Skip to comments.Women (priests) outnumber men in the Anglican Church for the first time
Posted on 02/10/2012 1:23:11 PM PST by NYer
There is a female majority for the first time in the Church of England, with more women priests joining than men. This certainly bodes well for a final yes vote in next Julys Synod that would allow women into the Episcopate. Official figures show that 290 women were ordained in 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, says British newspaper The Telegraph. By contrast, just 273 men entered the priesthood.
This marks a historical moment. It is the first time in twenty years that the Church of England has allowed women to become priests, despite opposition from English Catholics and Evangelical conservatives who believe that only men can lead within the Church. In 1994, there were but 106 ordained women compared to 299 men. Total figures show that in 2010, there number of men ordained as priests (8087) was more than double that of female ordinations (3535). The problem of allowing women to take the Holy Orders (the Anglican Church came up with a positive solution to this in 1992), has been one of the most hotly debated ecclesiological questions in recent years, Giorgio Otranto, Professor of Ancient Christian History in the University of Baris humanities faculty, stressed: Various hard line movements have sprung up, experts of different confessions and cultural backgrounds have raised their voices and people both in favour and against the ordination of women priests have started heated debates on the subject. Furthermore, in recent years, the ecclesiastical Magisterium has officially consolidated the Churchs position with regard to the ordination of women, with a declaration from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Inter insigniores, 1977) and two apostolic letters (Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988; Ordinatio sacerdotalis, 1994).
Among the numerous initiatives aimed at looking into the problem of women and the priestly ministry, there are two in particular which stand out and they date back to the end of the 1980s: Firstly, the Inter-Orthodox Theological Consultation on the role of women in the Church and the question of womens ordination (Rhodes,1988) and secondly, the convention Women and Ministry: An Ecumenical Problem (Palermo, 1988). The Consultation in Rhodes reaffirmed the masculine character of the priesthood, while the convention in Palermo, created some possibilities and stances that were quite different. As always, in order to find adequate solutions to doctrinal and disciplinary questions, it can be useful to refer back to the ancient world, with different understandings and results, Professor Otranto stressed. Thus the Magisterium returned to the traditional theories that lie behind their opposition to the ordination of women: Christ did not choose any women to join the group of 12 apostles and the entire Church tradition has remained faithful to this fact, interpreting it as the Saviours explicit wish for men only to receive the priestly powers of governance, teaching and sanctifying. Only man, through his natural resemblance to Christ, can embody, sacramentally, the role of Christ himself in the Eucharist.
On the other hand, those who disagree with this stance, appeal to ancient Christianity too, stressing, in their arguments, that the Churchs official stance derives from an anthropology which originates directly from the ancient world and is not easily acceptable in todays modern world. An anthropology which denotes an obviously inferior status, in which women are perceived from an ancient Greek or Roman perspective or worse still, from a Palestinian perspective, Palestine being the birthplace of Christianity - Otranto pointed out. In a letter sent in 494 to bishops of certain regions of Southern Italy (Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily), Pope Gelasius I (492-496) stated he was highly displeased to hear that the contempt towards religion was such that women were being allowed to sacris altaribus ministrare and that they were carrying out tasks reserved for males, which did not fall under their competence.
In Southern Italy, women had received the Sacrament of the Order of bishops, a decision which Gelasius I had firmly condemned. The example presented by the Pope along with the numerous Eastern and Western councils that forbid women to celebrate the liturgy and become members of the clergy, implicitly prove that some women had been ordained in the ancient world and that the issue of women entering the priesthood had already been raised both in the Eastern an Western worlds. Even outside heretical contexts, ancient Christianity seems to have sometimes elevated women to the rank of priest solely and exclusively due to certain prerogatives within the Holy Order, Otranto pointed out. De Verginitate, a 4th century text attributed to Athanasius, states that the Kingdom of Heaven is neither male nor female but all the women who are to the Lords liking come from the Order of men. Shortly after, virgins are called upon to bless the bread making three signs of the cross and to give grace and pray. These are some acts that can apparently be considered as a form of Eucharistic celebration, bearing in mind that in Athanasius era, in Alexandria, the ritual used to celebrate the Eucharist was a far more complex one than that described in De Verginitate.
