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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Women Priests & Our Girl Jesus

1194984585936802019female_rollandin_frances__svg_medMary gave birth to a baby boy and named him Jesus. Jesus grew up and he picked more boys to be his apostles. They in turn ordained still more boys to be bishops, priests and deacons. The priesthood is the ultimate boy’s club. But radical feminists act as if it is a woman-hater’s club… it is not. We all benefit from the ministry of priests. Not all men are worthy of this vocation. Women are called to other vocations, like religious life and motherhood. Except for a misguided sense of egalitarian equality, a disproportionate focus upon one element of social jusitice and feminists hungry for power, there is little that commends a move to ordain women. These dissenters would not only refashion the ministries but also Jesus would be remolded to their liking. He would become an abstraction, a model for their agenda but not the historical Savior. If God is not neutered, then he is likely made feminine. Jesus becomes Jessica or the Kristi who hangs upon the cross, raped and defiled by male machismo. They talk about equality; but this is a lie. They seek dominance and payback for what they regard as past subjugation and oppression.

I just read an article by Greg Archer over at THE HUFFINGTON POST entitled, “Roman Catholic Female Priests Growing in Numbers: An Insider’s Perspective.” I feel compelled to make a few comments. It is important that good Catholics not be confused by dissent on women priests or priestesses. There simply is no such creature within the Christian context. Christ has never given the Church the authority to ordain women. While our Lord counted women among his disciples, only men were selected to be his apostles. Jesus proved time and time again that he was willing to break the stereotypes of his day; however, upon this matter he retained a male leadership or hierarchy.

Many are surprised to find out that Catholicism only has one High Priest— Jesus Christ. Every man ordained to service is configured to Christ and participates in his one priesthood. The ordained priest is a living and breathing icon for Christ. His very flesh and his manhood resonate with that of Christ— making our Lord and his saving work present for the community. Historically, the Gnostic heretics had priestesses because they rejected matter as evil and denied the full incarnation of Christ as the God-Man. Catholics and/or orthodox Christianity take the incarnation seriously. Matter is not evil. Indeed, human nature is elevated and divinized by the coming of God among us as our brother. While the soteriological implications transcend gender, in baptism and faith all can know the gift of redemption; the parameters of sacerdotal ministry were clearly laid out. Only men could be bishops and priests. This did not deride the role of women. Holiness is available for all. It is just that God has intended that we fulfill differing roles.

Some have argued that the male-only priesthood gives balance to God’s life-giving love. Just as only women can physically conceive and give birth to a child; only a man (who is a priest) can spiritually confect the Eucharist and give us the bread of life. The Church also offers us the marriage analogy that passes down from Scripture. The priest signifies Christ who is the divine bridegroom; the congregation at Mass signifies the Church, his bride. Many of the centrist advocates for priestesses hate this analogy because it makes the notion of a woman priest into a kind of sacramental lesbianism. Of course, the more liberal critics might like this analogy in that they also support the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

The article started off by mentioning Victoria Rue, a lady who “attempted” ordination back in July 2005. Although the author claims to be “an insider” he refers to the precious blood as a wine chalice. This might be Episcopalian terminology; but, it is not how informed Catholics would speak about the cup. In any case, his point is that she is only one of a quickly growing number of women who are becoming “priests”. I have to stop at that point and insist that he is wrong to assume that these women are truly priests. They can play dress up, but as far as the true Catholic Church is concerned, they are only posturing.

He pokes fun that the Vatican would solely acknowledge “those sporting an XY chromosome” and yet he fails to realize that gender is more than an accidental. Too many people have bought the lie that the sexes are interchangeable or essentially the same. Gender is more than facial hair and muscles; it is a core element of human identity. The saints in heaven will still be both men and women, not neutered monstrosities. The resurrected and glorified Christ was still a man. Mary, our Blessed Mother, is still a woman. Gender has more purpose and meaning than genital expression. It is who we are.

Seven women tried to become priests three years earlier on the Danube River, seeking to avoid canonical sanction from the immediate archdiocese. However, by January 2003, they were all rightfully judged excommunicated. He also mentions Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Foster of a group called Womenpriests. They make a claim to ordination because their renegade bishop had apostolic succession. However, a woman constitutes “invalid matter” and cannot be ordained, even if the form is correct. They also like to confuse the issue of a celibate clergy (a discipline in the Church) with that of proposed women priests (which is doctrinally impossible).

Other women are also slowly joining the ranks of excommunicated wannabe priestesses. Rue claims that the Vatican has become quiet because they do not want an escalation. I suspect the real reason is because the Church has already made its position clear. There might also be an element of pity for these poor women who want something so desperately that they cannot have. The article gives the impression that this is all a game of strategy. But this is only the opinion of the dissenters. The Church is not playing. There is no game. It is a done deal. There can be no change… not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

These so-called women priests are really just creating their own church. They are Protestants with a few Catholic trappings. Some have gravitated toward the Episcopal communities that allow priestesses. As far as many of us are concerned, this movement is rather mute. Anglican orders, even for men, are probably largely invalid. Women priests merely represent the last nail in the coffin for a church that is no longer even Christian in its values. Adultery is routinely accepted. Fornication is excused. They welcome openly gay men and lesbians! What is left? When mortal sin is regarded as a virtue, Satan has won the day!

