I have a friend that is currently training to be a Jesuit, and his sister desperately would like to be one as well. They are equally matched. However, he is allowed to be a priest and she is not. With all of the reading I have done recently it seems that strong faith and Gods love is not selected by gender as my reading has recently revealed to me that 90% of Stigmatics are women. I no longer see a creditable argument as to why celibate women should not be priests.
It is the discussion that I had with her that provoked the following questions. If you have any answers for the following I’m all too willing to listen. The real topic I want to discuss is in the questions it is not necessarily if celibate women should be priests. However, I do see the two questions very interrelated, as you may have guessed by now.
As you know by now, I have recently read that 90% of Stigmatics are woman. If this is so, does that mean that woman have a greater ability than men to connect with god? Does this mean that emotional openness which women seem to have a greater sensitivity too in some ways allows women to connect easier? Or does it somehow mean that women in some ways have greater faith then men? Does it mean that a true relationship with god is not only very intellectually strenuous but also emotional strenuous? Do the emotional avenues, with faith and an intellectual understanding of god combine to form a powerful triumvirate that allows god to truly enter a person? Mary was truly favored by god, has this given a special place to all of womanhood?
I cannot off hand think of anything in the bible that speaks of women having a closer relationship with god, however, this is what the evidence is pointing toward. If this is true, is this not a good case of why women should be allowed to be priests albeit still celibate?
I have a lot of questions but no answers. I would appreciate any insight anyone has on these topics.
Please do not respond with remarks that she should apply to a nunnery, as she is very intelligent and that thought would have already crossed her mind. The truth is that she doesn’t want to be a Nun, she wants to be a priest.
This can no more be changed than the Truth concerning Christ rising on the 3rd day. The roles of both women and men within the church are important and at the same time reserved for that particular gender. It’s not a “you’re not good enough” or “I’m better than you” thing. It is what Christ intended and it’s not within the Church’s authority to change it. God bless.
It is a very dangerous to start thinking the Chruch is in error by not allowing female Priests. The reasons why they can’t are reasonable and valid. It does not lessen the dignity and honour of a woman just because she cannot access the Priesthood.
Being a Priest is a calling from God, and if God intended this young lady to become a Priest, she would not have been born a young lady. If she truly loves God, she will accept this and still make something special of her life in service to the Lord.
It is not an option that we have to ordain women to the priesthood. It is not an insult to a woman’s intelligence to be a Nun or a sister. Do Jesuits have a 3rd order ? Perhaps she could do that. It is unfortunate that she “wants” something that she cannot possibly have.
No. Women may, on the whole, be more “emotionally open” than men, and may indeed have a more deeply spiritual nature, but this is because of their being created to be nurturers of children - and of men. Women are designed to be the civilizing influence of men (unfortunately, today we are seeing more girls/women joining in uncivilized behavior.) The great St. John Chrysostom, well expresses the spiritual authority that women can have: “In virtue, women are often enough the instructors of men; while the latter wander about like jackdaws in dust and smoke, the former soar like eagles into higher spheres,” In epistulum ad Ephesios, hom. 13:4. But this doesn’t translate into their being able to sacramentally represent Christ Who is Male. There is a problem with diminishing the humanity and maleness of Christ which is akin to distorting the vocation of each gender.
Your friend and you (by agreeing with her desire) are implying that the Vicars of Christ through the ages have erred and that their successor, the late and beloved John Paul II, because of his insistence that the Church cannot ordain women (or allow contraception, abortion, etc., etc., - pick the complaint), was somehow stuck in a long-ago faded theology that now requires some new revelation by the Holy Spirit to bring the Church into the 21st century (or 22nd, or 23rd, etc., etc.).
The late Holy Father on several occasions gave reasons why the priesthood of Christ is not an option for women, the main ones being that the priest acts ‘in persona Christe’, but also, that had women been chosen for that sacrament, Christ would have chosen His Holy Mother.
Now why don’t some find those reasons fitting?? There must be something missing or skewed in their considering this as a believer for them not to get it. IOW, they can’t think theologically very well. Probably because they have this attitude that if the arguments don’t make sense to THEM, they don’t make sense. Such an attitude is a failure to admit their limitations. A humble mind would say, “Gee, the Pope gave us a couple of leads on why the Tradition can not be reversed; maybe I should follow those leads and reflect on how they fit with ordination”.