A female Archbishop of Canterbury, anyone?
In my youth I was sometimes greatly disturbed that only men were allowed to be priests (RC). Now I have to explain to my daughters why not.
Is there a female-led church anywhere that does not put feelings over faith? Well, there was Ann Lee and the Shakers, but that was very different times.
This wouldn’t have anything to do with Anglican churches being empty now, would it?
“Church attendance is dropping amongst Anglicans-Episcopalians
Posted on September 15, 2009
People say regarding churches (especially mainline churches in the United States and Canada) that all they see are a sea of white hair. This sea is no longer a sea; its only a smattering of white hair these days and many are closing and shutting their doors. Church attendance is dropping and seems irreversible.
The statistics regarding the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC) does not look good these days. Canadian membership in the ACC fell:
1.3 million (in 1961) to 658,000 (in 2001) and thats just membership. Actual attendance measures Anglicans who attend church at least twice a month brings this figure down to only 325,000.
Figures for American membership in the Episcopal Church (TEC) are not good either. Membership fell from:
3.5 million (in 1965) to 2.2 million (in 2007), which is a 55% drop.
Rev. Gary Nicolosi says that when the census is taken in 2011, I think the numbers are going to be under 600,000. I think people are going to be shocked. Statistics on average worship attendance show how healthy a church is and it does not look good for either church. Full article These figures are from Reginald Bibbys Project Canada, The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.
In the Church of England, only less than 1 million attend when membership is 28 million (obviously a skewed and bloated figure). And who knows what actual attendance really is?”
England still needs its own church?
Perhaps this can help. Written by a former Lutheran, it describes life with a family as a Catholic priest.
It’s historically BAD. If there’s one place we need men to be leaders it’s the church. Real leaders.
Dennis Prager explains it well. If men don’t have a special role just for them, they will forego the role completely. i.e. women have to be their own (and their families) breadwinners, the churches are emptying (well a lot of reasons for that one) and if we allow women in combat men will no longer see it as ‘manly’ and will just skip on defending the nation. It does not bode well for society, mock male ego all you want.
Does it separate the Lesbians from the Straight and how many of each there are?
When a woman shows up as my Priest the only thing they will se is my back as I head out the door.
While we do not have female priestesses in the Catholic Church, we have had this experience with altar servers. In those parishes where girls were allowed to serve, the number of boys dropped commensurate with the increase of females. When our previous pastor allowed girls to serve, that is precisely how the scenario played itself out. It became so bad that each Sunday, we had only one altar server - a girl. The bishop then issued an edict establishing only boy altar servers. Since then, the boys have returned. A few months ago, a 5 year old volunteered. The new pastor, not willing to diminish the importance of this role, agreed. The parish women created a special chasuble to fit the little guy. What a blessing to see these young boys respond to the need!
Same thing happened in our parish but now the boys are back. They try very hard to keep the servers even in gender.
I agree with the statement though about men's special role. Women were given the blessed role of bearing children. Jesus came as a man; a Son who chose 12 men as apostles. There had to be a reason for that.
All the authors of the New Testament were men. There had to be some purpose for the all-male choice. I buy what the Catholic Church teaches about the special role for men as priests.
The Church of England will continue to melt away. It's sad because so many people will be negatively affected by the puddle left by a once-vibrant church. The Catholic Church in England was, as I've heard Church historians say, a most strong and vibrant church.
I hope Henry VIII is getting his just desserts.
“If men dont have a special role just for them, they will forego the role completely. i.e. women have to be their own (and their families) breadwinners, the churches are emptying (well a lot of reasons for that one) and if we allow women in combat men will no longer see it as manly and will just skip on defending the nation. It does not bode well for society, mock male ego all you want.”
Why would any man defend anything today beyond faith & family? If we are the ultimate evil, just let the invaders do their worst; we no longer have a stake in this anyway. Marry some senora, have a family, and watch those who fought to marginalize us lose it all. We aren’t even in the equation anymore.