The author cited a 2006 NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER survey of U.S. Catholics that said 62% of those responding favored women priests. An AP poll in 2005 found about 65% supported the change. But the AP is hardly sympathetic to Catholicism and such numbers make good news. As for the NCR, it is a liberal rag that gets the answers it wants. Traditional Catholics would likely not even respond to such garbage surveys. Further, who are these Catholics? Are we talking about NCR readership? Just because someone was baptized or went to Catholic school does not make a person a “real” or “practicing” Catholic. Only a quarter of our people still go to Mass. The rest are victims of modernity with its secular humanism, materialism, hedonism, and ignorance of faith. In any case, the truth and Church teachings are not open to polls. The Church is not a democracy. Christ is king and still in his heaven. The Pope is his vicar on earth.

While the 1975 report of the Pontifical Biblical Commission noted “no scriptural objections to ordaining women,” this summation is somewhat misleading. All it means is there is no direct statement from Christ about it. However, we do have the Scriptural teachings about Christ’s relationship to the Church (see St. Paul) and his example in appointing only men as his apostle-bishop-priests. Further, Catholicism is NOT a “sola scriptura” religion. We also have Sacred Tradition. There we do find explicit statements against women’s ordination. The early council of Nicea forbade the laying on of hands upon women (ordination).

Rue asserts in the article that there is archeological and Scriptural evidence for priestesses, but this is not true. She and her organization Womenpriests put a spin on dubious materials that cannot be substantiated. Conveniently for her, too much so, she complains that there was more evidence the Church destroyed and that the canonist Gracian wrote them out of the Church’s legal books and history. Her organization also sometimes fails to distinguish early heretical groups from the orthodox. They try to argue that boyish icons of priests are really females. They grab for straws and the author of the article swallows it uncritically.

And who is this know-it-all Victoria Rue who functions as his chief source? She is an ex-nun, seduced by militant feminism and angry with the Church. She left the Catholic Church. Her theological training was at a Reformed Protestant school in New York. She studied Liberation Theology, inherently Marxist in regards to its dialectic analysis of poverty, but she pursued it under the umbrella of radical feminism and lesbianism. She also studied at the GTU in Berkeley, California, a so-called ecumenical school known for its adherence to religious indifferentism and relativism, even in regard to blatantly and/or pagan non-Christian religions. She, along with other Womenpriests, are deceitful to gullible Catholics about their standing. As a teacher of propaganda in “women studies” and “comparative religious studies” she feigned being a real priest and offered a “weekly Catholic Mass” at San Jose State University. We are told that the diocese in 2006 rendered this statement:

Rue is not a validly ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Roman Catholic Church should not participate in celebrations of the sacraments that are conducted by Victoria Rue, as those celebrations are not in union with the local or universal Church.

The fact that she regularly celebrates so-called Masses at an Episcopal church in San Francisco says it all. They might be in communion with her but she is not in communion with the bishops of the Catholic Church. She is a Protestant. All priestesses are either Protestant or pagan (understood as a reference to the old religions prior to Christ). Some of them even say that they worship the goddess. There is a popular crucifix with a naked woman upon it. However, Kristi is a model of the divine that has no place in genuine Christianity. It is Jesus Christ who offers the saving sacrifice and who forgives sins, not Kristi suffering with a bad hair day.

At the end of the article we are told that Rue is a lesbian who has lived with her partner for many years— big surprise— NOT!

Scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality and lesbianism mean nothing to her. She cites psychological views to the contrary. Of course, the American Psychiatric Association once referred to perversion as a disease. It was only when gays poured into the field that this verdict changed. Divine positive law and natural law take precedence over human whim. Rue says that her sexuality is important to her identity as a priest. This is an interesting statement, given that she renounced the Church’s prohibition of women priests based upon the importance of male gender as an element of identity in the priest.

The article concludes by telling us that there are now five RC bishop gals and almost 100 priestesses in the U.S. This is hardly a number about which the Church needs to be worried. Few practicing Catholics take these ladies seriously. Many of them are also quite advanced in years. They will not be around for long. Meanwhile, the numbers of young men entering legitimate seminaries are on the rise. Nice Catholic girls and women are entering religious orders with traditional charisms and structure. Rue traded in her habit for a collar. But the former she prized too lightly and the latter does not belong to her.

The article ends with the acclamation, “Hail, Mary!” But Mary would not be pleased. She is about bringing us to her Son. These women are preoccupied about themselves and power. In reality, the priesthood must always be about humility and obedience— servanthood. However, Mary must indeed be brought into the equation. All these wannabe priests should repent and come home to the true Church.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners!”

2 Responses

  1. The following comments about married clergy were made within a discussion about the impossibility of women priests. Although somewhat non-topical, the issue of married priests is frequently linked to that of priestesses. I suspect that the reason for this is to give credence to a doctrinal impossibility by linking it to a mere sacramental discipline that can possibly change. Unfortunately, those who argue for a married priesthood in the West often allow themselves to be used by such dissenters and thus worsen and weaken any arguments they might make. The first comment reminds us as to what the priesthood is really about. I do not know if it is original to Tim or whether he is quoting something. After that, the debate begins with an anonymous FATHER LOVE posting about his indiscretion and defection.