The person closest to God is a woman and her name is Mary. But Jesus didn’t pick her as an apostle. He only picked men.
The fact that only men can be priests does not mean that men are somehow spiritually superior. If that were the justification, then I can certainly understand wanting to change it. It’s all about different roles. We are all equal in dignity, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t differences.
I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that 90% of *alleged *stigmatics were women, as these things rarely can be substatiated and the Church has not pronounced approval on all but a handful.
Having said that, I agree with the previous posters that desire, technical ability and personal holiness are not pre-requisites of the preisthood. The 2000 year apostolic witness and the defined teaching of the Church are.
is not an option that we have to ordain women to the priesthood. It is not an insult to a woman’s intelligence to be a Nun or a sister. Do Jesuits have a 3rd order ? Perhaps she could do that. It is unfortunate that she “wants” something that she cannot possibly have.
The Jesuist are either Priest or Brothers. They do not have nuns or third orthers.
A English woman, Mary Ward tried to make a female Jesuit order, the Institute. Like the Jesuits they were to be nuns highly trained in theology and have also a secular profesion. But in the XVII century that was a idea ahead of her time.
But the Opus Dei and the Dominican nuns are very close to what Mary Ward wanted today.
I appreciate your many and varied responses. The Web site that listed 90% of stigmatics are woman was www.catholic-form.com where you can research many saints. As far as verification of stigmatics is concerned, yes it is true that they are very hard to prove. However, St. Theresa Newman occurred in recent years and is well documented. St. Rita also suffered a wound of Christ. Granted St. Rita’s occurred in the 1400’s which means that we accept it on faith after all she is a saint. This is much the same as having faith that Jesus was the Son of God. This also works with the infallible principle. The Saints that have been canonized must have suffered these wounds if this is the reason they have become saints. If not then the church is in error, and we cannot accept that they would error on something as important as this.
Secondly, it is true that Jesus chose men to spread his message of love and peace. It is also true that it is this message that has allowed western economics to work. However, why did Jesus choose men? Jesus did nothing by accident, everything was done for a reason, including choosing his apostles. I believe, and correct me if I’m mistaken that the ancient world was very patriarchal. This is why Jesus, would have chosen men. Jesus needed followers that people would listen too, and at this current time in history only men carried that sort of weight. Remember, that in Rome itself women had very few rights, and the highest ranking women were prostitutes. Would the general public listen to a group of women at this time in history? The obvious answer is no that is why he choose men. Remember, that women didn’t even have a right to vote in this country until 1920, the effects of which we are still feeling. This is a short history of why I believe Jesus choose men.
That being said, we move on to the point that FCEGM made, I quote from him. “No. Women may, on the whole, be more “emotionally open” than men, and may indeed have a more deeply spiritual nature, but this is because of their being created to be nurturers of children - and of men. Women are designed to be the civilizing influence of men (unfortunately, today we are seeing more girls/women joining in uncivilized behavior.) The great St. John Chrysostom, well expresses the spiritual authority that women can have: “In virtue, women are often enough the instructors of men; while the latter wander about like jackdaws in dust and smoke, the former soar like eagles into higher spheres,” In epistulum ad Ephesios, hom. 13:4.”
This is a beautiful quote, and I believe it makes my point quite clear. Priests need more now, than ever before to be nurturers, and a civilizing influence of men and children. A chief role of a priest is to instruct the people, men and women on what the gospels truly mean. This quote gives great insight into why we need to consider women for such roles.
The gender role was established as a sign of the times, those times have changed. As far as the maleness of Christ goes. Christ is the people that live the sacraments; on earth he was male, but I think you can find Christ in women as well. I quote Archbishop Romero “You should know that you have not suffered alone for the people are the church, the people are Jesus in the here and now.” From my estimation this includes women.
As far as my friend is concerned, god did create her a woman, however, that doesn’t mean that she couldn’t feel a calling. As we are all born what we are, however, we can choose if we are going to love God or not.
In conclusion, I believe that my ability to think theologically is in its infancy, however, I have not resorted to attack as some have. Attack is a sign of the Ego, and I’m not quiet proud enough to use this ineffective means of persuasion.
