Monday, July 26, 2010


I’ll attempt a Fr.Z on this from today's Irish Times:
The Vatican must no longer be granted immunity from equality legislation, in the name of liberty, equality, and even the Gospel

THE VATICAN'S recent Normae de Gravioribus Delictis document prescribes automatic excommunication for anyone involved in the ordination of a woman. In according greater penalties to those who "attempted " women's ordination than to clerics [Because with clerics it is traditionally considered enough punishment to reduce them to the lay state, excommunication still being a possibility, but with lay people excommunication, and in the case of attempting the ordination of a woman it is automatic, it is the only real punishment left] who abused children it has further shocked many loyal Irish Catholics prompting them to inquire about the theological reasons why the Roman Catholic Church objects to women's ordination.[She hopes. It think most people have their minds on keeping their jobs and paying their bills.]
A Vatican document issued in 1976 set out some of these arguments clearly.
1. That incarnation took place in the male sex and therefore women were excluded from the priesthood.
Logically, this means that women should be excluded from baptism as well, since it is an ancient teaching of the church that "whatever has not become incarnate cannot be redeemed". If the church insists here that "God became man" means God became male, then it cannot simultaneously argue that in liturgical language "man" means both male and female. [Apparently it was St. Gregory of Nazianzus who said 'that which was not assumed is not healed; but that which is united to God is saved.' What was assumed in the Incarnation was matter. Humanity and through humanity the created order is saved through the Incarnation. That matter is in the form of human nature with two genders, one nature in two complementary forms, male and female. Both forms of human nature are saved through Christ when baptised into Him but liturgically only the baptised male can be an image or icon of the Incarnate Word, the Saviour, as a historical person. A woman as a priest is like a man representing the Blessed Virgin.]
2. That no women were ordained in the New Testament.
Jesus did not ordain anyone.[There’s an infallible statement for you. So Dr. Condren you were there were you? A careful reading of the Gospels will easily show that Christ had only to speak for something to be so. His command ‘do this in memory of me’ and His breathing on the apostles were sufficient. They themselves understood their mission as permanent otherwise why pick a replacement for Judas? Why have imposition of hands in the early Church if it wasn’t fulfilling the Lord’s will?] Ordination as we know it today did not take place at all in the New Testament, and took another 300 years when Christianity and empire merged. [The good doctor needs to read more of the Fathers and less feminist propaganda.]
3. The practice of the, church has a normative character in the fact of conferring priestly ordination only on men, it is a question of an unbroken tradition throughout the history of the church
This is the argument from tradition whose logic is as follows: If something wrong goes on for five years it might be mortal sin; if it goes on for 10 years it becomes venial sin; if it goes on for 2,000 years it is no longer considered wrong, but tradition. [Where has the Church ever used that argument? Dr. Condren seems not to understand that the Church is her tradition. The Gospels are written tradition (cf. Lk 1:1; 1 Cor 11:23) and we have them because the Church preserved them and handed them on. This lady doesn’t even attempt to engage with the Church’s teaching.]
The argument from tradition. was also used against freedom from slavery, and many other issues in the history of the church. [Citation of which Church document? Just because an argument is abused by some doesn’t invalidate the argument.]
4. 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
The church appears to be saying what feminists have suspected all along: that the image of Christ cannot be seen in a woman.[No, the Church is saying that in the Liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments the priest functions as an icon of Christ the Incarnate Word who actually entered history as Jesus of Nazareth. It is the priest’s role to represent Christ as the one who speaks for His Father to humanity and for humanity to His Father. It’s not hard to understand if you have an open mind.] Does this not make nonsense of the whole of Christian moral theology, which is based on the fact that we must "see Christ in the image of our neighbour, man or woman"? [I thought the Church’s moral theology was based on reason aided by revelation. Seeing the human being as made in the image and likeness of God is not the same as seeing Christ in them – imagine asking a rape victim to do that!]
What are the theological criteria for deciding between what is authentic Christian theology and mere phallic worship? [Is this a Freudian slip? Notice the nastiness coming to the surface?] Over the years, man other arguments have been put forward to exclude women from ordination. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, could find no theological reason [Not so] for such exclusion, but eventually concluded that women, like slaves,[he doesn’t mention slaves] could not "signify eminence", and therefore could not become priests. (Mary Robinson, Mary McAleese?)[Has Dr. Condren bothered to read St. Thomas or is she relying on second hand sources? St. Thomas does give the argument short shrift and merely asserts that “we must say that the male sex is required for receiving Orders not only in the second (licitly), but also in the first way (in reality i.e. validly). Wherefore even though a woman were made the object of all that is done in conferring Orders, she would not receive Orders, for since a sacrament is a sign, not only the thing, but the signification of the thing, is required in all sacramental actions. Accordingly, since it is not possible in the female sex to signify eminence of degree, for a woman is in the state of subjection, it follows that she cannot receive the sacrament of Order." Summa Theologica Qn. 39, art. 1. St. Thomas is saying the one to be ordained must bear the likeness of the one he will represent. Women do not have eminence of degree he says, which is not the same as saying that they lack eminence of power, intelligence, creativity etc., but women are not men and do not stand in relation to God and creation as men do and vice versa. It seems to me that Aquinas is saying the ban on women’s ordination is rooted in the order of creation.]
Others sought to argue for women's subordination in the realm of nature but by 1976, even the Vatican knew better than to go down that road. In reality, they invented new arguments, and the one regarding Jesus's "maleness" was considered by many distinguished Catholic theologians to be "approaching heresy ". [Which theologians? No citations given. Something approaching heresy is still not heresy and new theological insights can often seem heretical or are painted as heretical by those threatened by those very insights as, I’m sure, Dr. Condren would agree.]
Before the Vatican issued the document it had asked the pontifical biblical commission to explore the biblical reasons for excluding women. Seventeen out of 17 members concluded that they could fine none. To their credit, several members resigned in protest at the use the Vatican had made of their work. [They were consulted and didn’t deliver. There are lots of scholars who disagree with them – e.g. Hauke, Butler]
The 1976 document was a watershed for many women who had sought to serve the church and had begun theological and ministerial studies to that end. Some persisted and, at least in Ireland, remained mostly impoverished and marginalised. [My heart weeps for them! They studied for a place in the Church that the Church had clearly and repeatedly said was not the Church’s to bestow and complain when the Church is consistent.]
Others despaired of remaining in perpetual opposition, and began to explore the deep seated psychological, anthropological and political reasons for the Vatican's stance. [When in doubt (or defeat) psychologise! Don’t for one minute actually question oneself.]
They looked, for instance to Scandinavia where, since the late 1960s, women had been ordained.[Note this is the Lutheran church and their orders are not valid in the eyes of the Church] However, a "let-out" clause allowed those male clerics who disapproved to maintain "clean dioceses" "clean parishes" s and even "clean vestments", i.e. those that an ordained female body had yet to defile.
But [Lutheran] the clerics [actually laymen] continued their deliberations. What would happen if a pregnant woman came to be ordained? If her foetus turned out to be a male child would apostolic succession automatically pass onto him? Would funeral or Eucharistic rites "take" if a woman priest happened to be menstruating?
The arguments raged until a cartoon appeared in the national newspapers. A male [Lutheran] cleric was depicted asking the Lord whether he should resign. The Lord replied: "Think of your salary my son."
Where equality legislation has been passed throughout the world, the Vatican has been granted immunity. But this latest document is the last straw. [Now she has worked herself up she really begins to lose it.]
In many impoverished countries in the name of religious freedom, such misogynist attitudes legitimise violent practices toward women and children. [A ban on women’s ordination is equivalent to beating up women and children. Am I missing something here? Dr. Condren’d idea of religious freedom is simple: one is free to believe what one wants to believe provided one believes what Dr. Condren wants you to believe.] All such immunity must now be withdrawn in the name of liberty, equality, and even the Gospel. She left out ‘fraternity’ but it probably stuck in her craw anyway. Instead we have the ‘Gospel’ even though scholars like Manfred Hauke and Sarah Butler have shown how the Gospel and the Church’s tradition excludes women from ordination.

