Should Catholic women preach at Mass? Here’s a better question.

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Catholics who have sat through enough bad homilies can find it difficult to understand why the church does not allow women (or laymen) to preach about the good news at Mass. We all know women who are knowledgeable in the Catholic faith and who could probably give a more engaging homily than Father who is struggling through his fourth Mass of the weekend. Besides, other Christian denominations allow women to preach in a ministerial role, and they do a fine job of it, bringing many souls to a greater love of God.

There is also the obvious reality that the church has been enriched by the witness of many brilliant women, above all Mary the Mother of God. And it is no accident that the risen Lord sent Mary Magdalene to tell the apostles of his resurrection. Because of this unique mission, St. Thomas Aquinas called her the apostle to the apostles (apostola apostolarum). The Samaritan woman at the well becomes a proto-evangelist when she goes back to her town to invite others to come to see Jesus. The past two millennia have seen women doctors of the church, women saints and countless holy women.

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Catholics who have sat through enough bad homilies can find it difficult to understand why the church does not allow women to preach about the good news at Mass.

To be clear, the Catholic Church does allow women and non-ordained men to preach at the discretion of the local bishop. Laypeople may preach at retreats, offer reflections and so on, as clearly stated in Canon Law (No. 766). Nevertheless, Canon Law also specifies that the homily is a particular type of preaching, part of the liturgy of the Mass, and is reserved for the ordained—deacons and priests (No. 767). The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has further clarified that Canon No. 766 cannot be used in the space reserved for the homily during the Mass. In 2004, the Vatican also issued the instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” which reiterates this continued teaching and practice, underscoring that wherever the practice has been changed it must be returned to the consistent teaching of the church (No. 64-66, 74 and 161).

We live in a culture that views and values persons in terms of their function—what they can do. And in the United States today, women and men can do most of the same things. Frequently, women surpass men with their abilities and academic accomplishments, making it all the more difficult to understand why a woman who could certainly write and deliver a better homily than a particular priest would not be allowed to do so.

Herein lies a significant challenge to understanding the situation. We have to move beyond our functional world to a more metaphysical world. In other words, we have to shift the conversation from doing to being. This is all the more difficult when our surrounding cultural norms maintain sexual differentiation as something fluid and not definitive.

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We have to move beyond our functional world to a more metaphysical world. We have to shift the conversation from doing to being.

When it comes to the priesthood, the priest stands in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) in relation to the faithful, particularly in the Mass and in the sacrament of reconciliation. By virtue of his ordination, the church teaches that his soul has been indelibly marked. An ontological change has taken place. In effect, this means that no matter how wonderful or how terrible the priest may be, when he says the words of the consecration, he is able to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, by virtue of his ordination, not his moral character. So, too, with the words of absolution, the priest is able to forgive our sins. He is truly another Christ and able to do the things that only Christ could do. What he does is inextricably tied to who he is.

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While some may be quick to identify this as a form of clericalism, I would offer that it is a grace and a mercy. If the priesthood depended on the character of the priest, history suggests that humanity would be found sorely lacking in acceptable candidates. Most of us, lay and cleric alike, have a long way to go in our personal sanctification.

The reality of the priest in persona Christi also has to do with Christ’s relationship to the church, namely that of the bridegroom to the bride, a specific image that points to a reality. In a 2015 interview, Pope Francis returned to this 2,000-year teaching when answering a question about the possibility of women’s ordination. “[It’s] not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the church, women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is ‘la’ church, not ‘il’ church. The church is the bride of Jesus Christ.”

In our marriages, we crave the same intimacy and love that exists between Christ and his church.

Countless works of art depicting Christ as the bridegroom, frequently with his mother representing the church as his bride, underscore a tradition and teaching that arguably predate the birth of Christ. The Old Testament introduces the idea of a marriage between God and his people and builds up the expectation of its fulfillment in the New Testament, both in Christ’s sacrifice and in the coming into being of the church.

