The Myth of Held-back Catholic Women

New Monastery Going Up Through the Efforts of Five Women

Politics is opportunistic; in the wake of the last three weeks unending coverage of the decades-old scandals in the Catholic church, Lisa Miller of Newsweek has decided that this is the time to push for the feminist interests.

The chasm between the church’s stated principles and its functional reality yawns wide. In the U.S., 60 percent of Sunday massgoers are women; thus most of the contributions to the collection plate—$6 billion a year—are made by women. And yet the presence of women anywhere within the institutional power structure is virtually nil. The number of women who hold top-tier positions in any of the dicasteries, or committees, that make up the Vatican structure can be counted on one hand. Few women retain high-profile management jobs, such as chancellor, within dioceses. And though nuns dramatically outnumber priests worldwide, they are mostly so invisible that when a group of them speaks up, as they did recently on health-care reform, everyone takes notice.

That is staggering nonsense on several levels, but I am most offended by the absurd last sentence; it apparently does not occur to Miller that the only reason the dissenting religious sisters were “noticed” for their opinion on the health care bill is because they were in alignment with the sentiments of the press; those thousands of sisters who spoke up against the health care bill (pdf) and sided with the Catholic Bishops? They were still quite ignored, quite invisible. Everyone didn’t take notice, after all.

Writing in the Media Blog for the USCCB, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh addressed Miller’s piece:

Lisa Miller’s accompanying cover essay about women in the church doesn’t go in this direction, however. In fact, it is somewhat off-base, like facile cocktail party conversation. Observations get tossed about without scrutiny. For example, she states, wrongly, that “few women retain high-profile management jobs, such as chancellor, within dioceses.” Fact-checking proves that wrong. If you take the requirement for ordination off the table, data shows that the number of women in leadership positions in Catholic dioceses is comparable to that of the women in the U.S. workforce as a whole. (pdf) One quarter of diocesan positions at the highest level, such as chancellor or chief financial officer, are held by women. You don’t find similar numbers among U.S. corporations.

Influence in the church does not depend upon ordination, though there is no doubt that it helps. . . . Historically, some women even have overshadowed popes. Most educated people have heard of Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena. Does anyone, even the highly educated, know who the popes were when these women lived?

In fact, I’ll take that a bit further:

The fact is, for all of the talk about how oppressive the church has been for women, there has been no other institution in history which has given women such free reign to create, explore, discover, serve, manage, build, expand, usually with very little help from the coffers of the diocese in which they worked, and often with little to no intrusion on the part of the male hierarchy.

And these have not been mealy mouthed “sheeplike” women, but educated, accomplished women who have chosen their lives because they could do nothing greater with their gifts. Rose Hawthorne, daughter of Nathanial Hawthorne, founded the Hawthorne Dominicans, an order of nuns who take care of cancer patients – free of charge – and who subsist entirely on donations. The Grand Duchess, Elizabeth left her royal privilege behind to serve the poorest of the poor and suffered a 20th century martyrdom. The daughter of General Patton joined forces with a nun, Mother Benedict, in France after WWII to come to America and form the Abbey of Regina Laudis, an abbey that is still attracting educated women, sculptors, writers, linguists, musicians – creative women – to use their gifts in the praise of God and for the good of us all. Did I mention that Mother Benedicta, before she became a nun, was a medical doctor who helped to hide and treat Jews who were being hunted by the Nazis?

I can go on…Mother Theresa built an international order of women which thrives, doing work no one wants to do, wouldn’t do in a million years. For that matter, she might seem quite mad – she probably is – but there is in Alabama an extraordinary and strange woman named Mother Angelica, the media-mogul you never heard of, who founded a Franciscan monastery and church in (of all places) the hottest bible belt in the deep South, and then – with two hundred dollars ($200.00) and no help from her bishop – was inspired to build a television station (and a radio station), which has become EWTN, a global Catholic network – also founding an order of friars – while hobbling around on crutches, yet.

Extraordinary, mad women, all of them! And I cannot think of a single institution on the face of the earth other than the Catholic Church which would have allowed them to run with their madness, BE who they were and accomplish great things.