“In those parishes where girls were allowed to serve, the number of boys dropped commensurate with the increase of females.”
This nonsense was pushed by those who want “priestesses” in the RC Church; it was one of the worst decisions of John Paul II. Besides the obvious issue, where it was a source of priestly vocations, the fact that it was left up to the ordinaries to decide for each diocese showed the absurdity of it; what bishop would not allow them? A few didn’t, and have since retired; their replacements have allowed “altar girls”, and once that is in place it is realistically impossible to reverse.
I would have serious reservations about my faith if JP II is canonized; there are valid alternatives in the east to this (via apostolic descent).
Actually Henry VIII really founded Church of England dude want replace his long suffering wife Cathoic king Ferninard and Isabella of Spain daughter Catherine of Aragon with young babe Anne Boylan so she could provided with male children
It like everything in history where powerful men want younger models
To me it isn’t so much that only men can be the model for Christ in performing the sacraments. Certainly there are Christ-ly women in the world, and women who have laid down their lives for others as Christ did.
Rather it’s an empirical fact of human nature, that female-led institutions become squishy. In the Church in particular, women seem to feminize the priesthood, or the ministry, so much that it’s not a fit place for male leadership any more.
My daughters don’t know yet that they will probably come to see male leadership as a good thing, especially in the home and in the Church. What they do understand is that just about every church with female ministers or priests is pro-abortion - and my daughters are very much against abortion.
As are my sons, but a male priesthood doesn’t bother them at all.
If they parsed out the number of UK people attending solely to get their children into the tuition-free Anglican schools, the numbers would look even worse....
my mother always told me that the reason only men were allowed to become priests is that God wanted to make it up to them because they weren’t allowed to bear children.
The argument that women to be equal is for women to be the same as men is a denial of our human sexuality: a way to deny that our bodies matter.
This is a modern heresy that goes beyond women priests into the idea that marriage doesn’t matter, children are a burden standing in the way of women’s “wishes” to work like men, and of course, that intercourse is just a meaningless activity, and that promiscuous gay sex is the same to God as a commitment to faithfulness in heterosexual marriage.
The biological, anthropological and sociological importance of sexuality is denied by much of the modern world, but by doing so, you destroy marriage, motherhood, and children, as we see happening in the USA.
the Evangelical Lutherans in Germany already have a lesbian head
You make a lot of sense. I've seen the same "squishiness" with women ministers, though I am Catholic, and have deprecated the female ministry. A pregnant one may seem to be a "wonderful, sweet" thing but, then, she is like the married minister, she is DIVIDED in her time, efforts and heart. I think celebacy is the best for ministers and male ones are better--Jesus' model.
Jesus came as a man and chose men as His apostles.
I've come to realize that it was for a reason that He did this.
When a family is led by a man, especially a Godly man, the family tends to pray and thrive. This seems to be a solid basis for the human social unit: the family.
I went through all the women's lib stuff and KNEW that men and women are more different than the surface. They are, as you write, empirically different, with different strengths, sources and purposes in the Divine Plan.
I had to do a lot of growing-up to figure that one out. It helped that I am a teacher, college age, of BOTH men and women. BOY, are they different from each other.
I know all this. Old news.
There is a poem, of sorts, to remember how well he succeeded (NOT) with all his wives: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.
He did get his male heir but the son didn't live past his teen years and Elizabeth, Anne Bolyen's daughter, became the queen of England.
So much for the pride, arrogance and unbelievable crimes of Henry VIII. He DESTROYED the Catholic Church in England and killed THOUSANDS who wouldn't give up the faith of their fathers.
I hope he's still burning.
My second cousin was raised Methodist and from the time she was a small child she wanted to be a minister. After church she would stand on the bed and give the sermon. She did grow up to be a minister and served as a chaplain in the military. But some time after she came back into civilian life, for some reason I do not know, she and her husband converted to Catholicism. The ways of God!
Now she works as a pastoral assistant, and having seen some in action I do tend to be dubious about the pastoral assistant program, as a sort of side door for female administration and a leftwing “therapeutic” approach to faith... but I have no evidence to lay those charges against my cousin.