Given our experiences of marriage, this teaching can be all the more challenging to grasp. But it can help to look to St. Thomas Aquinas, who identifies it as the perfect spousal relationship. In other words, our human experience is analogous. In our marriages, we crave the same intimacy and love that exists between Christ and his church, between God and his people, but our human imperfection will limit even the best marriages.

In the liturgy of the Mass, the priest stands not only as Christ but as Christ in relation to the church. Every part of the Mass reserved to a priest or deacon corresponds with an action that Jesus himself engaged in as the bridegroom of the church. That is why the Gospel cannot be read by a non-ordained person. And while many women and men are involved in the teaching of the Gospel in myriad ways, the specific form of the homily in the context of the Mass is about Christ’s spousal relationship to his church.

We have to advance the conversation beyond one that limits women to emulating male models but instead understands women and men in relation to one another.

This reality should serve to encourage our priests and deacons to prepare with the utmost care for the homily. As the priest is called to offer himself in persona Christi in the eucharistic sacrifice, he must do the same in his preaching. This sometimes means that he must preach a difficult message and be prepared to be persecuted as a result, just as Jesus was persecuted for his preaching, particularly his challenges to corrupt powers and authorities.

But the fact that some priests do not do homilies well or that some women could write and deliver them better does not change the reality of the spousal relationship of Christ and, in turn, the priest, to the church.

When Pope Francis gave his answer above, he also rearticulated the need for the development of a theology of women. I continue to maintain that we have to advance the conversation beyond one that limits women to emulating male models but instead understands women and men in relation to one another. We have already proven that women and men can do many of the same things. Now we need to advance the conversation to one of being. Specifically, how does the reality of being a specific sexually differentiated human person—a woman or a man—impact what a person does? Maybe the first question we need to ask is: Does being a woman or a man affect what I do?

Judging from our cultural perceptions of men, which limit in harmful ways what is considered to be properly masculine, we need to do this work as it relates to both women and men. Maybe even together.

Stuart Meisenzahl
6 days 10 hours ago

Nora
One can even agree that women should be ordained and still not tar the author and her text with the adjectives of “sexist” , “ self hating”...”nasty” as you have rushed to do in your outrage. Your personal disagreement with an argument in favor of a position you personally disapprove of does not de facto render such an argument worthy of any of the pejoratives you are all too quick to conjure up.
You are quick to attribute “personal guilt” to any person who you deem as directly or indirectly supporting any person who holds one or more thoughts or performed one or more actions which you find objectionable. You tar with a very wide brush without noticing that both ends are quite sticky.

Nora Bolcon
5 days 12 hours ago

Pia describes in her article that only women are not acceptable to stand as priests with no legitimate reasoning other than she has bought into the misogynistic teachings of our church that were never based on scripture, gospel or justice. That is sexist by definition and yes I agree with you all sexist jargon and articles are legitimately claimed as nasty just like racist articles are nasty. Women who try to support sexism in our church harm women in and out of our church. This is not opinion but fact. Sexism has caused directly poverty, rape, incest, forced marriage, sex trafficing, sexual molestation of women and children, forced illiteracy, terrorism and even war on a global scale. Religious sexism is the most harmful version of all as it lends to a zealous version of sexism most often given to eventual and even extreme violence. Feel free to look up the facts for yourself. I don't apologize for speaking truth and this author should apologize for her harmful sexist rhetoric based on nonsense. I don't have to conjure anything - the facts are the facts.

We have gotten so full of fear of calling out hate for fear of offending the haters that we placate misogynists and racists regularly and then claim its all in the name of Jesus. Jesus would likely cringe! Guilt is how a person should feel when they degrade other people's basic human dignity with their false teachings and stereotypes. I have no doubt if she were stating that black men could not represent Jesus on our altars because Jesus was white, you would not be so understanding of this writer.

One is legitimately called self-loathing when they degrade their own group's human dignity and beseech others to consider them less valuable people too. Again, Pia is a female telling everyone they should accept that all women's bodies are unable to represent Jesus equally to men, even though Jesus, in his body, saved women inside their female bodies, by sacrificing his male body, as a perfect representation of their female bodies, when he died for them equally to all their brothers on the cross.

