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On the impossibility of women's ordination in the RCC
Domine, da mihi hanc aquam ^ | August 31, 2010 | Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, Ph.D.

Posted on 09/01/2010 11:55:59 AM PDT by NYer

Given that a tiny group of ecclesial dinosaurs here in the U.K. are plastering London buses with pro-WO ads, I thought it might be time to revisit the issue in some detail.

Below is a piece I posted back in 2008 at the request of a young Dominican friar who was asked about the Church's teaching on the impossibility of women's ordination to the Catholic priesthood.

It's long, but I promised detail, right?!

________________________________________________________________


First, notice the origin and ground of the objections. All of them are based on one or more of the following mistakes:

a) Priesthood is about power
b) "Access" to the priesthood is about rights and justice
c) The "exclusion" of women from the priesthood denies humanity of women. . .
d) . . .and it denies their proper place as potential "Christs for others"
e) All exercises of Church authority are excluding
f) Tradition is always about male privilege
g) Women would make better priests because of their natural empathy and compassion
h) Jesus' exclusion of women from the priesthood was culturally based and therefore reformable
i) Scripture is silent on the nature of the priesthood b/c it is a third century invention of males
j). Women report feeling called to the ordained priesthood, therefore the Church ought to ordain them.

Let's answer (briefly) each in turn.

Priesthood is about power. No, it's not. Priesthood in the Catholic Church is about service. Do priests often mistake their office of service as a privilege in the use of power? Yup. But that's an abuse of the office and in no way changes the actual nature of the office. Men are ordered to Christ, Head of the Church, to serve his people as he did: sacrificially in leadership. When supporters of women's ordination (WO) claim that women must be allowed to share in the governance of the Church as priests, they mistake the office for a political one.

"Access" to the priesthood is about rights and justice. Wrong again. The only right a Catholic has as a Catholic in the Church is the right and duty to serve others. Justice is getting what one deserves. No one--not even men--"deserve" to be ordained, to serve as ordained priests. To claim that ordination is a right is bizarre given that men are called by God and confirmed by the Church to be priests. This use of democratic rhetoric is attractive but misplaced. You cannot be the subject of an injustice if you have no right to that which you have been denied. I am not being treated unjustly b/c I cannot vote for the next Italian presidential election.

The "exclusion" of women from the priesthood denies their humanity. In fact, the Church's teaching on ordination reaffirms the humanity of women by clearly laying out what it means to be human, male and female. To be fully human as a creature is to submit one's will to the will of our Creator and cooperate with His grace to achieve our perfection AS men and women; that is, I am perfected as a male creature. My mother is perfected as a female creature. Often this objection is rooted in a modernist notion that one's sex is socially constructed. We are MADE male and female by our Creator and not pieced together sexually by social forces.

The "exclusion of women from the priesthood denies their proper place as potential "Christs for others." This would be true if the only means of being Christs for others was to be a priest. Fortunately, our Lord had to foresight to make sure that there were other means of becoming the sons and daughters of the Father in His service for others. Ordination is one way that some men are called by God and confirmed by the Church to "work out" their salvation. No one is denied their perfection in Christ b/c they are not priests. All the baptized serve the Father by being priests, offering themselves in sacrifice for others.

All exercises of Church authority are excluding.Wrong. If an exercise of Church authority excludes, it does so in order to liberate through a declaration of the truth of the faith., thus including everyone in the knowledge of truth. To be excluded is not in and of itself an injustice or a violation of human dignity. There are many perfectly beautiful options open to all Christians to which I am excluded in virtue of my ordination, e.g. marriage and biological fatherhood. In the case of WO, the Church has used her authority to recognize a limit of her own power. In effect, the Church has recognized that she is excluded from considering the ordination of women.

Tradition is always about male privilege.Tradition has certainly been misused to prop up abusive practices that privilege males. That we have seen these abuses in no way changes the fact that Tradition is the handing on of a living faith, the "living faith of the dead." The faith of the Church never changes. It cannot change. Our understanding of the faith can and does change. However, WO is not a change in understanding but a radical revision of some of the most basic threads of the Christian narrative. To alter these threads does more than "open the priesthood," it unravels the faith whole clothe.

