I have to respond to José's comments on my earlier post about the Catholic church recently criminalizing women priests, excommunicating them (as heretics?). I have to respond because José presents us with the party line, which is about as uncritical and ill-informed as can be. It is a party line that we have accepted only because it has been beaten into us over the centuries, and sounds "normal" when in fact it is insidious sexism. Why is it that inequality in gender is considered normal, when inequality on other levels is fought tooth and nail? Why do we allow this to continue? We are the ones who are in control of our thoughts and our actions. It is time to step up to the plate and demand that gender not matter to the priesthood. We do not have to accept the Vatican's decision.
Consider this. We can't allow women to be priests because Jesus only selected men as his apostles. How silly is this? Let's move to another issue. What about race, age, and religion? Are men who are Asian, African-American, or Native American denied priesthood on the basis that Jesus only selected "caucasian" Middle Eastern men as his apostles? Are men who are older than forty denied the priesthood on the basis that Jesus only selected young men as his apostles? If we really were to get serious, shouldn't the priesthood be confined to young Jewish male converts who speak Aramaic, on the basis that these were the men that Jesus selected as apostles and are the only people who can represent him on earth? As soon as we move the discussion to a different issue, it is clear how silly and meaningless it is!
Besides, there is the other issue I haven't raised, and that is the issue of whether or not Jesus actually selected only twelve male disciples as his followers, or whether this is a contrivance of the later tradition which worked to eliminate women from positions of leadership which they held in the early movement.
As for José's statement: "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." If we were to list all of the people that the Catholic Church has considered a heretic, excommunicated, tortured and killed, I think it would put things into perspective. It would also show that some of the greatest minds in our culture, the ones that have moved us forward in our knowledge of ourselves and our world, have been official heretics like Galileo. If it weren't for the heretics, we would never advance in our knowledge because no one would challenge the status quo or think beyond what they have received.
Yes, women can and should be priests. This issue is vital to us, more than ever now that the Catholic Church has criminalized us! It is the reason that I am writing Sex and the Serpent in Ancient Christianity: Why the Sexual Conflicts of the Early Church Still Matter. I'm going to now close so I can go to work on the second chapter, "Why was the Spirit neutered?"
UPDATE: Jared Calaway from Antiquitopia has posted a similar discussion HERE<<<