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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Faithful to Christ’s Pattern of Ministry

Dissenters, arguing for priestesses (women priests), will contend that their exclusion is a violation of justice and that qualified women deserve and must demand ordination. Besides such inclusion being deemed impossible by the late Pope John Paul II, neither men nor women “deserve” to be ordained. It is not an item on a social justice or equality agenda that anyone can merit. It is a divine gift. The Church discerns as genuine or false the vocations to which people feel called. The priesthood is given to a few but in terms of service, the whole Church benefits. Jesus chose men to be his apostles and in turn they ordained bishops, priests and deacons to follow them. The Church follows the pattern of Christ and never felt directed or free to ordain women. However, while no women are called to priestly service, very few men are given this gift from God. The priest is sacramentally “another Christ” and he is an icon of Christ the bridegroom to his bride the Church at Mass. Our most precious sacraments and gifts of salvation come from the mediation of priests. A number of our Anglican or Episcopalian brothers and sisters are coming to Catholicism because they are sick of seeing vocations demeaned to purely human terms. A radical feminism led to women Episcopal priests and bishops. Now a radical homosexual movement forces gay and lesbian clergy into their ranks. Error builds upon error. The reality of the sacraments is forfeited. Human whim and fancy replaces Scripture and a living tradition. I am reminded of the reprimand that our Lord gave poor Peter, and immediately after his great profession of Christ’s identity no less. Unable to understand Jesus’ reference to his coming passion, our Lord says to him, “Get out of my sight, you Satan, you are not judging by God’s standards but by man’s” (Matthew 16:23).

3 Responses

  1. I think you bring up a good point. Part of the problem is the eclipse of women’s religious communities. The good sisters ran our schools and were a regular feature of parish life until recent times. In response to this absence, many lay men and women have stepped forward to serve. They are teachers in our schools, function as pastoral associates and DREs in parishes, and, as in my archdiocese, even serve in administrative roles in the chancery. I think we have to be creative in making opportunities for our faithful women to use their talents in our faith communities. Here I am not simply thinking about doing the cleaning and laundry, although we would be wrong to minimize the importance of such volunteers, but also in seminars, prayer groups, retreats, counseling, bible study, adult catechesis, evangelization and so much more. Women serve on parish committees and on parish councils. They make a difference.

    Even though the hierarchy of the Church is male, many of the advisors (even in the Vatican) are female. There are important ethicists, doctors and theologians in their ranks. Thinking with the Church, they are sometimes ignored because they do not reflect secular views on issues like marriage and family life or seek to overthrow the structures of authority. The Church has sought to inspire other women to share their intelligence and distinctive gifts by declaring a few like Saints Catherine of Siena, Terese of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila as sacred doctors of the faith.

    Dioceses have pastoral councils and the Vatican has similar structures where lay and religious men and women give advice and assist in the work of the Church. It may be that there is little fanfare about it. The impression that women are utterly excluded is promoted by those who have segregated themselves by their belligerence to the bishops and heretical views. Given that they are close friends with the media, we must be very careful not to buy into their obstinacy and deceit. Today we have female altar servers, women cantors and music directors, liturgy directors, and masters of ceremony. Women read at Mass. They are much more involved than in the past.

    Susan, women are not simply baby-making machines. The critic was wrong to devalue you and other women by such remarks. Like priests, many women embrace perpetual continence so as to become an eschatological sign of the kingdom. Some marry and others do not. Those who marry are not always happy. The only important thing is that we cooperate with the mysterious providence of God. You are whole and complete just as you are without a man. Among the world’s deceits is that the person without a helpmate is somehow a defective misanthrope, lacking in some essential component. This is even thrown out at priests where their psycho-sexual development is questioned or there is the presumption that they must all be closet homosexuals, or worse, pedophiles. A single person can offer time and talent in a manner that is difficult or impossible for a married person with children. My challenge would be to explore the ways that you can be involved. Churches often help to give direction to our energies: sharing our faith, maintaining our churches and schools, involvement with prayer and worship, activism for the poor and social justice, and enhancing parish life and fellowship.

