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Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue?

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2007/06/12 07:53:45 (permalink)

Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue?

Dear friends, 

Is the prohibition against women priests a human rights issue? Rome maintains it's not.  In the following sense, we do agree: No one, woman or man, has the right to be a priest.  Priesthood is a matter of calling from God and not of self-selection or human right.  But what about the right to have one's call from God considered by the Church?  As things stand now a man's calling will be investigated and nurtured whereas a woman's will not.  Are women being discriminated against in that their callings are not considered?

Rome argues that human rights -- such as equal rights for women -- do not apply in the context of the ministries.  The Church, Rome points out is an ecclesiastical society unlike any other society/government upon the earth.  The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith tells us more about this in its October 15, 1976 Declaration Inter Insigniores. We read:

36. Thus one must note the extent to which the Church is a society different from other societies, original in her nature and in her structures. The pastoral charge in the Church is normally linked to the sacrament of Order; it is not a simple government, comparable to the modes of authority found in States. It is not granted by people’s spontaneous choice: even when it involves designation through election, it is the laying on of hands and the prayer of the successors of the Apostles which guarantee God’s choice; and it is the Holy Spirit, given by ordination, who grants participation in the ruling power of the Supreme Pastor, Christ (cf. Acts 20 :28). It is a charge of service and love: ‘If you love me, feed my sheep’ (cf. Jn 21 :15-17). ...

and still more:

37. For this reason one cannot see how it is possible to propose the admission of women to the priesthood in virtue of the equality of rights of the human person, an equality which holds good also for Christians. To this end, use is sometimes made of the text quoted above, from the Letter to the Galatians (3 :28), which says that in Christ there is no longer any distinction between men and women. But this passage does not concern ministries: it only affirms the universal calling to divine filiation, which is the same for all. Moreover, and above all, to consider the ministerial priesthood as a human right would be to misjudge its nature completely: baptism does not confer any personal title to public ministry in the Church. The priesthood is not conferred for the honour or advantage of the recipient, but for the service of God and the Church; it is the object of a specific and totally gratuitous vocation: ‘You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you...’ (Jn 15:16; cf. Heb. 5:4).

The Sacred Congregation's Commentary on Inter Insigniores attempts to justify its position when it says:

105. The proposal that women should be admitted to the priesthood because they have gained leadership in many fields of modern life today seems to ignore the fact that the Church is not a society like the rest. In the Church, authority or power is of a very different nature, linked as it normally is with the sacrament, as is underlined in the declaration. Disregard of this fact is indeed a temptation that has threatened ecclesiological research at all periods: every time that an attempt is made to solve the Church’s problems by comparison with those of states, or to define the Church’s structure by political categories, the inevitable result is an impasse. ... 
106. The declaration also points out the defect in the argument that seeks to base the demand that the priesthood be conferred on women on the text Galatians 3:28, which states that in Christ there is no longer any distinction between man and woman. For St Paul this is the effect of baptism. The baptismal catechesis of the fathers often stressed it. But absolute equality in baptismal life is quite a different thing from the structure of the ordained ministry. This latter is the object of a vocation within the Church not a right inherent in the person.

(If you are interested, you can read Rome's texts in full!)
 
How can we counter this? Our position is this:  While no individual has a right to be ordained, excluding a whole class of baptised persons from the priestly ministry constitutes a question of real discrimination, especially since there are no valid arguments from Scripture and Tradition to support this it.

In his article Human Rights and Ordination, Dr. Wijngaards points out that the exclusion of women from the Catholic priesthood is more and more seen as an act of discrimination notwithstanding Rome's profession to the contrary. The last decades have seen a phenomenal increase of international sensitivity regarding women's rights and the need to redress injustices committed in the past.

This has been pointed out to Rome repeatedly. The most celebrated case was Sister Theresa Kane's intervention to John Paul II in October 1979. As president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, she addressed the Holy Father during his visit to Washington. She said:

As women, we have heard the powerful messages of our Church professing dignity and reverence for all persons. As women, we have pondered upon these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the Church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our Church. Origins 18 October 1979, p. 285.


The Pope refused to enter into dialogue with Sister Kane. Even in subsequent years various attempts by Sister Kane to obtain an interview with the Holy Father failed. The Vatican version of the incident was that she had overstepped her limits. But the enormous publicity given to the event by the world media and the wide support she received, show that she had expressed something many Catholic women feel: 'the Church treats us unjustly.'

The link to Dr. Wijngaards' article is here: Discrimination  In it he wisely concludes:

Pretending there is no discrimination ‘because it was Christ's will’, does no more than shift the blame on Christ. He is then presented as one of the worst discriminators in the history of the world - one of the worst as it victimises so many people and as it deprives them of such deep spiritual values. It will be clear from all that the evidence presented on this website that this claim would be preposterous. It is not Christ who has kept women from ministering his saving power.

More to follow!  If you have any questions, please let me know!

with love and blessings,
~Sophie~
post edited by Sophie - 2007/07/25 01:52:10

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    Therese
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    RE: Is Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/12 13:56:00 (permalink)
    I have been thinking about this issue alot...and need to keep thinking about it some more to get a handle on exactly what this is.

