Skip to comments.Pope backs male priesthood, urges 'feminine genius' in Church
Posted on 11/27/2013 6:13:19 AM PST by NYer
.- Pope Francis reaffirmed Catholic teaching on male priesthood in his first apostolic exhortation, while calling for a broader application of the “feminine genius” in Church life.
“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” he said, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.”
The Pope's words came in his new document, “The Joy of the Gospel,” released Nov. 26. Also known as “Evangelii Gaudium,” the apostolic exhortation follows the 2012 bishops' synod on the new evangelization, which was held as part of the Year of Faith.
“Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the firm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded.”
However, this equal dignity cannot be equated with “sacramental power,” he said, quoting Bl. John Paul II’s words that priesthood falls “in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness.”
“The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all,” Pope Francis reflected. “The configuration of the priest to Christ the head – namely, as the principal source of grace – does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others.”
Although the function of the priesthood is considered “hierarchical,” it is ordered not towards domination but towards serving the members of the Church, he explained, observing that the authority of the priesthood is rooted in service and has its origin in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Still, the role of women in the Church is important, the Pope said in his exhortation, noting that “a woman, Mary, is more important than the bishops.”
“The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess,” the Holy Father said, pointing as an example to the “special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood.”
The Pope recognized that women already “share pastoral responsibilities with priests” and contribute to theological reflection.
“But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church,” he said.
Pointing to Catholic teaching on the “feminine genius,” he explained that women must be free to bring their gifts and skills to the workplace and other areas of decision-making, including within the Church.
Pope Francis also reflected on the broader role of the laity in the Church, saying that they are “the vast majority of the People of God,” and ordained ministers are the minority who are “at their service.”
“There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church,” he said, and there are “many lay persons, although still not nearly enough, who have a deeply-rooted sense of community and great fidelity to the tasks of charity, catechesis and the celebration of the faith.”
Many others, however, still lack an understanding of their responsibility as laity, he continued. Sometimes this is due to inadequate formation, and other times to “an excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision-making.”
While these challenges are significant, they are not insurmountable, the Pope stated.
“Challenges exist to be overcome!” he said. “Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigour!”
He gets it. Nuns can’t be priests any more than gays can be married. It’s just the way it is. The nuns should get over themselves.
I don’t see any reason why priests can’t be married, or woman cannot not be priests.
when jesus Christ set down these rules, he didn’t forsee the great strides in equality we would make in America in the 21st century.
I think that we should demand woman be priests, by force of law if necessary , and if Christ doesn’t like it, well, how will he like the equal opportunity commission slapping him with a big fat lawsuit? didn’t think so.
Troll. Boring troll.
2. In the Catholic Church in the USA alone, even more of our ordained clergy are married. The number of married deacons (15,000) is even larger than the number of priests in the religious orders (14,000) ---Jesuits, Franciscans and so forth.
3. There is nothing in history that Jesus didn't foresee. You do know He's God, right?
Furthermore, the "great modern strides" argument is bogus. Every pagan civilization surrounding the early Church had priestesses, and goddesses as well. Every one of them. Only the Jews and Christians did not. The Christians and Jews were not conformists within the larger culture. They were knowingly, and intentionally, countercultural.
Your last paragraph is --- uh, wait (slaps forehead) --- did you just forget your /s/?
“I dont see any reason why ...woman cannot not be priests.”
Jesus did. End of story.
“...jesus Christ ...didnt forsee the great strides in equality we would make in America in the 21st century.”
Jesus didn’t foresee? He’s God. He foresaw plenty.
“I think that we should demand woman be priests, by force of law if necessary , and if Christ doesnt like it, well, how will he like the equal opportunity commission slapping him with a big fat lawsuit? didnt think so.”
Oh, you’re being sarcastic. Got it.
willywill, someone of your economic stature should start your own religion. I’d hate to see your considerable theological talents wasted here on FR, when you could be out preaching the willywill Gospel (and making a pretty penny out of it).
All interesting facts. What should be explored further (IMHO) is the history of celibacy. It should be noted that celibacy is more of a tradition....NOT a doctrine. There is nothing in the Gospels, or the Bible which insists upon priestly celibacy. Celibacy came about 1000 after the founding of the Church. The first 40 popes at least were married men. Celibacy was introduced in the Middle Ages to combat corruption within the Church. Many priests began treating Church property as their own personal property and were leaving it to their children to inherit it. It was thus decided to protect Church property that priests should not be allowed to marry and have their own families.
I think that was sarcasm.
You are off the plantation here. Or are you being sarcastic and forgot to mark it as such?
You are off the plantation here. Or are you being sarcastic and forgot to mark it as such?
and mine wasn’t????
Wait a minute here. You’re talking actual Church history and Bible facts?? We won’t have it. No sir. Not about celibacy we won’t.
Your earlier post screeching about the “Jooooos” and their fearsome power over the U.S. was more subtle than this mess.
