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The Catholic Left’s Latest Call for the Ordination of Women
Crisis Magazine ^ | December 31, 2012 | Kenneth D. Whitehead

Posted on 01/01/2013 9:10:46 AM PST by NYer

NCR Endorses-Women-Priests-Movement

In early December the independent and very liberal National Catholic Reporter weekly newspaper published a long, carefully reasoned editorial declaring that “The Ordination of Women Would Correct an Injustice.” If the Church were deliberately perpetrating an injustice in the matter of ordination, of course, it would be a serious matter. The NCR editorial was a response to the earlier “excommunication, dismissal, and laicization” of Roy Bourgeois, who as a Maryknoll priest had long and defiantly—and in spite of numerous warnings—engaged in what was officially described as a “campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church”—he repeatedly and obstinately engaged in public agitation in favor of female ordination.

According to the NCR editorial, both the disciplining of Roy Bourgeois and the Church’s “failure” to ordain women constituted grave injustices that urgently need to be remedied. “The call to priesthood,” the newspaper wrote, “is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community”—not, significantly, by the Church, according to the NCR, but by the “community.” Characterizing the Church’s position of ordaining only men as “absurd,” while describing that position as being based on nothing more substantial than a belief that “anatomy is somehow a barrier to God’s ability to call one of God’s own children forward,” the editorial claimed that female ordination is not only favored by most Catholics today, but represents the true sensus fidelium, or “sense of the faithful,” of Catholic believers today.

The conclusion of the NCR editorial was that that “exclusion of women from the priesthood has no strong basis in Scripture or any other compelling a rationale,” and hence the NCR editors issued a clarion call to the Catholic laity to oppose the Church’s teaching on ordination, both publicly and strenuously: the laity need “to speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations, and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels”—in other words, we should assume that Catholic teaching is established in the same way as political opinion in a modern democratic regime, that is, chiefly by political agitation and pressuring.

When speaking before Catholic groups, I have often found that many Catholics today in fact do not understand why the Church does not ordain women. The NCR editors have hit upon a real sore spot here. Whether this indicates—or could—any kind of shift in the sensus fidelium, however, is another and very different question entirely.

In a society such as modern American society today, where almost any kind of discrimination, or supposed discrimination, is almost automatically considered to be the worst of injustices—and where for practically a good half century now, feminists and their allies have been hammering away at the idea that women have been and still are being discriminated against in American society (as well as within the Church)—in this kind of climate, perhaps the surprise is that there are not more voices protesting the Church’s position of not ordaining women and, like the NCR, calling for a revision of the Church’s teaching in the matter.

In view of what seems to be the widespread (but erroneous) popular opinion here, perhaps it is worthwhile briefly summarizing what the Church actually does teach about female (non)ordination.

The principal current explanatory official Church document in the matter is the Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, Inter Insigniores, issued by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on October 15, 1976. The key statement in this document is the assertion that the Church, “in fidelity to the example of the Lord, does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination.” The NCR editorial quotes the second part of this statement about the Church not considering herself authorized, but omits the first part about this being “in fidelity to the example of the Lord.”

Yet this is the principal reason offered by Inter Insigniores for the Church’s position: the Church does not ordain women to the sacred priesthood essentially because Christ did not include women among the select Twelve to whom he gave sacramental powers that were to be handed down in the Church to and through their successors, the bishops. The priesthood is acquired by means of a sacrament, the sacrament of Order. The bishops possess this sacrament in its fullness, which they share with their priests, and transmit to their successor bishops. If it is asked why they cannot also share it with women, the Church’s answer is that Jesus did not share with women membership in the group of the Twelve on whom he conferred sacramental powers.

In answer to the further question of why Jesus did not share the sacrament of Order with women, Inter Insigniores quotes St. Thomas Aquinas, who explained that “sacramental signs represent what they signify by natural resemblance” (emphasis added). The ordained priest is a sacramental sign who acts in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ”). Anyone who acts for Christ in this way needs to have a “natural resemblance” to him. Christ was a man and thus the priest who acts for him—not just in his “name,” but in his person—needs to be a man.

