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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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The Holy Spirit & Magisterium Say No to Priestesses

While some conservative critics would disparage all forms of feminism, I am of the opinion that a distinction can be made between a Christian and Catholic feminism and the more radical or liberal or Marxist variety. The days are long gone when women were denied the vote and found the doors to academia and business closed to them. I think most sensible people believe in equal pay and benefits for men and women doing the same job. I would also contend that men and women should be held to the same moral standard. Of course, I would raise the bar for men instead of lowering it for women. The many sins that afflict our culture are no step forward. Further, the rights of women who become mothers should not be deemed as automatically cancelling out the rights of fathers or of the children they carry in the womb. There are also occupations that are gender specific. Men might enter the field of dance but all eyes are upon the graceful ballerina. Motherhood and fatherhood are distinct. Various occupations and vocations may share similarities but they are not the same. Women can enter religious life as nuns or sisters. Men can become monks or priests. It is the contention of Catholicism that priesthood is gender specific.

Some critics of a male-only priesthood might argue that they are not in league with the radical feminists; and yet, their basic assumptions are embraced to get to the revisionist conclusions. Freedom of choice, equal rights in all things, unencumbered self-possession and self-determination, an indeterminate sexual nature, an arrogant presumption of the will of God as identified with their own narcissistic goals, pragmatic reasoning from utility that disregards ontic questions of reality, interchangeable gender, avoidance or reinterpretation of unsupportive data, anger and belligerence– all these are elements in their opposition to the status-quo, be it regarding women’s ordination or any other topic.

The late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II writes in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope:

“I think that a certain contemporary feminism finds its roots in the absence of true respect for woman. Revealed truth teaches us something different. Respect for woman, amazement at the mystery of womanhood, and finally the nuptial love of God Himself and of Christ, as expressed in the Redemption, are all elements that have never been completely absent in the faith and life of the Church. This can be seen in a rich tradition of customs and practices that, regrettably, is nowadays being eroded. In our civilization woman has become, before all else, an object of pleasure” (p. 217).

Do we see the irony in all this? Remove the unique significance of gender and its all important difference to our personhood and we begin to make impersonal objects of one another. The radical feminists, by their calculated destruction of structures and customs deemed as sexist, have created a situation in which the truly feminine is disfigured and the woman is knocked from the pedestal of the sacred to be profaned as but a source of transitory pleasure. Objects can be interchangeable, human persons cannot. There was a time when good women called forth what was best in men. Now that things have been reduced to mathematical equality, we are worse off than cattle. We can see the gender differentiation on the level of genitalia but refuse to admit that such distinction goes any deeper. Our technological world has, in a sense, reduced the human to identical mechanical parts. Such runs contrary to the Christian teaching that everyone is irreplaceable and precious. A woman is desired for her flesh, not for her soul. This should not be. To some extent, the same derogation of our nature can be seen in many women’s preoccupation with men’s back-sides and hairy chests. The radical feminists talk about personhood, but they have essentially redefined it. For them the person is not who you are but what you want.

These feminists of the wrong kind must displace the marriage analogy of Christ the groom to the Church his bride in both the Mass and in the way we understand ecclesial structure and dynamics. This runs contrary to revelation and tradition. If signifying Christ’s full identity, including his maleness, is not important in the Mass then gender is logically qualified as insignificant. This is the contention of moral separatists who acknowledge a role for the two genders in mutual physical “recreational” stimulation; but, who disavow that it signifies any communication of core identity. Capitulation on this issue, allowing priestesses, would be the most controversial change in Church teaching since her foundation two millennium ago. More than a new reformation, it would signify the beginning of a new faith and a new cultus.

In May of 2011, Pope Benedict XVI removed Australian Bishop William M. Morris from office for suggesting that women should be ordained priests. Not only would such ordinations go against 2,000 years of sacred tradition, guided by the protective hand of the Holy Spirit; the bishop entirely dismissed the solemn declaration of Pope John Paul II. The late Pope said as universal teacher that the Church does not have the authority to change the priesthood by opening it up to women. Indeed, the current Pope spoke about the teaching as settled and infallible. The case is closed.

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. I am sorry but I just can not see women as priests. it’s just not supposed to be that way. If the day ever comes that I walk into a Catholic Church and see a “priestess” I think my head will spin clear off my shoulders.. Great post Father!

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