Men Only: Do we need a theology that explains the importance of women in the Church?


#1

On the possibility of the Catholic Church ordaining women priests, Pope Francis said, “the church has spoken and said, ‘no,’” and the form in which Blessed John Paul II declared that was “a definitive formula.” Blessed John Paul said that because Jesus chose only men as his disciples, the church was not able to ordain women.

However, Pope Francis said, the Catholic Church still has far to go in developing a real theology that explains the importance of women in the church and how it would be impossible for the church to live up to its role as mother and bride without the contribution of women.

“It is not enough to have altar girls, women readers or women as the president of Caritas,” he said. “Women in the church are more important than bishops and priests,” just like “Mary is more important than the apostles.”

catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1303261.htm


#2

There is a very simple answer that was given by Mother Angelica of EWTN years ago.

You can substitute the word House for Church, it works because we are family.

Mother said >> [FONT=Palatino Linotype][size=2]Paraphrased << "The man is the head of the house, while the woman is the heart; you all know what happens when the heart stops beating, the head is dead"[/size][/FONT]

Yes, woman have a very important roll in the Church.


#3

Don't we already have one?


#4

[quote="SonCatcher, post:3, topic:334778"]
Don't we already have one?

[/quote]

People simply skip over those parts of the New Testament.

And while the Holy Father mentioned altar girls, I really don't know where service at the altar for women (being altar servers, readers, EMHC, etc) fits in what the proper role of the woman in Holy Church is. Not only it is "not enough", but it would actually seem "not proper". Then again, if Holy Church allows it, and if the Holy Father wishes to wash women's feet as well as men's during the Easter time, I have nothing to say against it's validity and licitness - I will however manifest my position that it is not in accordance with the way the Church has done things for the past 20 centuries.

So perhaps we do need a clearer theology, but it would most definitely be against the tide and believe me, many within Holy Church - both lay and ordained - would not be too pleased by it. There's too much pride around, and too much feminist propaganda as well.


#5

It’s something that needs relearned because secular society - and even many religious people - have succumbed to thinking in terms of a corporate hierarchy. The wife submits to the husband, ergo the husband must be more more valuable and the wife must be less valuable. The Church has no power to ordain women to the priesthood, ergo women must be 2nd class. It’s a very corporate style of thinking, which is in conflict with the Church that St. Paul taught us about, where each organ has its role, and the head is useless without the heart, etc. The most obvious way of showing that women aren’t inferior is to point to the Madonna, who God exalted above all other saints. The Church is not like a corporation; it is like a body.

I think overcoming “corporate thinking” as it pertains to gender roles is more of an emotional challenge than an intellectual one. For women it can be a matter of pride, or for men either a fear of appearing chauvinistic, or more commonly, a desire to be released from certain responsibilities (i.e., look at the # of single mothers).


#6

I started to pull together links to various Church documents that speak on women:

catechesisofthepopes.wordpress.com/other-themes/women/

I’m sure there are more out there that I missed.

I think there is room for growth in the area. I think it would be very helpful as the default notions that many people (of vastly different ideologies) fall back on are often quite inadequate.


#7

There are horses for courses. Men have there Role and Women have there’s I only wish as a woman that some women should realize we are not in competition but rather we compliment one another, there are some things only men can do, and the same for women. Why some women get there knickers in a knot about this I don’t know, that is why the Lord made us different and to compliment one another, lets just accept it as it is, I don’t want to be better than a man, I want to be accepted as a woman, we have different skills, and a Priest is one of them, if one wants to serve the Church which what a Priest is about, the woman can be a Nun, a Dedicated layperson, Active, or Contemplative, maybe some men would like to be Nun’s for all I know, but its tough, they cannot be Nuns, they can be brothers or Priests or Monks. Some men might like to experience pregnancy but tough they are not made to know this experience, this is what I mean we compliment one another


#8

By some coincidence, just last night I stayed up (too late) reading this:
Mulieris Dignitatem, John Paul II, 15 August 1988 - Apostolic Letter
God Bless!


#9

To an extent yes, but not in the way the secularists would think.
I’ll elaborate:

Yes-We do need a defense of why the Church still upholds the dignity of women despite not ordaining them and of course a defense of why the Church will not ordain women.

Yes- We need a defense of the dignity of women against the secular culture because the secular culture diminishes the dignity of women. The secular culture rejects motherhood in various ways. They reject that there is anything special about mothers, their relationship with their children, the child’s need for a caring mother, the feminine influence on a child, the special love of mother and child, etc. The secular culture basically says that all of this is worthless and servile, rather than dignified. Further, the secular culture insists that if women do not act the same as men, they are somehow less…all of this we need to defend against.