This explanation of why women cannot be ordained to the sacred priesthood seems deceptively simple on its face. Upon reflection, however, it should become clear that it is a rather profound theological explanation. The priesthood does not just entail a “function” that can be performed indifferently by anybody (standing at the altar, preaching, sitting in the confessional, etc.). Rather, it is a state of being with powers conferred by Christ and transmitted down through the generations in the Church. Think of the “indelible mark” you were told you acquired at baptism; what is acquired at ordination is similarly “indelible” (“You are a priest forever”!).

It is not the case, though, that the priesthood could never have been, theoretically, conferred on a woman because of her supposed interior nature or something of that sort. That is emphatically not the Church’s view of the matter. In the Church’s view, women are fully equal to men in their dignity as human persons. But in point of fact, the apostles Jesus chose who were to be given his sacramental powers were all men.

Inter Insigniores explains that Jesus did not limit his selection of apostles to men alone because of the culture of his times that did not admit women to leadership positions in society. The document affirms what the record of the New Testament attests to in any case, namely, that Jesus was in no way bound by the culture of his times. In fact, he regularly treated women as the equals of men. The New Testament record clearly shows that women formed a vital part of his following; and were the ones, moreover, who stuck with him at the foot of the cross—just as Mary Magdalen was probably the first witness of the Resurrection.

Still, Jesus did not include any of them in the special group of apostles that he appointed, not even his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the human being whom the Church exalts above all others. Jesus seems to have believed that women and men, although equal in their human dignity, had somewhat different roles in the family and in society.

However that may be, it is quite remarkable how both the early Church, and the medieval Church always consistently adhered to a male only priesthood. Scarcely any questions were even raised about it until modern times. Today, however, not only because of the rise of feminism with its numerous supporters, but also perhaps because most Protestant churches have accepted women as ministers, the question of possible female ordination has arisen and has become quite insistent. Inter Insigniores was issued precisely in order to deal with the question.

However, it should immediately go without saying that not all of the demands of contemporary feminists have proven to be either true or just. The Church is in no way obliged just to go with the fashions of the times. She has her own ways of acting and operating, some of them literally going back to the time of the apostles. And as for the Protestant acceptance of women ministers, it should be recalled that the Protestants rejected the very notion of a sacramental priesthood, and thus they are not constrained in the same way as the Catholic Church (and the Eastern Orthodox Churches), acting “in fidelity to the example of the Lord.”

In this perspective, the National Catholic Reporter’s call for agitation by the Catholic laity in favor of a change in the Church’s teaching on ordination must be seen as profoundly misguided. This is not how Catholic teaching is arrived at or verified. The same thing is true of the idea that women have some kind of a “right” to ordination, or that they are somehow being unjustly “discriminated” against by being excluded from it. These are ideas imported into the Church from the reigning secular liberal culture; they simply do not apply to the kind of sacramental ordination practiced by the Catholic Church. Similarly, the idea that a Maryknoll priest should be allowed to go on publicly agitating against the Church’s teaching can in no way be justified.

But is the inability to ordain women to the sacred priesthood really a definitive Church teaching? In his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, issued on May 29, 1994, Blessed Pope John Paul II confirmed the teaching of Inter Insigniores, and, indeed, went beyond it, when making the following declaration:

In order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confirm priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be held definitively by all the Church’s faithful.

“No authority whatsoever…to be held definitively…” It would be hard to think of stronger language by which the mind of the Church could be made more clear, yet opposition to the Church’s teaching as well as arguments in favor of female ordination continued on then and continue on now. More than a year after Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on October 28, 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, over the signature of Cardinal Ratzinger, issued a Responsum ad dubium specifying that “this teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium” (emphasis added).

That’s “infallibly.” The teaching will not and cannot be changed. Women cannot be ordained. Yet none of this prevented the NCR from launching its campaign anyway, claiming all the while that its position represented the sensus fidelium. Such are the times.

It is ironic that the NCR issued its claim to represent the sensus fidelium on December 3, 2012. For on December 7, 2012, four days later, Pope Benedict XVI, in an address to the International Theological Commission, in effect issued an “answer” to the NCR editorial (although the pope could well have been entirely unaware of it). The pope said:

Today…it is particularly important to clarify the criteria used to distinguish the authentic sensus fidelium from its counterfeits. In fact, it is not some kind of public opinion of the Church, and it is unthinkable to mention it in order to challenge the teachings of the Magisterium, this because the sensus fidei cannot grow authentically in the believer except to the extent in which he or she fully participates in the life of the Church, and this requires a responsible adherence to her Magisterium.



