Women Priests

wil

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3 Women To Be Ordained Catholic Priests - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston

Link above details three women who planned to be ordained and then the church plans to excummunicate.

Currently reading Bishop Spong's book, "Saving the Bible from Fundamentalism" Just started it but he outlines the the verses that were used to justify slavery, and then those that were used to justify segregation and then those that were used to keep women in subordinant roles over the years. And if they were still apropo today women couldn't sing in the choir or work in the church office...but our understanding of all these passages has grown to they were speaking of a different time and civilization.

I've just started the book and found it interesting that this article popped up now.

Of course I also just drove by a bumper sticker that I wish I could remember now. Something about three steps to accepting truth, first was denial, second I can't remember and third was "Of course it means that, its obvious" or some such statement.

It rang true, today we can't imagine using the bible to oppress people...or can we??
 
...yes, the bible is used to oppress ppl every day... as a catholic kid, I wanted to be a priest... I discovered I couldn't, because I was a woman... why can't women do it? because women are unclean and women are subordinate to men... end of story... that's oppression, as far as I understand oppression...

...using religion as an excuse for war, the burning of witches- just the oppression of other faith groups, and ethnic cleansing... some more oppression...

...so, as far as I can see, that's the pattern of most religions... it's cultural, rather than religious, I think, and belongs to a different age- the idea women are lesser than men, less intelligent, and unclean, is present in most religions- christianity, judaism, hinduism, buddhism, Islam...

...times change, and things move on- so should our collective doctrines- there is no real reason a woman cannot be an effective catholic priest, as seems to be the current USA women and church theme, or, as we have been hearing about here in the UK, allowing the ordination of female bishops into the synod... it is ridiculous to think that eager and "on-fire" types, which any church needs to succeed, are turned away on the basis of what resides in their underpants...
 
Just to clarify —

... why can't women do it? because women are unclean and women are subordinate to men... end of story...
I don't know about other traditions, but neither of the two reasons you offer are actual reasons against the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. In fact there is no reasoning 'against' women ... rather the Church follows the tradition established by Christ, and by the Apostles.

You can read a more detailed account here.

Thomas
 
Just to clarify —


I don't know about other traditions, but neither of the two reasons you offer are actual reasons against the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. In fact there is no reasoning 'against' women ... rather the Church follows the tradition established by Christ, and by the Apostles.

You can read a more detailed account here.

Thomas
Then when they change their stance...and I will take odds they will. Like they have on a number of things, what will be their reasoning then?
 
Hi Wil —

Then when they change their stance...and I will take odds they will. Like they have on a number of things, what will be their reasoning then?
I don't know, but I'm sure it will be sound, formed of a deep and prayerful reflection and reasoning based on the Deposit of Faith, and not at the whim of culture, which is capricious and ephemeral, often founded on real and solid principle, but too often shaped (or mishapen) by fad and fashion, and the pursuit of novelty ...

If the Anglican Communion is anything to go by, currently tearing itself apart as it is in an effort to be 'with it', I think that day, if it ever comes, is a long way off, as for the Catholic Church to accept the ordination of women would cause a far bigger outcry — not the least from the "told you so" brigade, who would no doubt read it as a justification of their opinion on any matter of faith and morals ... which is reason in itself not to change it, as the result would be a worse error and injustice than that which they currently erroneously insist upon.

Thomas
 
...there is no reasoning 'against' women ... rather the Church follows the tradition established by Christ, and by the Apostles.


It appears that Church policy against women in the priesthood is predicated on specious reasoning, as summarized here:
Jesus ordained only the Twelve as priests.
But Jesus selected only males to be among the Twelve.
Therefore, Jesus selected only males to be ordained priests.

The most serious factual problem in the major premise of the Declaration’s implicit syllogism is that Jesus did not ordain anyone, male or female, to the priesthood. The Twelve are not the unique or even the principal precursors of the later Church offcials whom we call priests. And both men and women were among Jesus’ immediate followers who were, in virtue of a commission from Jesus or subsequent activity in the early church, the precursors of present day priests.

The Declaration limits its argument to the Twelve for the obvious reason that this is the only group associated with Jesus which was composed exclusively of males and hence the only possible basis for the Declaration's conclusion regarding the exclusion from priestly ordination. But there is simply no historical grounds for regarding the Twelve as the first priests, for maintaining that Jesus ordained them, or for considering them as the exclusive precursors of that role in the Christian community which is later filled by ordained priests.
Source: Women priests website

Accordingly, I would question whether the "tradition" attributed to Christ and the Apostles has any substantive basis. Likewise, it is unclear whether there was evidence of any informal pattern indicative of operative policy.


The Church undercutting Jesus' feminist principles by a historical insistence on a patriarchial hiearchy is a sad commentary, imho. Moreover, the mere suggestion that a man-made discriminatory policy can be justified on the ostensible basis of Christ's authority is repugnant to me. Consider the NT principle of equality stated very clearly: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." ~Galatians 3:28

I will note in passing that Luke 8:3 states there were "many" women who worked with Jesus and the Twelve and whom dedicated their own resources to Jesus' ministry.

