The Christian priesthood is therefore of a sacramental nature: the priest is a sign, the supernatural effectiveness of which comes from the ordination received, but a sign that must be perceptible18 and which the faithful must be able to recognise with ease. The whole sacramental economy is in fact based upon natural signs, on symbols imprinted on the human psychology:
“Sacramental signs,” says Saint Thomas, “represent what they signify by natural resemblance.”19 The same natural resemblance is required for persons as for things: when Christ’s role in the Eucharist is to be expressed sacramentally, there would not be this “natural resemblance” which must exist between Christ and his minister if the role of Christ were not taken by a man: in such a case it would be difficult to see in the minister the image of Christ. For Christ himself was and remains a man.
I would like mainly women to comment on the above, though male poster can give their opinion too
This is one woman’s response :
My initial response was one of disbelief. It seemed impossible to me that the leadership of the Church had reduced ‘imaging Christ’ in such a crass way as being physically masculine. I felt naive, duped, betrayed, lost. I had the distinct sense that now everything in my life had a different meaning. And I knew, with my whole self, that what I had just read was not the truth. These words contradicted everything I had ever been taught and believed about myself, about Jesus, about my Christian vocation.
I knew that I had experienced the living Christ in many women who bore no ‘natural resemblance’ to Christ but who had in so many ways made Christ incarnate for me. I knew that there was much in me that blocked others from seeing Christ, but I knew from the depths of me that my female body was no obstacle.
I knew that I had been led on by a male clerical magisterium who flattered me by telling me that I was created in God’s image, shared in Christ’s mission, while all the while believing that I was basically inferior and would never be a ‘perceptible’ sign of Christ’s presence. I had never wanted to be ordained. I still don’t. But that had nothing to do with being united to Christ. I knew that the document was false, and from that moment on, that I could never presume truth from an institution that had denied my own truth.
I tend to have a similar thought.
When you read it, are you offended by it, does it bother you slightly?