    Tim H

    The priest is another Christ.
    Our faith recognizes in him
    the Lord who walks with us in history.
    We honor him because in him we see Jesus Christ Himself.
    He is a man among men,
    yet you have chosen him
    to celebrate the sublime mystery of the Eucharist,
    to perpetuate your love through the ages,
    to forgive sins in your name,
    to save in your name,
    and to consecrate mankind and all creation
    in the name of the Blessed Trinity.
    Thank you, Lord, for the gift you gave your Church in the priesthood.

    Father Love

    I doubt you will allow my comments to be posted to your site. They probably ring too close to home. Now here is the shocker, I am also a priest. When I tell you my story, you will probably do a nasty job on my character, as well.

    You write as if you are very sure of yourself, Father. I have read a number of your posts and I have to be honest, you strike me as a cruel man. I know you will take offense and probably argue that you show compassion to those who deserve it. But, Father, the worse sinners should still know kindness from a man who represents Christ’s mercy. Anyway, is that not the whole point of the Gospel— not that we merit forgiveness— but that Christ freely showers his grace upon us?

    You criticize women priests as if they are faithless or worse yet, in the employ of the devil. You ridicule priests who struggle with their duty to the priesthood and their love for special women in their lives. I know, you will quickly say that you pray for them, but only after you have castigated them. How can you be so absolutely certain that yours is the only way?

    You are a cold man and I am glad you are not my pastor. I bet rules mean more to you than flesh-and-blood people. I acted the same way once, but it was a wall against my own hypocrisy. A man who can be so harsh to his brother and sister priests is likely distant and unsympathetic to the laity as well. I shudder to imagine how you treat women. You see, not being allowed to express my feelings for the woman I loved, my feelings and sensitivity to others was also smothered or repressed.

    I fell in love with a beautiful young woman. I was just a deacon. I thought we could just be friends. Then I was ordained a priest. We did nothing wrong. There was no secret sexual relationship. I do remember the first time I held her hand. It was like an electric shock. More and more time was spent with her. I had spent much of my youth in the seminary. When I was around her, I felt like other normal men. She let me know that I was loveable. A few people began to talk. We decided to let things cool off. It was hard. We shared how we felt about each other but we both loved the Church. She said that she would not want to rob the Church of one of her priests. But our emotions were difficult to control. I wanted desperately to hold and kiss and make love to her. We were constantly calling each other on the phone. A few years went by like that. One day she said it was too hard. It was torture. God was asking too much, or at least his Church was being too demanding. I did not hear from her for almost a year. She was finishing college. When she came home for summer vacation, she introduced me to a guy she liked. He casually kissed her upon the lips. That night I wanted to die. I cried so terribly my pillow was soaked. He could do what I so desperately wanted to do. If it were not for my faith, I would have killed myself.

    I sought help and told the pastor. He called the bishop and had me reassigned. He said it would be for the best. I was told to have no more communication with the young woman. I obeyed. One day I heard that she was getting married. I spent the hour in prayer. Well, maybe it was prayer. It was the first time I ever cursed God! She had been mine! I let her go! I could not imagine things ever being right again.

    More than a decade went by. I smoked, drank, ate too much. The Church counselors and the spiritual director I had said just give it time. They were certain that I would forget. One day I looked into the mirror and saw the first gray hairs and the beginning of baldness. I was getting old and I still hated my life. Everyone said I was a good priest. But I knew the truth. I was going through the motions. I was a grumpy aging bachelor. I had spurned the love of my life. I would never forget her and now she belonged to another man.

    Then I got a call from an old friend from the parish where I served so long ago. We talked and he casually dropped that so-and-so was back in town. She was divorced and trying to rebuild her life. I almost passed out.

    I got her number and called her. We met. Time had changed us but I still saw her as the young beauty who had stolen my heart a lifetime ago. We talked for hours. I went back to her place.

    You don’t need the details. You will probably label me “a bad priest” and as both “a fornicator and an adulterer.” But I was suddenly happy. She confessed that I was always her secret love, too. We gave each other back something of joy and life. You would not understand. Maybe you are dead inside? I was a walking and talking corpse inside but this wonderful lady was my resurrection to life. I would have loved to be a priest with her by my side as my wife. I am sure that I would have been a better priest.

    Have you ever been in love, Father? Is that why you are so angry and resentful? Did you love someone and walk away? Is that why you are you negative about those priests who follow their hearts?

    The Church said I could not have both the priesthood and Cheryl and so I chose Cheryl. Although we were at the end of our fertile years, God was good and gave us two sons. My only regret is that I wasted so many years apart from the woman I loved. I hope that you will find as much happiness and meaning in the life you have chosen for yourself. As for myself, I am certain that God wants me in the arms of a wonderful lady who is my best friend, soul mate, wife and mother of my children.

    While it is only my perspective, I think my life is far richer than yours.

    Rebecca

    Father Love, your words are a breath of fresh air on this blog. Father Joe says you can’t do this and can’t do that. He is the “can’t priest” you are the “can do.” I wish the pope would come to his senses about married and women priests. Just imagine the fruits from team ministries where husbands and wives pastor parishes together! I would love to have a man like you for my pastor. As a family man you really know what people go through. The “disconnect” between the bishops and celibate priests with the lay people is destroying the Church. They act as if people, who have sex, even in marriage, are somehow tainted and can’t be true saints. They make unreasonable demands about sexuality and then opt out themselves or what is worse, commit secret sins with children. Keep up the good fight.