It is right to be outraged when people say things that are full of demeaning and false and harmful lies and are published and treated with respect as though they spoke sanity and decency.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 days 8 hours ago

Nora
Once again you simply insist that your opinions and arguments are the “facts” and that therefore all contrary positions are not worthy of consideration or discussion as prima facia contra factual. What a load of Blatherskite!

Nora Bolcon
5 days 7 hours ago

That's right Stuart, Facts are not opinions. Opinions are rightly debated because they lack sufficient evidence to be facts. Evidence has already well proven sexism is extremely harmful which makes it a fact. There is more than ample global research on this subject so it won't be at all difficult for you to educate yourself. Two plus two always equals four even if you don't like that fact because you wanted two plus two to equal five.

Your problem is you have picked losing arguments because you want sexism to be good but it isn't. Sexism is evil and sin just as the Gospels teach us all such exclusive, abusive and different treatment of groups is sin.

So do to others only what you would have them do to you is the command in the Gospels. This is truth, if one is Christian, not opinion. You are either treating all others the same or you are breaking this command because you aren't treating all others the same. It is not complicated. Christ told these commands straight forward and clearly because people who had no education had to be able to understand them in order to follow them.

If the Magisterium tells you it is ok to break this commandment regarding women and you do so, you still sin if you do break it, and so do those who told you to do so no matter who they are because no Christian or even all self proclaimed Christians can break the clear commands of Christ and not sin while doing so.

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 days 19 hours ago

Nora
Once again another interesting group of rash assumptions on your part........I have expressed no opinion on Pia’s topic or her presentation...in short you just maliciously assume that because I noted your impetuous, relentless attack on her as a person that I must de facto be opposed to your opinion(which you grandly describe as “fact”). Your need to put down a person with pejoratives if that person holds a position you disagree with is an immature reaction.
Despite your claim I have not”picked losing arguments” to justify sexism because I have not expressed any position other than that your personal elevation of your own opinions as “facts” is a lot of nonsense.

Nora Bolcon
2 days 17 hours ago

Stuart, from the beginning your unfounded accusations that my criticism are unwarranted even though they are clearly warranted, and from previous dialogues with you on these same issues, in past articles, you have clearly explained to me how you agree with keeping women from same treatment both in and out of church. So I will ask you directly. Since you are so offended by my wrong assumptions. Do you agree men and women should be treated the same and given same and equal ordination opportunities in our church, or not? This is a yes or no question - so there is no confusion. I would be thrilled to hear I am wrong but I will remember it every time we dialogue again, in the future, if you say you believe men and women should be ordained the same in our church. so be sure to be truthful Stuart.

As for the rest, I didn't give opinions but evidence based facts. You seem to continue to complain that I have offered opinions only and that is untrue.

Perhaps your problem is you need to look up the word evidence (otherwise, I really don't know what your issue is). However, you may feel free to look up all the facts I gave you on the harm of sexism in our world. It is vast and well evidenced in reality unlike your support of sexism. I have answered your question truthfully and I am not certain you are capable of answering similarly back. Your lack evidence to support your opinions does not make the facts I presented into opinions too, even if that means those facts prove your argument false. If you have facts to uphold the goodness of sexism, like what Pia supports, feel free to proffer them in your comments. Until then, we are done, as I can't break down this information into any easier forms than I already have. So I wish you well Stuart have a lovely day.

J Jones
6 days 8 hours ago

I agree, Frank.

Lloyd William
6 days 11 hours ago

It is unfortunate that some commentators resort to attacks and name calling. Why can’t we have rational discussion without rancor?

The issue boils down to this: Does Persona in Christi dictate gender? If we believe we are all born in the image of Christ (God), then gender should not come in play as to whether someone can preach, be ordained, celebrate Mass, or forgive sins in a confessional. Personally I don’t believe gender should be considered and the door should be open to all males and females who have the calling.