The church gets a bad rap in this area. She has fostered literally thousands of great, great women, whose accomplishments are unjustly overlooked because they were done in a habit and a wimple. Compare them with the ‘ideal’ of today’s “smart, educated, successful” woman, like . . . Maureen Dowd, who only yesterday was whimpering about how difficult it is to be a celebrated woman in a position of prestige and power because – you know – men are so mean! The contrast could not be more stark.

The urge to serve the church and its people is a calling, one that starts not with a “give me” but with a “please take.” The expressed resentment over ordination seems less about an offer of service being refused than an acquisition of power being denied. If modern women desire ministry within the church, there is nothing stopping them from serving, and there never has been. Teresa of Avila managed to reform an order and build dozens of monasteries for both men and women, without waiting around for someone to tell her she could, without so much as a certification, or a humble degree from a state college, and -most importantly- without insisting that her own terms be met before she could give her all.

Sometimes I wish modern women would man-up and go do great things – like these women from centuries ago and from the last few decades – who managed to get so much done without all the bellyaching. The church could use their help.

Mary’s Aggies

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender the Theological Bully

    I know it’s very important for you all to judge to what degree a person is Catholic or not-Catholic . . . At some point, you’ve got to leave the playground, and really ask, Who’s willing to cast the first stone?

    Shawn — it is YOU who first brought up the degree to which you were Catholic, saying you were “devout” and then going on to, not ask sincere questions, not to engage in sincere dialogue, but to advocate for things that the Church has repeatedly considered and addressed, not as part of some “personal bent” of theirs, but by the authority given them by the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus Christ. And it is clear from your repeated comments on the subject that you reject the teaching authority of the Church, you reject the notion that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is guided by and protected from error by the Holy Spirit.

    As for casting the first stone, again, it is YOU who started his first comment with an insult, calling the Anchoress “infantile” and more. And, not surprisingly, you end your last comment with that “playground” insult.

    It serves no purpose to “dialogue” with you. You are not interested in dialogue, which is derived from the Greek, meaning “an exchange of reason.” Rather, you are interested in confrontational advocacy of a false ideology and erroneous theology.

    On the issue of the ordination of women, it is not a matter of our “opinion,” even if we do understand and know that the teaching of the Church is entirely grounded in scripture and truth, including the truth of the nature of Holy Orders, which is not something one does, but something that one is. It is not our opinion; our opinion is irrelevant. Rather, it is a matter of the understanding and teaching of the Church for the last 2000 years, unchanging and unchangable. Again, if you wish answers to your “questions” on the ordination of women, and on the issue of women in the Church generally, you would do well to inform yourself by reading the appropriate teachings of the Church on the subject.

  • Gideon Ertner

    “It looks like many of you here are not open to a dialogue…”

    Sorry. Christians don’t do “dialogue”. We preach the Gospel.

    Our Lord never dialogued with anyone, if by that term you mean trying to reach a shared understanding or compromise departing from a real or feigned ignorance of a subject. He knew what was the Truth and He preached it. His hearers could take it or leave it. Most left it. The Apostles worked in the same manner.

    The Catholic Church teaches unequivocally that she does not have the authority to confer Holy Orders upon women. That much is settled in perpetuity. Although the theological reason is not completely established, it is the commonly accepted view that women are inherently incapable of receiving Holy Orders because that Sacrament effects a blending of the ordinand’s essence with that of Christ, who is male in His essence, and it is absurd that a woman can have or share a male essence.

    This argument of course rests on an Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, and it is possible that another metaphysical approach can be conceived, but the conclusion will be the same because the basis for the practice of the Church is not metaphysical but is grounded in Sacred Tradition, which like Sacred Scripture is immutable: the Church cannot confer Holy Orders on a woman because she has never done so and to do so would be a complete break with Tradition. It would be akin to altering the words of Scripture.

    Now, as with the preaching of Christ and His Apostles, and so many of the truths of the Catholic Faith such as the dogmas of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Resurrection, you can accept this or you can go your own way. It is up to you. Just don’t expect the Church to change her faith just because you want to “dialogue” with her.