Dr Mary Condren lectures at the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies in TCD and is director of the Institute for Feminism and Religion.

Yes, there is a war on for the soul of the Church. Arm yourselves with the truth.


Outlaw Pete said...

Fr, please write a letter to the Irish Times and correct the numerous ill-informed statements in the lady's article.

I've just come across this blog and I like it. Keep up the good work!

Steve Rose said...

Thank goodness for Dr. Mary Condren. She one of the few on earth with enough knowledge and understand (and courage) to stand up to the twisted and self pontificating dogma.

As for that one comment about a priest "representing Christ", I guess that means that Jesus condoned the sexual abuse of thousands of helpless children.

The third secret of Fatima will come true some day and the fall of the Roman Church will be at hand. As a former Catholic who has experienced a spiritual epiphany thanks to the writings of Dr. Condren, I am at peace. Long live Brigit of Kildare.

Tom said...

Steve Rose - kind of strange for an ex-Catholic to believe in the Third Secret of Fatima. It doesn't really fortell the end of the Church but it's tribulation and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. That any human being let alone a priest should abuse a child is a terrible crime but connecting that to the priesthood is nasty. Yet in a way it proves my point. People are more outraged at abuse by a priest precisely because they sense that a priest should be an 'alter Christus'. Judging by the standard of argument given by Dr. Condren in the Irish Times feminism still hasn't moved on. As for 'twisted and self-ponificating dogma' I got a lot of that in both of the Catholic colleges I went to and it was largely from feminists.


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