Yet another reason the all male priesthood makes sense

Chatting on Facebook about how nice it would be to hear more from men about NFP — and how tricky it was for me to try to address men, as someone who is not their wife or mother.   We had the following exchange:

Barbara Cobb: “In general men are more willing to accept direction from other men rather than women, including or especially their wives. I think that’s why God in His wisdom set up an all-male priesthood.”

Me:  “Wow, I never thought of that. How many men would go to a woman priest for confession?”

Jenny Townsend: “None. If they want to be corrected by a woman, they will call their mom.”
Me:  “And women don’t always like hearing direction from a man, but rather than avoiding it, they will tell him when he’s wrong, and then demand absolution. Yep, it’s a good system.” 
Right?  And, sorry about that, priests.  I know you get pushed around by the nuns and the DRE, too.  Your rectory may be empty and lonely, but at least it’s quiet.
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  • Lucida Shell

    There is a reason St Paul admonished the older women to teach the younger ones. Unfortunately, we older women aren’t aways ready to be the teachers we ought to be.

  • That’s absolutely right that a man would not go to a female priest for correction. He wouldn’t even go to a female friend. He would go to his mother.

  • Fr. David Hudgins

    As a man and a priest I still go to my mom for correction. However she’s gone all soft on me! She used to be granite-tough with sky-high expectations. The trains always ran on time when I was growing up. Now when I go to her for advice she seems to tell me what I want to hear. I go to get my tail kicked and tells me to be gentle with myself. Not sure how that fits into this fascinating mix.

  • anna lisa

    Poor priests. They get so abused in that little box. I remember being on a good roll with my pint sized violin. I was complaining about my husband’s manana manana attitude about “the death stairs” in our house. They were so steep, that I couldn’t see my feet due to my large pregnant belly and the toddler or laundry I also needed to haul up and down. When I told him how distraught I was that one of my children would break their neck on it, but that it was my *husband* who had taken a serious fall when changing a light bulb, the priest blurted out, “he DESERVED it!” I had a good laugh. So did my husband. It’s good to catch them being human sometimes.

  • Eileen

    You know, I can’t help but think what a crappy marriage Barbara Cobb must have. Her husband won’t take direction from her? I mean, I hardly ever direct my husband, but if I do, he listens, because he loves and trusts me and I so rarely do it that he knows I mean it if I do. And the same holds true for him directing me.
    I know this was meant as a ha ha joke, but this one just doesn’t strike me as very realistic. Don’t lots of men have women bosses?

    • simchafisher

      This is the peril of making assumptions about a stranger’s marriage based on a couple of lines on the internet, Eileen. My husband listens to me, but I don’t think I “direct” him. I don’t think it was meant as a “ha ha” joke at all, but just an observation about how men and women tend to respond to each other.

      • Eileen

        Well that’s just sad and not how I view the world at all. I’m not arguing for a female priesthood – I know JPII has said it cannot be. However, this kind of talk strikes me as harmful to both genders. How can it not be an argument for keeping women out of management positions and/or not hiring men to work under women?

        • simchafisher

          There’s a huge difference between how people interact in an office, and how they interact in a marriage, how they interact socially, and how they interact in spiritual roles. You might want to go to my Facebook page, where there is a much more nuanced conversation going on about this topic. In the mean time, you might want to dial back the comments about other people’s “sad” lives and “crappy marriages.” Sheesh.

  • $1028912

    God in His wisdom set up an all-male priesthoods in some religions, all-female priesthoods in others, and still others with both. I’m not one of those people who argue that never-married people are in no position to give advice on marriage (since some of my single friends have shared much wisdom and insight on my own relationship with my partner over the years).

    Insisting that men have trouble taking orders from anyone other than other men strikes me as an excuse to continue this exclusion, as it was in the military and other organizations. It just seems to me that cutting off one sex from ever serving in its top leadership is going to work against any organization in the long run.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      How many religions do you think God set up?

      • $1028912

        I honestly don’t know. As a mere mortal, I lack the power of divine discernment.

        • Ezbs

          Lisa, you never fail to make me laugh- in a good way. I always picture you fluttering on your pink cloud.

  • Eileen

    You’re right – I had no business making assumptions about anyone’s marriage. I apologize to the Cobbs.

  • anna lisa

    Hey, you know what I just remembered? Our pastor once said that he has an elderly woman, a grandma of a big family who is his spiritual director…kind of great I think.