    At minimum, there is a case to make that it is at least one of systemic discrimination or adverse affect discriminaton.

    From a Canadian Human Rights Reporter

    Adverse affect discrimination = in French: "discrimination par effet préjudiciable" or "discrimination par suite d'un effet préjudiciable") A uniform practice or standard which has a negative or adverse effect on a group of persons because it does not accommodate their particular characteristics though this could be done without sacrificing legitimate objectives or incurring undue hardship. Such discrimination is also called indirect discrimination or systemic discrimination. It may occur even when everyone is treated the same and there is no intent to discriminate. What makes a practice discriminatory is its effect and the failure to accommodate the particular characteristics of the affected group short of undue hardship. 
    post edited by Sophie - 2007/06/12 17:07:18
    Therese
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    Is Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/12 14:15:04 (permalink)
    One hardship Rome would have to face in all this is embarrassment/shame hat would come with admitting they have been wrong.  There could be a 'deep seated' triggering subconscious (maybe conscious) resistance in Rome towards having to face that shame.

    ie, 'We, the men at the top, have been saying for centuries that women have their place and it is not here with us. In fact, not only have we been saying this for centuries, we've crushed people who've tried to tell us otherwise.  In the last third of the twentieth century, we fortified the castle.  We've put a lot of effort to in our attempted to prop this up with some sort of intelligent rationale.  OK maybe we felt like we got pushed into a corner and our backs went up...nonetheless, we have publicly gone on record saying 'this is what God says. End of discussion.'

    If we (read 'Rome') publicly admit we made a mistake, aren't we going to look like a bigger bunch of dummies -- not only in the Church but on the international stage -- since instead of sitting down to 'think this through' with the spirit of 'they might have a point,' we responded in a knee jerk way that went more to defending our own ego needs instead of doing what was right?'

    ie In the past, misogyny got in the way.  It looks to me like the stronger the case becomes, Rome resists because shame gets in the way.

    Rome might take some guidance on this from John Paul II's Jubilee Mass of Repentence.  Vatican apparachiks vehemently fought against JPII's proposal that public apologies be issued to women, Jews, minorities, aboriginal peoples, victims of the Crusades.  The apparachik point of view, "It will be a public relations disaster to admit that we were wrong."

    Well, turns out JPII had good instincts.  Despite the misgivings of the apparachiks, the Church actually shone on the international stage.  In that golden moment -- from my point of view -- the Church shone because its hierarchy was honestly admitting:

    We acknowledge that some among us -- if not the royal we -- have made mistakes.  We were wrong.  We humbly acknowledge this and express our recognition that we were the oppressors. We acknowledge our need for forgiveness and we ask for it.

    The response from planet earth was by all media reports I absorbed, was a unanimous 'Bravo!  Well done!  Thank you for your leadership on this!  We respect the courage you have shown in admitting you were wrong.'

    No one shoved the Vatican's nose into it.  Instead, from what I recall, international response was more in the way of an admirable 'thank you. Bravo! Well done! May peace be with you, too.'

    The saying: you are as sick as your secrets comes to mind.

    Facing up to women's ordination provide an opportunity for healing.  Get the secret out into the open air.  'There is no case to prohibit women's ordination.'  It's been propped up by many things: misogyny, lust for power, embarrassment that gets in the way of admitting one is wrong, pride....

    Is there a doctor in the house?  Our patient might feel reassured that we've got some help for this.  No lethal injection:  we promise!

    Therese
    post edited by Sophie - 2007/06/12 17:11:24
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    RE: Is Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/12 20:56:03 (permalink)
      The Roman Catholic Church would grow in stature and prestige if it did ordain women and if a way could be found that this is face saving. Rome is very good at that anyway, they phrase changes as if they are not even new.  The important aspect is to allow the change to ordain women to help our dear church.  The church would be so glorious and holy if it did this change and then it truly would be following the way, will , teachings and tradition of both Jesus and the Early Christian church.   God bless from Constance
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/12 21:33:42 (permalink)

    36. Thus one must note the extent to which the Church is a society different from other societies, original in her nature and in her structures. The pastoral charge in the Church is normally linked to the sacrament of Order; it is not a simple government, comparable to the modes of authority found in States. It is not granted by people’s spontaneous choice: even when it involves designation through election, it is the laying on of hands and the prayer of the successors of the Apostles which guarantee God’s choice; and it is the Holy Spirit, given by ordination, who grants participation in the ruling power of the Supreme Pastor, Christ (cf. Acts 20 :28). It is a charge of service and love: ‘If you love me, feed my sheep’ (cf. Jn 21 :15-17).


    Nothing important should be granted by spontaneous choice. As with any serious endeavor, there are criteria to be met. But the question becomes what are God’s criteria. Does God discriminate based on height, weight, nationality, hair color, eye color, race, temperament, intellect, educational level? Then why should God discriminate on the basis of sex? Jesus never said “Only men should feed my sheep.” The criterion was love not gender.