Maybe you should go back to DU and tell them you’ll be better suited for trolling when you’ve grown up, and after you’ve learned basic spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. A lack of basic literacy makes you stand out like a sore thumb, completely apart from your clumsy posts.
The Church in the West had to wage a protracted struggle against secular power. Bishops and abbots owned estates, whose income constituted the main support of the Church, but as owners of land the realm, there were constantly pressured to become mere vassals to the king and way too enmeshed with the political nobility. (Look up Investiture Controversy and you will see that reforming popes struggled AGAINST this for centuries.)
If a bishop had sons and daughters, hed be even more deeply caught up in dynastic marriage politics: marrying this daughter to that duke, and this son to that princess, and forming alliances with powerful families for all the political/economic/social benefits that would accrue.
Trying to secure the independence of bishops from the temporal Powers That Be was a huge job, it took a millennium to settle and its not what Id call settled even yet. But, for many centuries in the history of the Church, marriages would have forced priests and, even more so, bishops and abbots, to become even more deeply enmeshed in securing titles of nobility, access to estates and lands, royal alliances and the rest of it for all their children.
The Church was trying to steer clear of that whole web of worldly entanglements. Celibacy --- the avoidance of ongoing dynastic interconnections --- became an honorable way to secure more political independence from temporal power, and hence more freedom to be in this world but not of it.
“Maybe you should go back to DU “
All good points. The question for the Church today: Are the conditions you described applicable for present day considerations?
There is nothing in the Gospels, or the Bible which insists upon priestly celibacy.
There is plenty in the Gospels regarding celibacy. Check our Corinthians 7: 32-35. There are other passages as well.
Completely false. Celibacy was the practice in the Latin church from apostolic times. For more information read The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy by Fr. Christian Cochini, S.J.
Yes.... and here is what it says....”An unmarried WOMAN or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world-—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, NOT (emphasis added) to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
I do not think St. Paul in his letter here is making a case for a celibate unmarried clergy.
There's also the matter of celibacy being an eloquent eschatological sign, that is, a sign of being "not of this world" and a reminder that "this world" is coming to an end --- which is signalized by the other two monastic vows, poverty and obedience, as well. (Understand that monastic vows are not entirely the same as priestly vows --- too complicated to get into here.)
If I had to guess, I'd guess that the West will always have a mostly-celibate priesthood, the exceptions being the accomodations made for married Anglican and other priests converting and finding their way into the Catholic priesthood with wife and kids in tow.
BUT. What WILL happen, is that the priesthood will continue to decline in numbers, and more and more parochial functions will be taken over by deacons --- who are primarily called from the ranks of the married. So we'll have more and more parishes without a resident priest, but with two or three resident deacons carrying out almost all of the pastoral and administrative functions, as well as many of the sacramental ones (Baptism, and Matrimony.)
The Liturgical and Sacramental functions which absolutely need a priest (as celebrant at Mass, plus Confirmation, Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) will be done by circuit-riding priests, and much less frequently. Daily Masses and resident Priest-Pastors will be a thing of the past in most parishes.
This doesn't take much prophetic insight. It's happening already.
How about Paul’s letters to Timothy where he describes the roles of Bishop, Deacon and Presbyter (the name for a priest in those days.)??
It’s possible. I’m easily fooled.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.
Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am, but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire.
(1 Cor 7:7-9)
I don,t care what the bible says, if God calls a man to marry a man or an animal or if God calls a woman to preach the Bible is,nt his word more important than the Bible? sarc.
I will make it a point to check that book out of the library. It looks interesting. However, for a quick reference, here is what Wikipedia (not that I think that source should always be taken as gospel) has to say about the subject: (under the category of clerical celibacy)
Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries:
“The tenth century is claimed to be the high point of clerical marriage in the Latin communion (Catholic Church). Most rural priests were married and many urban clergy had wives and children....a large number of clergy, not only priests but bishops, openly took wives and begot children to whom they transmitted their benefices (Church property)...”
“Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
He does not say MUST accept it.
There were other reasons that were more tied to popular philosophy than anything, but you hit some good points.
Can you please cite chapter and verse so I can look at the text.
You just described how the LCMS in my area ended up with Communion every other week instead of weekly. In larger areas, this is not the case.
The reason does date back from Christ being a man who was resurected. Making women priests would be revising history and claiming God in flesh could have been woman, which would violate the idea of spiritual independence through God from Eve as mother of all living things.
All interesting facts. What should be explored further (IMHO) is the history of celibacy.
“It should be noted that celibacy is more of a tradition....NOT a doctrine.”
Who is claiming it is a doctrine?
“There is nothing in the Gospels, or the Bible which insists upon priestly celibacy.”
Insists? No. Encourages? Yes.
“Celibacy came about 1000 after the founding of the Church.”
No. There has always been some celibate clergy. It was only in the last first millennium that the Roman Church said she would not ordain men unless they were celibate.
