This is a recently released video entitled “7 Reasons Men Should Not Be Pastors” which is based on a popular blog post written by Eugene Cho and another older list written by Dr David Scholer, a Fuller Theological Seminary professor:
The video is basically a parody of the sexist reasons I assume some women hear when they are informed of the reasons why women are not allowed to join the ordained priesthood and/or pastor.
Except I have never in my entire life heard any of these reasons or anything even closely approximating them.
That is not to say that there is no sexism in Christian churches, I am sure there is. And perhaps this video is a valid rebuttal to some of the issues that women face. To be frank, if a Christian denomination does not have a sacramental view of the Church, then separating men’s from women’s roles is basically sexist. There is little difference between a Baptist pastor and the work that I do as a woman in the Catholic Church. I preach, I encourage, I lead. I can be a source of God’s grace for others.
But while this video lays open some of the patronizing attitudes that may exist among some Christians in regards to women’s roles, it also manages to patronize women. The video suggests that the reasons women are not ordained are petty. But if the arguments against women’s ordination are petty, then women who don’t agree have been duped, and by some pretty ridiculous arguments apparently!
In other words, women like me must have an inferiority complex. We must not back women’s ordination because we are stupid enough to believe baseless, idiotic arguments like the ones in the video. Yes, women who don’t believe in women’s ordination must have no other more reasonable reasons for believing as we do.
Now, that is patronizing and sexist.
Ordination in the Catholic Church is not open to women because the nature of the male priesthood as the Church understands it excludes a gender different than that of Christ. Not for reasons of sexism, but for reasons of a rich theology based on Scripture and early Christian tradition. Jesus asked that some men (not all men) be set aside, as he set aside the apostles to do a specific kind of work in the Church, the sacramental work. Why would he set aside men to do this? (Because it is clear in the Bible that he does set aside a group of men for a certain kind of work.)
Was it because Jesus was a product of his times and he was sexist? Hah. I have heard this argument from all kinds of people and they must not know the same Jesus I know. And they must not read their Bibles too carefully. Jesus loved and respected women, and he had no problem speaking truth to power.
But the Sacrament of Holy Orders imparts another character, different from the baptismal character. This involves a configuration to Christ the high priest so that the man who is a priest can act in the place of Christ, especially in offering the sacrifice of the Mass. So the priest is sometimes called an “alter Christus” (other Christ in Latin).
Some men are set aside to act in the person of Christ in the sacrifice of the Mass. Gender in this participation in the sacrifice of the Mass is actually important because the priest is acting in place of Christ who was a man.
Now, women, of course, can do many of the things that ordained priests do. We should not be excluded from leadership roles. We should be allowed to preach and teach, (outside of the context of the Mass). We should not be expected to be subservient because we are women. And we should be treated as equals.
And I totally agree that there is room for growth in the area of respect for women and our valuable role in the Church. But to really act in the Church as we are called to act, we first need to understand that our role as women in the Church is valuable, not because we are the same as men but because we are different. Women give unique gifts to the Church because of our gender. And unlike what our current culture tells us, our femininity is not some cosmic bumble, it means something, it is worth something.
Women’s femininity is valuable and irreplaceable.
As a religious sister, I see this even more clearly now because I value my own role in salvation and in the Church. I know that it is different than the role of an ordained priest but just as vital.
That’s basically the Cliff Notes version of why I agree with Scripture and Church teaching on women’s ordination but I’m sure you can find much more on the subject from other Catholic women who are just as brainwashed and feeble-minded as I am…
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