Columnists > Let’s be crystal clear: this debate is not about female access to the priesthood

23 March 2016 | by Joanna Moorhead

Let’s be crystal clear: this debate is not about female access to the priesthood


A few months ago, I attended a press conference that, had it been at almost any other institution, would have seemed ridiculously outdated. The issue was the participants. There was a big stage, a long, wide table, and six speakers. All of them were male.

No prizes for guessing where I was. Yes, you got it: the Vatican. The six men on the dais included one bishop, three priests, and two laymen. Where Rome is concerned, “diversity” means non-priests (and you’ve got to hand it to them; if I’d been at the same press conference 20 years ago, all six figures on the stage would probably have been ordained).

But as diversity goes, it is not quite cutting the mustard in the twenty-first century, where most organisations are rightly increasingly aware of the need to represent minorities who might feel that white, able-bodied men are not necessarily suited to articulate their situation.


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User Comments (3)

Comment by: Bernard
Posted: 31/03/2016 11:07:26
Jesus, as high priest, generates His spouses from his Side on the cross, and generates new re-created immaculate life in His spouses.

At Mass, the priest, as a male, is united in his special faculties, to the immaculate transcendental faculties of Christ. He is making Christ present on the altar, helping to regenerate the Church, and as a male, is inseminating the Word Seed of Christ into the body of his spouse, the Church, in order that our blemished conceptions in our mothers’ wombs be re-created immaculate.

Only a male can inseminate his spouse, so only a male can be a priest.

The priest is therefore the male spouse in Persona Christi, involved in an immaculate marriage, which is virginal and fecund and unconditional . It is therefore fitting that the priest be not a partner in blemished, conditional, imperfect, though holy, natural marriage.

The source of the image, which supports this whole male emphasis on Priest, is that the Father in His power through the Holy Spirit as spouse of Mary inseminates the immaculate egg cell in the womb of Mary with the Word

Even though our souls may be sinless, our imperfect reception of the Eucharist is because we are in the finite fallen state - still having an imperfect blemished World Soul in our flesh. Mary is now perfect in heaven with immaculate World Soul and personal soul. We are being re-created in Christ in her immaculate womb.

Comment by: Luis Gutierrez
Posted: 24/03/2016 19:11:01
Good article, but the debate IS about the ordination of women. I am very concerned about the conflation of patriarchal gender ideology and revealed truth in our sacramental theology:

Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature

These meditations are based on my understanding of St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. When are we going to admit that ecclesiastical patriarchy is cultural heritage and not divine revelation? The cultural revolution in the nuclear family is already happening, as families evolve from sole male (father) headship to joint male-female (father-mother) headship. What we need now is a cultural revolution in the hierarchical church, and no dogmatic evolution is needed for that. All baptized men and women are naturally and sacramentally consubstantial. Article 1024 of the Code of Canon Law, which reserves priestly ordination to baptized males, is an artificial contraceptive (if not an abortifacient!) of female priestly vocations. It is vocational gendercide. The notion that only males can be ordained because Jesus chose only males is so ludicrous that it necessitated a papal edict (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 1994) to forbid discussion of the issue by bishops. Article 1598 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church literally says that the male-only priesthood is a choice (first sentence) and who makes the choice (second sentence). It is a disgrace.
Comment by: kentgeordie
Posted: 24/03/2016 17:49:56
The article rests on the assumptions that the interests of women are best represented by women, and that women representatives will and can speak for women in general, rather than for a narrow feminist position.
I know nothing of the high councils of the Holy See, but at the primary school where I am a governor, seats are reserved for teacher and parent governors - with the strict proviso that they promote the general interests of the school rather than just the teachers and parents.
This makes sense to me. You don't need to be young or old or black or white or male or female to speak for these groups. As an old white male I am more than happy to be defended by a young black woman if she is the best person for the job.

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