Luke 23:49 describes a group of women who were present at the time of Jesus' crucifixion. He addressed these wailing women directly: "Jesus turned and said to them, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me.'"

Further, it was a group of women who found Jesus' empty tomb and had a vision of angels (see Luke 24).

To suggest that women were on the periphery of Jesus' mission is missing some important data points.
 
there are no real reasons AGAINST the ordination of women... I have heard it said that if Jesus valued women, he would have given them a place in his inner circle, and that he didn't is proof that women should not be bishops, etc, however.... as Netti-Netti points out- there are women in the bible...
 
There is more than one account of the historical Jesus. Here is one that raises questions about the basis for the Church's policy of keeping women out of the priesthood.

At one point Jesus is said to have recruited a group of women to participate in ministry and evangelism. The team is described as having been "selected and commissioned by Jesus" himself:
These ten women were: Susanna, the daughter of the former chazan of the Nazareth synagogue; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas; Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy Jew of Tiberias and Sepphoris; Martha, the elder sister of Andrew and Peter; Rachel, the sister-in-law of Jude, the Master's brother in the flesh; Nasanta, the daughter of Elman, the Syrian physician; Milcha, a cousin of the Apostle Thomas; Ruth, the eldest daughter of Matthew Levi; Celta, the daughter of a Roman centurion; and Agaman, a widow of Damascus. Subsequently, Jesus added two other women to this group -- Mary Magdalene and Rebecca, the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea.

150:1.2 Jesus authorized these women to effect their own organization and directed Judas to provide funds for their equipment and for pack animals. The ten elected Susanna as their chief and Joanna as their treasurer. From this time on they furnished their own funds; never again did they draw upon Judas for support.

150:1.3 It was most astounding in that day, when women were not even allowed on the main floor of the synagogue (being confined to the women's gallery), to behold them being recognized as authorized teachers of the new gospel of the kingdom. The charge which Jesus gave these ten women as he set them apart for gospel teaching and ministry was the emancipation proclamation which set free all women and for all time; no more was man to look upon woman as his spiritual inferior. This was a decided shock to even the twelve apostles. Notwithstanding they had many times heard the Master say that "in the kingdom of heaven there is neither rich nor poor, free nor bond, male nor female, all are equally the sons and daughters of God," they were literally stunned when he proposed formally to commission these ten women as religious teachers and even to permit their traveling about with them.

The whole country was stirred up by this proceeding, the enemies of Jesus making great capital out of this move, but everywhere the women believers in the good news stood stanchly behind their chosen sisters and voiced no uncertain approval of this tardy acknowledgment of woman's place in religious work. And this liberation of women, giving them due recognition, was practiced by the apostles immediately after the Master's departure, albeit they fell back to the olden customs in subsequent generations. Throughout the early days of the Christian church women teachers and ministers were called deaconesses and were accorded general recognition
~UB Paper 150

 
there are no real reasons AGAINST the ordination of women... I have heard it said that if Jesus valued women, he would have given them a place in his inner circle, and that he didn't is proof that women should not be bishops, etc, however.... as Netti-Netti points out- there are women in the bible...
Look at it this way, Francis: having no women priests would mean that the church authorities couldn't blame women for bad doctrines/actions, like Adam blamed Eve in the Garden of Eden.

(You've also got to admit that the Hellenistic Greek culture was highly misogynistic, as well. Women church leaders would likely be quite vulnerable to violence there.)
 
I have known a number of outstanding women priests. It's part of what I deeply appreciate about the Episcopal Church. I do want society to reflect the church...and I think women are equally part of both.
 
As an outsider I must say that I'm very in favor of egalitarianism in the clergy. I think the way that it happens is going to be different for each religion. As Catholicism already has specific roles for women beyond lay householder, it may be that a role evolves similar to a priest but called something else so as not to directly contradict tradition.

-- Dauer
 
Hi Netti-Netti —

The most serious factual problem in the major premise of the Declaration’s implicit syllogism is that Jesus did not ordain anyone, male or female, to the priesthood.
I don't agree, I think that argument is itself specious. He called twelve, trained twelve, and entrusted His ministry to the twelve. There were twelve in the room when He instituted the Eucharist, eleven whom He commissioned them to baptise, and twelve in the room when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost.

It was these twelve who commissioned the diaconate (Acts 6) by prayer and the laying-on of hands ... and it was they who established the 'priesthood' as 'a council of elders' (presbyteroi - priests) and 'overseers' (episkopoi - bishops) ... and it was they who authorised bishops to ordain ...

The Twelve are not the unique or even the principal precursors of the later Church offcials whom we call priests. And both men and women were among Jesus’ immediate followers who were, in virtue of a commission from Jesus or subsequent activity in the early church, the precursors of present day priests.
The primary commission ... the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist ... was made to the twelve, no others. Missionary work and evangelisation is not the limited to the priesthood.

But there is simply no historical grounds for regarding the Twelve as the first priests ...

But there is every historical reason for accepting the priesthood as successors to the Twelve.

Thomas
 
There were twelve in the room when He instituted the Eucharist...
Couple of things...