  2. Dear Fr Joe,
    We have a strong move here to promote organ donation. There is, apparently, what they call “a shortage”. There are very many who die because of this shortage!!
    I would suggest that the ‘politically correct’ lobby has perverted the truth, and that is many are expiring because of disease or decrepitude and not because there are insufficient donors. There is even talk of going down the ‘assumed consent’ route where organs can be taken from the deceased at will unless there is some binding proof otherwise. We have developed the concept that it is the smokers right to a new set of cadaver’s lungs and mourning family should just quietly sit back and watch their loved one be cut up and divided around even if it’s against their desires.
    Now don’t get me wrong, I am on the donor list, and after I’m dead if there is any part of me that could be used to benefit others, then they are welcome to it. But it is no one’s ‘right’ to another man’s organ. It’s society’s thinking that has been turned on its head. And so it is with priestesses.
    There are a few determined, selfish and willfull-minded members of our society who will have a need, for what ever reason, to challenge and change that which they see as ‘unjust’ and their view of justice is absolute. What they fail to understand is that, in respect to Priestly vocations, Divine justice is not up for human understanding.
    I have often heard it said that “there can’t be a loving God if He can allow so much suffering and injustice to flourish in the World”, and I can see their logic, but only up to a certain point. What they are doing is judging God by their concepts and standards because they are myopic, as indeed we all are, when it comes to seeing even a glimpse of Diving Justice.
    In our eyes it is outrageous that a small baby, born to a disease ridden young mother, say in Africa, should live and suffer appalling deprivations and then painfully die. It is equally ‘unjust’ that many hundreds of thousands should be slaughtered in some contrived civil war and their bodies just dumped into mass graves, and as far as our understanding of justice goes, that is very much the case. But with God all this is possible and yet we do not understand.
    I have no right to anything in this life. I live with heart failure and a transplant is the only option, so the experts say. What they fail to understand is that the primary option is that I die of heart failure when the time comes, however soon that might be. I have no right to another man’s heart, not do I have a right to salvation, but I hope that when my time comes to die, and that may well be not too far away now, I can accept it with dignity and resolve as part of God’s plan and that it is exactly as it should be. I may well not be able to understand it, and it terms of human justice, it stinks, but somehow, just as our first parents were driven out of the garden because of their willfullness and inability to accept God’s Law, so I too have inherited that characteristic and can get on my high horse, especially when it comes to minority exploitation.
    A true vocation can be identified by a surrender to God’s Law and Will, and not a militant and defiant self fuelled revolution against what is already there.
    Paul

  3. Father: I can live with and accept the church’s teaching on an all male priesthood. What seems weird to me however is there doesn’t seem to be any alternate conduit for women to serve the church. How do we put to use some of our wise counsel?

    It seems like an issue comes up in the church then the male hierarchy discusses it and acts on their discussion. No one seems to ask, “I wonder if the women have a unique angle of thought on the issue we are considering?” Understand please, I am not suggesting that we need to be part of the hierarchy, or that our opinions need to rule the church. Just asking, “How come no one in the heiarchy seems to wonder about the thoughts and opinions of more than 50% of its members (the women?) They could ask the women their thoughts and then decide to still follow their original plan–fine with me–but where is the asking??? Wouldn’t it be nice too if there was some liturgical role that was reserved for women? Like if only a women could lead the congregation in hymns?

    When I brought this up previously, a man said to me, “Well only a woman can give birth to a child–so that’s your role in the church.” This saddened me because I was born with a significant disability. I wanted to have a large family, but no man wanted to marry me and I am past the age of childbearing now. So It made me feel like he was (unintentionally) saying that women’s only role in the church is to have babies and so us “spinsters” are unimportant to the church’s future. I’d love to here your comments. Thanks.

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