    37. For this reason one cannot see how it is possible to propose the admission of women to the priesthood in virtue of the equality of rights of the human person, an equality which holds good also for Christians. To this end, use is sometimes made of the text quoted above, from the Letter to the Galatians (3 :28), which says that in Christ there is no longer any distinction between men and women. But this passage does not concern ministries: it only affirms the universal calling to divine filiation, which is the same for all. Moreover, and above all, to consider the ministerial priesthood as a human right would be to misjudge its nature completely: baptism does not confer any personal title to public ministry in the Church. The priesthood is not conferred for the honour or advantage of the recipient, but for the service of God and the Church; it is the object of a specific and totally gratuitous vocation: ‘You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you...’ (Jn 15:16; cf. Heb. 5:4).

     
    Paul’s letter to the Galatians may not speak about the ministries but it does establish God’s rejection of spiritual distinction between men and women. We are the children of God and have always been such, even before Christ’s coming. What Christ’s coming does is remove the distinctions between men and women. Christ shows us that these physical distinctions are not what are important to God.
    No one is claiming that the priesthood is conferred for the honor or advantage of the recipient. Human rights are about equality and justice, not making oneself better than another or claiming special privilege. The gratuitous nature of the priestly vocation is not justification for discriminating against women. Jesus commissioned Mary Magdalene to proclaim the resurrection. Jesus commissioned the Samaritan woman to proclaim him as the Messiah in her town. God does not discriminate based on gender. Such discrimination against women throughout the ages has been from man. God does not act as man does.

     

    105. The proposal that women should be admitted to the priesthood because they have gained leadership in many fields of modern life today seems to ignore the fact that the Church is not a society like the rest. In the Church, authority or power is of a very different nature, linked as it normally is with the sacrament, as is underlined in the declaration. Disregard of this fact is indeed a temptation that has threatened ecclesiological research at all periods: every time that an attempt is made to solve the Church’s problems by comparison with those of states, or to define the Church’s structure by political categories, the inevitable result is an impasse. 
     
     
    It is very sad that the secular world is attempting to correct the wrongs of discrimination against women, but the Church remains blind to its own sins. This is not moral leadership. The authority and power are from God indeed, and God does not discriminate. By their actions of excluding women from the priesthood the Church Hierarchy offends God. What they do to women in subjugating them to an inferior status within the Church, they do to Christ also.
     

    106. The declaration also points out the defect in the argument that seeks to base the demand that the priesthood be conferred on women on the text Galatians 3:28, which states that in Christ there is no longer any distinction between man and woman. For St Paul this is the effect of baptism. The baptismal catechesis of the fathers often stressed it. But absolute equality in baptismal life is quite a different thing from the structure of the ordained ministry. This latter is the object of a vocation within the Church not a right inherent in the person.

     
    The structure of the ordained ministry cannot be based on the exclusion of women. This is a sexist practice. Sexism is a sin. The exclusion of women from the sacrament of Holy Orders is a sin. It is sexism of the highest order, because it is perpetrated by an institution that proclaims itself the guardian of morality.
     
    The maleness of Jesus Christ is not what is important for the priesthood. To say in Christ there is no male or female, slave or free, Jew or Greek, is not just saying we are all children of God in baptism. There is a more profound meaning. It reflects the nature of God and the things that are important.  God does not turn away those with a pure and gracious heart because the biological function of the body is different, but accepts us with a deep and abiding love. Only God knows what is in our hearts. That is how God selects us. It is not based upon physical appearance or genetic composition.
     
    Therese
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/18 15:27:16 (permalink)
    Hello,

    I am just popping in for a moment. I only now saw your post. I'd like to reflect on it and come back to discuss more. In the meantime I wanted to share a post I put up from awhile ago. I've modified it a bit based on what I've been reading here.

    In more recent times, Rome has begun to teach that 'theologically' women are made in the image of God. But there is a difference between words and actions. Actions speak more loudly than words. What comes out theologically is not what's coming out in praxis. Despite the fact that some in Rome and multitudes in the Church community now acknowledge that women are to their core made in the image of God, the actions of Rome continue to betray that Rome is having problems digesting this new spin. A bit of vertigo perhaps?

    For instance, when Pope Pius XII was preaching to newlyweds on September 10, 1941, he spoke of man and woman entering marriage on a 'perfectly equal footing' because of their equal creation in God.' All sounds good so far. But then he goes on to explain the position of the husband as the head of this new visible society called the family. The Pope stresses that the need for such a male head is because of the sin of Eve. The Holy Father continues:

    In holiness, by means of grace, both spouses are equally and immediately united to Christ. In fact, St. Paul said that as many as have been baptised in Christ and who have put on Christ are all sons [sic] of God; there is neither male nor female, because all are one in Christ Jesus. Not so, however in the church and in the family which are visible societies...."*

    From the perspective of a twenty first century observer, his distinction between that which is in Christ (the invisible) and that which is in society (visible community, the world, the Church, the family, etc.) is shocking. When he says 'society' he means all the naked eye can see. Though he talks the talk of equality between men and women in the eyes of God, he cancels out the magnificance of this new teaching by pulling out the great big  Vatican eraser and saying, 'In the visible world, this need not be so.'