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  • Gideon Ertner

    I am just thinking… If “dialogue” is so important, why are we not having a respectful and fruitful dialogue about whether or not child abuse is acceptable?

    Anyway, just to point out that the impossiblity of conferring Holy Orders on women is surely not an arbitrary divine law – God is Reason, Logos, and this arrangement makes perfect sense if one sees therein a means of expressing visibly the relationship between Christ (represented by the priest) and His bride, the Church (represented by the rest of the congregation). Appearances matter: the fact of this relationship is obscured when the one who is supposed to represent Christ is a woman. This is especially so because women tend to have different modes of acting than men, even if this difference is not absolute.

    Christ is a male, and He possesses the masculine character in its most perfect state, i.e. He possesses all the positive attributes of that character and none of the negative (just as Mary possesses the feminine character in its perfect state; between the two there are important differences, but not a shred of difference in worth). It is right that the congregation can see Christ reflected in the priest, and thus it is right that the priest’s character is conformed to that of Christ.

  • dymphna

    Held back Catholic women? Oh please. Tell that to the tough old biddies who run their parishes all over America.

  • Nellie

    In response to Shawn: “Nellie, you seem to really have everything neatly compartmentalized. The priesthood is ’spiritual fatherhood’ because men have said it is so. Everyday roles in life are not so perfectly boxed, as you would like it to be.”

    What I am trying to affirm here is that our gender matters a great deal when it comes to matters of vocation – marriage, holy orders, the religious life. “Men” have not said so, God has revealed it to be so. Marriage is between a man and a woman because gender matters a great deal. Women religious are “Sisters” or “Mothers” because gender matters a great deal. Men who are priests are “Fathers” because gender matters a great deal.

    I am NOT talking about everyday roles in life at all. I am talking about very important vocations to which God CALLS people – the priesthood, religious life, marriage. These vocations are not the same as vocations to a particular line of work, but to a particular life of self-giving love. This happens in and through their identities as women or men – in these vocations, one’s identity as man or woman IS of actual importance. I agree that this is not the case if we’re talking about being an engineer or a cook or a flight attendant.

    Spiritual parenthood is a term that is fine until one gets down to naming what kind of parent one is, and one is either a mother or a father depending on their gender. God is his infinite and mysterious wisdom has made it so! I don’t necessarily understand it, but I see the beauty and the truth of it, and I trust the teaching of the Church about the intrinsic dignity and value and importance of one’s maleness and femaleness. The human person has been made male or female. That is because of God’s decision as creator of humankind, and it is not in my power to change this or demand something different. I am not neatly compartmentalizing anything but merely pointing out of the truth of this HUGE reality. I am only skimming the surface of this mystery here.

    Have you read Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body”?

  • Roz Smith

    I recently read an article about Calvin and predestination making a revival in Protestant circles. A line in that article stuck with me. That we’ve seen decades of Christianity as a Home Depot- You can do it. We can help. There is no mention of serving Him in all His glory in that formula, which is why it doesn’t nourish the soul in the long run

    I used to fret about the lack of gender inclusive language in the Catholic Church. Then I realized that faith wasn’t supposed to be all about my tender feelings, be a self improvement course but with hymns or even be a way to further the political battles of our particular age. It seems to me the woman who frets that women are not equal in the Church because she can’t become a priest isn’t likely to be much good as a priest in the first place. Those with a genuine vocation to serve the Lord don’t fret about the form of their vocation. They trust in God and get it done.

  • Shawn

    Dear Bender… you talk about the Church as though it is ahistorical, ‘unchanging’. Hmm, just look at the various Councils we’ve had over the history of our Church… i.e. Nicaea, Constantinople, Trent, Vatican… a narrative chock-full of change, rupture, reconciliation…

    Dear Gideon… a dialogue about whether child abuse is acceptable? A bit tangential? To me, that question has only one answer… it is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE. The question remains who within the Church, and within society, should be held to account for such travesties.