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: cino; feminaziagenda; feminazis; feminists; ncr; priesthood; religiousleft; women; womenpriests

Kenneth D. Whitehead is a former career diplomat who served in Rome and the Middle East and as the chief of the Arabic Service of the Voice of America. For eight years he served as executive vice president of Catholics United for the Faith. He also served as a United States Assistant Secretary of Education during the Reagan Administration. His most recent book is Affirming Religious Freedom: How Vatican Council II Developed the Church’s Teaching to Meet Today’s Needs (St. Paul’s, 2010).


1 posted on 01/01/2013 9:11:00 AM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

They just won’t throw in the towel, will they.


2 posted on 01/01/2013 9:12:21 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

there are other churches, the Church of England for instance, that will gladly ordain them.

The Catholic Church says no deal, so go elsewhere if you don’t like it....


3 posted on 01/01/2013 9:13:44 AM PST by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: NYer
They just won’t throw in the towel, will they.

the left is an irritant and get their way one cut at a time. it is called incrementalism...and they are good at it.

4 posted on 01/01/2013 9:16:35 AM PST by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: Vaquero

Leftists claim to be “pro-choice” but in reality they are anything but. No one is forcing them to go to a church that ordains men only. They are completely free to start a religion that ordains females only. But they cannot stand the idea that someone or some organization exists that does not agree with them on everything. Look how they react to Fox News(which in reality isn’t as conservative as they think). They want nothing but absolute control.


5 posted on 01/01/2013 9:37:58 AM PST by ReformationFan
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To: NYer

Lesbians as ordained, great


6 posted on 01/01/2013 9:44:20 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: NYer

“Still, Jesus did not include any of them in the special group of apostles that he appointed, not even his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the human being whom the Church exalts above all others. Jesus seems to have believed that women and men, although equal in their human dignity, had somewhat different roles in the family and in society”

Uh dumb argument, what about Mary Magdalen? Yeah, she was pretty much an apostle. Not that I think women should be ordained, but don’t use stupid arguments to shore up your position.


7 posted on 01/01/2013 9:47:32 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

The obtuse should be careful of accusing others of being stupid.


8 posted on 01/01/2013 9:52:42 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro can't pass E-verify)
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To: yldstrk

Mary Magdalen was a disciple, not an Apostle.


9 posted on 01/01/2013 9:55:27 AM PST by rcofdayton (.)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

I can spot stupidity, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes make stupid mistakes, I misread situations all the time. Here though, I am not taking my comment back.


10 posted on 01/01/2013 9:59:18 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

There were 12 Apostles. None of them named Mary.


11 posted on 01/01/2013 10:00:31 AM PST by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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To: yldstrk
Here's the paragraph which immediately precedes the one you posted:

"Inter Insigniores explains that Jesus did not limit his selection of apostles to men alone because of the culture of his times that did not admit women to leadership positions in society. The document affirms what the record of the New Testament attests to in any case, namely, that Jesus was in no way bound by the culture of his times. In fact, he regularly treated women as the equals of men. The New Testament record clearly shows that women formed a vital part of his following; and were the ones, moreover, who stuck with him at the foot of the cross—just as Mary Magdalen was probably the first witness of the Resurrection."

Here's the question you posed:

Uh dumb argument, what about Mary Magdalen?

Sit up a little higher in your chair so reality doesn't fly so far over your grape.

12 posted on 01/01/2013 10:07:10 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro can't pass E-verify)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

hey jerk, your comment proves MY point not yours, loser


13 posted on 01/01/2013 10:14:44 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk; A.A. Cunningham; rcofdayton; don-o
Hello, yldstrk, and blessings to you. Please disregard and forgive anyone who has insulting words for you, on this great Solemnity of the Mother of God when all should be at peace.

Yes, yldstrk, Mary Magdalene was certainly an outstanding female disciple, more faithful than the vacillating Peter, more humble than the ambitious James and John, more believing than the doubting Thomas.