    Father Joe

    I guess the God who gave us the commandments is a “can’t God,” too? Really, there are things we should do and things we must not do. As with the Miami priest recently in the news, involvement with a divorced woman is still adultery. I cannot rewrite the Decalogue or our Lord’s words in the Gospel of Matthew.

    Christine

    Father Love— thanks for your comment. Now I can know how a priest feels when he loves a woman. I try to stay out of their way as a sacristan.

    But dude, how can you say Father Joe is cruel? A priest IS to give up all of those good “lovey-dovey-mushy” emotions so as to be different from other humans. What you’ve suffered, God will reward you. You are doing well so far. Don’t give up on the priesthood just for a woman. What God can give you, a woman can’t give you. Yeah of course your life is richer than Father Joe’s, but is your SOUL richer?!

    Chris C

    Father Joe, this former priest and these self-indulgent lesbians and feminists will one day need to give an account of their choices in life. God’s Commandments are just that – commandments. They aren’t the Ten Suggestions, and God’s views don’t change with the times or as the result of opinion polls. I seek Heaven as my ultimate reward and as a result, I will continue to value your insight.

    Bronx Bill

    Father Love, your story is very touching but your attack on Father Joe seems unnecessarily bitter. Not all men are called to the celibate life. I can certainly appreciate your agony when falling in love after you were already ordained a deacon. But for all your struggle, you were finally blessed with two sons. Your anger then with Father Joe seems misplaced. Father Joe is not himself an angry priest. He is refreshingly honest even about acknowledging his own limitations. He is rather good at explaining the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that reflect the truths revealed by Jesus Christ. According to the Church, any sexual relations outside of marriage are objectively a sin despite the subjective feelings of the individuals. Such fundamental truths, that Father Joe articulates well, will sting the consciences of those brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. But thank God for that. It reminds us that we need to admit our weaknesses and go to confession. Father Joe is only the messenger, speaking “in persona Christi.” I for one would enjoy having him hear my confession. I know that I would have to “man up” to the truth of my own faults but then could count on him to impart the healing mercy of Jesus Christ.

    Father Love, your entry suggests that you are still in pain and not at peace, at least not with the Church. I don’t think that anyone would fault you for the sincere effort you made to serve God as a priest. I hope that you have not been alienated but have taken the somewhat difficult but necessary canonical steps to return to the lay state.

    Sarah

    “Father Love” – a very moving testimony. Thank you for sharing it with us. That is no easy task and I understand your painful journey.

    Mary

    All I can say is “things that make you go hmmmmm”…what very interesting posts… food for thought.

    Nan

    Father Love, my guess is that you had no vocation to begin with and either didn’t properly discern or were influenced by others to become a priest. If you were that interested in this woman beforehand, you should’ve put off ordination. Instead you chose to live a lie. You should never have been ordained.
    If you hadn’t been transferred to another parish, you’d have flamed out with huge scandal. This is a huge disservice to the Church as is castigating Father Joe and Peter’s Church.

    Fin-tastic

    Father Love,

    You are way out of line. Simply because Father Joe adheres to the Church’s teachings on priestly celibacy, you accuse him of being resentful and bitter. You even speculate that he is “distant and unsympathetic” to the laity!

    Your personal anguish has convinced you that the Church is wrong on priestly celibacy. That’s fine. But it’s ridiculous to say that anyone who defends the Church is being “insensitive” toward your personal sob story. Love hurts! You are not the first person to realize that. Get over yourself!

    Then you brag that “my life is richer than yours.” That’s a bit childish, don’t you think? Happy people shouldn’t feel the need to throw it in other people’s faces.

    I am sure your former parishioners would appreciate hearing that you consider your time in the priesthood “wasted.” I have no idea whether God called you to the priesthood, marriage, or both, but I am glad you are not my pastor!

    Gabriella

    How brave you are, Fr. Joe! What a good job you’re doing!

    My two cents: when one is in love, it’s impossible that he/she falls in love with someone else … the same goes for a priest who’s totally in love with Christ.

    Nellie

    Father Love, sounds like you’re looking for a confessional, not a comment box. I didn’t find your story refreshing, sweet or anything positive in the least— just sad you chose the wrong path in the first place. And sad that you think you are so superior to faithful, celibate priests.

    Why you would choose to come to this blog, trash Father Joe, and brag what a wonderful, rich, beautiful life you think you have compared to him is beyond me.

    Get your own blog, and you can talk about yourself all you want. If you hate the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church will welcome you with open arms, I’m sure. They love “telenovelas” (soap operas) like yours. You can have a lesbian priest who is content in her committed relationship, and you and she can congratulate each other on how much more tolerant and loving you are than those stuffy old Catholics with all their rules.

    Henry

    I was quite taken by Father Love’s comments. I too fell in love after fifteen years in the priesthood and it changed everything. In 1 John we read that “God is love” yet that very love has disqualified us from the priesthood! This makes no sense. I have left the priesthood, married my beloved and have found a wonderful life of loving companionship and ministry.