I wish the RC Church would promote the diaconate to help out where priests are thin on the ground.
YOu ever seen this you tube LOL!
I help out in pastoral assistant program, lector and Eucharistic minister. We aren't ordained though we do go through some training.
Deacons have to be ordained though it's not the priestly ordination. I think that it's MUCH easier to get the laity of the parish to pitch in as pastoral assistants...it's mostly us old ladies, who run ALL the churches whichever Christian faith :o).
There really is no reason for being dubious; it's SO simple. Pastoral assistants can be sacristans too. They get the altar and such ready for Mass, keeping the candles in readiness, tossing the dead flowers, making sure the vestments are okay for wear, etc.
I recently noticed that the book cover for the gospel readings was VERY tatty, so I voluntarily bought another one for the book. We all pitch in. It's nice to be useful, especially when there ARE so few priests for so many Catholics.
NOTHING sidedoor or leftwing about it at all. I've found a HUGE DEARTH of the leftwingers at Mass. As for pitching in and HELPING, nary a one. They save their leftwingedness for other stuff...stuff they may actually change. They can't stand against the choices of Jesus, that is, to come to earth as a man-Savior, choosing 12 male apostles, followed by male disciples, bishops, popes, etc. Besides, they might actually have to show up at Mass more often, pitch in and help the $chool fund raising, visit the old folks and sick folks...all that really CHRISTIAN stuff. :o)
Where I live, pastoral assistant is a paid professional title, and they have training which includes theology and counselling and administation - I think there is a master’s degree program. Maybe I am thinking of pastoral associate - here is what the diocese of Chicago says.
In the parish I left there were two pastoral assistants, one the liturgical minister (choir director) and the other director of religious education. Both of them pushed feminism, New Age, and disrespect for tradition. The pastor was in perfect harmony with them. I walked out in the middle of an Easter Mass when he was giving a sermon about the symbol of the Resurrection, and the only time we have visited since was for an Ash Wednesday service that left us all recoiling from the God-emptied smugness there. My son used to have obsessive blasphemous thoughts during the Mass, that has not been a problem in any other parish. The first priest in that parish, the one in charge of constructing the church, was revealed to be an abuser of teenage boys; he has been convicted. I truly wonder if there is an evil spirit in that place.
My new parish is much more Godly and conservative but we did have a pastoral assistant who did some adult education programs and counselling. Again, the feminism and New Age pagan syncretism. Now she works for the diocese.
My best friend’s sister is a pastoral assistant - what she wants is women’s ordination and this is as close as she can get. Very bitter about the Church’s roles for women, but she won’t leave the Church.
I think the pastoral assistant program (as we have it here) too often substitutes credentialism and a profession for what ought to be a calling. With the declining number of priests, and a growing number of priestless parishes, the administration of some parishes is going into the hands of the PAs, with priests visiting just for the sacraments. Very, very bad news. There is a lay bureaucracy and academic faction which is very content with this development as it means more power for them.
There will be women who are almost-priests - if Ms. Smith administers the parish, and counsels people (so much like confession) and visits the sick and speaks from the pulpit and hands out the already-consecrated Host when the priest isn’t there - well, why not let her hear confession and consecrate?
Far better to encourage married men to become deacons. Or even to permit married men to become priests. Or how about temporary vows? Fifteen years as a celibate priest? Boy would you have courtship issues as the clock ticked down.
"Almost priests"?? Please.
Where is the humility and obedience that is SUPPOSED to personify God's servants? As long as they push their OWN agenda and are in there for their own reasons (feminism, female priests, non-celebacy for priests, whatever) they are subverting the message that they ought to be living.
Humility and obedience--they would be lousy priests since that is what priests must have.
As for the evil priests...remember, Jesus CHOSE Judas Iscariot, knowing that he would betray his master. I always think of this when I hear of bad priests. I think Jesus was showing us a "template" of humanity--there WILL be a bad apple in every barrel, even His own barrel of Apostles.
I think (and it's only MY opinion) that it's the better course to encourage women to be content with the roles they have in God's plan and to leave their bitterness where it belongs...at the foot of the Cross.