    The first time in history that women's status made the public radar screen was during the second half of the twentieth century. Before then, virtually zero attention was given to the question that women might not be in their rightful place in society or in the Church.  It was simply assumed that they were in their rightful place.  Everyone operated on assumptions that were never or rarely questioned. During some stretches of time, some who ventured out to ask questions about those assumptions were whisked off to the burning stake. Until the twentieth century, no era ever consistently asked the questions:
    • should women have the vote?
    • is it proper for women to work outside the home?
    • if women work outside the home, should they receive equal pay for work that is done equally by men?
    • should women have the right to own property? Prior to the twentieth century, let's just say that the global perspective on this issue was: 'Who cares?'
    • until the 1960's in my home province of Saskatchewan, women could not go into bars. I acknowledge that this is not a great big deal insofar as it pertains to our discussion here. But think about this. Until the 1960's, no one questioned this prohibition against women. In the 1960's, someone made some room for someone to ask intelligent conscientious questions and presto! Wives can now join their husbands in licenced establishments. Wow! Women can even go into bars all on their own. Imagine!
    • are men and women equal in the eyes of God?


    Is our Church any different except that it trails behind in progress? Pope Pius's sermon illustrates perfectly Rome's assertion that although God may see women as equal, and equally capable, we, the leaders of the Church do not. What may be good for heaven, down here on earth is not.

    As in civil society, our Church's experience is that only since the latter part of the twentieth century have women and men together collectively begun to start asking a multitude of questions about this. The questions bear a common theme: Please! Help us understand because currently this makes no sense.

    In recent times, we are beginning to witness more attention being paid to women's rightful place in the Church. On the scale of progress, we can say with confidence that we are now on Rome's radar screen. We've moved up the ladder of concern. We may still be a few rungs down from relations with Orthodox Churches but we are now officially a table topic of serious discussion -- or at least a cause of serious discomfort in circles where it matters and where the inner circles don't yet have the green light to publicly discuss. Suffice to say: They are discussing. Study things quite carefully and you will see: people at the top are showing signs of feeling threatened by the subject. Sidebar: Standing ovation to all co-conspiritors who've gone before us and cleared the path so far! Job well done!!!

    It is quite frankly impossible for any theologically semi-literate thinking person to say with conviction that the prohibition against women priests has been the constant, conscious teaching of the Church. Yes.  It may have been constant.  But conscious? The fact is this. Until now, no one has been asking serious questions about women priests.  Because the teaching has never been put to the test, it cannot therefore be said to have been a conscious teaching. A conscious teaching is one that's faced investigation, scrutiny and dialogue about it.  On the matter of women priests, this phase is only now just beginning to happen!  The prohibition against women's ordination is a teaching whose history and practice unconsciously rests on an unconscious assumption:  it's the status quo.  Ergo it must be right.  Never  mind that no questions have been asked.  What kind of Truth are we upholding if in defence of it, someone says, "You are prohibited from discussing this subject. Case closed" which quite frankly is exactly what JPII did do.   As Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged recently, we still have yet to learn what is the Truth about women in our Church.

    Old song = Status quo: Because 'society' was a 'man's world,' so was Rome.

    New song = Times are changing. Let's give this the scrutiny of investigation. Acid test = If the teaching is roadworthy -- ie if it's Truth -- it will hold up.  So why is Rome afraid of questions? What's lurking behind the scenes?

    While Vatican apparachiks are currently scouring the hallways and corridors for any kind of 'reason' that might convincingly justify a 2,000 year old tradition, the men at the top are showing sparks of comprehension that this 2,000 year old tradition might not be a part of core Truth.  Hang on tight Rome! We are on to you!: To argue with conviction 'This is how it has always been done and therefore this is how it has to be done' doesn't cut it anymore. We know that and you know that and we know that you know that which is why you've got von balthasar busily churning out the double back flips, cartwheels, triple lutzes and aerial sommersaults in ephesians nuptial imagery. Observation: It's entertaining at best. Completely unconvincing and shameful at its worst.

    A glimmer of hope on the horizon? Official words from the Vatican point in the direction of flickering signs of willingness to acknowledge: "This 2,000 year old tradition is not a tradition that's part of Truth.  Or at least, 'we admit: it's never been put to the test." What are some of those significant signs?

    Although Pope John Paul II fell short of giving a ringing endorsement to women's ordination (), the old fashioned 'woman has her place and I am the man' man that he was, in his 1995 Letter to Women,  he wittingly or unwittingly opened the door to an official acknowledgement: 'We recognise there's been wrong.  We are sorry about it.  This is something that we need to talk about.' Ok. Maybe some will say I am giving him too much credit. After all, he is the Pope who tried to shut the conversation down. Well: at minimum, if it can't be credited  to JPII himself, then clearly the Holy Spirit used him as an instrument despite his resistance to the same. Surely in this we can  acknowledge that he played a part.