  2. DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS POST

    Lady Godless

    What I found interesting about the Womenpriests is that on their site they list (for the U.S.): 5 female bishops, 32 female priests (33 in the list, but one of them is a man), and 7 female deacons. What I don’t get is why there are so few deacons, especially compared to the number of bishops.

    Father Joe

    Why so many bishops and so few priests? The answer is simple. They crave power.

    Regretfully, sometimes I am rude. I have tremendous passion for what I believe. I suspect my doctors wish I cared less about things because it causes stress and that is not good for me.

    I guess I could have more respect for these women who sought ordination if they were not posturing themselves as Catholic priests. If they want to start their own church or join one with women ministers that is their business. But they show little or no obedience to key elements of Catholicism, including the Magisterium.

    What does Catholicism mean to them? Why do they want to be Catholic priests when they disagree with so much that constitutes the faith?

    I knew a priest who was extremely sympathetic to the notion of women’s ordination. We used to argue about it. He researched the topic with others to give feedback to the Holy See. He lamented afterwards that there just was not enough support from either Scripture or Tradition for the change. Indeed, there were strong elements against it from both councils and important figures in the history of the Church. He admitted that unless we were absolutely sure that it reflected the mind of Christ, we could not go forward.

    Womenpriest gives quick one-liners that are supposed to make everything okay. It just does not work that way.

    Lady Godless

    Father Joe, do you suppose the Womenpriests believe in the literal existence of God, Jesus, the Devil, etc? Because I’ve read that some clergy actually do not.

    Father Joe

    Late 19th and early 20th Century Modernism (Alfred Loisy and George Tyrrell) was regarded as a decline of Christianity into atheism. If I recall correctly, Loisy’s journal revealed that he stopped believing years before his formal break with the Church.

    The opinion circulates in conservative circles that these new dissenters are actually Neo-Modernists, feigning genuine faith but denying objective truth. Their subjectivity seems to make their views somewhat capricious. But I am not sure this is a sufficient analysis. Some of these critics might actually subscribe to superstition or the occult.

    Kala

    I don’t understand why these women want to be pretend Catholic priests when they could be ordained in the Anglican/Episcopal community.

    The author cited a 2006 NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER survey of U.S. Catholics that said 62% of those responding favored women priests. An AP poll in 2005 found about 65% supported the change.
    The media softens us up to accept what only a few years before would have been unthinkable e.g. euthanasia, same sex unions, pretend Catholic women priests, etc.

    I remember years ago hearing a commercial radio station daily discuss a topic of importance to them, and then at the end of the week they took a poll of listeners and reported that people were concerned about the issue. Nothing was said about the role of the radio station in raising people’s anxiety through their nonstop discussion of the issue.

    Liz

    Great post! I learned a lot from your post.

    As we know there is very little that most of us fear. These women do not fear the Lord. They are very self-serving because of their low self-esteem. They hunger for power. They are craving attention. They want it all and they are filled with resentment.

    Therefore, I will give them the attention that they so dearly need. I will pray for them. I will ask our Lord to give them and their followers the wisdom to see that they are committing mortal sins. I will ask our beautiful Mother Mary to gently whisper into their ears, “Do whatever He tells you.”

    Smiley 007

    Dear Father, women “priests” are liars. They take away the masculinity of God. But Jesus himself is a man. This cannot be denied. He taught us to say Our Father. Thus, Jesus and his Father were both male. I suspect that these ladies would now say the Bible was written by men, so it is biased.

    Father Joe

    We would not want to fall into any kind of exaggerated divine anthropomorphism. God as God is a perfect Spirit. It is only in Jesus Christ that God takes to himself our humanity and his particular gender.
    Much terminology about God uses analogy, allusion and other symbolic language. This is necessary because we are only able to approach the mystery from a human reference point. The infinite God will never be fully understood no matter how exhaustive our descriptions.

    Similarly, the Scriptures make reference to Holy Wisdom (the Holy Spirit) as the feminine “sophia.” But despite the logical gymnastics of radical feminists, it is no excuse for the re-imaging of the divine as a goddess.

    While the Father might be pictured as an old man with a long white beard, this is all merely an artistic representation. However, I would agree with you that there is something revelatory about calling God “Our Father” and referring to the pre-incarnate Logos as “the Son.” It is for this reason that those who refer to God as “our Mother, who art in heaven,” have stepped outside the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Sarah

    Quite an interesting blog and comments… Women priests is a difficult one because gender is an aspect of one’s vocation and I must think that God does not “choose our gender” incompatibly with our willed vocation. In our modern world, gender has become “blurred” and neutered, if you will. It’s not a matter of “can I do X job” but am I called to X job vocationally? Vocation must take into account one’s gender. God doesn’t “make accidents,” does He? To submit to HIS will and to discern one’s vocation in this spirit is no easy task. Often it can be a vocation that the person does not actually want, at least initially and there will be many sacrifices and trials – Christ’s life was no different. We all partake, by virtue of our baptism, in the priesthood of all believers; so in that vein, we all minister to the community in which we were baptized. No one is greater or lesser, but all have been called to this beautiful life of sainthood and heroic virtue – never an easy walk… We must carry many crosses, as did our Savior. He is our example: our WAY, our Truth and our Life.

