Sunday, September 21, 2014

Women priests: my response to one lady who says she is the first woman priest in NC

"I was the first woman in North Carolina to be ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest.

"The association whose program I completed is validly ordained in the right of the holy orders of the Roman Catholic Church. The first women were ordained by a male bishop who is in good standing with Rome and remains anonymous because he would be excommunicated if it were ever known that he had taken part. That movement started in 2002, so I'm just part of that movement."
Ok, if this bishop is “in good standing with Rome” but remains anonymous says only ONE thing, he is not right with Rome…or the Holy See, so whatever he does in the name of the  Roman Catholic Church is invalid.  Period.  Nothing more needs to be said here.  We have books, magazines and papers that pour over the many new seminarians and novices that are working towards finalizing their callings, but there is no reason at all to publicize schismatic and disrespectful activity such as this.

What kinds of complications are involved with becoming a priest if you are female?

"The teaching is that we have excommunicated ourselves automatically by disobeying canon law. But we believe that God's law comes first. There is a moral imperative to change an unjust law and when an unjust law cannot be changed then it must be broken. That is social justice 101. Many Catholics may not think of this as a social justice issue, but it is. I didn't do this just to do something different. I did this because I had a call. I processed this call for years with other spiritual guides, most of whom are in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church, both priests and sisters. The studies show that 50-60% of Roman Catholics would welcome women in the priesthood. There is nothing in the Bible, nothing scripturally, that prevents women from being ordained in the priesthood. The current theology shows that women were ordained in the early church, certainly not the ordination that we have now, that process developed over 2,000 years, but women were leaders in the early church. Mary Magdalene, throughout the ages has been called the 'apostle to the apostles.'"
There is also nothing scriptural that backs up female priests. What it does emphasize scripturally is that women have a very important and necessary role in the Church.  
It was precisely to Mary Magdalene that St. Thomas Aquinas reserved the special title, "Apostle of the Apostles" (apostolorum apostola), dedicating to her this beautiful comment: "Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life" (Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, § 2519).

What is lost here in these so-called social justice 101 canon law-breakers is the complete lack of attention to detail in the biblical role of women.  Unlike the obvious male role as apostles, priests, etc., women held roles of support and influence bar none.  It is Mary, who bore the Godhead to redeem the world, it was Anna, who recognized the Christ child in the temple, and it was the woman with the alabaster jar of oil, washing Christ’s feet that we remember most assuredly, as Christ instructed us to.  It was Mary Magdalene who announced the resurrection to the group of disappointed apostles, and a group of women followers that had the means to keep this missionary band with food and means to carry on the work for 3 years.

The “current theology” shows that women were ordained in the early church”…nothing could be farther from the truth.  Yes, yes, we had a lady named Phoebe who was a deaconess, but 2,000 years ago no title of any formality was definitive as yet.  The early Church was just beginning.  No one in their right mind would interpret this title as something more than affirming their selfish desire to be a priest.  What organization in its infancy has their hierchy in place right out the gate?  It takes time and the Catholic Church truly took her time.  Did I say “Her”?  Why yes, the Church is referred to as a woman!  The Catholic Church is referred to as the bride of Christ.  He gave his life for her and it is in this verse in Ephesians that we see why the Church is the bride of Christ:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Do you have any advice for others who follow the faith?

"In spiritual direction, we try to get in touch with how God is working in our lives. We try to become conscious of that working of God. How is God speaking to me? How do we appropriately respond to that?

"Christians have largely been taught that it's all indoctrination, it all comes from the past or the hierarchy who have determined how to translate God's actions, but I believe you should listen to the God within you. God is closer to you than you are to your own self. God is deep within. It is within the day to day living out, the reflection, prayerful reflection, silent reflection. Listen to that still small voice. That is in Isaiah, God is in the still small voice. Have the courage to follow it. That is what I am trying to build, a community that listens to this still small voice. Go against the grain if you need to, confront the power structures. I believe God is a God of justice and I feel we need to move deeper into that realm of justice."
The God inside you is the God of the past, present and the future!  He has not changed and he will not change.  Christ made enough rebellious noise in his time to the shock of those around him.  He ate with tax collectors, sinners, and the like, he didn’t wash his hands, and performed great works on the Sabbath.  Do you think if he had intended women to be one of the apostles, he would have done so?  Of course he would, but he didn’t.  He did not have women in the roles of apostles for a very good reason.  He needed them to have their own purpose and role necessary to the ministry’s future.
In short, without the generous contribution of many women, the history of Christianity would have developed very differently.
This is why, as our newly canonized St. John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem: "The Church gives thanks for each and every woman.... The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine 'genius' which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness" (n. 31).
All in all, discernment of one’s vocation may take months or years and it also depends on which “little voice” you listen to.  Men and women have very different bodies, minds and roles in life, which is exactly how God created us.  We are all of one body, but different parts, and different roles to play.  No job, no matter what size needs all supervisors, there needs to be planners, surveyors, architects, finishers, etc.  Because without these other roles, the mission cannot be completed!

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

Well said, Ebeth...