    And women have ‘different modes of acting’? Well, we’ve just naturalised gendered role playing once again… nice, cosy little boxes… neat and tidy. Well if we want to play with this notion of gender-bound ‘different modes’, it sure wouldn’t hurt our Church if the ‘intelligence’, ‘tenderness’, ‘compassion’ and ‘empathy’ ‘naturally occurring’ in women was brought into the clergy…

    Any how, I am signing off from being ‘preached’ to, as it seems that dialogue is not possible herein these pages, with those who believe they hold a patent on the ‘truth’. You may be utterly convinced that you are on the right side of the fence, but I assure you, there are countless Catholics out there who would agree with me. Why don’t you read America Magazine sometime… it might do you some good, who knows? :) God Bless you all… Shawn

  • Sr_Lisa

    Thank you again, Elizabeth, for such a thought-provoking post (testimony to the broad range of responses)!

    I love the examples you give of strong women who in their fidelity to, and deep union with, God, have tread new pathways by which women who followed could be inspired, and in many ways, “go where no one has gone before.”

    It truly pains me to see the struggle with many of us who fix our eyes on the ministry of the ordained as a mountain to be climbed and conquered.

    All are called; how do we spend our calling? In protest that we are not “allowed” to be what perhaps was never ordained from the beginning? “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30. No, we are not made to be everything. Yet, all – in their different gifts – are necessary for the health of the whole Church.

    Thank God for the Priesthood, and for the many good, humble and hardworking men who serve at the Altar of the Lord. Many of them I am blessed to know through our philosophical and theological studies together, and never have I been made to feel I am “less” in the eyes of the Church. I have found a mutual respect as members of the same God, one in the body of Christ, drinking of the same Spirit. We exercise different gifts, but together we build up the kingdom of God.

    We as people of God need to be very careful not to get caught up in the thinking as the world thinks, that sees the position of the ordained only in the prism of hierarchical structure, assuming it is just like in a private sector business; ‘the higher you climb, the more important you are’. It is not. It is a long-labor of love.

    And like many of the women highlighted in your article, these share in the labor too. And I hope that in fulfilling my own consecration to be numbered in their company.

  • Bender

    Bless you Sr. Lisa!

    Dear Lord — send us more women religious! We love our sisters!

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    In the words of Popeye, “I’ve stoods all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.”

    Would that there were more theological bullies.

    Not only is Bender NOT a bully, theological or otherwise, he knows from whence he speaks and one would do well to heed his words.

    Those of us who pay attention to what he says will be the first to admit that he rarely offers a personal opinion without first thoroughly outlining the theological reasoning behind it. He is truly a scholar and I for one am honored to be considered his friend.

    It serves no purpose to pose questions that are by nature inflammatory, and then to shrug off the resources and references which will answer those questions.

    I would also like to say that the comment made by Shawn about absolute equality is slightly off. There is no such thing as absolute equality – and I don’t understand what this nonsense is all about.

    I guess some women (and maybe some men) would consider me to be subservient because I am following the traditional motherly/wifely track – although I have a licensed profession, my job is to tend my husband, my family, and my home. There’s nothing subservient about that. We can argue nature/nurture and all that until the cows come home. That doesn’t diminish the fact that, (feminist house-husbands not-withstanding) women are the traditional nurturing caregivers, and the men go and hunt the meat. Nuns were/are the ones that ran the schools and the hospitals; priests are the ones with the onus of helping us to help ourselves get to heaven.

    I don’t understand why so many women and not a few men feel the need to promote equality in the priesthood. It’s perfectly okay for women and men to have different and defined roles within the church. We can’t all be Alfredo’s – someone has to actually make the sauce.

    If we would all focus less on ourselves and what we want, and more on professing the faith here on earth and working towards getting to heaven, this wouldn’t be such an issue.

  • John Jakubczyk

    1st. Thanks, Elizabeth, for the great post and the ensuing comments made throughout.

    2nd. Bender, Gideon and Nellie to name a few, have made some excellent comments which explain simply and succinctly the question before us.

    3rd. It is obvious that Shawn has a problem with a specific church teaching that will not be changing. Sorry Shawn, but it does not serve you well to gt angry at those who are merely trying to articulate Holy Mother Church’s teaching.

