Saturday, January 14, 2012

Womanpriest Mass 2

I obtained permission from Judi to quote her.
Jeanette, It was great to read the article about Mary [in previous post]. I have heard that we have women presiding at masses somewhere here in Milwaukee. I am open to male or female and never quite understood how we got to where we are. We had popes with children, priests with children, and yet some say we need to go back to the early church. Which early church was that?
Judith Kittleson Kearney
Judi asks a shrewd question. Going back to the way things were might mean going back to a church so corrupt that Martin Luther was forced to take a stand against church authority. It might mean having 3 popes or having popes direct wealth to their children or having popes with armies. It might mean most priests openly having sexual partners and having children. The Church didn’t get serious about celibacy until after the first millennium.

Campaigns against women have risen and fallen throughout Church history but always there were the underlying assumptions that infested our entire patriarchal paradigm, secular and religious. Like Blacks, women were at times said to be less than human, to have no soul, to belong naturally in a servant role, subordinate and submissive.
Early Americans didn’t educate women and didn’t let them participate in politics. Girls didn’t go to school; they learned “domestic arts.” In Founding Mothers: Women Who Raised Our Nation, Cokie Roberts writes,
 Husbands essentially owned women. They had some rights to inheritance, . . . but in the context of the marriage itself they owned nothing, not even their own jewelry. . . . Men legally owned their wives under English law.
Judi again.
I may live to see married male priests, but something tells me it will take longer for the Church to accept that women too may be called to serve as priests. I choose not to spend a great deal of time thinking about what Rome tells me. Like all humans, many of our leaders have changed their message over the years.
I often think that Jesus, the humble teacher in sandals and rough clothing, must shake his head when He sees some of the things that have become Church.
Keep up the good work and remember how powerless we are over the thoughts, opinions, feelings, and actions of others. It is really hard to listen and note other perspectives calmly when they are so contrary to what we believe to be true. Have a grand day!
Kathleen emailed these questions:
Do you think if we were to live another 50  or 100 years-- would we see a change in how the Catholic Church will look?
Would there be more women in the hierarchy as there were in the early church?
I have no doubt the Catholic Church will have womenpriests in the future, and I also expect the Vatican to lose its tyrannical power, to become more of a central clearinghouse and less the seat of power. Finally, I expect Christian beliefs to morph. Christianity has already lost its place of premier opinion-making in our society.

Someday, probably not in our lifetime, the official Church will apologize for its treatment of women, specifically its denial of ordination to women.  The embarrassment over that wrong-headed stance has already begun.

1 comment:

Florian said...

Jeanette did not really answer Judi's question, so I guess I'll have to do so.

Judi says that she's not quite sure how we got to where we are now. She is talking about the issue of women and the priesthood. Well, the reason we do not have women priests is because there have never been women priests. And every time the issue has come up, the official church has said no to women priests. That's how “we got to where we are.” It's pretty simple.

There's another confusion that needs to be cleared up, though. Judi says, “I may live to see married male priests, but something tells me it will take longer for the Church to accept that women too may be called to serve as priests.” Judi seems to think that the issue of whether to have married priests should be analogous to the issue about women priests. It's just a matter of changing the rules, right? Well, no. The reason it is easier to change the rules to admit married men as priests is because we've had them before. As Jeanette said, the celibacy rule we have now was not consistently enforced in the first millennium of the Church. Also, the Eastern Orthodox still have married priests even today. But we have never had women priests. We have had a constant tradition of a male-only priesthood going back to the apostles. Now, if a tradition goes back to the apostles, then you can bank on the Church reinforcing that tradition and claiming that it does not have the authority to change it. Other examples of apostolic traditions that have never and can never change: 1) Sunday being the principal day of worship (i.e. a holy day of obligation), 2) bread and wine being the Eucharistic matter (and not, say, crackers and grapejuice), and 3) bishop-priest-deacon being the essential hierarchical leadership structure in every local church.

I have said it before: the Catholic Church is a stickler for tradition. It is a defining characteristic of Catholicism. If you don't like tradition (because that's too “conservative,” or whatever), then you're just going to have to start your own church, which is basically what Mary Francis is doing.