Women would make better priests.I concede this readily. But we have to be clear about what we mean by "better priests." The objection assumes that the vocation of the priest is simply about empathy and compassion. It's not. Sometimes what the priest must do is show firmness, rectitude, and unwavering direction. . .even if empathy and compassion seem to be set aside in doing so. If the only vocation of the priest were to be empathetic or compassionate, then women should be ordained. However, as we have seen in the Episcopal Church and the Church of England, women priests and bishops (at least for now) seem to be more inclined to the destruction of the living faith than its preservation. Each time a stone in the catholic faith has been removed by female clergy and their male supporters in these ecclesial communities, it has been removed on the grounds of justice, rights, empathy, and compassion--all understood in strictly secular terms. The results have been disastrous.

Jesus' "exclusion" of women from the priest was culturally based and therefore reformable. This objection assumes as true a number of false premises. First, it assumes that Jesus was not who he clearly said he was and is: God. God is not constrained by cultural prejudices. Second, it assumes that Jesus was disinclined to break social taboos. In fact, he broke any number of cultural taboos in teaching and preaching the Good News, causing a great deal of scandal. Why not break the taboo against women as priests/rabbis? Third, this objection also assumes that cultural change should guide Church teaching. Cultural change should and often does guide our understanding and application of the faith in the world, but the world is irrelevant when it comes to determining the content of our faith. A danger for WO supporters here is that the way they understand many of the Church's cherished social justice positions are undermined by this objection to the Church's teaching. If we can alter the faith to follow cultural change and ordain women, why can't we examine many of Jesus' legitimate justice teachings in the same light and alter them as well? Maybe our modern culture and social norms should be used to override the historical Christian concern for the poor. Surely, the recent collapse of the economy can be blamed in part on a misplaced concern for the poor and homeless.

Scripture is silent on the nature of the priesthood. This is a particularly odd objection for faithful Catholics to be making. It is largely a Reformation objection and ignores volumes of Patristic teaching on the origins and development of Christian priesthood. It is simply false to say that the Catholic priesthood is an third or fourth century invention. There are elements of the priesthood as it is enacted in the world that came about in later centuries, but the core nature of the priesthood was infallibly established at the Last Supper when Christ commissioned his apostles and friends as those who would lead the community in prayer and the breaking of the bread, to "do this in memory of me." He had every opportunity to include women in this moment, but he didn't. The key here is to understand that the Last Supper was a Passover meal, a family meal, one that reinforced the bonds of paternal authority in the ancient Jewish tradition. of liberation from slavery. Even with women present at a Jewish Passover, the men are commissioned to perform the rite. Does this mean that women are excluded from the liberation Moses brought and the Passover celebrates? Hardly.

Women feel called to the priesthood.In the paragraph directly below this one I note that all of the objections to the Church's teaching on WO are rooted in modernist, feminist ideology. This objection is a perfect example. What this objection assumes is that the call to priesthood is a subjective experience immediately deserving a positive response from the Church. What can be more modernist than the triumph of personal experience over objective truth. The truth of the matter is that the call to priesthood comes from God through the Church, who is the Body of Christ. To say that a particular person (male or female) receives a call outside the Church assumes that Christ speaks to a member of his Body from outside his Body. However, all calls to serve the Body come through the Church and are therefore verifiable by the Church. Most of us believe we are called to all sorts of vocations for which we do not have the requisite gifts or authentic vocation. I feel called to be a regularly published poet, yet my poetry is regularly rejected. The poetry community (i.e., the Church of Verse) regularly rejects my claims to being a poet. Years of personal experience, strong conviction, earnest effort, and multiple academic degrees cannot make up for the lack of consent by the poetry community to my alleged call. I can call myself a poet. I can rail against the perceived injustice of not being regularly published. I can even accuse my tormenters of bias, hatred, and lack of taste. I'm still not a poet. Think for a moment of the implications if the Church bowed to the "I feel called to priesthood" objection and answered these claims positively. On what grounds could we reject anyone from the ordained ministry? My application to be made a postulant for ordination in the Episcopal Church was rejected. Had the vestry of my parish not done their job of proper discernment and oversight, I would be an Episcopalian priest right now. Thank God they listened to the Holy Spirit!

It is important for faithful Catholics to understand how many of these objections are based on modernist, feminist theories of justice, gender, the social construction of reality, and postmodern identity politics. None of which have a place in the faith of good Catholics. All are deeply rooted in 19th and 20th century liberal democratic ideas about freedom, liberty, and rights. None of them pull from the tradition of the Church or her ancient philosophy and theology. None of them are scriptural or magisterial. I have yet to read a single objection to the Church's infallible teaching against WO that does not rely exclusively on ideas and argument entirely alien to our faith. The canonical objections I've read are little more than legalistic sophistry and grounded in a "hermeneutic of suspicion" that starts with an antagonistic attitude toward truth and quickly devolves into relativism and subjectivism--little more than minute loopholes.