It is my understanding that there were 12 at the table, but many more watching, no? Also the 'instituted the Eucharist' I thought it was a uniquely Christian experience, until I attended shabbot and passover and found out the the sharing of wine and bread was a quite normal event. Now the body and blood analogy, that may have been new, or it could be that teachers used various analogies over time. But I see it as much more metaphorical than literal.
 
It was these twelve who commissioned the diaconate (Acts 6) by prayer and the laying-on of hands ... and it was they who established the 'priesthood' as 'a council of elders' (presbyteroi - priests) and 'overseers' (episkopoi - bishops) ... and it was they who authorised bishops to ordain ...

ok, I'm looking at your source, Thomas:
They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them....So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
~Acts 6:6-7

An insistence on the Twelve would appear to be unwarranted. Additional priests were involved in the ministry.

Note that in Acts 6, the functions of the additional priests were not specifically sacramental. In other words, the notion of priesthood is different from a more traditional view of someone who has unique qualifications to do sacramental work. In this context, "obedient to the faith" means simply that faith and a willingness to be of service is all one needs to qualify as priest. See it in context here:
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: ACTS 6

To my way of thinking, Jesus ushered in the universal priesthood of all believers in accordance with a New Covenant. I don't recall the Covenant having an exclusionary clause for women. :)
 
There is more than one account of the historical Jesus.
That's the Catch-22 though, isn't it? As I understand it, there's no account more credible than Scripture, I mean, if its hard enought to affirm Scripture, then any other account must come under greater suspicion, surely? Many were later fabrications ... I can't really comment on the textquoted without knowing something about it.

+++

... having no women priests would mean that the church authorities couldn't blame women for bad doctrines/actions, like Adam blamed Eve in the Garden of Eden.
And there were some outrageous cases ... the idea that Eve brought Adam down was one that persisted for centuries. One of the early stylite preachers, who attracted vast crowds, would fly into a rage is he saw a woman...

(You've also got to admit that the Hellenistic Greek culture was highly misogynistic, as well. Women church leaders would likely be quite vulnerable to violence there.)
Moreso under Roman rule, too.

+++

It is my understanding that there were 12 at the table, but many more watching, no?
As far as I know, no. There's no mention of an audience in the texts.

Also the 'instituted the Eucharist' I thought it was a uniquely Christian experience, until I attended shabbot and passover and found out the the sharing of wine and bread was a quite normal event.
That's the way Jesus works ... but the point is what is signified, not the meal in itself. Scholars of Comparative Relion (the Perennialist School) agree that the Eucharistic meal is unique to the Christian tradition. There are the feasts that accompany the Greek Mysteries, the meal enjoyed by Mithras and Sol, etc., but their symbolism and significance falls far short of the understanding of the Eucharist.

Now the body and blood analogy, that may have been new, or it could be that teachers used various analogies over time. But I see it as much more metaphorical than literal.
Jesus lost many of His own following when He told them it was literal, and they refused it.
John 6:
54-58 "Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him."

and laster ...

61 "Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?"

67-68 "After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. 68 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?"

The whole chapter should be read as a piece, really.

Thomas
 
Jesus lost many of His own following when He told them it was literal, and they refused it.
John 6:
54-58 "Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him."
Thomas, since we are the Body of Christ, what you believe is being advocated here would seem to have at least two fairly significant implications: Instead of consuming communion wafers and wine/grape juice, we should be (1) cannabalizing each other, and/or (2) cannabalizing ourselves. That is, if we stick with a literal view.
 
ok, I'm looking at your source, Thomas:
They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them....So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
~Acts 6:6-7

An insistence on the Twelve would appear to be unwarranted. Additional priests were involved in the ministry.
Scholarship treats this as a confrontation between Aramaic-speaking Jews (the Apostles and their followers) and Hellenised Jews of the diaspora who spoke Greek (the 'Hellenists' and 'Hebrews' of v1).

The twelve resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all (v5) who elected seven men of the Hellenist party (all seven are named and documented in Hellenistic sources) and they come forward and are commissioned by the Apostles (v6).

The 'great many of the priests were obedient to the faith' implies that the Hellenist party were happy to accept the authority of the Twelve, in spiritual and temporal matters.

Sorry, but this reinforces the argument of tradition.

Note that in Acts 6, the functions of the additional priests were not specifically sacramental.
Well it's not specified at all, is it? The author assumes one knows what a priest does, as they officiate at sacred ceremonies, by they Jewish or pagan.

In other words, the notion of priesthood is different from a more traditional view of someone who has unique qualifications to do sacramental work.
I don't see why?

In this context, "obedient to the faith" means simply that faith and a willingness to be of service is all one needs to qualify as priest.
No, it quite definitely signifies obedience to the twelve.

To my way of thinking, Jesus ushered in the universal priesthood of all believers in accordance with a New Covenant. I don't recall the Covenant having an exclusionary clause for women. :)
To me, the New Covenant ushered in is theosis, or filiation, or deification — the intimate union between God and creature — and one is not required to be a priest to aspire to such.

Thomas
 
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