    4th. Understanding history provides one with the insight that ideals are not often lived to their potential. Yet the teachings of the Church have always affirmed the profound dignity of the woman and the stories of the heroic women throughout the history of the West confirm the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

    5th. Since ultimately it is about our relationship with Christ, any focus on power as opposed to service is simply kneeling at the wrong altar.

  • Bender

    Well, now my Cheerleader is going to give me a fat head, even fatter than the one I have now.

    The truth is, while I do endeavor not to be the bullying type, there are times when I have lost my patience. And frankly, I lost my patience long ago with those who tell us how rotten the Church is (on both the left and the right), especially while engaging in disingenuous tactics.

    Shawn, you are my brother in Christ, and I say this with all sincerity and concern for you — you should STOP reading America and like publications, websites, etc. because, while some of them do have some good things in them sometimes, all too often they will do you bad. They will, in their zeal for dissent and discord and disruption and worldly concerns turn you away from the Church and away from transcendent Truth. Too often too many of them promote a counterfeit charity, and the result of their efforts is to create a “dictatorship of relativism,” the tyranny of which has claimed people like Shawn as its victim.

    Yes, sometimes I am harsh. Sometimes the truth is harsh. Sometimes people need a two-by-four upside the head, if not because they are promoting falsehood, then in order to pound some sense into them.

    But it really is not about me or whether I am or am not a bully. It is about Truth and Love and the Faith and the Church. The Faith and the Church are not the inventions or creations of man (male and female) — we hold as an article of faith — they are the fruits and gifts of He who is Truth and Love Incarnate.

    As such, we are not, and cannot be, the Church of Do-Your-Own-Thing, much less the Church of Bender’s Personal Preferences or Benedict’s Personal Preferences. We are the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It is His Church, not ours to do with as we please, regardless of what the writers at America tell you.

    Now, one is free to accept that, or reject it. No one is forcing anyone to agree, no one is bullying the other. Either you profess a faith that the Holy Catholic Church, under the unity of the Bishop of Rome, is guided by and protected by the Holy Spirit, sent to us by the Son, Jesus Christ, or you do not profess such a faith. It is your choice.

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  • cathyf

    At 12:03 pm | #52 Gideon gives a completely straightforward and sufficient explanation of why the Church believes that ordination is limited to men. The rest of you trotting out “Jesus boinking the Church” theo-porn are giving me the creeps!

    Certainly metaphor and the analogical imagination are bedrock characteristics of the Catholic ethos and mindset. But metaphors only go as far as they go. Handing a metaphor to some of you folks is like handing a chainsaw to a 6-yr-old…

    Look, a husband and wife are two individual human beings. Christ is the second Person of the Triune God, while the Church is the collective of billions of individual human beings, living and dead.

    The Church worships Christ who is God. If any human wife were to worship her human husband as God, then she would be violating the First Commandment, in mortal sin, and if she persists in it, going to hell. The Church is going to heaven because of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross and resurrection. No human wife is redeemed by her human husband.

    As for the assertion that females (made in the image and likeness of God) cannot image Christ, consider this image: A 12 year old Bosnian girl is stripped and tied to a fence, and gang raped for 2 days by Serbian troops. When they get bored with that, they douse her with gasoline and burn her alive. Can you not see Christ in the least of His brethren? Another image: A Rwandan man and his 3 teenaged children are hacked to death with machetes while cowering in their village church. The man’s wife (the children’s mother) is forced to watch, and then she is gang-raped by the killers. She becomes pregnant (impregnating victims was a common tactic of the Rwandan genocide). Five years later, she loves and cares for her child. Her husband’s family shuns her for loving the child, and she is desperately poor because she cannot find a job in the face of the community’s emnity towards her. Do you not see the image of Christ taking up His cross and bearing it in obedience to what is right? Do you not see the sin of those who persecute her? They are steeped in mortal sin, and if they persist in it, are headed for eternal damnation — do you not see this and do you not see your obligation to warn them against their sin?