There are other issues as well. First, restricting ordination to men only deprives the Church of the potential talent of half of the people who could serve in this role. Second, it may help with the priest shortage. Finally, I believe it is the fair and right thing to do.

Christian Jensen
6 days 11 hours ago

I think we have a real problem here. First off, the correct phrase is, "in persona Christi Capitis". In the person of Christ the Head. The priest/bishop does not become another Christ. "He is truly another Christ and able to do the things that only Christ could do." I don't think so. It's a bit of an overreach. "In effect, this means that no matter how wonderful or how terrible the priest may be, when he says the words of the consecration, he is able to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. . ." Good grief! The change at the altar is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. "So, too, with the words of absolution, the priest is able to forgive our sins." Wrong! Only God can forgive sins. How did this article get past the editors? And now for my caveat. I am a lay person and not a theologian, so I reserve the right to be wrong. I look forward to being corrected.

Stuart Meisenzahl
6 days 10 hours ago

Christian
See John 20:23......Whose sins YOU SHALL FORGIVE, they are forgiven, and those whose sins YOU SHALL RETAIN, they are retained.
The YOU is the the Apostles and their successors. So it is perfectly correct to state that the ordained priest forgives sins through the power conferred upon him by Christ/Holy Spirit. The priest is not, as you would have it, just some intermediary who” listens for the Holy Spirit”. Nor does he just “stand in” for the Holy Spirit, he is an active judge anointed as such in ordination, empowered in his person by Christ to forgive or retain the sins of the penitent.

Christian Jensen
6 days 5 hours ago

Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1441 Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and exercises this divine power: "Your sins are forgiven." Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 days 13 hours ago

Christian
Indeed
Read the last sentence of the CCC again: Whose sins You shall forgive they are forgiven. Whose sins YOU shall retain , they are retained! Christ said this to His Apostles and the You is quite clear ,as is the grant Of power!

Christian Jensen
5 days 13 hours ago

This thread probably won't get resolved. I read the whole section in the Catechism. The authority to forgive sins is given by God. But, the sins are not forgiven by the ordained, but by God. It's super important to understand the theology of the Sacrament.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 days 8 hours ago

Christian
We are not that far apart...But consider what does it mean for Christ to have empowered an Apostle to “retain sins” ?.....seems He has established more than just an intermediary for forgiveness ...He has granted the exercise of the power to forgive ....or retain and it is exercised in the judgement of the priest.

Nora Bolcon
5 days 11 hours ago

Actually Stuart, Jesus says this statement to all the 72 disciples who are likely male and female not just Peter and the apostles.

Luke chap 10:16-17 16 “The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” 17 Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!”

There is no word that can be translated ordination in the entire new testament. Priests were not ordained until hundreds of years after Christ and the apostles were long dead and risen and in heaven. There is also evidence not only of ordained women priests but also female bishops and one of these murals is in the Lateran Church that depicts such a picture! The Lateran Church is the oldest and most important early church in our Church's entire history. There is no possible way for the hierarchy to prove there were no ordained female priests or bishops in the early church. There is not conclusive evidence in either direction.

Our hierarchy supports the exclusion of women because they don't like women and for no other reason.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 days 8 hours ago

Nora
The citation I referenced was John 20:23 ...”Whose sins you shall forgive....took place when the Resurrected Christ first appeared to the Apostles in the locked room they were hiding in. There were no other disciples present!

Nora Bolcon
5 days 6 hours ago

Actually women were with them in the locked room and Acts states this to be true later on for Pentecost.

Also, those verses in John state that the disciples were there not the the apostles only were there. Disciples translates to any male and female followers of Christ. This section also gives no number of disciples present total at any point indicating more than the twelve were there, or the writer would likely have pointed out only the apostles specifically were present. So this has you proving what I stated elsewhere which is that there is no verses in the Gospel stating only the apostles were told they could forgive sins is accurate. You have to be careful not to assume disciples means only apostles as it usually did not only mean the 12. So the truth is Christ blew upon however many male and female disciples were present in the room and we have no idea how many were there but we do know eleven of the twelve apostles were there.

