I was just browsing over this… and, well, I have to admit: It didn’t leave me very convinced: catholic.com/library/Women_and_the_Priesthood.asp
Most of the quotes from the Fathers seem to be misapplied and taken out of context. For instance, the last by St. Augustine is in response to the heresy that Christ was incarnated as a woman rather than a man (or perhaps that he has no definite sexuality). Of course he would reprimand two individuals promoting such false doctrine. Likewise, earlier quotes usually denounce the heresies promoted by women claiming ordination–rather than the ordination itself. And the first quote really has nothing to say about female ordination; it is only a condemnation of Marcus the Heretic, and talks about how he leads women astray. I hardly think the modern-day Church would want to base its rejection of priestly ordination for women on their intellectual incompetency.
In short, it hasn’t really convinced me. I used to be very strong in my opposition to this sort of thing… but I must confess, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes–and the more it seems inevitable in the near future. Perhaps even in my lifetime.
I understand the objections of the Church on this matter: Christ was incarnated as a man. He chose men as his apostles. Etc. Still, the incarnation isn’t about God affirming one gender over the other. It’s about the Divine becoming human, the Word becoming flesh–and lest we forget that he did this through the Holy Spirit and a Woman. As Sojourner Truth, after pointing this out, had to say: “What’s a man got to do with it?” St. Paul goes to great lengths to overcome his gender bias throughout his letters: “Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord. For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God.” (1 Cor. 11:11-12) “[T]here is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) Part of the Mystery of the Incarnation is that not only has spirit become flesh, but flesh spirit. The false distinctions we once clung to and thought contradictory (masculine, feminine, dark, light, flesh, spirit) are fading away and are proved illusory–or at least more compatible than before thought.
In a Church where All-holy Mary is venerated and praised, how can it be fitting that its patriarchs continue to suppress the dignity of women, whose femininity do the Mystery of the Divine no less justice–but in fact complement it? In the Sacraments, the form always complements the reality: Water in Baptism signifies cleansing, renewal, life; bread and wine signify the Body and Blood that are made Present; and Men and Women can signify the Incarnation together in various ways: Men, the Incarnate Christ who assumed the masculine gender, and women, the feminine figure the Holy Spirit represents and Mary’s participation in the event.
I guess I just can no longer see the Church’s stance on this matter as being legitimate. It is able to rationalize its sexist position, and is treating the matter with prudence, yes, but in a world where we are at last beginning to understand that the war between the sexes is a futile one–I just can’t help but think that we are maturing to a point where the ordination of people, regardless of gender (in greater loyalty to St. Paul’s great affirmation), is inevitable.
I know this is controversial and I’m not trying to start anything. I just really want to hear your opinions on this. I mean YOUR opinions. Really.
I don’t get much out of talking to people who don’t think for themselves. If you do, and take either side of this issue, I really, sincerely want to hear from you.
Please no bickering. Only dialogue.