    As for the obsession with the maleness of Christ, it’s sick and perverted. “Liberates captives, heals the sick, brings Good News to the poor, forgives sins… Who cares? Urinates standing up… My Lord and my God!” Christ redeems all of us, male and female alike, through His sacrifice of Himself. And it’s not that He redeems males and females differently — males by looking like them, and females by looking like the males that breed with them. No, He redeems males and females alike through His humanity and His divinity.

    Not as sick and perverted as Klaire’s “spiritual lesbianism” though. And Klaire’s is not even the simple, logical conclusion — that would be that if the Church is female, that men can’t be members of it. Or that only lesbians can be Christian. Or some other such utter nonsense.

    In my parish, last summer the wise and holy pastor departed to be replaced by an arrogant bullying narcissist. The lesson I take from this is that human beings are called to virtue but prone to sin, and priests, just like the rest of us, vary in how well they manage to chose holiness. I dunno about you folks in the metaphor-as-chainsaw crowd — do you think that I am supposed to be concluding that Christ is an arrogant bullying narcissist?

  • cathyf

    Lizzie, I posted a comment (apparently comment-281054) which seems to have disappeared. Is it lost? I can re-post it. But it was long-winded enough that I would hate to chew up your bandwidth with a double-post…

    [got thrown into the spam filter. not sure why. my spam filter seems very arbitrary sometimes. -admin]

  • DaveW

    We as people of God need to be very careful not to get caught up in the thinking as the world thinks, that sees the position of the ordained only in the prism of hierarchical structure, assuming it is just like in a private sector business; ‘the higher you climb, the more important you are’. It is not.

    Hear hear. That’s exactly what bothers me about these discussions.

    I usually avoid this stuff because it is so painful to watch people argue about this. But I’m a relatively recent convert and I still sit around in awe at the gifts I’ve been given.

    As someone else alludes above the real power in my parish is centered on little old Catholic ladies that behind the scenes run the entire operation. CCE, RCIA, the parish pantry, all office positions, the school teachers, virtually everything is run by women with the single exception of serving at the altar.

  • Wisita

    Great Article! People often also miss the fact that the Church has a beautiful history of helping women. In fact, even in the Roman empire (where people were pretty ‘progressive’) From my understanding after a child was born the baby would be laid on the floor and would not be counted as a member of the household until the father picked the child up. I like how this article looks at modern Cathoilc powerhouses; if one looks throughout history there are some very impressive women. Catherine of Sienna told the Pope to get back to Rome. Joan of Arc, and the list of countless women who founded religious orders in missionary territory against all odds. Catholicism has liberated women— but even more CAtholicsim has liberated men and women through Christ. I have dignity because of God. As a young women I don’t feel oppressed because I can’t be a Priest (which again is CASE CLOSED, no debate, it’s infallible that women can’t be Priests). My husband’s family seems to fall into this area of thinking that I am such an oppressed woman. I am finishing my Masters in Theology here this May we have 2 beautiful kids so far and we are immeasurably happy doing the will of God. If men and women both would just concentrate on being holy and doing the will of God then this wouldn’t even be an issue. It may be a newsflash to some but men and women are DIFFERENT. Many feminists draw the illogical conclusion that because men and women are different that women are less or lower. My feminist friends are striving to be men while at the same time they are bitter and unhappy. And, of course they are unhappy! They are fighting both the will of God and their own human nature; this always leads to bitterness and resentment. Alice von Hildebrand has a fantastic book called ‘The Privilege of being a Woman.’ She talks about where the strength of woman lies. Women have strengths that men lack just as men have strengths that women lack. I love the CAtholic Church, I love our Priests, and I love Christ and His MOTHER MARY who is a beautiful sinless Woman. Again great article. I will continue striving to do the will of God living in His Holines and Happiness…..and being strong. I am woman hear me roar. : )

  • cathyf

    (which again is CASE CLOSED, no debate, it’s infallible that women can’t be Priests)

    It is certainly “case closed”, but it is not infallible.

    Words do have meaning. “Infallible” is not simply a multisyllabic synonym for “very”.