    Pope Benedict XVI's recent acknowledgement (August 2006 interview with German radio. Vatican endorsed transcript is available) that sexism exists in the Church and that it is an evil is, at worst an 'unwitting' hand of help in moving things along. Although he won't say what our rightful place as women is in the Church, he has candidly acknowledged that it is wrong for women to be shut out.  Whether wittingly or unwittingly, he now has also acknowledged that systemic discrimination exists within the Church. He encourages us as Church to be mindful of this. He encourages us to listen. To my ear, this sounds at worst like some inkling of awareness that things need to change. And at best, it sounds like he might be diplomatically saying: Listen up my people. We've got a ways to go.  Prepare for the next part of the journey because things are going to change.

    What is 'systemic discrimination?" A prerequisite to most positions of leadership in ministry is that one must be ordained, ie a priest. To be a priest, one must be a man. Therefore -- women are systemically discriminated against because by operation of the system's rules (which were made by men, for men, and with men in mind.)  The rules as they stand now make no provision for things like how are  God's calls to women in priesthood to be resolved.  Though no one has the right to be a priest, because only men's calls from God will be considered in the system, the system discriminates against women.   Although women reflect the image of Christ, may be suitably gifted by God for ordained ministr,  and in fact may have a call from God -- women are denied consideration because the system sign says: We've only got rules for men.'

    So while Rome may say it doesn't directly discriminate against women, indirectly it does when it adheres to the faulty rules. Pope Benedict came close to publicly admitting this in  his August 2006 interview with German radio.

    The prohibition of women priests is a human rights issue. Acknowledged: no one has the right to be a priest. But were the Church free from discrimination,  every person who is called by God would have their call considered. There's no defence against the refusal to consider all potential calls from God.  Everyone with a bona fide call from God should have their call considered.

    Systemically speaking, discrimination exists since there are no rules to facilitate consideration of a woman's call.  A man because he is a man is never turned away from an opportunity to discern a role in ordained ministry.  His vocational calling, if he so wants it to be, will be scrutinized by the Church. Though he does  not have the right to be a priest, Rome will lend him an ear.  As things stand today, women --only because they are women -- will never have have the ear of Rome inclined this way.  There are no rules in the system that will permit consideration of women's calls.  Like a man, a women does not have the right to be priest. But unlike men, a woman does not have the right that her call be considered. Women face systemic discrimination when the system makes no room for consideration of their calls simply because they are women.

    This is a human rights issue.  I agree with Rome.  Nobody has the right to be a priest.  In that sense, priesthood is not a human right.  It is a call from God.  But respectfully speaking, the human rights violation is just a step beyond that.  Systemic discrimination against women when women's calls will not be considered is a human rights violation.

    How can this be so?  My guess includes: Adherence to a faulty tradition, and either faulty canon law or an unimaginative, uninspiring interpretation of that law and maybe, just maybe a whole whack of pride somewhere in there, too.

    Surely boys we can be creative. Add up as many wrongs as you want. They still won't make it right.

    I'm still thinking this through.
    with my eyes fixed on Christ,
    oremus pro invicem,

    Therese
    post edited by Therese - 2007/06/19 03:56:09
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/19 15:01:57 (permalink)
       Jesus called both men and women to be his apostle and disciples!
     
        Junia and Paul
     
        Phoebe and Timothy
     
        Mary Magdalene and Peter
     
        Apphia and Andronicus
     
         Susanna and James
     
          Prisca and Mark !
     
          Plus lots more women and men serve God in all parts of ministry!
     
           Jesus praises the Samaritan woman!
        
            Praises anointing women!
     
        
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/19 15:08:11 (permalink)
      Women's Ordination
     
       This ordaining of women is a religious right granted from Jesus who while he lived on earth called women to represent him to the community. 
     
         To preach the homily and announce he is the Messiah. 
     
          God bless the men apostles   and Mary Magdalene  and the Samaritan woman !
     
           Jesus praised that women anointed him- today new priests are anointed !                                                                                                                                    
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/19 15:13:18 (permalink)
        Women's Ordination is a Religious Right Granted by Jesus!
     
             Jesus called   24 Named In New Testament Women  to serve God!
     
             See Women Apostles, Women Disciples thread!
     
              Jesus saw equal value and worth in women and men!
     
               Jesus did not consider women to be worthless or evil but true like Paul says "Co-Workers in Christ"
     
             
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/06/19 15:37:53 (permalink)
       As Jesus did not officially ordain anyone as "priests",  
     
      neither man nor woman,  did Jesus officially ordain as "priests"  HOWEVER 
          Jesus   did call BOTH
     
     
    men AND women to preach his Gospel , to prophesy , to receive the Holy Spirit
     
     at Pentacost, to lead churches, to be missionaries, to do all his tasks we now call "priesthood"
     
     Women WERE present at the Last Supper and at other Seder meals shared with Jesus!
     
      Look how women were present at the Seder meals Jesus shared with Pharisees, the anointing woman
     
      he praises her for all to remember her forever!  Women WERE present.  NO exclusions come from Jesus!
     
