Thursday, November 08, 2007

Something Spiritual and Puzzling

Last night I went to the installation ceremony for a Gradual School classmate of mine who happens to be an Episcopalian Priest in a nearby city. She also happens to be a woman, and her bishop also happens to be a woman. Michelle is also married and her husband and son were involved in the ceremony as well.

I have known Michelle for probably two or three years and have had lengthy conversations about many things. We have taken classes together, and had dinners and evenings of joy and fun. I have come to really appreciate her gifts as a deeply spiritual person, and her great respect for my Catholic faith (because as an Episcopalian Priest she was getting a Masters Degree in a Catholic Seminary).

Watching the service last night it made me wonder, what charism is she lacking that makes her incapable of being a priest in the Catholic church? Or for that matter what charism is her Bishop lacking? Is it merely the fact that they are women?

Mrangelmeg had no answer either. His only comment was that an all male priesthood kept things more simple and manageable.

Anyway, last night was a very beautiful service in a community that showed a great amount of love for their new rector. When we had a chance to talk to her at the reception we could tell that she has already come to love them deeply.

I guess the only answer for now is that in order to remain obedient to the church we must accept that the Catholic church says that only men can be priests. (or as my gradual school buddies say if you can p** like Jesus you can be like Jesus). Before last night I never really questioned the Church's stance. now I wonder. . .



Deacon John said...

Maggie, there is no charism that Michelle lacks. Perhaps one day the Church will come to realize that in persona Christi means in the person of Christ, somehting that is much larger than gender
Deacon John

Paul Stokell said...

I certainly wish Michelle well. Hers is no small task, especially as ECUSA/TEC is being torn at from all sides.

The priesthood of the Baptized, which has gotten such short shrift for so long, needs to be revisited and understood by us before we intrude upon who should receive Holy Orders. Each of us can truly and fully serve the Church regardless of our given state of life. How are we living as "priestly people" (like the old song goes) and being called as same should be more important.

Besides, having the anatomy and motor skills to be ordained doesn't necessarily mean one should.

Will women be ordained as deacons someday? It's not out of the question, historically or theologically. Will women be ordained as priests? A tougher we'll need time and the Holy Spirit to work on, which means it might not be up to us for the moment. In the meantime, there's plenty to be done.

Rufus McCain said...

John Paul II's answer is that the church doesn't have the authority to alter the pattern Christ established when he chose only males to be his apostles. We can speculate about the why and the wherefore, but it comes down to obedience and humility.

Rufus McCain said...

By humility I mean humility in the face of mystery -- including the mystery of human nature and gender -- not that women just need to be humble and accept second class citizenship, which is certainly not what the male-only priesthood is all about even if it has been distorted as that at times.

Adoro said...

Humility is a good answer.

The problem is not that she's missing a charism....she's misinterpreting the charism.

Men only are called to be in persona Christi. Only a Man can be in the person of Christ. It is stamped into his very body. It is stamped into his soul, and it is the soul of the Church, this mystery.

The Church, herself, is the Bride of Christ, our faith is very feminine. I have no doubt that your friend is a wonderful, beautiful, spiritual woman, and loves her people as they love her.

But I can't help but be saddened because she is not called to be Christ and stand in His person...she is called to stand in persona Miriam. She, and all women, are called to be in the person of Mary, to the degree of our state in live, and point the way to Christ.

Not to "channel" him. But to point, and it is this that elevates others to holiness.

It is in our very creation, it is how we are wired.

And unfortunately, when a woman seeks to be Christ when she is supposed to be Mary, it damages us all, and more than anyone, it damages Christ Himself, and undermines His very Bride.

The reality is that the Church has spoken, Christ has spoken, the Holy Spirit has spoken, and Mary reinforces....who will we listen to?

Our own disordered views originating in sin, or the purity of God's true call?

God loves us all, no matter what we do, and he has never rejected us. His compassion is incredible (had a very real lesson in this myself). But that compassion still requires our humility in the face of who He is...because we cannot come to know ourselves and our true call unless we understand who we are in relation to God.

And there's no way to know ourselves apart from the cross, because in reality, what God has designed us to be is a matter of choice to the degree we have the opportunity to accept or reject what His loving will has deigned on our behalf. Only He has the true definition of Happiness. Only He truly knows what we are called to be...and when we get it wrong, souls hang in the balance.

Because we are called to His plan of salvation, not just for ourselves, but for everyone. And when we are disobedient to God, we answer not just for our sins, but for the sins of others if we lead them down the wrong path.

I will obey what the Church has declared, I will obey John Paul II, because I do enough to lead people in my personal life astray.

Women were never meant to be priests. Period. I pray for the Episcopalian church...those that accept this have gone astray. God bless their souls and bring them to union with the one true church. None of us are whole until they come back home.

Adoro said...

I rarely go to this blog, but just happened to click on it after I posted. Here's your answer and here's the link:

. Jesus Christ chose only men continue to be his apostles. Jesus 'violated' social norms in speaking with women, lepers, tax collectors, and others, so if He wished to, He would have been free to break any suggested norms.

2. There is a spousal nature of Christ to the Church. To continue His saving ministry to all generations, He established the priesthood. Male priests keep this spousal nature.

3. The priesthood is not a right or privilege. Rather, it is a duty to be configured to the person of Jesus Christ in such a way that it is whole and entire.

4. When a man is ordained, he is configured especially to represent Christ in the celebration of the sacraments. As Christ was male, a male priest more easily signifies this.

5. There are certain things that those men cannot do that women can, and vice versus. This is not a sexist statement but one of biology. Women can give birth in the natural order, for example. It is fully appropriate that a male priesthood is is the chosen instrument to bring about our being 'born again' which is of the supernatural order.

~ Me, again...I don't believe in coincidence. This message is for YOU.

Rufus McCain said...

This topic came up recently on the First Things blog, with reference to a book by Sister Sarah Butler entitled The Catholic Priesthood and Women.

Here's a snippet:

The Catholic Priesthood and Women is a defense and an interpretation of the Church’s doctrine. It attempts to provide a new generation of young Catholics and, most especially, seminarians with an understanding of the Church’s teaching and give them a “theological orientation to the topic that engages the chief objections.” Its author, Sister Sara Butler, MSBT, is a well-respected theologian who taught at Mundelein Seminary and currently holds a position at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York. She openly confesses in the book’s introduction that for many years she supported the ordination of women. She credits John Paul II’s “theology of the body” and “his response to the feminist critique in the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988)” for her change of heart on this matter.

Read the entire entry here.

Unknown said...

Just to make something perfectly clear I do not seek to change the Church's view of ordaination. I will never leave the Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion or any other church so I will remain obedient to the Male Priesthood.

I have read all the things you all have posted and I have read the theology of the Body explaination for the all male priesthood in depth.

I still wonder. . ,