  • SallyJune

    Wisita — let me follow on your thought. One of the best, most healing things I ever read on this topic was an encyclical by John Paul II on Mary, the thesis of which was: all women are called to the same vocation as Mary: to be Virgin (with a pure heart, only for God) and Mother (to love others with a mother’s heart).

    As a single woman in the world at that time, it helped me immensely to understand myself and my place in Creation.

    Oh, and Bender: you go, dude! (I am his other cheerleader, after all.)

  • Doc

    Cathy, you seem quite angry. Remember, humility is a virtue. I’ll pray for you to be blessed with some. Please do the same for me.

  • Mike Melendez

    Too often in my life I have decided that I have the answers and want everyone to know. I try to stop but end up doing it again. There is an internet term for the phenomenon: “troll”.

    Shawn, I offer you a mirror.

  • Baron Korf

    I’ve never understood this who women priest thing, or Feminism in general. One time someone brought up the myth of Pope Joan and said it was very empowering. My response of “So a woman is only empowered when every mistakes her for a man” was not received well.

    A priest extends the incarnation of Christ with his own life. He dies to himself and becomes alter christus (another Christ) to dispense the holy sacraments. A women simply cannot fufill that specific role because she cannot extend Christ incarnation since she is a woman and he is a man. That’s not saying women are less, but its saying that men and women are different. There is a sacred character to each and it is worth paying close attention to.

    Regardless. Roma Locuta Est, Causa Finita Est.

    If you don’t believe in the sacred and infallible teaching authority of the Church, then why do you care about being Catholic?
    What good is it to be a priest in a false faith?
    How can you trust any of it?
    If you don’t believe that the Pope is the end authority in these matters (see Ordinatio Sacerdotalis), and believe that Christ meant for women to be priests but was such a poor judge of character that none of his apostles taught this, then there is a church for you. Anglican.

    Of course they are very bad at chess, they can’t tell the difference between bishops and the Queen.

  • Zil

    I had read this misguided article but made no comment for, as I said, I’m done with the subject.

    But reading your post prompted me to send Newsweek the comment below.

    I’m only posting Lisa Miller’s gross mistakes because higher values are at stake

    By saying that Christ was wrong she proves how wrong she is herself.

    Prayers are always answered. But if the prayers of those women to the virgin Mary went unanswered then Mary is not a good model.

    As the miters and capes Lisa Miller refers to are definitely not vanities, the vanity she sees in them must be her own.

    The Church is not a corporation. There is not a place in it for those seeking an opportunity, but only for those prepared to serve. It is the mystical body of Christ. If the current scandal is so terrible, is precisely because it hides it from the world, thereby frustrating redemption.

    Saying that the Church should be in step with the world, is tantamount to saying that God must be. It’s precisely the other way around. A completely different thing is that the Church may fail to be faithful to God. People that are not blinded by the media and take a look at the overall performance of the Church, we’ll see how closely it approaches what is expected from God.

    The proposition that people -women in this case- should have a representation in church proportional to their economic contributions, is simply ludicrous.

    The dogma-sounding statement “the Church has absolutely to include more women” doesn’t even make sense, for all women are already in the Church. Lisa Miller must be making the popular mistake of equating the Church with clergy.

    If Jesus performed a band, his disciples must have been bandits!

    It’s inaccurate and misleading to say that women were the first to encounter the resurrected. Two women were.

    It is not that they elevate the Church above all things; it’s that the Church is above everything, simply because God is. Again, a completely different question is how low the members of the church can fall.

    The church is not dedicated to the sick and the poor. That is a corollary to the real purpose of the church which is the salvation of mankind

    That women stopped seeing themselves as part of the body of Christ for the flimsy reason of the stories about women in the Bible not being told, would be a remake of the original sin , themselves before God

    Mary wasn’t celibate to gaining power, but to serve. “I am the handmaid of the Lord”

    If women are not prepared to take Mary’s model as it is, rather than to solve the Church’s problems, they are likely to only compound them. Look at the realities of sexual misbehavior in churches where women are ministers, and where they also have the same child abuse problem, although the media have only chosen to report the Catholic Church’s.