I love my church as much as I love Christ and my Wife however, we must confront the facts. The facts are that we do not have enough priests to go around our parish priest is currently 70 years old, and the diocese is still short four priests. Marriage is not the answer for solving this problem, as running a parish is a life, and this leaves no time for a wife. I believe that god has given us a sign in how truly holy some women are, and perhaps it is time that we tap some of that holiness and talent and place it on the altar. Most of you don’t like this argument however, we must face the facts.
This argument is made in many forms. It usually goes that Jesus lived in a certain period of time and worked within that periods traditions. Yet the Bible is full of instances where Jesus did just the opposite. Just three quick examples;
*]Jesus talking to the Samaritian woman at the well
*]Jesus defending the adulterous woman and telling those without sin to cast the first stone
*]Jesus defending his disciples for picking wheat in the fields to eat on the sabbath[/LIST]For the argument to stand that Jesus picked men to be his Apostles because the time period would not allow him to pick women is bunk when we look at these three (and there are many more then just these three) cases were Jesus went against the traditions of the time.
If God would have wanted man and woman to be exactly the same then he would not have created humans with two genders, there would only be one.
I went to that website and it is only a bunch of advertisements and the domain name is for sale. Do you mean www.catholic-forum.com? They have a large database of saints. Here is the direct link to the article I think you probably read: Stigmata
In any case, it really is not relevant to the discussion. The first record of anyone having the stigmata is St. Francis, and that was 1200+ years after Christ established an all male priesthood. Having the stigmata does not mean the person is “holier” than someone who doesn’t. The greatest saint in the Catholic Church (Mary) did not have the stigmata. If having the stigmata or personal holiness was the basis for the all-male priesthood, then, yes this would be relevant. As it is not the basis, it really has no bearing on the discussion. No one would argue that women can’t be as holy as men.
Prostitute is the highest rank for a woman in Roman society? Where are you getting this information? Is it from a credible historical source, or is it just conjecture and hearsay?
In ancient Rome, there were priestesses. If Jesus really wanted to go with the “times”, he would have had women priests, rather than not.
Personally, I think it is silly to think that Jesus was somehow bound to the “times” in which he lived. He was God! If He had wanted to do it that way, He would have.
In our modern day, I think we have the tendency to point our finger backwards and say “you’re just a product of your time” and yet fail to grasp the fact that we are also a product of our time. With all the strides made by the feminist movement in the last 40 years (some good and some bad), it is only natural that women would turn their eyes to the priesthood. Our culture has ingrained it in our head that women and men are exactly the same, and thus, “anything you can do, I can do better.” It is true we are equal in dignity, and women are certainly capable of doing many things just as well or better than men. But some things just don’t work. Men can’t bear children and women can’t be priests. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other, just different.
The priest shortage is not a theological justification for the ordination of women. It is an argument from convenience. Simply because, in theory, it would solve the “vocation crisis” is not a good enough reason.
The fact is, the Church has already spoken definitively on the matter. John Paul II said in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine 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 confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
Even after the pope made it explicitly clear that the Church simply does not have the authority to ordain women, and this must be accepted by all, some people still disagreed. They would say, “Well, this is just a discipline, so a future pope might change it. It’s not doctrine. It’s not part of the deposit of faith.”
Dubium [Question]: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.
Responsum [Answer]: In the affirmative.
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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The matter has been settled. It will never change. It’s okay if someone does not to understand this teaching. If that is the case, they should seek to understand it by asking questions and reading up on it. (I recommend the article Why Not Women Priests? as a simple, brief explanation of this teaching). But, at the end of the day, all Catholics are bound to accept this teaching.
p.s.: I appreciate you not resorting to attacks to get your point across. Hopefully, I have not come across as attacking, either. That is not my intent.
The presence of stigmata is never the reason for canonization. What is the cause for canonization is the depth of sanctity that the person has exhibited; stigmata may be an exterior sign of this, but the Church does not assume so in its investigations into the the lives of those proposed for sainthood.
Secondly, it is true that Jesus chose men to spread his message of love and peace. It is also true that it is this message that has allowed western economics to work. However, why did Jesus choose men? Jesus did nothing by accident, everything was done for a reason, including choosing his apostles. I believe, and correct me if I’m mistaken that the ancient world was very patriarchal. This is why Jesus, would have chosen men. . . .