Probably the best book on this subject was written by Sr. Sara Butler, MSBT, The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church, Sr. Sara started her life as a religious as a supporter of WO and has since looked carefully at the scriptural, tradition, magisterial, and archeological evidence for that position and changed her mind. This book does a much better job of defending the Church's teaching than I ever could, and I highly recommend it.

It is vitally important that women understand that the Church's lack of authority to ordain them to the priesthood is not based on the notion that they are inferior or damaged or in any way "less than men." Yes, some medieval theologians, including Thomas Aquinas, put forward certain metaphysical explanations for an all-male priesthood that few of us will applaud now. But these are merely explanations of any already existing teaching and their dubious nature in no way detracts from the truth of the faith. In other words, Aquinas, et al did not invent the all-male priesthood based on medieval notions of biology and metaphysics. They took up the question in light of the sacaramental theology then current and the already existing reality of the all-malle priesthood and attempted to explain the truth of the priesthood in the light they had. Demolishing Aquinas' argument for the all-male priesthood does not demolish the Church's infallible teaching against WO.

A note on the question of the infalliablity of Pope John Paul II's document, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. This 1994 document was issued by the Holy Father in order to settle forever the question of whether or not the Church has the authority to ordain women. Drawing on scripture, tradition, and centuries of papal magisterial teaching, he concluded that the Church does not have the power to ordain women. It is very important to understand that the Pope did not say that the Church will not ordain women or that the Church does not feel like ordaining women. He wrote: "I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women. . ." The Church CANNOT ordain women. The Church also cannot declare that Jesus is not the Savior. The Church cannot declare that Mary was not the mother of Jesus, etc. In other words, the failure of the Church to ordain women is not based on a lack of will or inclination or patriarchal prejudice. If every bishop in the Church, including the Pope, laid hands on a woman, performing the entire sacrament of ordination on her in St Peter's Bascilica in front of the College of Cardinal with their wild applauses, she would still be a laywoman. And she would be a laywoman if every Catholic in the world believed that she was a priest.


Is this teaching infallible? Yes, it is. The Pope wrote in full: "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22:32) 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."


Now, some theologians claim that this teaching is not infallible. They want to make a fine distinction between the content of the teaching and this declaration of the teaching. They want to say that OS itself is not infallible; in other words, they want us to believe that the Pope's declaration that the teaching is infallible is not itself infallible. This is typical modernist sophistry and a confusion of terms. All the Pope did in this document is repeat an ancient truth: women cannot be ordained. This is not new. Imagine the Pope issuing a document tomorrow declaring that Jesus is the Messiah. Such a document would be pointless because the Church has always believed this. There is no need for an infallible teaching on the question. How odd would it be then for some theologians to assert that the document is not infallible when it asserts that the teaching that Jesus is the Messiah is infallible. Simply bizarre.


Reread the highlighted phrases above. Those are the words required for an infallible teaching. Period. OS as a document, OS per se does not have to be infallible, just as a document declaring Jesus as the Messiah would not have to be infallible. The content of the teaching is without error regardless of the magisterial/canonical status of the document. What the supporters of WO want us to believe is that the Pope is not interpreting the ancient teaching correctly. That he is merely repeating what has always been the case in the Church seems to be irrelevant to them. It seems odd to me that the Pope would issue this document "so that all doubt might be removed" and then have some claim that he did so in order to set the stage for future women's ordinations! We had a professor in my seminary who taught exactly that. Fortunately, none of us fell for the deception.


Fr. Joseph Fitzmeyer, quoting a supporter of WO, Rev. Herman Pottmeyer, "According to Pottmeyer, 'O.S. is an instance of ordinary (i.e., non-infallible) magisterium, declaring that the church’s unbroken tradition with regard to ordination is irreformable.' In saying this, he may be right, even though the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith subsequently explained that the doctrine about women’s ordination belongs to the deposit of faith and has been constantly held in the church’s tradition and infallibly set forth by the ordinary and universal magisterium." Fr. Fitzmeyer concludes his critique of Rev. Pottmeyer, "Pope John Paul II stated in O.S. that 'the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women' (No. 4). He did not mean that 'he could not himself change tradition in this matter.' He spoke rather of Ecclesiam facultatem nullatenus habere. If it is so, that the church has no ability to change it, then the Pope cannot invite everyone to prayer and dialogue as he would summon 'a council to make a final decision.' If 'the church' cannot do it, then a council cannot do it, no matter what 'signs of the times' may be or what 'faithfulness to Jesus' might seem to call for in Pottmeyer’s estimation."



