Friday 31st October 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Women Priests: Why Not?

March 29, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

 

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 1

On May 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which he closed down the debate on the ordination of women to the priesthood. It was the feast of St. Rita, the patroness of impossible cases, a great woman of faith and fidelity to God’s law and a lover of the cross of Jesus Christ.
I was living in New Zealand in those days, and was able to witness the reaction to the apostolic letter launched by some disgruntled feminists. A leader of such a group of women unhappy with the Pope’s teaching was Dr. Anna Holmes, well-known in the Diocese of Christchurch.
Her views seemed to encapsulate those of most feminists who call themselves “Catholic.”
She stated that “when the Church began, the family Jesus gathered about Him included women and men as equal members. Membership was open to all who ‘hear the word of God and keep it,’ which was to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. . . . The Church continued as a ‘family of equals’ until it moved to Rome. . . . Women were involved in the early Church in preaching, teaching, and ministry [but were] gradually excluded and confined out of their public roles.”
The result was a “sense of anger, frustration, abandonment . . . [because of] Church relationships which are hierarchical, oppressive, and wrong.”
I think these statements sum up in a very relevant way the thinking of feminists of both genders (possibly also of those of the so-called transgender type, if they ever think about such matters). But the simple question is: Is this true? Were women in the early Church indeed “involved in preaching, teaching, and ministry”? Or are the views of Dr. Holmes and those of her persuasion simply mythical untruths, which will confuse and therefore deceive those who are ignorant and immature in the faith?
At the Mass before the conclave that elected him Pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger stated that “Catholics cannot remain immature in the faith, as they risk being tossed about here and there by any new doctrinal wind.” And with the issue of women’s ordination, it is precisely what we see among many: ignorance, immaturity in the faith.
Dr. Holmes and those of her persuasion oppose the hierarchical nature of the Church, and prefer a society of equals. Of course, it is their opinion, not my problem, because an opinion is something like a brain, everybody has got one — or at least most people do. So we must ask this elementary question: How did Jesus establish His Church? As a society of equals, where authority emerges from the people via democratic means? Or as a hierarchy, based upon the calling to the sacramental priesthood?
Let’s face it, friends: It is one way or the other. It cannot be both. It is either a monarchy or a republic. Authority either comes through election by the people because it is a human right to be a priest or a bishop; or it is a calling from God, discerned by the existing priesthood of the Church.

+    +    +

Let us investigate this matter, beginning with Sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament, Israel was the People of God. It began as a theocracy — God was their King, exercising His government through the prophets He sent — and it was immensely superior to any monarchy, where the king is a mere man. But the Israelites became politically correct, and wanted a king for themselves, just like all the pagan nations around them. God called Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul was not elected by a majority vote.
In the New Testament, a new Israel of God (Gal. 6:16) was formed by Jesus, who said that He had come not to abolish, but to fulfill, to bring to perfection (Matt. 5:17). Hence the Church of Jesus Christ is the pillar and mainstay of the Truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
Now, what did He come to fulfill? Of course, we are restricting our study here to the format chosen by Jesus to establish His Church, that is, whether it was a democratic society of equals or a hierarchical society based upon a divine calling to the priesthood.
First of all, Jesus made it very clear the origin of the apostolic calling: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16).
Likewise, God the Father chose Abraham, and freely so, and Abraham did not take the initiative to choose God. Abraham was the patriarch, chosen by God, not elected by the people. From him the people of Israel issued in due course through the generations of his offspring.
Israel was God’s firstborn son: “Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, let my son go that he may serve me” (Exodus 4:22). Although God gave to Israel His preference, He also loved the other nations, as in “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage” (Isaiah 19:25). But “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!…He declared His words to Jacob, His statutes and ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation, they do not know His ordinances. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 147:19-20).
Israel was definitely at the top of the list of God’s love and preference! Yes, definitely there was no society of equals among the peoples of the earth in God’s sight. Israel was privileged.
But before we proceed, let us define this important word: privilege. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is a right, an advantage, or an immunity, belonging to a person, a class, or an office. Privilege comes from the Latin privus, private, and lex, or legis, law: a law that applies to a private situation, a person, a class, an office, or a people, as in the case of Israel.
Even within the twelve tribes of Israel, the Levites had a privilege. They received no land of their own as the other eleven tribes did, because “the Lord is their inheritance, as He promised them….The first fruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him [the Levitical priest]. For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand and minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons forever” (Deut. 18:1-5).
Because they were the priestly tribe without a land of their own, Levites received the privilege to live by the lands of other tribes. Moreover, only they and their sons — not their daughters — were allowed to “stand and minister in the name of the Lord.” No males of all the other eleven tribes were ever allowed even to burn incense in the Temple: only the Levites. They did not choose God; God freely chose them. It was God’s will that there was no society of equals in the Old Testament.
Next article: Was there a society of equals in the New Testament?

+    +    +

Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International (HLI); president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. Web site: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

ben1

(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

pope650

(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Called To Be Children Of Light

(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

Chilling Free Speech

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 A classical objection: What Catholics call the “Apostolic Tradition” is just a human tradition, which Jesus clearly condemned in the Gospel, when He said to the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the…Continue Reading

Public Revelation Vs. Private Revelation

By DON FIER Our previous installment ended by citing a pair of remarkable verses from the Letter to the Hebrews, verses that concisely summarize God’s divine pedagogy, His master plan of divine Revelation: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading