People often claim that the Roman Catholic Church is doing wrong for not allowing equal rights for women inside the Church. How can i respond to that?
It seems that they’re presupposing a political and fallacious definition of “equal rights” in the question.
I’d ask the question, “what do you mean by ‘equal rights’?”
Of course they’ll say something about the Church not ordaining women as priests.
One, you have to explain that the Church does not make deacons, priests, or Bishops, God does. The priesthood is a vocation, one is called to it. No one can make themselves a “priest”, and no one can make someone else a “priest”.
Two, Jesus never made any statement regarding women as priests, and those whom He called and ordained were all men. The priesthood belongs to God, not to us, thus we cannot do something which we have no authority to do.
Three, why would they think that women as a whole would be better off if women were priests? If its about some presumption on their part about being in a position of “power”, then they’re looking at the issue completely backwards(see Matt 20:25-28).
As an aside, there is an even deeper theology regarding the need for males to be priests which is related to the fact that God is necessarily given masculine attributes. But it would do you no good to mention this because for it to be coherent to them would require a great deal of foundation to be laid before hand.
Why didn’t Christ select a femail Apostle? Christ is God, he knows all. He was not worried about social norms. If he wanted female priests, he would have selected a female Apostle. He knew we would not have female priests based on his chose of Apostles.
And for those who feel that he knew that Protestants would do it in the 20th century, why would he want to wait almost 2000 years before women could become preachers?
If it was meant to be, if it was his desire… he would have made his closest female disciples priests. His own Mother could have been a wonderful Apostle, if he wished it.
If someone believes that Christ is God and is all knowing, then it becomes logical I think…
God Bless and Merry Christmas!
It is an argument using faulty logic.
Like everyone else, I’m going to assume they are referring to the issue of not ordaining women. As others have said, Christ ordained only men. God made the decision to have male apostles only, even though he could have chosen women. We can’t change the precept he gave us, because God ordains, not people.
You might want to point out to others than the Church venerates Mary, a woman, as a perfect creation and as God’s mother. Women are also certainly allowed to become religious, taking on a very important spiritual role in the Church. They may also be catechists, lectors, ushers, eucharistic ministers, altar severs, or members of Church administration.
No one is demeaning women like, “Oh, you don’t have a Y chromosome so you can’t join our ‘boys club’ and love God the way we do.” Rather, it’s the theological assertion that “We respect you, but God only allows men to be priests.” And most people are okay with that explanation, because it’s rather silly to complain about not being able to serve as clergy when you have plenty of other ways to give yourself to God.
It’s the Garden of Eden scenario all over again. Hey, even though we have the entirety of this awesome garden to live in, let’s be bothered by the one tree we can’t have!
They are presupposing that the Church is man-made and no different than any American corporation. But the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus, and Jesus is God. Sure, the Church has a human aspect because She is made up of people who sin, but the Church also has a divine nature in Her founder and in Her sacraments. Everything about the religion of Catholicism rests on this foundation of divine truth. If someone doesn’t believe this then there is little to no point to them even being Catholic in the first place. But you can also respond that the Catholic Church teaches that saint with the highest position in Heaven is a woman and that this woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is above every Pope the Church ever had. We also have women as doctors of the Church. And the first woman in the world to ever receive a college degree and PhD got it from a Catholic university. Radical feminists try to downplay the significance of this, but it sounds like bitter spite when they do.
The degree was conferred 25 June, 1678, in the cathedral of Padua in presence of many persons eminent for learning and rank.
It is sad that people have to bicker and complain about this or that in the Church. The climate of the times seems to cause them to question the legitimate God-given authority of the Church.
Woman can and do so many wonderful things with the gifts that God gives them.
Rebellion and nit-picking does absolutely nothing for building up the Body of Christ.
Exactly. I’ve said this about it, too. It’s today’s forbidden fruit. And that old serpent is still up to his old tricks. He is now saying, “Did God say that you shall not have any role in the Church?”
I’m a woman and don’t feel mistreated because I cannot (& do not want) to be a Priest. Men can’t have babies either, or nurse them. Does that make them “less” than women??? I’m happy as I am in the Church, and do serve in my Parish in those ways which suit me, and to which God has called me. I see no discrimination. Jesus certainly honored His Mother, but He didn’t send her out to travel, preach, be shipwrecked, beaten, whipped or crucified. All these things happened to the Apostles. The prayers of the women, including His Mother, supported them in their work. My prayers support the Priests who must go out and teach, preach, and bring the Gospel to the world. It’s not a “lower” place. It is simply MY place.
I second what Judynurse said.
Generally speaking, because of their maternal natures, women tend to be more compassionate, empathetic, able to diversely teach, to care for others, in short, to make a house into a home. These gifts, too often, can only be barely approached by men.
Why do some women despise their God-given talents so much?
Why do some consider care for the sick so unworthy of them?
Why do some consider the care and education of children so beneath them?
Why are some so desperate to neglect their wonderful talents just to be men?
I think that women who refuse to embrace the beauty of womanhood with all of the wonderful things endowed to them, particularly as a gift from God, oppress themselves.
It has nothing to do with men. And certainly not with the Church.
More and more it seems that “feminism” doesn’t mean advocating for women but rather it just means that women must have the “right” to imitate the worst behavior of men.
Depends on what they’re referring to, of course. Probably the priesthood.
Well, you should tell them in return that if that is the case, then nature is doing wrong for not allowing equal rights for men. Why don’t we men get to be pregnant and give birth to children? The point I’m trying to illustrate is that if there are certain biological roles that are unique to male and female, then is it that much of a stretch, let alone wrong, to say that there are differing spiritual roles as well?