But she was not one of the Twelve: think of that.

And even moreso: neither was Mary the Mother of God an Apostle: Mary, who was (and doubtless is) the most perfect human creature who ever existed, whose dignity is beyond the Apostles, and one could argue, beyond the Angels and Archangels as well, since she honored by an Archangel with a title of matchless nobility, "Kecharitomene", and the anouncement that "the Lord is with you."

These things are unique, true singularities: no angel ever revealed to any other human being such an exalted name or title, and none came from heaven to announce to an earthly person that the Lord of Heaven was with her.

I was thinking about this as I was reading the first chapters of the Gospel of Luke, where it also tells that Mary was a contemplative (twice it says that she "meditated on these things in her heart) and a person who participated in the Passion via her profound empathy ("Your own soul a sword shall pierce.")

Mary is undoubtedly greater than the Archangel, and greater than any priest or pope. (Consider this: if Mary appeared to the pope, which of the two, do you think, would fall to their knees?)

To speak of a third Mary: Mary of Bethany, too, is described as a mystic, because she was the one who sat at Jesus' feet and received His teaching inwardly, while her sister Martha was busy with serving. Of course, Jesus loved them both dearly; while still declaring that Mary had "chosen the better part."

This all makes me think that, while serving in a hierarchical structure is a fittingly masculine (Petrine) vocation, the contemplative/mystical life is an especially feminine (Marian) vocation. And it is the better part.

I always tell my RCIA students that the really important and really interesting people in Catholicism are not the priests, nor the popes, but the saints.

14 posted on 01/01/2013 11:07:22 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly with your God.)
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To: NYer
They should found their own religion.

That way they can do anything they want.

15 posted on 01/01/2013 11:11:43 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("Democracy is indispensable to socialism. The goal of socialism is communism." --Vladimir Lenin)
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To: yldstrk
"hey jerk"

That kind of reply says more about you than your opinion.

16 posted on 01/01/2013 11:15:43 AM PST by cotton
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To: yldstrk

About Mary Magdalen: I don’t think it is an accident that the pope - John Paul II - who did so much to revive the title of “Apostle of the Apostles” (for Mary Magdalen) stated, dogmatically, that women can NEVER, EVER, be priests.


17 posted on 01/01/2013 11:40:14 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: NYer

We CATHOLIC women don’t want to be ordained.

We prefer the will of the Father.


18 posted on 01/01/2013 11:44:03 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Kudos, Mrs. Don-o! May the Mother of God intercede for rich blessings for you this day.

;-)


19 posted on 01/01/2013 11:51:59 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: NYer
The Scriptures make it perfectly clear that women were NEVER priests, nor did Jesus choose to call them into the apostolic ministry, as re-presenters of Jesus, the man. All the arguments FOR women's ordination are based upon contemporary views of justice and equality, not theological or biblical foundations. The provocative studies have to do with not whatthe Scriptures state, but rather on why God established a male only priesthood. The issue comes down to theology proper and the very nature of God Himself. Those that want to ordain women see the Holy Minstry in terms of functionality rather than a divinely instituted ministry connected with the essence of God.
20 posted on 01/01/2013 12:12:28 PM PST by Nemoque
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Every human being is greater than an any angel, archangels included. That was the whole point of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Some believe that the elevation of human nature over angels provoked Satan to rebel. The BVM was truly an instrument of salvation as the Mother of God; however, Mary was a sinner like all human beings. She plays a very small part in the Scriptures when compared with Jesus and the apostles. How many times is Mary even mentioned outside the gospels? The Marian Cult is based more upon superstition than reality.


21 posted on 01/01/2013 12:12:47 PM PST by Nemoque
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
They should found their own religion. That way they can do anything they want.

They know that, so why continue to pose their arguments? Their objective is to change the Catholic Church, not found a new one. Notice, no mention of the Orthodox Churches that also follow the same discipline.

22 posted on 01/01/2013 12:31:37 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer
They just won’t throw in the towel, will they.p> No, they won't, and they're adding on the demand for homosexual 'marriage', using the same argument; that it's an 'injustice' not to allow them.