Douglas Fang
6 days 11 hours ago

As some faithful Catholic who has been forced to sit through too many useless and incomprehensible homilies by “imported” foreign priests in my Church due to lack of American priests, the explanations provided by this article seems really meaningless and out of touch of reality. I’m not worried much about myself but about the younger generations. The homily in the Sunday Mass is the usually only thing that can teach them something about Christianity... God helps us!

Stuart Meisenzahl
6 days 10 hours ago

Douglas
Frustration with bad homilies and terrible homilists is not an excuse for bad theology, as further frustrating as that may be. It is however a perfectly good basis for demanding better training and for those who lack the oratorical skills needed it is a lesson in why “short and pithy” are homilist virtues

Douglas Fang
6 days 6 hours ago

"Bad theology" - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Diane Matous
6 days 10 hours ago

"Be brief, be charitable, and stay on topic. "

J Jones
6 days 9 hours ago

Here we go again with the author standing on her head to justify Church teaching by telling women they just aren't metaphysical enough to get over their fixation on "function" and to bliss out on "being" (and, besides we know through her link to her previous article here, SHE had an official function in the Church and that MUST be acknowledged by other academic women... immediately after which they and we must accept there just aren't enough "functions" to go around because of Church teaching about women and so other women need to be more metaphysical so they can accept that only a chosen few like the author have official functions in the Church. BTW, the author no longer works for the Diocese, an announcement visible on the internet only at her Twitter account, where she she stated "I have left my position at the Diocese". What is the story?)

She now suggests (through a link to an America article about the Vatican's document on gender identity and theory) that women are now further confused because they not only want to "function" like men, now some of them think they ARE men.

The only thing missing in this mess of a "checklist of positions for traditional Catholic women" is a suggestion that women have been further bamboozled into this silly discussion about priestly "functions" by abortion rights activists, complete with a link to some prolife activist who insists abortion rights are really means to disappear disabled persons as insufficiently "functional" in a feminist world focused on "emulating male models" which makes metaphysically challenged women want to "function" as priests-as-men or men-as-priests.

What a mess.

Bruce Byrolly
6 days 8 hours ago

AMERICA, Christ the bridegroom and the Church as his bride is a metaphor, not a description of 'ontological ' reality.
The article is worn-out, inadequate theology.
Please don't embarrass me, or your own good name, by publishing this kind of material.

Bruce Byrolly, priest
Cambridge MD

Bruce Byrolly
6 days 8 hours ago

AMERICA, Christ the bridegroom and the Church as his bride is a metaphor, not a description of 'ontological ' reality.
The article is worn-out, inadequate theology.
Please don't embarrass me, or your own good name, by publishing this kind of material.

Bruce Byrolly, priest
Cambridge MD

Alexei Michalenko
6 days 8 hours ago

Thank you VERY MUCH, Bruce. I agree.

Frank Bergen
6 days 4 hours ago

Amen, Bruce!

Jorge Rebasa
5 days 21 hours ago

Dear Fr Byrolly, it is encouraging to see a priest in his 80s plugging away in his ministry and on the internet too! You are an inspiration. God Bless you for your steadfastness!
http://thedialog.org/our-diocese/eleven-diocesan-priests-one-franciscan-celebrate-milestones/

Nora Bolcon
5 days 11 hours ago

Absolutely and Thank You!

Alexei Michalenko
6 days 8 hours ago

Alexei
We are not living in 1 CE. At baptism all are anointed with chrism as "priest, prophet and king." Is that a theological fiction? Growing up I head so often that children got their faith suckling at mama's breast, with the milk she produced. Why can't women continue to nurture our faith? Many argue that a gay or lesbian couple cannot raise/nurture children because both genders are "necessary" to have a family. How come that doesn't apply to the Church? At Cana Mary told her son what to do. She acted as the Holy Spirit in the Synoptics. The latter drove Jesus into the desert to begin his ministry. Mary drove him into his ministry by telling him his time had indeed come. My mother was my first theology professor and preacher of the Good News. Pia, your explanation is not at all convincing.
Thanks for the reminder that the church must change or die.