“Men are from mars and women are from Venus” is a popular phrase, but there’s an obvious reason for it. Men and women are different. The sexes were designed to complement each other. I’m not saying it applies to all men or women, but men tend to certain things and women tend to certain things. Men often can lack empathy and emotional intelligence which women often have, as an example. To deny that there is any difference in the psychology or strengths between men and women would be intellectually dishonest at best.
Men and women having differing roles takes nothing away from our equality. The same goes for the Trinity. The Father is the head, the originator, of the Trinity, and as Jesus Himself said “the Father is greater than I”. There is a difference in roles, however in substance the Three were, are and always will be perfectly equal.
In the same way, men and women can have differing roles but they are still equally made in the image of God, and as Paul tells us there is no male nor female for they are all one in Jesus Christ.
Looking at the Church, we see that women are not held in any lower esteem than men. The greatest example of course would be Mary, who is held in the highest esteem among all the saints and is the greatest of saints in Catholic tradition. There have been a great deal of Catholic mystics and saints who were women throughout the history of the Church, and they have been held in great honour.
Being a priest does not make you any better than anyone else. People are called to various things. The specific calling of the priest, especially in acting in “Persona Christi”, is a unique one and one that is only given to men by God. Does this make men any better than women, or greater than women? No, of course not. Men and women have differing roles and this has no impact on one being better than another or unequal.
Excellently said “Sultan”!!! Wish more people would stop trying to “free” me! I like me just like I am – a woman, made by and for God just as I was born to be!
Great posts judynurse and sousley!
And here’s what Saint Paul has to say about it:
1 Corinthians 12:4-25
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
If all were a single organ, where would the body be?
As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable,
and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part,
that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
This would have been my answer. Well––not the “I’m a woman part”––but the rest.
Also, as the OP is worded, I would simply ask the person to give an example of non “equal rights inside the Church”. From there I would give a theological apologetic of what was their concern. A lot of women have never heard of the notion, for example, that the priest stands in persona Christi, specifically as the bridegroom wedded to his bride the Church. Nor have they heard of the necessary natural resemblance involved in a sacrament that coincide with such a profound function.
If men and women were exactly the same then there wouldn’t be any. The question assumes that equal rights mean all roles of men should be for women and vice versa. It does not recognize God given gifts and how a gift and a role go hand in hand. For instance, would it be a violation of rights if bad singers were not allowed to sing in the opera? The good singers have a gift. Are the bad singers violated? No, they have other gifts that the singers don’t. One might be good at violin. Or another at math. The point is people don’t get roles because they are owed them but because they are gifted at them.
This is why not all roles of men and women are the same, because they have different gifts for different purposes. A man can be a father and a woman a mother. Yet neither can be the other.
Jesus gave the gift of Apostleship to his 12 males for a reason. The father is the head of the family as God is the head over all.
Great post! Thanks
you can say that the Church has acknowledged the disparity and are slowly but surely working on a way to balance it.
"The pope has made reference to this issue on several occasions. In an interview he had affirmed that the feminine presence in the church has not been able to sufficiently emerge: the temptation of male chauvinism has not left room to give visibility to the role that women deserve in the community. "
I can’t find the exact quotes for when he said that, But I love this interview HERE. Just scroll down till you see Women in the Life of the Church. It’s a long one.
It comes off as an attack on your faith, and I get that can cause some adrenaline to start pumping but really, they want to know. They don’t understand. Don’t take it personally and don’t be defensive.
Even though we are supposed to follow the teachings perfectly, sometimes people can’t help what they feel. Maybe they need to pray for grace or something, but Grace is a gift and we some of us have more than others.
And outsiders would be even more confused, seeing a church they don’t belong to or understand yet has such political influence, and therefore influence over their lives. Don’t disregard people’s feelings. They are legitimate, even if you feel they are due to a lack of insight or knowledge. Discrediting their feelings will not help them see the truth. You need to respect and acknowledge what is true about their statement before they will listen to any explanation, let alone an official apologetic. Human nature is not to listen when you are not heard:rolleyes:. So if you want to be right, that’s one thing, but if you want to be productive…well then do what you do in any polite conversation.
Anyway, the Church has made mistakes before and is ever-improving. Certain Doctrine will stay the same and no matter how evil the bishops and the Pope is, the Church will still be Holy and lead its followers to heaven. So it isn’t a crime to say that yeah, the church needs to reach out to women and needs to do a better job making everyone see how important women are to the Catholic Church.
The Church has made great strides in my lifetime at recognizing the particular gifts of women, and has always appreciated women. Look at the millions of Nuns, who spent their lives praying for Priests, Missionaries and the Church! That is a particular and very precious gift.
In my lifetime, I have gone from Masses in Latin only, to the vernacular, and I now have a much greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the Mass. As a child, I often wished I could be an Altar Server. Now I serve not only as an Altar Server, but as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, take Holy Communion to the ill and homebound, serve as an Usher, a Lector. The only position closed to me is the Priesthood. Being a Priest is a particular and holy calling. It is also one full of burdens, a tremendous amount of work, stress, strain and responsibilities. I have never coveted it. If I wished to be a Religious Nun, I am still not too old to be admitted to a Convent somewhere. That is also a life of consecration. I like being a woman.
As far as non-Catholics or secularists are concerned: stop trying to force me to become a man! I LIKE being a woman, and have no desire for the burdens of men. My own are sufficient, thank you vera much!! I am just as “equal” as I wish. I have no desire to be “equal” to any man. Nor do I wish to grant to any man to be “equal” to me or my sex. We have different gifts and abilities. If a man thinks a woman isn’t equal enough and wants to “raise” us up – let him have the babies for a change!!