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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.