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Worship
KEYWORDS: ordination; priesthood

1 posted on 09/01/2010 11:56:02 AM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...

Bookmark and ping!


2 posted on 09/01/2010 11:57:50 AM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: Drrdot

Of possible interest.


3 posted on 09/01/2010 12:05:19 PM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: NYer

I personally consider gender irrelevant when judging one’s qualifications to be a Christian leader, but I respect the RCC’s right to its own philosophy and have no desire to protest it. The trouble with choosing to follow an ancient establishment is that you don’t get to make the rules, nor does your opinion count. Take it or leave it, but don’t embarrass yourself trying to change it.

My problem with most people who advocate female priesthood is that they don’t stop at advocating female priesthood.


4 posted on 09/01/2010 12:08:39 PM PDT by Julia H. (Freedom of speech and freedom from criticism are mutually exclusive.)
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To: NYer

Great article. I have bookmarked for future reference.

As an aside, I serve on my local archdiocese pastoral council. We recently had a brief discussion on the role of women in the church. The topic was brought up by a gentleman with two daughters, and his complaint was “there’s nothing for my girls to do to serve the Church or feel important in the Church” because they can’t be priests.

I found it interesting that a man was the one so insistent in discussing this, and he brought it up in a room with women that were nuns, catechists, RCIA instructors, lay Franciscans, lectors, eucharistic ministers, retreat leaders, case sponsors for the tribunal, an officer of the National Catholic Council of women...you know...a bunch of women not serving the Church or doing anything important.


5 posted on 09/01/2010 12:24:45 PM PDT by Juana la Loca
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To: NYer

Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Confessional Lutherans are in agreement that WO is contrary to Holy Tradition. The Pope was correct when he stated that the Church does not have the authority to ordain women. All the arguments for the ordination of women are based upon a secular ideology, not upon biblical grounds. In fact, in order to rationalize the acceptance of WO you have to deconstruct Bible and Tradition.


6 posted on 09/01/2010 12:29:37 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: NYer

Bookmark.


7 posted on 09/01/2010 12:51:53 PM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: Nosterrex

When women are ordinated in the Roman Catholic Church, I will find myself a new Church.


8 posted on 09/01/2010 12:53:16 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: Juana la Loca
I found it interesting that a man was the one so insistent in discussing this, and he brought it up in a room with women that were nuns, catechists, RCIA instructors, lay Franciscans, lectors, eucharistic ministers, retreat leaders, case sponsors for the tribunal, an officer of the National Catholic Council of women...you know...a bunch of women not serving the Church or doing anything important.

Lol!! That truly is amusing. Reality is staring him in the face and he can't see it. Just curious but do you know if his daughters once served as acolytes?

9 posted on 09/01/2010 12:55:47 PM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: Julia H.
I personally consider gender irrelevant when judging one’s qualifications to be a Christian leader ...

This article is about the priesthood. Priests are servants, not leaders.

The trouble with choosing to follow an ancient establishment is that you don’t get to make the rules, nor does your opinion count. Take it or leave it, but don’t embarrass yourself trying to change it.

You are absolutely right. In this instance, the "rules" were established by God, not the Church.

10 posted on 09/01/2010 1:00:20 PM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: NYer

I don’t know. My daughter just started altar serving at our parish though and she loves it. And as a matter of record, she feels in no way slighted that being a priest is not in her future. She understands that the priest acts in persona Christi, and she finds the notion of a woman “playing the part” of Jesus ridiculous. She sees it as the equivalent of casting a man in a woman’s role in a movie. She doesn’t worry about women not being priests any more than she worries about a boy playing the Virgin Mary in a live nativity. LOL!


11 posted on 09/01/2010 1:07:37 PM PDT by Juana la Loca
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To: Juana la Loca

You have done an excellent job of educating your daughter. Many parents have a very different view of this as one of equality. I have also seen situations where once girls were allowed to serve, boys were no longer interested. Your daughter has a healthy understanding of altar service, thanks to you.