    And as for women being priests, one could look to Mary as THE highest of priests in a real sense for she bore us Jesus Christ, God in flesh and blood. She is the Ark of the Covenant, THE chalice containing God in flesh and blood. So, in a way, Father Joe has a point when he says that it gives balance to God’s life-giving love that only males can be priests since women already have the life-bearing ability written within their gender – and that is POWERFUL in the sense that God chose WOMEN to be entrusted with this INCREDIBLE ability – to bring forth life, to give life. What could be more important? Isn’t THIS what priests do, albeit spiritually? I suppose it does try to equal things out a bit having males as priests since women were already life-givers and nurturers/sustainers. There can be beautiful complementarity in the masculine and feminine. That is what makes a vocation so rich and unifying, in all reality. We each have our unique gifts and our bodies DO speak to those gifts and vocations. Our bodies DO speak the language of love and charity in so many ways.

    Nan

    With regard to the so-called “Womenpriests,” in their hearts they know they’re not priests. They’re liberal dissidents, but not priests; if they believed their priesthood to be valid; they’d invite people to their ordinations and publicize the name of the bishop who “ordains” them. Because they, and he, know the ceremony isn’t valid, they hide it.

    Sarah

    Vocation is something that I think has become a bit lost in today’s world. We all have a vocation, not just the religious vocations; so what we do with our lives and how we live them day to day should always have our eyes set upon how we God-Image to one another in this community of Catholicism and how we become and are “gift” to one another. Charity is our greatest gift to one another and is a commandment of God – love of neighbor. We each have our trials, struggles and pains in life and we all yearn for love in our lives – and God is our greatest Love. We are all called to “image” that love. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit – we have been created in His image – male and female He created us – our bodies speak this life-giving love and that is what our vocations, in turn, provide – the opportunity to God-Image to one another. By virtue of our baptisms, we are His – our souls have been washed clean and we have been forever, ontologically changed by His grace. It is our vocation that allows us to “bring Christ” to one another via God’s grace. So, it really is not about “what I can do/what I am able to do” but “what is God calling me to do to image His love to His children.” We must always, daily, die to self so that we may be empty of self in order to be filled up by Him and “image Christ” to one another – to be a saint! But the path, the WAY is never easy and WILL be painful and entail much suffering because Love is never free or cheap and will always come by way of the Cross. Christ is our example, but it’s in those intense times of suffering and pain that we have the opportunities to unite most intimately to Christ and to offer up those sufferings in the hopes that it will benefit another. We must always be mindful that we are in community and communion with one another – God is always relational – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we are no different, that’s why there is always unity in complementarity – male/female, parent/child, religious/laity, young/old, etc….

    There is always a richness that can be gained by the complementarity of our diversity.

    We must pray hard every day that we might be “up to the challenge” that God gives to us, because it is often painful and difficult. To “give life” is in essence co-operating in God’s life-giving creative power – parents are the ultimate example in that they literally co-create flesh and blood with God. And to entrust WOMAN with that should be extremely humbling to women – to realize that God has such trust in me as a woman to “give me this child to carry, birth, nurture, raise and sustain” for many years is an awesome, awesome gift. It is but a glimpse into what Our Lady must know and feel in her own heart as the Mother of God – how beautiful! We must find the gifts within our gender that God gives to us and know that He is well pleased with them. Let us “image” His love to the best of our abilities, co-operating with His grace, to be life-givers of His love to one another. It is written into our vocations. Blessings!

    I am not a religious – I am a wife, mother and convert like you from a Lutheran background. I have always felt very close to God since I was a little girl and have had to learn and understand what this “vocation stuff” is all about – it was never part of my background as a Protestant. But, I must admit, my protestant background has been most beneficial to me in many ways and I am grateful for it – it enriches my Catholicism. I have also found a great love of prayer in my life and I think that prayer is the true “connection” that we can have with God in our daily lives, or even minute to minute. We can make the whole of our lives a living prayer to God, in essence. I have had many struggles and sufferings in my life, as we all do, but I have learned to “offer them up”, pray about it and “try” to co-operate with God’s grace as best I can. My faith is what gets me to the next day, month, year, etc…….. Faith is one’s life lived out – even Luther said that faith is dead without action (to paraphrase St. James). Others will know our faith by our actions – St. Francis, (was it?) said to go out and preach the gospel and to use words if necessary. Even Christ’s “lasting legacy” is his dying on the cross – his actions, his deeds are what we remember most and best – his example is on what we are asked to base OUR lives. The big word for most of us is the word “surrender”. We must surrender our very lives over to God, willing to die for Him if need be (he died for us!) and that means a lot of “little deaths” throughout our daily lives, too. Your desire to love God with all of your being is God’s grace knocking for you to follow Him, to take up your cross and be willing to surrender your life to Him completely and He will reward you kindly with Love and life eternal. Surrender……die to self…….and they will know your faith by your actions…….pray, pray and pray…….offer up your trials, sufferings, pains and hurts for another…….. God will fill your soul with Joy!…….frequent the sacraments – stay close to Him – he will never abandon you and is always waiting for your return when the “rebellious times” come……

    Surrender to Him all that you are – every day renew this, and throughout the day when the moments are dark or heavy, pray to Him for His healing grace and offer up the sufferings and lay all at the foot of the cross……

    In this, Joy will find your soul and others will know your faith! God bless you!