           Jesus does grant the Religious Right of equality of ministry to women : ordain women too as well as men!
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/07/07 17:01:18 (permalink)
    This from p 102 of  Elizabeth Johnson's book, Consider Jesus:
     
    ....women experience systematic oppression.  They are excluded, marginalized, and rendered invisible in language and public life.  They are subordinated in theory and practice to men....Stereotyped as mindless, emotional, weak, they are prevented from assuming leadership roles.  Women are denied economic, legal and educational rights, paid less money for the same work, and in many a place made to need the signature of a man before certain transactions such as buying land.  As UN statistics show, while forming one half of the world's population, women do three fourths of the world's work, receive one tenth of the world's salary, and own one one-hundreth of the world's land.  Two thirds of illiterate adults are women.  Over three fourths of starving people are women and their dependent children.  To make a dark picture even bleaker, women are bodily and sexually exploited, used, battered, and raped.  The fact is, men do this to women in a way that women do not do to men.  Sexism is pervasive on a global scale.
     
     
    And is the Church not on this same spectrum?
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/07/25 03:00:36 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    Is the prohibition of women priests a human rights issue?  Rome says that 'equal rights' do not apply in the context of ministries.  No one has the right to become a priest.  Read the official text here.
     
    However, considering the following, a different conclusion becomes readily evident.  Consider:
    • Baptism - Both men and women share equally in the general priesthood of Christ through baptism.
    • Church Law - There is no doubt about it that the law of the Church was prejudiced against women from its very beginning.
    • Human Rights- The principles on human rights laid down by the Second Vatican Council apply also to the Church.

    The more accurate conclusion then is that the ordination of women is a human rights issue based on considerations of equal rights. Every baptised person in the Church has the right to receive the spiritual care and encouragement he or she needs A woman’s vocation is as valuable as that of a man’s.  Rome does not have the right to block a vocation -- a call from God -- simply on the basis of one's sex.
     
    We will slowly explore each of these points as we continue.  If you are interested in visiting one of our overview articles, connect with it here: http://www.womenpriests.org/interact/course01.asp
     
    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2007/07/25 03:05:59
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/07/25 03:19:50 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    Notwithstanding Rome's protests to the contrary, when carefully considering the issue of women's ordination, it becomes clear that the exclusion of women from priesthood is an act of wrongful discrimination.

    In exploring the question, the sacrament of baptism looms front and centre.  What does the sacrament impart?  Does it mark women and men in identical ways?

    Christ instituted a priesthood of all of the faithful. Through baptism, all of the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ.  Christ instituted a priesthood of all the faithful. In it, women and men share equally.  By implication, both men and women are called to share in the ministerial priesthood as well.  For more about this, Click here!

    Though no individual person has a right to be ordained, excluding on the basis of gender a whole class of baptised persons from the priestly ministry constitutes classic discrimination.  When one considers that there are no valid arguments from Scripture and Tradition to support exclusion of women from priesthood, that there is wrongful discrimination becomes all the more clear. For more about this, Click here! Pretending there is no discrimination ‘because it was Christ's will’ serves only to shift the blame onto Christ. In doing so, He is made out to be one of the worst discriminators in world history - one who victimises the faithful by depriving them of such deep spiritual values.

    Clearly, it is not Christ who keeps women from ministering his saving power.

    Much more to follow.

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/08/14 18:04:36 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    At an event marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, scholar Marie-Thérèse Van Lunen Chenu was invited to speak at special study days held in Paris, France in January 1998. Organised by by Justice et Paix-France, the Faculté des Sciences Sociales et Economiques, and the Institut Catholique de Paris, Van Lunen Chenu addressed one focus of the conference -- the question of women's human rights in the context of the Catholic Church.
     
    Van Lunen Chenu identifies three lines of tension:
    • the one between between civil society and the Church. It is a discrepancy which, as she points out, is becoming harder and harder to justify given the universal value accorded to human rights.
    • the one which sometimes sets members of the same Church against each other. The particular status of women, and the justification made for this, result in serious theological debate. She points out that the debate can actually help the life of community.
    • the tension between various Christian traditions which no longer maintain unanimity about women.

    Focusing primarily on the first identified tension, Van Lunen Chenu compares past and present. She points out that 'in most civil societies [today], with the notorious exception of Islamic countries, equality of dignity and rights between men and women is sacrosanct.' Despite yetl a long way to go, change is emerging to extent that 'equality' has begun to move from the realm of legislative change to that of growing acceptance in heart of public opinion. In reminding her audience about Christianity's prophetic vision regarding equality, Van Lunen Chenu points out that early on, Christians embraced the equality of the soul and basic reason between woman and man. Unfortunately, as the ecclesiastical order conformed itself to societal patterns, distortions trampled the early Christian vision and principle of equality. Subordination of women became the norm.

    Van Lunen Chenu poses provocative questions. She reflects:
    • What remains today of the original prophetic Christian vision of equality? The Church finds itself out of line with its own principles. Leadership continues in its attempts to convincingly justify this. It Rome now in conflict with civil society that is embracing equality?
    • How can the Church continue to give credible support to human rights causes when internal disputes about rights put its own credibility into public question?
    • The particular stance taken by the Catholic institution towards women is made even more complicated by the fact that it has made a solemn undertaking not to discriminate on the basis of sex. How can it credibily criticise society's failing when so many questions are being asked about its own glaring failings?
    • Can the Church tolerate being a continuing instrument of injury to the human being?

