I recall reading somewhere that the leader of the assembly was chosen from within the assembly. No doubt this position might in some be varied, whilst in others would settle into so-and-so being the best man for the job.

    But the position and authority of the 12 was inviolate — so there was one firm distinction to start with.

    And I tend to think that the community would have regarded the person who led the Mysteries to be, by virtue of that office, the equivalent of a priest, as they understood the term. Certainly if Hebrews makes much of the office of Chief or High Priest — archiereus.

    I think otherwise.

    The Jews make a great deal about meals ... and certainly the early Christians would have brought this heritage to the table.

    I reckon that such conviviality would be founded on the notion that Christ is present 'at' the table (rather than 'on' the table, a later scholastic emphasis), so the meal would be regarded as a Liturgical Rite and a Mystery, and was so even at the time Paul was writing, c50AD.

    Oh, I think they might ... they had a reference of robed figures leading mystery rites, they had chanted liturgies — all that is part of their heritage, be it Hebrew or Hellenic. The only bit that was 'new' was the Eucharist in its Christocentric implication.

    Thomas
     

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