No- we do not need a better theology that apologizes for how we treat women as Catholics. There are things way way back in the Church’s past that can be “iffy” on the subject of women…but in recent times I don’t think that has been much of an issue at all.
Even in the patristic era there was more cultural problems than religious ones, compared to the Pagans Christians have always exalted women.

and No- The Theology as it is does not diminish women or in any way make murky the role of women in the Church. It’s simple: Only men can be ordained as priest, bishops, or deacons. Other than that, women can do all of the same things that men do in the life of the Church and in the life of the world. We need not act as though we must apologize for only ordaining men or that this fact somehow diminishes women, this is exactly what the anti-Catholics want


#10

I concur completely. Women have never served at the altar and should not now be doing so. Altar boys provide a chance for boys to “intern” at being a priest, allowing girls to do so makes the boys less likely to do so and in unfair to the girls giving them the illusion that they can be priests someday. Personally, I’d like to see the sanctuary cleared of all lay people. Properly instituted lectors, deacons, priests, & bishops in the sanctuary, the rest of us (male or female) outside of it (with the sole exception of altar boys). As Pope Francis himself said, the laity are called to transform the world for Christ, not to preach homilies, proclaim the scriptures, or distribute communion.

All that being said, I don’t think we need a better theology of the role of women in the Church (although we might soon be getting one). What we need is a better theology of the role of the laity (male and female) in the Church. A part of that can delineate the differences between male roles and female roles, but the biggest problem is spelling out the difference between ordained and lay roles in the Church.

Pope Francis is a champion against clericalism (including clericalizing of the laity) - perhaps he will give us this teaching.


#11

Of course women are important in the Church. Ever look around at daily Mass? The church would be almost empty without them!:)


#12

Here is a video of a former Episcopal Woman "Priest" that converted to the Roman Catholic Church:
youtu.be/hWObgod886o

It seems that this wonderful, faithful women knows more about the importance of women in the Church then most men..


#13

Does anyone think women are not important in the Church? Has anyone ever thought this? Kind-of sounds like a straw man argument for the ages.


#14

The Blessed Mother says hi.


#15

[quote="TomD123, post:9, topic:334778"]

and No- The Theology as it is does not diminish women or in any way make murky the role of women in the Church. It's simple: Only men can be ordained as priest, bishops, or deacons. Other than that, women can do all of the same things that men do in the life of the Church and in the life of the world. We need not act as though we must apologize for only ordaining men or that this fact somehow diminishes women, this is exactly what the anti-Catholics want

[/quote]

Before I say this, please understand that I have no interest in female ordination, nor in attacking the Church on this matter. None, nada.

But, honestly, this just doesn't sound convincing to me, and I very much doubt that any outsider would go along with it. Not in the way it is worded.

So, let me ask a couple things:

Are we running with the whole head/heart thing, emphasizing the differences but complimentary roles that men and women have, is that where we're headed here? Because if so, why say, "women can do** all of the same things** that men do in the life of the Church"? In that phrase, there does not seem to be any distinction at all between men and women. If we really are emphasizing those different/complimentary roles then what sense does it make to assign to both the same exact roles?

And yet,

The only difference you do note is **not **one that sounds complimentary, but rather exclusionary only. That is, that "only men can be ordained as priest, bishops, or deacons." What are the different but complimentary roles to this/these position(s) as far as women are concerned? I think, to say, "other than that" makes it sound as if these positions are not far and away the most crucial positions in the Church. They are. It'd be like saying, "women can be anything that men can be in our government, except President or Senator or Judge," wouldn't it? :confused:

Having been around for a couple of similar discussions here, I've got a few things that I really don't wanna hear about the role of women in the Church:

  1. I don't want to hear that "it's exactly like men, except and except and except." That does not seem like an important role at all.

  2. I don't understand the stuff about our Blessed Mother. I can't figure out what people mean when they keep bringing her up in this context. If the question was, "has any woman ever had an important role in the history of the Church"? Then, well, that answer is obvious. But that's not the question. The question is, "what important roles do women fill in the Church today"? It would be like if someone asked, "what important roles do men fill in the Church today"? and you started talking about the apostles, rather than the successors to the apostles. It just wouldn't make any sense.

  3. I do want to hear about women. Not what they can't do compared to men. Rather, what they can do, by virtue of the gift of femininity---what makes women special?

