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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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No Deficiency in the Holy Spirit Regarding Women Priests

OBJECTION

It takes a lot of nerve for the men in the Church to invalidate the sense of calling to the priesthood that many women maintain.  Little girls see women taking their rightful places in so many occupations today, and numerous women serve as protestant ministers and as Anglican priests.  It should not surprise us that increasing numbers of Catholic women leave the Church of Rome so that they might be faithful to God.  If their calling is demonstrative of the will of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit then the prohibition is blasphemy.

RESPONSE

No faithful shepherd of souls would deliberately want to hurt the faith of his people, especially the feminine sex that constitutes over half of the human race.  Further, one would have to be a monster to callously shatter the vocational dreams of young girls.  But the Church must abide by the example given us by Christ and the apostles.  It would “take some nerve” to invalidate 2,000 years of tradition and to do something that might compromise the priesthood, the Eucharist and the absolution of sins. Women were never ordained as priests and we do not feel we have the authority to make a change. Speaking for myself, I would very much want to affirm the stirrings of a vocational call in all our young women and men.  However, while men may know a call to priesthood, the religious call given to women is strictly to a life consecrated to the Lord as a sister or nun.  They are not summoned forward to act at the altar as grooms to the Church. Instead, they are beckoned to be brides of Christ and given the opportunity to serve in a myriad of other ways.  Women religious can work and pray in cloister like the monks.  They can function as nurses or even doctors. Many traditionally teach in the parochial schools. Some like Mother Teresa’s sisters work with the poor, the sick and the dying. Women’s vocations are rich and rewarding. Most men and women will make a difference within the laity.  The calling to be a spouse and parent should not be dismissed.  It is a high calling to witness the love of Christ in the family. 

It is true that many women serve as Episcopal clergy and Protestant ministers.  This has been the case for some time now. When I was a seminarian back in the early 1980’s, I participated in consortium classes and many of my classmates were women studying for Methodist ministry. Despite the good they do, one cannot compare such ministry with the Catholic priesthood.       

Upset by the Catholic Church’s intransigence on this matter, the rhetoric of certain critics seems to fault the Holy Spirit in not being more arduous in moving the Church toward women priests. We trust the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and in the teachings that come down to us from the Magisterium.  The call to ministry is not a private affair but is precisely the business of the Church and her shepherds. The Church has the right to regulate her own ministries and sacraments. One does not have a religious vocation in the Catholic Church unless that calling is ultimately verified and commended by a lawful bishop in union with the Holy See.  The Spirit of God cannot battle with itself.  There is no deficiency in God and the misdirection belongs to those who dissent on this important matter. The truths of Christ and the mystery of the Church are unfolding precisely as the Holy Spirit intends. Having disagreed with the Magisterium, are critics going to argue with God now?

One Response

  1. More people need to hear this. Thank you for sharing.

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