Jesus easily could have done otherwise. Clearly, Jesus’ own mother merited being a priest, if any woman does. But, Jesus never ordained her, nor did He ordain any of His female followers. Indeed - as had already been mentioned, in the 1st Century, every other religion in the world had priestesses (which is what a female priest would be); and so if Jesus wanted to ordain women to the Christian priesthood, there would have been no cultural barrier to this and certainly not among the pagan Greek and Roman converts to Christianity who were very familiar with and accepting of having priestesses in their native religions.
Likewise, we cannot say that Jesus was hampered by His own Jewish culture, since the Lord transcended Jewish custom and tradition in many respects, as has already been pointed out to you (e.g. eating without washing His hands, etc.); and so He could clearly have appointed women to His priesthood if He so desired, despite the fact that there were no female Levitical priests in Judaism.
Since Jesus did not ordain women to the priesthood, we cannot; and this is because Jesus prescribed and defined the basic form and elements of all the Sacraments. For example, we are not free to use sand instead of water when we Baptize people. This is because water was what the Lord prescribed for us to use. Likewise, we cannot use pizza and Coca Cola instead of bread and wine for the Eucharist. This is because the Lord told us to use bread and wine. Likewise, we cannot use a woman for the Sacrament of Ordination, since the Lord used men for this Sacrament - a man (not a woman) being the prescribed element for the Sacrament.
The reason that a man is the prescribed element for the Sacrament of Ordination is because the priest is to stand in the place of Christ (acting “in Persona Christi Capitas” - “In the Person of Christ the Head”), and so preside over the Body (the Church) as its Sacramental Head (Christ’s Sacramental vicar). To do this, the priest must image Christ the Bridegroom, i.e., be a physical sign of Christ the Bridegroom, and to relate this way to the Church, which, collectively, is Christ’s Bride - His own Body (see Eph. 5:25-32); and in order to do this, the priest must be a male. Intimately connected to this is the origin of the word “priest” itself, which in the Greek of Scripture is “presbyteros” (e.g. Acts 14:23) often translated literally as “presbyter” or “elder,” but what it really means in Greek is “senior” or “patriarch”, i.e., the father of the community. This, of course, is the origin of the Catholic custom of calling a priest “father” (see 1 Cor. 4:15); and this is a continuity of our Jewish roots, for it was the father (and not the mother) who presided at the Passover Meal, and so over our New Passover Meal, the Eucharist. It was also the father or elder (“presbuteros”) of the family, tribe, or clan which offered animal sacrifices on behalf of the family, tribe, or clan before the institution of the Jewish Levitical priesthood under Moses (e.g. Gen 8:20-21, Gen 15:9-18, Gen 26:25, etc.). Christ’s New Covenant was a restoration of this privilege to the fathers of the entire community (the Ordination of presbyters / priests: Acts 14:23), rather than limiting it to the Levitical caste alone (as Moses had done after the rebellion of the Golden Calf). A woman, of course, is incapable of being a father, just as a man is incapable of being a mother.
The Catholic Church, by the Lord’s own design is a Family - a Household (Eph. 2:19-20, 1 Tim. 3:15), and thus a patriarchy by nature.
That being said, we move on to the point that FCEGM made, I quote from him. . . .
You quote from her
. . .The gender role was established as a sign of the times, those times have changed. As far as the maleness of Christ goes. Christ is the people that live the sacraments; on earth he was male, but I think you can find Christ in women as well. . . .
No, “the gender role” is not for a given time a “sign of the times”, especially as this relates to Christ as a Man and those called to be His priests. Remember, Jesus did not simply become human, He became a male human. To ordain women priests would be to reduce the Incarnation to “Jesus became human”, weakening its theology. Again, this is not to say that men are better or superior to women - we are certainly equal in dignity - but we cannot accept the fallacious idea of modern radical feminism that says there are no differences between men and women. There are two sexes, not one.