    She beautifully concludes:

    Conscious of their deep solidarity with the human race and its history (Gaudium et Spes, 1), Christian men and women may even be astonished to discover that this rejection of slavery, racism and sexism, which are the three main planks of the message of Human Rights, are in accordance with the prophetic statement by Paul in the letter to the Galatians (3, 28). This statement was solemnly recalled by the Council (Lumen Gentium, 32) and later on in the Assembly of the United Nations: "In Christ and in the church there is, then, no inequality arising from race or nationality, social condition or sex, for "there is neither Jew or Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus".

    A copy of her article, Human rights in the Church: a non-right for women in the Church? is available in our library. You can reach it via this link: http://www.womenpriests.org/theology/lunen1.asp If you have any questions, please let me know.

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2007/08/19 22:05:33
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/08/14 21:41:09 (permalink)
    How can the Church continue to give credible support to human rights causes when internal disputes about rights put its own credibility into public question?


    Good point. Rome would be wise to forget about spinning its wheels on trying to come up with justifications to convincingly explain exclusion of women (there are no convincing reasons) and instead start positively working towards some creative ideas about how to include women.

    The longer this goes on, the goofier they look on the world stage.
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2007/12/12 05:51:18 (permalink)
    On December 10, 1948, the U.N. General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

    From The New York Times on that day:

    Human Rights Declaration Adopted by U. N. Assembly
    By JOHN KENTON
    Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Paris, Dec, 10--A universal Declaration on Human Rights nearly three years in preparation, was adopted late tonight by the United Nations General Assembly. The vote was 48 to 0 with the Soviet bloc, Saudi Arabia and the Union of South Africa abstaining.

    [The draft text of the Declaration of Human Rights was published in The New York Times Dec. 7.]

    The declaration is the first part of a projected three-part International Bill of Rights. The United Nations now will begin drafting a convention that will be a treaty embodying in specific detail and in legally binding form the principles proclaimed in the declaration. The third part will be a protocol for implementation of the convention possibly by such measures as establishment of an International Court of Human Rights and an International Committee of Conciliation.

    The Assembly accorded an ovation to Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt when Dr. Herbert V. Evatt, the Assembly's president, after declaring the declaration adopted, paid tribute to the first chairman of the Human Rights Commission for her tireless efforts in the long process of drafting the document.

    "She has raised a great name to an even greater honor," Dr. Evatt said of the United States delegate.

    Dr. Evatt also singled out for praise Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon, first rapporteur of the Human Rights Commission and chairman of this Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee that spent nearly three months in word-by-word redrafting of the text.

    Before the vote Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Y. Vishinsky of Russia made a final effort to avert adoption of the declaration. He said that the document seemed to support the view that the conception of sovereignty of governments was outdated. He declared that only within the framework of government did human rights have a meaning.

    Mr. Vishinsky urged adoption of a Soviet resolution submitted yesterday calling the declaration "unsatisfactory and requiring considerable amendment" and proposing to defer further consideration until the fourth Assembly next fall. Failing to get postponement, he asked the Assembly at least to accept a series of Soviet amendments to the text that would improve the declaration from the Russian viewpoint.

    The Russian postponement resolution was rejected, 45 to 6, with 3 abstentions. Four Soviet amendments proposing new texts for the four articles to which the Russian bloc objected most strenuously were defeated by almost as decisive a margin.

    The only amendment accepted was a British proposal to reword the declaration's colonial clause.

    Article three of the declaration as completed by the Social Committee read: "The rights set forth in this declaration apply equally to all inhabitants of trust and non-self- governing territories." This was deleted and in its place substituted a second paragraph of Article 2, reading:


    Furthermore no distinction shall be made on the basis of political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or the territory to which a person belongs whether it be an independent, trust or non-self-governing territory or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    The Assembly then reached the stage of voting on the draft declaration itself and Dr. Julius Katz-Suchy of Poland asked for a vote article by article. Most articles simply were approved in silence when Dr. Evatt called for objections and the rest by a show of hands.

    The final vote on the entire text was taken at four minutes before midnight.

    "History will regard this proclamation as one of the outstanding achievements of the United Nations since its establishment," Dr. Evatt told the Assembly." During the past year there has been much unfair criticism of activities of the United Nations and in some quarters pessimism has been expressed as to its usefulness.

    "This pessimism flows for the main part from difficulties which the United Nations has experienced in the political field. The Declaration on Human Rights is the result of two and a half years of unspectacular but important work in the social, humanitarian and cultural fields.