John Placette
5 days 20 hours ago

From the Baptismal rite: Anointing with Chrism
Then the celebrant says:
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints
you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so
may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.
ALL: Amen.
Then the celebrant anoints the child on the crown of the head with the sacred chrism, in silence.

So may you live as a MEMBER of his body!

Nora Bolcon
5 days 11 hours ago

Agreed Alexei. Too many put aside the damage these types of teachings generate.

Michael Bindner
6 days 5 hours ago

Or just ordain women. I am sure gay priests would be fine with it. I am also sure that it would freak out the unintegrated asexuals in the priesthood who operate under the illusion that Christ was just like them. He was not. Pharisees were married.

Marriage is no longer an image for the Church and Christ (remember, that model us pastoral, not revelatory) because of equality in both gay and straight marriage. No one is in-charge anymore. Likewise, the hierarchy has modeled itself after the Gentiles in giving themselves honors in exactly the way Jesus said not to do.

As for the latest Roman Missal, it was a counter-revolutionary attempt to pretend Vatican II never happened. It is hardly worded to express the real persona Christi. It is part of the desire for a Church of Magic rather than of Faith and miracles. It takes us away from the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of.

Gemma Cordingly
6 days 1 hour ago

There's no barrier to nonpriests being Cardinals. Therefore where are our female Cardinals? If there is no patriarchal bias, where are they?

Reyanna Rice
5 days 18 hours ago

Yes there is a barrier to non priests being Cardinals. Canon law was amended by JP2. They must now be a bishop.

Gemma Cordingly
5 days 13 hours ago

Thankyou very much Reyanna for putting me straight. Can you answer me this? If one Pope changes something can another change it again?

Nora Bolcon
5 days 11 hours ago

Yes they can. Which is why Pope Francis is full of it when he says he can't ordain women priest and bishops today. He is the high priest of our church and therefore no bishop can invalidate any ordination he performs. He just does not want to because he does not really like women unless they are wives and mothers or nuns.

Nora Bolcon
5 days 11 hours ago

And that ridiculous law is quite modern and not even 100 whole years old. So again something that can just as easily be done away with as it was put forward by this Pope.

John Chuchman
5 days 22 hours ago

Misogyny is not a sin for members of the Good-Old-Boys Club.

Nora Bolcon
5 days 9 hours ago

Yes but those good ole boys are going to be shocked when they realize Jesus wasn't kidding when he commanded they treat everyone the same as they want to be treated and have sinned by refusing to treat their sisters with justice and equally.

Mister Mckee
5 days 21 hours ago

The ice was already broken to this very question has already been dealt with in the Directory for Masses with Children in 1973 (III.1.24):
"With the consent of the pastor or rector of the church, one of the adults may speak to the children after the gospel, especially if the priest finds it difficult to adapt himself to the mentality of children. In this matter the norms soon to be issued by the Congregation for the Clergy should be observed."
Is it safe to assume that this exception to the norm is meant for NONORDAINED adults who possess charisms that their priests do not? A re-reading of this entire document would not only enlighten some of the binary limitations of this article, but would help to enliven many a Sunday liturgy.
http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/DocumentContents/Index/2/SubIndex/11/DocumentIndex/477

Mister Mckee
5 days 20 hours ago

Hope springs eternal as we draw closer to the Synod of the Amazon:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MErT_qizxZVbmE06Yd7irsWrTnBHdAvU/view

John Placette
5 days 20 hours ago

"Be brief, be charitable and stay on topic." So much for that!

Mister Mckee
5 days 20 hours ago

Given the rapidity of posting your repetitive trope, John, it can only be assumed that you have already read the Instrumentum Laboris for the Pan-Amazonian Synod in its entirety, or simply skipped over Part III, Chapter 3.

John Placette
5 days 19 hours ago

What is my "repetitive trope?" I rarely post here. I haven't posted anything about the Amazon Synod.????
Do you have me confused with someone else?