    Angus

    Have you ever considered the possibility of yourself being a radical “masculinist” and that might inform a profound misunderstanding of the Incarnation? Surely what is significant to the Incarnation is that God became a human being and not a male. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”— not the word that he “was made MALE.”

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

    Father Joe

    Am I supposed to take you seriously? Your email label is that of God’s name and the anatomical opening from which feces are expelled. I had hoped it was a typo. Are you attempting to be funny? I am ready to quit this discussion with you right now!

    Any radical “masculine” position would be just as dangerous as an extreme feminist view. My views are clear and they reflect Church teaching. There are complementarities between the sexes but not an absolute or mathematical equivalence. I am not espousing male superiority or dominance. Jesus is a man and the priesthood is reserved to men. That is just what it is. If you read closely what I have written, you will see that I have already admitted that in reference to soteriology, men and women alike benefit from the Incarnation. Humanity is sufficiently assumed in Christ to benefit both genders. Christ makes it possible for us to be restored by grace to the likeness of God. However, this does not negate the historical fact that Christ and his twelve apostles were men. The Church discerned the will of Christ to have his historical makeup and person reflected with special specificity in his apostles, bishops and priests.

    Angus

    I just don’t think you can narrow the implications of Scripture to the soteriological alone.

    Father Joe

    It is not me, but Christ and his Church that has made this specificity. The Pope says that even he is powerless to change it. I am convinced that what he says is true. Women cannot be ordained priests. However, like all believers, they can and do enter into the baptismal priesthood.

    Angus

    There are many paradigms for being Christian, The old patriarchal paradigm into which Jesus was born and which still persists in the Catholic Church and society is just one and not necessarily a just one. There is much in the gospel where one could discover Jesus as a proto-feminist critical of the male privilege of his time and by extension the whole patriarchal system of dominance and oppression which nailed him to the Cross.

    Father Joe

    First of all, I would reject such an analysis as illegitimate. Not all paradigms have a place in Christian reflection. Your postulate was rejected among the errors of Modernism. Doctrinal development and understanding is not subject to such capricious forces, especially when they are antithetical to the Church’s traditions and witness. Jesus was not murdered by a system of patriarchal dominance. Christ was crucified by sin. The historical context is that the Jewish leadership declared Jesus a false prophet and handed him over to the occupying power, the Romans. I suspect that John the Baptist would have taken exception to the feminist analysis given that his martyrdom was the product of hatred from Herod’s illegitimate wife and the power over men elicited by a daughter’s lewd dance. Those who avow women priests and dissent against Church teaching are culpable in part for the crucifixion of Christ. They are the new spiritual adulterers and the ones who dance around the truth by proposing all sorts of perversities as acceptable. They reimage a false Christ and fabricate a counterfeit Gospel for a bastard church, disowned by Christ and his Vicar on earth. They are not priests and their Eucharist is neither a sacrifice nor the source for the bread of life.

    Angus

    The Episcopal church has been blessed with women priests for decades and my own rector was a woman who’s accident of birth in no way inhibited her preaching of the Good News or acting as an exemplar of Christ, quite to the contrary.

    Father Joe

    Where you see accidents of birth, I perceive divine providence. In any case, I can remember a time when there were no priestesses in the Episcopal church. However, their priesthood (even for men) had long before been judged as devoid of apostolic succession and substance. Error leads to error… separation from Christ’s vicar… debate and denial of the Mass as a sacrifice… debate and denial of transubstantiation and the priesthood… acceptance of artificial contraception (for married couples)… acceptance of pre-ceremonial sex (fornication)… acceptance of divorce and remarriage… acceptance of adultery… acceptance of sodomy and lesbian acts as authentic expressions of affection and relationship… women priests… gay priests… tolerance to abortion… and the list goes on and on. There are some Anglicans who try to proclaim the Gospel but many have forgotten what the Good News is really about. The Catholic Church has some bad priests… but we call ours sinners and rebuke them. The Episcopal church makes theirs into bishops (of a sort).

    Christine

    Good day Father. Thank you for this informative and educational post! I converted to Catholicism after living many years as a priestess in a pagan cult (Sumerian pagan, Celtic Wiccan). It breaks my heart to see these women striving for what they seem to think they do not have. I can see in them my own battle. There are two things I understand:

    1. There are only two sides to be on. If you are not for Jesus you are against Him. I learned this the very hard and painful way.
    2. One cannot be anything or anyone without being in Jesus Christ first— not be Him, but be with Him. I would never want to be Him. He is my Savior; I am not anyone else’s.

    There is hope though. If Christ can reach me, He can reach anyone! God Bless You and your readers!!

    Gabriella

    Also, I have noticed that where women take up fussing around the altar and taking the lead, men disappear … at the most they stand shyly at the back of the church. God bless you all.

    Bronx Bill

    Like Gabriella, I too have noticed a lack of male ministers around the altar, especially among altar servers. I’m not sure why but they do tend to be passive in the presence of girls. I’ve noticed in several parishes that over time the ratio of girl to boy altar servers shifts to about 2:1. While the girls actually tend to be more attentive at the altar, I feel sorry for the boys who seem to have lost some of their pride. I’ve been in enough discussions to know that this view is often labeled “sexist” but there are psychological strengths that are distinct to males and females that seem intended by our Creator to complement one another. As Fr. Joe mentioned, gender is part of our identity. While I think it is good to give girls some role of service in the Church, perhaps keeping the “boys’ club” around the altar was not such a bad idea.