You may not have looked at one of the articles I recommended which specifically addresses your misunderstanding of Christ and His coming as a man; an excerpt:
“The New and Eternal Covenant in His Blood is a Wedding Covenant. God in seeking out the lost sheep (fallen mankind) has freely chosen to seek her out as a groom does a bride, and desired to have us spent eternity with Him in a Wedding Feast without end. Christ as Redeemer, then, is a Groom, i.e., a Spouse. This a woman can not symbolize by her sexual nature as a woman, i.e., in her very being. Thus from the viewpoint of Redemption as well as Creation it is impossible for a woman to symbolize by her existence God the Creator or Redeemer. It is therefore most fitting that God become a definite male in Christ, fitting to Who He is and what He intends to do.”
As far as my friend is concerned, god did create her a woman, however, that doesn’t mean that she couldn’t feel a calling. As we are all born what we are, however, we can choose if we are going to love God or not.
Actually, it does mean that she couldn’t feel a legitimate calling. Certainly, we are all called to love God and our response must be a full one to realize by His grace all that He has created us to be. God, however, never calls to what is impossible for one to accomplish – e.g., for a man to give birth to a child and for a woman to be a priest.
Even should a person be honestly doubtful about the Church’s teaching on this, the person ought to give the Church’s view the greater weight and not one’s own tendency, since the Church is in the position of authority to better know than the individual at odds with her teaching.
This is also true of moral teachings, e.g., contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, fornication. Those individual Catholics who find themselves at odds with the known teaching of God in the Church of God must conform their judgments to the known Mind of Christ expressed in the Church’s teaching on morals, even when the reasons for the teaching don’t make sense to those who don’t see the point, since the Church is in a position to know and judge and they are not. That is because the Church has been given Divine authority to judge and promulgate, and the individual has not been so given these things.
. . .The facts are that we do not have enough priests to go around our parish priest is currently 70 years old, and the diocese is still short four priests. Marriage is not the answer for solving this problem, as running a parish is a life, and this leaves no time for a wife. I believe that god has given us a sign in how truly holy some women are, and perhaps it is time that we tap some of that holiness and talent and place it on the altar. Most of you don’t like this argument however, we must face the facts.
It’s easily seen that there is no vocation shortage where the local Church is faithful and countercultural, loyal to the Church and the Holy Father. So the problem lies not in lessening the expectations but in demanding just such fidelity. That is what the faithful deserve. The actual facts are that Christ only called men to be His priests and that this is a teaching that cannot change. So, the facts are simple. The sign you consider important, the stigmata, is hardly a blip on the Church’s “radar”; while it is an interesting phenomenon, extraordinary phenomena is not the gauge for holiness, but fidelity to Christ and His Church is; anyone who tries to use the former to overthrow the latter is engaging in an exercise in futility.
Lastly, here’s another article that might be helpful to your understanding:
“The first certitude that must be understood is that all struggles are not sociological in their genesis, but rather philosophical. It is no different with this issue. The philosophy underlying the thrust for women priests is essentially a utilitarian one. Underlying this disastrous push is the belief that a person’s worth is determined by a person’s utility. So, the thinking goes, if women cannot become priests, their inherent worth is somehow affected since they have apparently been judged ‘unworthy’ of ordination. The Church condemns this philosophy, however, since it is totally antithetical to the her teaching that all people are intrinsically and inestimably valuable in the eyes of God, independent of their utility or their ability to produce. This misplaced view is also predicated on a secular and unchristian view of authority. Christianity views authority in a father-son relationship; the world views authority via a power-dominance struggle. Hence, when there is an avenue which women cannot pursue in the Church, it is viewed through the latter lens and not the former. In the Catholic way of understanding the priesthood, denying a woman ordination does not translate into either considering her less worthy or valuable or even ‘less useful’. “
The facts are that we do not have enough priests to go around our parish priest is currently 70 years old, and the diocese is still short four priests. Marriage is not the answer for solving this problem, as running a parish is a life, and this leaves no time for a wife.
I can well imagine you being upset by this. I think we all are upset about the lack of priests.
However have you considered what happened to the Anglicans? They allowed in women and the number of people belonging to their church pretty much shrunk to near nonexistence.
For decades, we’ve heard from people who thought the church could only survive if we liberated ourselves. But again, all those other mainline denominations who did liberalize their morals and their dogmas have merely dwindled now into smaller and smaller groups.