Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ordination of women is a "crime"?!

This is just in from the Vatican City. According to the Associated Press, yet again the Catholic Church claims that Jesus only had male apostles and that Protestants are the ones who have "changed" traditions by allowing women in the pulpit.

What about Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles? How easily she has been marginalized and forgotten!

Nevertheless, to make matters worse, the ordination of women is declared a crime by the Vatican. Women priests are criminals (heretics?) who are to be excommunicated from the church.

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican insisted Friday that it is properly following Christian tradition by excluding females from the priesthood as it issued a new warning that women taking part in ordinations will be excommunicated.

The move dashed the hopes both of women seeking to be priests and of Catholics who see that as an option for a church struggling to recruit men.

A top Vatican official said the church acted after what it described as "so-called ordinations" held in various parts of the world.

Monsignor Angelo Amato of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the Vatican wanted to provide bishops with a clear response on the issue.

The church has always banned the ordination of women by stating that the priesthood is reserved for males. The new decree is explicit in its reference to women.

"The church does not feel authorized to change the will of its founder Jesus Christ," Amato said in an interview prepared for Vatican Radio that was released to reporters. The reference is to Christ's having chosen only men as his Apostles.

Asked whether the Roman Catholic Church was going "against the tide" in respect to other Christian confessions, Amato said the church was in "good company" with Orthodox and ancient Eastern churches and that it was the Protestants who are breaking with tradition.

In March, the archbishop of St. Louis excommunicated three women — two Americans and a South African — for participating in a woman's ordination. They were part of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, which began in 2002.

The decree was published Thursday by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, which in a headline called the ordination of women a "crime."

The congregation said it acted to "preserve the nature and validity of the sacrament" of ordination.



David said...

Since I come from a family of women priests (mother, sister, niece), needless to say I take a dim view of this policy. I wonder when the Roman Church will ever give up its manufactured traditions which have no basis in history.

James F. McGrath said...

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Jim Deardorff said...

If God is considered to be a male, or Father figure, it's only consistent that all apostles be male also!

ChessNovice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChessNovice said...

One of the titles given to Mary Magdalene in the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in communion with Rome is Iσαπόστολος, isapostolos in Greek, aequalis apostolis in Latin, which, translates into English as Equal to the Apostles.

Another case and point is Saint Phoebe (1st century) who was a deaconess of the Church. She was commended to the congregation of Rome by St. Paul, who praised her for her assistance to him and who according to tradition delivered the Epistle to Romans to the congregation Her feast day is 3 September

I would humbly assert that Mary's designation and Phoebe's role in the early church are sufficient reasons to permit and work toward the full ordination and participation of women within the Ministry. Furthermore, I would argue that this position is consistent with the Jewish traditions that were the foundation for Christianity that affirmed the feminine aspect of the Divine Presence exemplified by the Shekhinah.

The position taken by the Roman Catholic Church is reminiscent of the thinking that allowed for the martyrdom of Jeanne d'Arc at the hands of the Inquistion

As a practicing Catholic I am ashamed and indignant that the powers that be continue to deny women what is theirs by right.

April DeConick said...


Hey, THANKS! And congratulations on your blog award. Good job.

Khoop said...

In short, priests are men because the apostles were men.

As to excommunication - these women did it to themselves, knowing that they were severing ties with the Catholic Church.

Creative Minority Report has an interesting take on the subject:

Mark D B said...

To add to what Chessnovice said:

Along those lines is also St. Nino, a woman listed as an Equal-to-the-Apostles in Eastern Orthodoxy, who is credited, along with St. George, for Christianizing what is today the geographical area of Georgia.

Equal-to-the-Apostles is defined as a title "bestowed as a recognition of these saints' outstanding service in the spreading and assertion of Christianity, comparable to that of the original apostles." A partial listing (from Wikipedia, of those those honored with the title includes at least six women (and not only figures who are important in Eastern Orthodoxy), from the 1st to the 10th centuries. There is certainly a history of women who are recognized as having done the same work as the apostles who weren't later demoted to common prostitutes (since they obviously discount Mary Magdalen), so the Vatican's selective memory is at best, confusing!

José Solano said...

Jesus selected twelve Apostles. Mary Magdalene was not one of them. They were all men. The Levites who were in charge of the Temple were also all men. None of the Orthodox/Eastern churches ordain women as priests. Orthodox Jews today do not ordain women rabbis. Mormons do not ordain women. Many Protestant denominations do not ordain women.

Apostle to the Apostles merely refers to Mary Magdalene being the first “messenger” of the Resurrection. Apostle literarily means messenger. Although like the Catholic and Orthodox churches some Gnostics apparently venerated Mary Magdalene I don’t know that any of them ever ordained a woman priest. Do we have any proof that any of the Gnostic writings were even written by women? Being a teacher or even a deacon in the church and being an ordained priest are very different roles. Catholics recognize that there were ordained “deaconesses” (diakonissai) in the early church.

“Equal to the Apostles” is an honorific title given by the Eastern Church to a great many saintly men and women. It relates to their holiness and often martyrdom and has nothing to do with being priests, although some men were. Women can teach, preach and I think at times even baptize people. There are specific functions in both Catholic and Orthodox churches that are delegated to men and they provide justification for their teaching from both Tradition and Scripture.

I’m not a Catholic but I respect their right to interpret Scripture, follow their Tradition and determine the laws and disciplines for their church.

I personally believe that we do have some Scriptural grounds by which women may justifiably become church ministers/priests under certain circumstances. If I were a Catholic I would be allowed to discuss and debate these views, and many other issues, but I couldn’t simply defy church teaching imagining that the church will simply capitulate to my defiance or that I’m setting some sort of good example to incite greater defiance. Not even the entire Protestant Reformation has been able to alter any of the major Catholic and Orthodox doctrines. We must marvel at their consistency and dedication while Protestantism continues to splinter and fall deeper into heretical teachings and practices.

JMS Providence said...

This is one of the reasons why I left the Catholic Church years ago.

Boy, I'll tell ya...if they only knew how much the idiots they look like.

And if they didn't have all of their "years of tradition" as well as all the idiots who buy into them (some of which are my own family), the RCC would be dismissed as a cult for all their stupid little doctrines!

Man, they piss me off!

Abdul-Halim V. said...

a couple of things come to mind: does anyone know the exact relationship between being ordained and being excommunicated in this case? If a bishop "ordains" a woman.. then have they been ordained?

Secondly, if priests must be male because the disciples were male then I wonder how they get around the corollary that priests must be Jewish?

Brett said...

It is inconceivable that Jesus Christ would endorse the exclusion of women from the priesthood. His message was always of inclusiveness and against exclusion by organized structure of the church. ( Women must be accepted as full partners in the church.