12 posted on 09/01/2010 1:46:07 PM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: Julia H.; NYer

Strange, this is one instance when the Catholic Church — all rites — follow the Bible.

Where are the Bible believers on this? Saying that women can be deacons and priests. Doesn’t make sense to me at all.


13 posted on 09/01/2010 1:52:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

**Jesus’ “exclusion” of women from the priest was culturally based and therefore reformable.**

Shocker! People of the modern era (modernism) know better than Christ/God?

I don’t think so.


14 posted on 09/01/2010 1:55:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Venturer
Strange that you say that. I was asked today by a member what I would do if the LCMS ordained women, and I gave the same answer as you. Back in the 90’s I did graduate work in England, and my doctoral adviser was a well known feminist advocate. This is about the time that the Anglican community ordained its first female priest. What these churches that ordain women fail to understand is that a woman priestess or minister radically changes the way that God is understood. This is why we come up with hymns that refer to God as Mother and Womb. My adviser eventually left Christianity and is involved in Eco-Feminism.
15 posted on 09/01/2010 2:36:30 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: Juana la Loca

My original interpretation of your incident was that the man was attempting to garner support from the women in attendance and embarrass those clergy in attendance. This is the usual MO of many of these types.


16 posted on 09/01/2010 2:39:08 PM PDT by bronx2 (while Jesus is the Alpha /Omega He has given us rituals which you reject to obtain the graces as to)
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To: NYer
If the only vocation of the priest were to be empathetic or compassionate, then women should be ordained.

Oh, where is the priestesses' compassion and empathy for the unborn, then? How about their compassion for children placed for adoption with homosexuals?

17 posted on 09/01/2010 2:43:39 PM PDT by Tax-chick (I should be, but I'm not.)
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To: NYer

I’m not really responding to you, NYer, you just happen to be the person whose name was attached to the “reply” button. I figured I would throw my view on this out, so that it’s said and so if I ever forget someone can point this out to remind me. :-D

I consider myself Catholic, but acknowledge that I am not Roman Catholic.

I am not against the ordination of women into the clergy.

I AM, however, against the ordination of women into the clergy of a church that does not allow for the ordination of women.

In other words, the Roman Catholic Church has its reasons for not allowing the ordination of women, and I fully support that. I will always stand by my Roman Catholic peers in this position.

The Anglican Communion (for the most part) does not allow for the ordination of women. I support this.

The Orthodox churches don’t do it either, and I stand with them.

The Episcopal Church allows the ordination of women, and even has female Bishops. But the Episcopal church has gone bats#!7 crazy recently, so I’ll let them do what they want and focus my attention on something I can actually handle.

I have no problem with women in the clergy. But then, I have no problem with chocolate chip pancakes smothered in chocolate sauce and covered in whipped cream, but I’m sure as hell not going to eat something like that. In other words, let well enough alone and respect that the church has its rules and reasons for its rules, and stop trying to change it!

(I know you aren’t trying to change it NYer. I was waxing philosophical, but you probably know that from my other posts.)


18 posted on 09/01/2010 6:04:07 PM PDT by HushTX (Numbers 11:18-20)
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To: Nosterrex

Which proved she was more interested in promoting herself as a woman than she was in God.

This isnt about the Priesthood, It is about their feminist views.


19 posted on 09/01/2010 7:19:35 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: HushTX
Thank you for the thoughtful response. You wrote:

I have no problem with women in the clergy.

Can you be more specific about the term 'clergy'? What constitutes clergy and by whose authority do these clergy have the right to lead. This is not a trick question. I am seriously interested in your response.

You also wrote:

I consider myself Catholic, but acknowledge that I am not Roman Catholic.

Here again, I am a bit confused. Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.

Do you consider yourself a member of any of those 22 Catholic Churches?

20 posted on 09/02/2010 6:12:23 AM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: NYer
I am a Christian - but not a Roman Catholic, but I am wondering what the divide is regarding married Priests.... and how solid the arguments against Priests and marriage hold.....or visa versa.

respectfully asking for your opinion.....

21 posted on 09/02/2010 6:45:27 AM PDT by rface (Remember to roll your Traditional IRA into ROTH before the end of the year.....)
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To: rface
I am a Christian - but not a Roman Catholic, but I am wondering what the divide is regarding married Priests.... and how solid the arguments against Priests and marriage hold.....or visa versa.