    "This is the first occasion on which the organized international community of nations has made a Declaration on Human Rights and fundamental freedoms. It therefore has all the authority of a collective body of opinion of the United Nations as a whole. It is to this document that millions of men and women in countries far distant from Paris or New York will turn for hope and guidance and inspiration."

    http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1210.html#article
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2008/01/08 23:36:29 (permalink)
    Archbishop to UN: Without human rights, there is no peace
    Catholic News Agency
    January 8, 2008
     
    Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
     
    New York, Jan 8, 2008 / 03:05 pm (CNA).- Everyone has “the right and the responsibility to defend and implement all human rights", declared Archbishop Silvano Tomasi in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year.
     
    Archbishop Tomasi described how the declaration "remains the single most important reference point for cross-cultural discussion of human freedom and dignity in the world and represents the customary-law base for any discussion about human rights".
     
    The rights presented in the declaration "are not conferred by States or other institutions but they are acknowledged as inherent to every person, independent of, and in many ways the result of ethical, social, cultural and religious traditions.
     
    While some people may believe that "Human dignity concerns democracy and sovereignty,” this dignity also “goes at the same time beyond them", he said.
     
    The Holy See’s permanent observer also echoed a theme that the Pope has been teaching on recently saying that, “the respect of all human rights is the source of peace.” He elaborated on the point by explaining that “Peace is not only conceived as an absence of violence but includes also co-operation and solidarity, at the local and international levels, as a necessary way in order to promote and to defend the common good of all people.”
     
    "Sixty years after the declaration", the archbishop added, "many members of the human family are still far from the enjoyment of their rights and basic needs. Human security is still not ensured". This sixtieth anniversary, he concluded, should be spent emphasizing "that every person, as an individual or as a member of a community, has the right and the responsibility to defend and implement all human rights".
     
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=11374
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2008/06/25 01:34:11 (permalink)
    As a newly-confirmed convert, the recent edict on the ordination of women ruptured my "conversion honeymoon" with some harsh realities.
    The recent edict is making me question all aspects of my recent conversion. I think "women priests" needs to push for a revision of the Catechism so that potential converts are not led astray by leaders who avoid discussing controversial aspects of the Church. The Catechism should read that there are seven sacraments for men, but only six for women. Or perhaps they can call the delivery of a baby a sacrament so that all are equal. LOLOL
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2008/08/10 01:44:58 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    In canon 204 para. 1 and canon 208 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law basic norms are provided for “the people of God” as they choose a life’s vocation. The basic principle of these canons is the equality of all of God’s people. However canon 1024 limits the ministerial priesthood to baptised males. In her article, Ignored opportunities for women in canon law Ida Raming asks: 

    • How are we to understand this contradiction? I
    • Is canon 1024 theologica/ly justifiable?
    • What does “canonically suitable” (c. 1026) mean?
    • What about respect God’s for Spirit which “allots to each one as he/she chooses” (1 Cor 11:12)?
    A copy of her article is here: http://www.womenpriests.org/theology/raming6.asp  If you have any questions, please let me know.
     
    with love and blessings,
     
    ~Sophie~
     
    a note from our Editor:  When Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (his 1994 Apostolic Letter on reserving priestly ordination to men alone. It is often referred to here as OS.) was published, it raised questions about the nature of ministry in the church. Dr. Raming's article was part of that discussion and was written prior to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's attempt to clarify the binding nature of OS through its November 18, 1995 Responsum ad Dubium.
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    RE: Is the Prohibition of Women Priests a Human Rights Issue? 2008/08/10 03:03:37 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    During my reading earlier today, I came upon an article by Dr. Kari Kari Elisabeth Børresen of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oslo.  She has it titled, Religion Confronting Women’s Human Rights: The Case of Roman Catholicism.  In part of it she focuses on the prohibition against women's ordination and the historical understanding of 'woman.'  She draws an interesting comparison between the condemnation of Galileo and the fall of geocentrism with the fall of androcentrism when she observes:

    Androcentric typology

    The 20th-century collapse of androcentrism represents a more fundamental challenge to traditional theology than the previous collapse of geocentrism (Kepler) and anthropocentrism (Darwin). Upheaval of gender hierarchy shakes the core of Catholic and Orthodox doctrinal symbolism, where androcentric gender models are transposed from God’s creation to the order of redemption. Godlike Adam prefigures Christ, who as new Adam and divine Redeemer is incarnated in perfect maleness. Non-Godlike Eve prefigures the Church/Mary, who as new Eve represents dependent and therefore womanlike humanity (Rom. 5,14; Eph. 5,32). Based on the early Christian concept of male Godlikeness, this asymmetrical typology remains fundamental in Catholic and Orthodox Christology, ecclesiology and mariology. Thus excluding femaleness from description of the Godhead, typological gender models serve as prime obstacle to women’s cultic capability in the non-Protestant majority of Christendom. According to Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura (died 1274), Christlike maleness is an indispensable prerequisite for the sacramental signification of priestly eminence [27].
    In other words, according to her observations, the Vatican really is going through a cataclysmic upheaval while it attempts to resist new ways of comprehending 'women.'  While her article focuses on reproductive rights,  it offers much in the way of information and insight on the changing dynamics of 'women.' A copy of her article follows here.  If you have any questions, as always, let me know.

    with love and blessings,

    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2008/08/10 03:21:24
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