    Cabbage Juice

    When the inmates take over the asylum:
    Lesbian head of Episcopal divinity school sees abortion as “blessing”.
    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/012929.html

    “Male and female He created them.” If such don’t like the Bible, there’s always Ying and Yang.

    Anna Maria

    Bronx Bill, you have a great observation there. It is also a very important one. Serving in their capacity as Altar BOYS, this was always traditionally understood as an acolyte to the priesthood. We have completely lost sight of this. I, too, have noticed the dearth of male servers on the altar since girls have been welcomed in the same role. This drives me crazy. And I, too, feel very sorry for these boys. I do not blame them at all for “dropping out”!

    Serving on the altar, these girls can never follow the road to the priesthood. I believe this practice has been very damaging to the Church. So many vocations to the priesthood can be traced back to a young man’s service on the altar at Mass.

    In an unrelated note, it could be my imagination, but it seems where ever I read of priests who cover several parishes at a time and a “parish administrator” is designated, this role always seems to be filled by a woman. At least in my diocese in upstate NY this seems to be true.

    But I am becoming more and more convinced that my diocese is not truly dedicated to encouraging vocations to the priesthood – among men anyway. There is strong support present for just what Fr. Joe has described in his post here.

    Angus

    You cannot, arguably, dismiss so readily the manifest systemic sins of the patriarchal system as prevalent in the Church today as it was in the time of Jesus.

    Father Joe

    Evidently we view the patriarchal nature of Church authority and ministry in a different way. It appears that you tag it as both negative and as a “systemic” sin corrupting the very nature of ecclesial identity and life. I view it as mimicking both the authority of Christ and the protective fatherhood of God. Yes, the Church is composed of sinners, but I would contend that the basic structure of the Church and her ministries are precisely as they were intended by Jesus.

    Angus

    The good old boys network as constructed is gravely sinful. One cannot imagine the child sexual abuse scandal rising to such proportions had women bishops been in place. That is not to say a matriarchy cannot equally enter into systemic sin but the nature of dominance and oppression is most characteristic of patriarchal systems. The overarching mission of Jesus was the remission of the oppression of sin but the most concrete example of that was his threat to the corporate dominance systems of oppression that even as you describe nailed him to the cross.

    Father Joe

    The so-called “good old boys” attitude in the Church is not systemic to her structure. Regarding the non-topical matter of pedophilia, many bishops wanted to avoid scandal on one hand while trying to bring healing to both perpetrator and victim on the other. Many bad decisions were made. Bishops were fearful when they should have been courageous. They accepted the verdict of psychologists and counselors who said it was safe to reassign abusers after treatment. They should not have listened to them. Traditional thinking regarded such acts (particularly homosexual acts) as moral faults which might be repaired through repentance and reform. Men lied and/or were too weak to rein in the beast which possessed them. Would women have fared any better? Given that women religious have also been challenged for making similar decisions, I seriously doubt it. Matriarchies can also be oppressive and wrong-minded.

    A look at English and Spanish royalty might quickly remind us that women with power can also associate themselves with oppression, secrecy and even the blood of the innocent. Jesus did not come into the world to overthrow Roman dominance and the Jewish stooges. Christ came to forgive sins and to redeem a people. He establishes the Catholic Church and appoints his apostles as the shepherds for this new People of God. He dies and rises from the dead. He promises us a share in his life and ascends to the Father. They might sometimes be weak, but the successors of the apostles, bishops and priests, are empowered and protected by his Holy Spirit.

    Kingdoms rise and fall, but the Church remains. Great saints like St. Clare, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, etc. prove that women could rise to greatness in the Church, albeit according to those roles allotted to them.

    Angus

    Your arguments on the historical fact of the maleness of Jesus and the apostles remains unpersuasive, far stronger is the subsumption of gender into the totality of human nature in the Incarnation, which in turn and by implication subsumes the roles played by gender into the totality of the dignity and distinctiveness of the individual. Your assertions inculpating the crucifixion onto those who dissent from this Roman Catholic teaching can be similarly dismissed as utter defamation.

    Father Joe

    The arguments are not mine but find their source in the mind of the Church. The historical fact of Christ’s maleness and that of the apostles is important because of the stress upon realism and objectivity that is so much a part of Catholic theology and philosophy. The Church feels that she must follow the pattern established by our Lord. I am not sure you understand the position of the Church. Although I am not entirely at odds with your syllogism, gender is not regarded as a mere accidental to human nature. It is not a minor premise or element to Christ’s human nature. It touches upon his core identity. The symbolic meaning requires a corollary with the iconic role of bishops and priests who are also men.

    Vatican II requires a level of religious assent even upon matters not formally defined by the Magisterium. The question of women priests has been irrevocably answered by the Holy See in the negative. The only legitimate response of Catholics is to assent and to pray for full acceptance of this teaching. Dissent from the Church on such matters only leads to further error and division in the Church. It is the matter of sin. I stand by what I said. Proponents for women’s ordination and the excommunicated wannabe priestesses they support are rightfully incriminated in the passion and death of Christ. This is no defamation, only a desperate call for them to repent, to recant, and to rejoin the true Church.

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