The Catholic Church allows for married priests but with restrictions. The tradition in the Western or Latin-Rite Church has been for priests as well as bishops to take vows of celibacy, a rule that has been firmly in place since the early Middle Ages. Even today, though, exceptions are made. For example, there are married Latin-Rite priests who are converts from Lutheranism and Episcopalianism. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the ratio of married to celibate priests is about half.

22 posted on 09/02/2010 6:53:03 AM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: Nosterrex; redgolum

Akin to the lady (was it buffyD?) here are valid reasons about the orthodox Lutheran opposition to priestesses


23 posted on 09/02/2010 6:59:13 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: NYer
Can you be more specific about the term 'clergy'? What constitutes clergy...

Some protestant denominations have female pastors. They are, technically, clergy. I'm fine with that. I don't go to those churches, but if a woman preaching there gets someone started on a path to God, I can't complain. If a woman helps someone stay in fellowship with God, I can hardly complain about that either. That's about as far as I extend my consideration of that issue. It gets stickier when you start having female Deacons and Priests, as is done in the Episcopal Church. While I have no specific objection to this, I also recognize that I am not a scholar of church canon and have no interest in enforcing my lack of objection in the form of support or demanding such be allowed anywhere else. I simply look and say "oh, that's what they do."

Perhaps more concise would be to say that "clergy" is "the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity." I differentiate this from Priesthood, as protestant pastors are not priests. I probably could have explained that initially.

and by whose authority do these clergy have the right to lead.

It is not my opinion that the clergy lead. They may be the celebrants at Mass or whatever protestants call their equivalent (I should know that, given my background, but don't- for shame!), but they are servants first and foremost. At least, that is my understanding and given Christ's lessons I believe I am on the right track with that understanding.

Do you consider yourself a member of any of those 22 Catholic Churches?

The reason for my statement, in the way I made it anyway, is that a lot of Roman Catholics do not consider someone "Catholic" unless they were Baptized by a member of the Priesthood within the Roman Catholic Church specifically, under the umbrella of the Pope. I am not generally in agreement with that, however I harbor a very strong respect of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Orthodox churches and all branches within.

I was Baptized by the Dean of an Anglican cathedral and Confirmed by a Bishop of a parish that was once part of the Episcopal Church of the USA. Our Diocese was split on the matter of separating from the ECUSA, but a majority did leave and so our parish and others within the area are now aligned with the Anglican Church in North America. Long story short, we aren't Episcopalian.

All that said, we practice in the manner laid out in the Anglican liturgy, which is very "Catholic" in nature. During Mass we recite the Nicene Creed, which includes the line "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church," a thing I take seriously. Yet I would not be "allowed" to take Communion in a Roman Even still, I am fully supportive of the RCC in as much as I know about the Church. In fact, I am eagerly trying to learn more about the supposed move to accept Anglicans into full communion with Rome and, perhaps, allow us to celebrate the Mass at Roman Catholic parishes. I find the idea inspiring and exciting.

Hopefully this clears things up somewhat, or at least leads to further conversation that we can all benefit from and enjoy.
24 posted on 09/02/2010 7:27:10 AM PDT by HushTX (Numbers 11:18-20)
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To: HushTX

And I even proof read my post! Shame for missing bad grammar and a converged sentence.

What I meant was “Yet I would not be “allowed” to take Communion in a Roman Catholic parish. Even still...”

Sorry, and sorry for the double post.


25 posted on 09/02/2010 7:29:41 AM PDT by HushTX (Numbers 11:18-20)
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To: rface; NYer
Will just add this to NYer's post --> celibacy is a discipline not a dogma of faith. By that we mean that it is a practise that has been followed for sensible reasons, but that does not mean that we cannot have married priests -- and we DO have them amongst the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is not a dogma of faith like the Trinity, something that cannot be compromised

Yet these Eastern Churches Catholic or Orthodox also restrict bishops to unmarried men or monks. The reasoning for bishops to be unmarried is simple -- to prevent corruption to which we humans are liable. For lay priests it was the same reason for the celibacy rule in the largely rural Western Patriarchate.