In short, I think I agree with what the Pope is saying---at least what I interpret him to mean. We do need a deeper, richer understanding of the important roles that women have and should play in the life of the Church. Go, Pope Francis! :thumbsup:


#16

VeritasLuxMea, you brought up some good points there. :thumbsup:


#17

To best understand it, look at what the Church teaches about the nature of the human person. We are a union of body and soul ( Corpra et Amina Unis). The body and soul are not parts of us, but rather we are the union where the two meet.

Now look at the generation of the human person. The feminine is clearly the source of the bodily aspect of the human person. It would not be exclusionary to state that men cannot give birth. Men simply cannot, due to the nature of ‘male’ participate with God in the generation of the human body.

But there is also spiritual birth to consider. That is the second, and equal, aspect of our humanity. And it is to the male that God gives the primary role of spiritual birth, the ‘nursing’ of the soul via the Eucharist, the rebirth of the soul in the forgiveness of sin.

Thus it is no more exclusionary for the man to have the greater and more obvious role in this aspect of humanity than for the woman to have the greater, and more obvious role in the material aspect.

In fact, it would be a REQUIREMENT for equality that Holy Orders be reserved to men, as otherwise, there would be no equally defined role for men as there is for women in the generation of what God values most, a saint.

And thus to bring about a new saint, it requires the cooperation of both male and female, each bringing about their own gifts in cooperation with God. Each serving in their appointed roles addressing those aspects of the human person to which their natures are conformed.


#18
  1. There are many areas in the life of the Church where men and women can play the same role, e.g. receiving the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. Perhaps the language of “exactly the same, except” is poor, but there are both things men and women participate in the same way and things which are different.

  2. The only thing that matters in the life of the Church is being a Saint. Period. Everything else in the Church is ordered to that end. Priests, Bishops, Popes only exist to help the laity (and their brothers in orders) to become saints. Women can be saints, just as men can. In fact, the greatest saint (thus the greatest created person to ever live) was a woman, the Blessed Mother. Mary’s example shows that women can take on the most important (the only important) role in the life of the Church, being a saint. In fact, Mother Teresa was more influential than any other Catholic (with the sole exception of maybe JP2) in the whole 20th century. Why bring up Mary? She reminds us that being in orders isn’t the most important thing.

  3. What makes women special? Read MULIERIS DIGNITATEM.


#19

[quote="Brendan, post:17, topic:334778"]
To best understand it, look at what the Church teaches about the nature of the human person. We are a union of body and soul ( Corpra et Amina Unis). The body and soul are not parts of us, but rather we are the union where the two meet.

Now look at the generation of the human person. The feminine is clearly the source of the bodily aspect of the human person. It would not be exclusionary to state that men cannot give birth. Men simply cannot, due to the nature of 'male' participate with God in the generation of the human body.

But there is also spiritual birth to consider. That is the second, and equal, aspect of our humanity. And it is to the male that God gives the primary role of spiritual birth, the 'nursing' of the soul via the Eucharist, the rebirth of the soul in the forgiveness of sin.

Thus it is no more exclusionary for the man to have the greater and more obvious role in this aspect of humanity than for the woman to have the greater, and more obvious role in the material aspect.

In fact, it would be a REQUIREMENT for equality that Holy Orders be reserved to men, as otherwise, there would be no equally defined role for men as there is for women in the generation of what God values most, a saint.

And thus to bring about a new saint, it requires the cooperation of both male and female, each bringing about their own gifts in cooperation with God. Each serving in their appointed roles addressing those aspects of the human person to which their natures are conformed.

[/quote]

Interesting. Would it be possible to cite sources for this understanding of male and female roles?


#20

[quote="Beryllos, post:19, topic:334778"]
Interesting. Would it be possible to cite sources for this understanding of male and female roles?

[/quote]

To which are you asking about

If you are referring to the dual nature of humanity as a union of body and soul, that is Aquinas (ST i:80-86), expanded upon by Pope John Paul II in Theology of the Body

As far as the biology of human generation, I'll leave that to any good textbook, or a licenced OB\GYN

In regards to the benefits on the soul from the Sacerdotal Sacraments ( Holy Eucharist, Reconcilliation), I would refer you to the Catechism

As far as the logic that links them, that was not my original invention, but came out in a class on Moral Theology that I had a Sacred Heart Seminary.

It pretty much went

  • Given that humans are a union of body and soul

  • Given the chief feminine role in biological generation

  • Given the positive role of the Sacerdotal Sacraments on the soul

-Given that God's desire for us is to spend eternity in Heaven with Him

  • And if we assume that God considers equality in terms of bringing about His desire

What could we determine, using Reason, on the nature of Sacerdotal Orders


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