“The first 40 popes at least were married men.”
And the practice was to live as brother and sister in many cases if not all.
“Celibacy was introduced in the Middle Ages to combat corruption within the Church.”
That was one reason, but not the only one.
“Many priests began treating Church property as their own personal property and were leaving it to their children to inherit it. It was thus decided to protect Church property that priests should not be allowed to marry and have their own families.”
That was not the only reason. What you are forgetting is that the biggest supporters of clerical celibacy were the monasteries and bishops - all of whom were celibate anyway. They supported it for reasons other than what you have mentioned.
Christ never preached equality but quite His own uniqueness. Infact He was ungainly in looks and easy to spit on. He praised the persecuted because they would be vomited out of the world.
St. Paul echoed that man is not to be a slave of man or woman and ought to serve God and not wife. If that is not a point on the praising of dedicated celibacy for the sake of life of others and of one’s soul, then what is?
I know that that line has been repeated by many sources but I have never seen any documentation for the original source. Given the contrary evidence it is most likely pure invention.
But this is directed to everyone, not just clergy. The Church on the other hand is free to choose those whom it wishes for clergy and it has decided to choose those who accept the charism of celibacy. No one has a right to be a priest.
Trolls base themselves in a fictitious account of their belief in God and Jesus when in fact they have no such. It is deception argument. They like wolf in sheep clothing hide their advocacy against God whie pretending they come from God’s viewpoint. Islam does the same, by the way.
willywill!! du is short for www. DemocraticUnderground . com. A most delightful website which would be delighted to hear from you. You'll fit right in, I'm sure. Tell them I sent you.
Before that, the Western church, like the Eastern, had a mix of married and celibate clergy. My husband's ancestors are McNabbs (sons of the Abbot).
Along the lines of the Cochini book, I understand that even married deacons were expected to vow celibacy before ordination. That was why a deacon could not be ordained without his wife's permission: she had to be in agreement with the voluntary cessation of marital relations.
That's what it does NOW, sure. What church elected Saul(Paul)? None. God selected him. That was the way Paul was elected. As he evangelized, he chose members to accompany him and they in turn pastored churches. So if a married man wants to become a priest because God called him to service, your church would reject him because of his marriage. You would be thwarting what God wanted through your doctrines which are not founded on Biblical teachings. That's not the way it used to be is all I'm saying.
I remember telling my daughter that she ought to read about the lifes of the women who became saints for an example of women serving in the church. And we are Protestant.
I agree with you: The priesthood will continue to decline, mainly due to demographic factors.
Back in the day-—I’m sure many of us recall-—it was the norm for Catholic families to have a large number of children. Not unusual for a Catholic family to have five or six or in some cases seven or eight children. These families-—especially the most religious and observant-—often encouraged a son or a daughter to enter into vocations. Nowdays, most Catholic families have about the same number of children as most Protestant families-—usually one or two. So now days these families usually don’t encourage their children to enter into the celibate vocations.
Here, in the L.A. Archdiocese-—where I live-—we have large immigrant communities which still produce large families. Consequently most of the new seminarians and priests entering into vocations now come from those communities. The priesthood here used to be of mostly Irish and Italian descent. Now most of the new priests I see coming into the fold around here are of hispanic and Asian descent. Also, I’ve noticed many of the men today entering are considerably older than was once the case. Men who are more sexually mature-—many have been around the block a few times-—and know what is expected of them. Since the pedophile priest scandal, the Archdiocese has gone to great lengths to weed out potential pedophiles.
This is not well supported by Scripture, Ravenwolf. The Church has always been, and still is still made up of sinners. Jesus specifically says, in Matthew 13:24-30, that the Kingdom has wheat and weeds growing in the same field, and will have until the end of time. Every society, including the Church, has to have laws to, as you say, "hold down corruption" --- that's why Jesus gave St. Peter the Power of the Keys of the Kingdom, which is, the power to make laws, to govern.
The Kingdom will never be entirely pure and without corruption until we are all safe in Heaven with our good Lord. Praise to Him forever!
Today, few Catholic parents would want one or both of their 2.0 planned kids to take vows of celibacy.
Contraception is also what is killing marriage --- across the board, for people of all religions. It is killing the marriage culture: families, cities, nations and civilizations. But contraception killed Holy Orders first.
The way things are going these days it’s quite difficult to tell sarcasm from real life. I just read an article about Eric Holder suing a private company because it’s website doesn’t work properly. I thought for sure it was sarcasm but it isn’t. Sigh.
Not just contraception....but economics. Kids are EXPENSIVE these days! We only have one.
You are technically correct if you regard celibacy as strictly unmarried. What Fr. Cochini has pointed out, however, is that those who were married before ordination were required to separate and practice constancy within marriage. In any case, ordination among celibates was still the norm. The West never allowed for a married clergy that still shared bed with their wives.
The most outstanding saints were children of the poor.