It's like another religion, and you just cannot convince them that they could possibly be wrong. They're only looking at the alleged 'injustice', they're not considering the ramifications of these issues.

23 posted on 01/01/2013 12:49:10 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Mrs. Don-o
This all makes me think that, while serving in a hierarchical structure is a fittingly masculine (Petrine) vocation, the contemplative/mystical life is an especially feminine (Marian) vocation. And it is the better part.

I completely agree with you, however, the female ordination proponents consider 'women's work' to be a BAD thing, so they turn purple if your argument is even mentioned.

If you peel away the arguments for ordination from these women, you eventually get to what they REALLY want, and that's POWER. They want to change what the Church teaches, about abortion, homosexuality, and divorce, and they believe that the path to doing that would be priest, then Bishop, then Cardinal.

24 posted on 01/01/2013 1:01:05 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Nemoque; don-o
Nowhere in the Holy Scriptures is Mary described as a sinner. Quite the contrary, she is described as the Kecharitomene --- a unique word, if you want to look into it, since it is a verbal (participle) root used as a title or name, past tense, passive voice, perfect form, feminine gender. We have to express in a sentence what Greek expresses in a single word, since Greek is a highly inflected language that says a whole lot in a single word with its prefixes and suffixes: "She who has been completely filled with grace."

The Lord her Savior did this for her.

Using the analogy of, say, quicksand, one can be saved from quicksand in two ways: by being pulled out of it, or by being prevented from falling into it. We who are saved by Christ are saved in the first way, by being pulled out of the heritable consequences of Original Sin. Mary needed a Savior too, to save her the second way: by preventing her from falling in.

How do we know that? Because of the title by which the Archangel from Heaven addressed her, Kecharitomene: that says it all.

And because the Archangel said, "The Lord is with you." Not "the Lord BE with you," but "IS" with you. Scripture says (Psalm 5) "You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with You./The sinful cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all evildoers."

So Mary, His dwelling-place, had nothing to do with wickedness; He does not dwell in the presence of sin.

You say: "How many times is Mary even mentioned outside the gospels? The Marian Cult is based more upon superstition than reality."

I know what you mean. I used to think the same way, before I realized that there is a profound, Christ-centric way to read the Old Testament, a way explained by the Lord Himself.

Jesus refers to this when he is talking to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: "Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to Himself." (Luke 24:27)

It turns out that all of the OT -- every book ---refers to Christ, and every book, likewise, contains foreshadowings of Mary: from

to: In other words, from Genesis to Revelation, and every book in between.

Are you a disciple of Christ? Then stand with Mary and John at the foot of the Cross, when Jesus says to John and to us, "Behold, your Mother."

Happy New Year to you!

25 posted on 01/01/2013 1:36:20 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("He Whom the whole world cannot contain, was enclosed within thy womb, O Virgin, and became Man.")
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To: NYer

The Blessed Mother could have been a priest, could have insisted on it, but she didn’t. There is a reason, of course.

These women think they are better than the Blessed Mother, different as women; more important.

They are ignorant of the theology surrounding the Blessed Mother, so they are not catholic as they don’t follow Catholic teaching.

They are irrelevant and heretical.


26 posted on 01/01/2013 3:09:15 PM PST by stanne
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To: NYer

Pointing to the Protestant churches is profoundly misleading. For one thing, the evangelicals reject the very idea of a sacerdotal priesthood, an order of Christians separate and distinct from others. Their ministers are just that: functionaries, deriving their authority from the congregations.


27 posted on 01/01/2013 4:38:19 PM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: yldstrk

Anna the Prophetess in Luke who rejoiced when she saw the Baby Jesus in the Temple. But Anna was the real deal. These silly women are playing a stupid game.


28 posted on 01/01/2013 5:07:38 PM PST by District13 (Obama scares me)
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To: NYer

Leftist claptrap.

From a Noachide trained in Catholicism from his youth.


29 posted on 01/01/2013 9:15:05 PM PST by onedoug
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To: Vaquero

But they will LOSE on this one, trust me.


30 posted on 01/02/2013 7:34:22 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Sadly, some disciples of Jesus will simply put Jesus’s mother on “mental ignore” and focus only on Christ.


31 posted on 01/02/2013 7:41:24 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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