Todd Witherell
5 days 20 hours ago

Actually, the better question is indeed - Should the Catholic Church allow women to preach at Mass? The answer is Yes.

Unfortunately, the remainder of your article is an exercise in Roman Catholic misogyny and theological self-hatred. The Church, alas, knows how to do that to people.

We’re trying, Father Greeley! We’re trying!

Su Sampson
5 days 20 hours ago

I could not finish reading this essay. Going to Mass is NOT about looking forward to the homily; it's partially about ignoring the homily if its bad, and finding a better preacher at a future mass. I do not support the female priesthood; we've already got PLENTY of those in the other Christian traditions. The Mass is about PRAYER, which opens a can of worms b/c prayer includes a LOT of things--this explains why monastic "vocations" have never been very high. A recent essay here by RC woman with a Jewish husband and their combined family culture of the best of both worlds is a heck of a lot more comforting than the tired old "feminist" argument deep inside the psyche of Solenni.

B TS
5 days 19 hours ago

Nora, you made me laugh with the barfing comment. Although you have the much stronger argument, I would tone down the 'wacko' comment. That being said, I understand your frustration with the unthinking conservative, dogmatic following in the church. They drive me nuts too. I do think there is something generational going on with the way Boomers were taught to learn - memorize dutifully and don't question. Many are like the old stone savage in Frost's poem Mending Wall, who cannot bring themselves to question the warm blanket of tradition.

The author of this piece writes:
"Now we need to advance the conversation to one of being. Specifically, how does the reality of being a specific sexually differentiated human person—a woman or a man—impact what a person does? Maybe the first question we need to ask is: Does being a woman or a man affect what I do?"
This harkens back to the patronizing, paternalistic theology of the body/complementarianism that states that women are equal in value but not equal in role. What a bunch of hooey.

What exactly, I ask, are these differences between men and women, other than genitals?

This commenter on the blog strange notions (a conservative catholic blog) raises a very insightful question.

The following is a direct quote with the link below.

And the trouble with this [complementarianism] is that I have never found anyone who maintains that men and women are different (and complementary) to say exactly how. The best people can do is say things like men tend to be more interested in objects and women tend to be more interested in people. Or men tend to be more mathematical and women tend to be more verbal. Or men tend to be more aggressive and women tend to be more nurturing.

If you want to discriminate justly, it seems to me you must identify characteristics that all men have and no woman has, and characteristics that all women have and no men have. And, of course, they must be relevant in the area in which the discrimination takes place.

Of course men in general and women in general are different. And there are obvious physical and physiological differences that may be relevant in certain situations. But I don't think the Church so much means that men and women are different. I think the Church means something like, "God intended men and women to have different roles." It is not that some women couldn't perform all the functions a male priest better than most male priests. It's not about performance. It's that women aren't supposed to be priests. They are supposed to be mothers and helpmeets. So it is kind of begging the question. Women can't be priests because they are different. And how are they different? Well, for one thing, they can't be priests. And why not? Because they are not supposed to be priests, because God made men for some things and women for some things, and he didn't make women to be priests. - David on Strange Notions Article "Does the Church Hate Women?"
https://strangenotions.com/does-the-catholic-church-hate-women/#comment-4533764450

John Placette
5 days 15 hours ago

Dr. Nirao Shah at Stanford Medical has done a little research into the psychological differences between males and females. I would read some of his material. Although males and females may be capable of doing most of the same functions, there are fundamental differences. To ignore those differences would be illogical.

Nora Bolcon
5 days 8 hours ago

Anyone can cherry pick one sexist study. The vast majority of studies found that there is little difference in how male and female brains work, therefore also how their emotions work. What has been discovered is that there actually exist greater differences between different groups of men in how they think and react than between groups of men and women.

Misogyny tells us we can treat men and women differently and not do real harm to either group. The Gospels, taught by Christ, tell us we must treat all others the same as us or we sin because discrimination of treatment always causes harm to one side or both.

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