Just kidding, Norm, but in the comments section of the post below, you raise the following interesting question about women’s ordination:
The plain reality is that the sacrament of baptism makes a male capable of receiving ordination, for one cannot ordain a male who is not baptized. The problem here is that if baptism does not also make a woman capable of receiving ordination, one in fact has two baptisms — one conferred on men and the other conferred on women — that differ materially in effect. This is, of course, irreconcilable with the plain teaching of scripture that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism…” (see Ephesians 4:5). Perhaps there is a way to reconcile this reality with the “cannot” position, but I don’t see how and the Vatican’s statements on the subject have not done so.
To be clear, I am NOT advocating any change in the present discipline of the church by raising the second of these issues. Indeed, such a change in discipline is far from opportune, the most profound being that it would create additional obstacles to ecumenical relations with the Orthodox Communion and the ancient oriental churches, none of which ordain women. I also should point out that the second of these issues does not in any way abrogate the canon declaring the ordination of women to be null and void, for that canon merely reflects the intrinsic defect of intent that is inherent in any action contrary to the intent of the universal church, nor is it in any way contrary to the statement by Pope John Paul II that he lacks the authority to change the discipline, for one whose ministry is to maintain and to restore the unity of the church (see the encyclical Ut unam sint) clearly does not have authority knowingly to create new obstacles to unity.
In writing about the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council for Catholic papers and going over some of the key legacies of this event in the life of the Church, it is clear there was an emphasis on the Priesthood of Believers by virtue of our Baptism into Christ. However, where I think the most progressive proponents of the spirit of Vatican II ran into error is that they used these insights to horizontalize the liturgy and the relationship between clergy and lay people. While perhaps there was a need to get “Father” off his pedestal and a kind of magic view of the ontological change ordination confers, what happened was a blurring of the roles of the laity and the ordained.
I believe these views—-of the People of God participating in the priesthood of Christ, male and female, through the sacrament of Baptism, and that of the unique role of an ordained male priesthood regarding the Eucharist need to be held in tension and balanced so that one does not displace or lessen the importance of the other.
The reason why there is a male priesthood is because the priest re-presents Christ in a unique way that involves liturgically entering into that once-and-for-all, historically particular event of Christ’s sacrifice. To have women doing this tampers with this particularity of Christ’s maleness, to say nothing of having implications for the nuptial mystery of the Mass and Christ as the Bridegroom.
However, as a woman, I fully believe I participate in Christ’s priesthood in powerful, supernatural ways, exercising whatever gifts I may have been given by the Holy Spirit. We all have been given supernatural gifts, but not all of us “stir them up” the way Paul exhorted Timothy to do.
What Vatican II was supposed to do was emphasize that lay Catholics are called to be saints, not just those called to the priesthood or consecrated life. But that calling to sainthood was not supposed to undermine the unique role of the male priesthood in the economy of grace.
Here is the listing of spiritual gifts from I Corinthians 12 from the King James Version, and I do not see myself barred as a woman from exercising any of them out in the world on behalf of the Kingdom of God. So much of what I am discovering about Catholicism is that often we deal with mysteries and paradoxes where an “either/or” view truncates Reality.
From I Corinthians 12:
|4||¶ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.|
|5||And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.|
|6||And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.|
|7||But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.|
|8||For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;|
|9||to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;|
|10||to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:|
|11||but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. Rom. 12.6-8|
|12||¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. Rom. 12.4, 5|
|13||For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whetherwe be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.