    The solution to the problems of the Church is not women –or men. The solution is, has been, and will ever be, sanctity which implies, first of all, to renounce oneself. The answer, or at least one of the answers, to the question “What would Mary do?” is “To obey and serve”. like all the saints that have ever lived.
    Incidentally, note how those who are wrong will have to be contradictory too. By claiming -to make her case- that women were completely excluded from the universities where “christian intelectuals were establishing the foundations of modern science”, Lisa Miller is, for one thing disproving allegations of churches and religion being enemies of science, and for onother, proving that women were not needed. Not very wise of her to bring up the point!


  • E. Lee

    To outsiders(secular, non-Catholic, humanist,etc.)
    the Catholic Church doesn’t treat women equally because they are denied ordination as priests.
    If there were female bishops,cardinals and Popes(!),the world opinion of the Church would
    be less negative. Some Protestants would say the all-male celibate priesthood is not scriptural. In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul writes:”There is neither Jew nor Greek,there is neither slave nor free,there is neither male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”(Gal3:28-29;also see Romans 10:12). Paul was
    no woman’s libber, but it appears women deserve a bigger role in the Church, the body of Christ.

  • Micah Murphy

    Anchoress FTW!

    I’m a man, but my mother has such a stereotypical view against men in the Church that when a friend recently suggested I pursue a degree in canon law, my mother immediately said, “why bother? The bishop or some priest will probably just veto your judgments anyway.” I agree completely that the bitterness some people express is pure anger at a lack of power, rather than frustration with a rejection of service.

  • cathyf

    A women simply cannot fufill that specific role because she cannot extend Christ incarnation since she is a woman and he is a man.

    More nonsense too goofy to even rise to heresy. Almighty God, who accomplished the incarnation using nothing more than His Divine Will and the physical matter of the Blessed Mother’s body, can surely make a priest of a woman if He were to so choose. What the Church teaches is that God does not so choose, and the Church does not have the authority to override that.

  • Baron Korf

    Goofy, really? God could also make the atmosphere turn to Jell-O and the ocean into helium. But God does not act arbitrarily. He sets forth patterns and laws that we can trust Him to follow and that we can learn from.

    If a radical identification with Christ’s life is so silly then why does the Church refer to the ‘one priesthood of Christ’ or ‘persona Christi’? Bishop Sheen would say that Christ needs a priest’s hands for blessing and a priest’s mouth for preaching.

  • Wisita

    Hey CathyF,
    hope you are well. just a quick note. it is an infallible teaching of the Church that women cannot be Priests. there are 3 ways a teaching can be infallible. when the pope speaks ex cathedra, according to the extraordinary magisterium of the Church, and lastly according to the universal ordinary magisterium of the Church. ecumenical councils are the extraordinary magisterium of the Church. the universal ordinary magisterium of the Church involves teachings that the church has always taught and held. for example the canon of the Church was actually officially officially declared until the council of trent because that was the first time it had been questioned in the protestant revolt. the 7 sacraments were also declared at that council but the church has always taught the 7 sacraments and She has held the canon the way it was at least since Augustine. But when something is challenged the Pope or Councils sometimes feel the need to declare them. when it comes to women priests a good argument can certainly be made that the universal ordinary magisterium of the Church has always held women can not be Priests. but on top of that Pope John Paul II in the 16th year of his pontificate stated that:

    “In order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)

    This declaration quite clearly teaches that women cannot be ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

    “When, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals” (Lumen Gentium)

    People have argued that he wasn’t speaking ex cathedra in this instance; but it fulfills the conditions for speaking ex cathedra and then on top of that the Vatican came out after it and yes it was intended to be taken that way.

    I hope you have a fantastic day. i am doing homework today. and lastly here’s a quote that i was reading that i liked….

    “Women (and men) are called to holiness and sainthood, and as this concern is so infinitely much more important than the call to priestly ordination reserved solely to men, women and men who spend their time advocating against an infallible doctrine of the Catholic Church are devoting their efforts to a vastly lesser cause.”

    God bless!

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