I personally think that celibate priests have merit and purpose as religious, but I believe that we should have more visibility for Eastern Catholic Churchs so that if a married man truly has the vocation, he may join the priesthood as a Syro-Malabar (say) priest. I know I'm getting something wrong in that statement though -- NYer, is that possible?
26 posted on 09/02/2010 9:28:05 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: HushTX

I look forward to having orthodox, traditional Anglican-rite Catholics enriching the Church with their presence.


27 posted on 09/02/2010 9:30:09 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: Cronos

I don’t know if that’s me or not. I’m not well versed enough to say for sure.

But I sure try to be a good Catholic. I just fail a lot. Maybe I can get points for effort? :-D


28 posted on 09/02/2010 9:34:06 AM PDT by HushTX (Numbers 11:18-20)
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To: Cronos; rface
I personally think that celibate priests have merit and purpose as religious, but I believe that we should have more visibility for Eastern Catholic Churchs so that if a married man truly has the vocation, he may join the priesthood as a Syro-Malabar (say) priest. I know I'm getting something wrong in that statement though -- NYer, is that possible?

Thank you for the expansion on celibacy as a discipline and the reason why bishops are chosen from the celibate priests. As for a married man becoming a Syro-Malabar priest, that is already a reality - IF - he is a member of that rite. IOW, a Latin Rite married man would have to formally switch rites before entering their seminary.

You may have previously read the comments made by Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir, as I have posted them to other threads. For the benefit of freeper rface, it might assist in better comprehending the advantages and drawbacks to a married priesthood.

During the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, for example, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice, raised the issue of viri probati (tested men), saying that some bishops had “put forward the request to ordain married faithful of proven faith and virtue.” Bishops from Great Britain and New Zealand supported the idea, arguing that it might encourage additional young men to enter the priesthood.

During the interventions by Eastern-rite bishops, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the Maronite patriarch of Antioch in Lebanon, said that half of his diocese’s priests are married.

“It must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious,” he told the synod members.

The priest’s duty to care for his wife and children, ensure their education and oversee their entry into society are among the problems Cardinal Sfeir mentioned.

“Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners,” he said. “His bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family.”

Celibacy, in fact, is “the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church,” the cardinal declared, contrasting the practice against an impure culture. “How can celibacy be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity.

“If Jesus Christ wanted priests to be married,” he continued, “he would have gotten married himself.”

The last statement is by far, the best argument. It is also worth noting that some of the married priest converts to the RC, have also weighed in on this issue. Consider the following.

Married Priests Back Celibacy

rface, I hope our combined efforts to respond to your question are helpful. This discussion is as old as christianity ;-)

29 posted on 09/02/2010 9:49:31 AM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: HushTX

Thank you for the clarifications on my questions. It makes for a better understanding and dialogue. I will respond more in depth, later today.


30 posted on 09/02/2010 10:16:16 AM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: Cronos
I am not certain who Buffy is. I received a copy of the response to her that someone sent me. In it Buffy talked about women in the LCMS being second-class citizens. My point was that such language itself, such as second-class citizens, is alien to Christianity. It is the result of a secular ideology worming its way into the church. Whether Buffy realizes it or not, she is making the same error that the mother of James and John made.
31 posted on 09/02/2010 6:48:54 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: Cronos
Good article, and addresses much of what I have heard of in support of WO.

A friend of mine (a pastor) would love it, because then he could have someone else deal with women. He requires at least one other person present at all talks with a women.

But that is better handled by having a deaconess anyway.

32 posted on 09/02/2010 7:04:14 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Nosterrex; redgolum

I pinged you to Buffy because I knew she was, let’s put it mildly, exagerating about women in the LCMS. This article answers both the LCMS and the Catholic/Orthodox viewpoint.


33 posted on 09/03/2010 1:51:33 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: HushTX
"I just fail a lot" -- we all do! Even saints. It's the sincere repentence and desire (and will) to not do it again that God looks for, I think.

"Maybe I can get points for effort?" --> we both hope so :) Well, actually, we know so -- we are not perfect, God knows, but He appreciates our sincere efforts.
34 posted on 09/03/2010 1:54:19 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: NYer

Thank you! That was very insightful. I’ve copied it for future reference :)


35 posted on 09/03/2010 1:59:37 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: NYer

I want the Catholic Church to stay just the way I left it.


36 posted on 09/03/2010 2:19:50 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: Cronos

I have run into people like Buffy. Instead of having their minds conformed to the mind of Christ, they have had their minds transformed by the world. They do not understand the nature of the church.


37 posted on 09/03/2010 6:14:57 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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