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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Priestesses: Ancient Heresy & New Church

Do we really think that allowing women to be ordained would be an improvement for priesthood? I suspect that numbers of interested women are greatly exaggerated. We are having trouble with shrinking orders of women religious. Further, it is interesting that many of those who are most vocal would insist also upon being married or having same-sex partners. They want to violate doctrine and change the long-standing disciplines of the Church.

Akin to Gnosticism is another heresy of the early Church called Docetism. It claims that Christ’s body only appeared to be real and therefore his suffering and death was a pretense. In Gnosticism, Christ the Redeemer is really one of the aeons (cosmic and semi-divine powers) who descend upon the human Jesus in order to reveal the saving knowledge or gnosis. Similarly, he did not really become a man and die on the cross. Both saw the material as evil. Removing the sexual requirements from sacerdotal priesthood “is a Docetism as romantically superhuman as that which engages plans for a non-institutional Church, free of the trivia of administration” (Priest and Priestess by George William Rutler, p. 79). Fr. Rutler writes:

“It places the burden of integrity on the individual’s talents rather than on the simple fact of his sexual existence, scorning the Messianic precedent which chose a specifically masculine human nature with all its limitations for the earthly representative of the High Priesthood of Christ Himself” (Ibid., pp. 79-80).

Over a decade ago, I read an article in the National Catholic Reporter about 72 lay women from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago promoting women’s ordination. In the course of the report, Dean Hoge, a sociology professor at Catholic University noted that studies he had conducted suggested that if ordination were opened to women, only about 3,600 would take up the offer by the millennium. While I was not convinced of his figures, I had to wonder what kind of women would make up this group. It gives me cause to shudder. One student at CTU remarked, “It isn’t the Eucharistic part [I should hope not], I’m attracted to that. It’s the clericalism, the celibacy and the political system that I couldn’t stand.” Ah, so the nature of priesthood and our ecclesiology would have to be revamped before many women would embrace orders. It makes sense. Indeed, would not the ordination of women itself imply such a transformation? Yes, I think so. There would be a new priesthood for a new Church. It would also mean the end of real Christianity.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).

One Response

  1. There are very, very few things in life that I can be certain of; but one of these is that I shall never, ever be called to the priesthood. For this I thank God. Whatever else is in store for me, I can at least be sure that I shall never be called upon to assume the awesome responsibility of priests, or their suffering. The priestess crowd is not after these things; but they certainly bear the responsibility for leading people astray, and if they don’t straighten up, they may wind up in a state of suffering without end.

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