Outside the Lines

There are huge risks to talking about women, qua women, in the church. Let me count the ways: generalizing, stereotyping, demeaning, ignoring marginalized women in favor of the privileged, putting women up on a pedestal in order to get them out of the way, ignoring history, shortchanging men and, let’s not forget, plain old getting it wrong.

So forgive me for veering in any of these directions while trying mightily to avoid them in a mere 700 words.  Otherwise I would spend most of this column issuing caveats.

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Pope Francis has opened a door to new thoughts about women’s roles in the church. Since then, there have been scattered responses. This isn’t a criticism. It’s a huge topic and there is plenty of room for varied responses addressing different needs, shortcomings and opportunities.

Here’s my contribution. A possible “theme” for considering the question of women’s roles in the church is women’s ability to maneuver for the common good from outside of bureaucracies.  The reasons for this modus are plentiful, no doubt: culture, sexism, nature, necessity, the immediacy of women’s relation to life and women’s caretaking prowess, to name a few. I am most interested, however, in what wisdom and consequences are associated with it and what it might portend for a church that is both grappling with bureaucracy and more open to women’s experiences.

It’s pretty easy (that’s my point) to think of Catholic women over the centuries who operated outside the system: Mary, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Jeanne d’Arc, Mother Teresa. Then there’s Catholic women’s perennial dedication to human services work—Catholic sisters in particular. Not to oversimplify, but there is a historical record of Catholic women perceiving an unmet need and tangling mightily with the bureaucracies of church and state to address it. Think women’s leadership in health care, education, capital punishment, abortion, hospice care, human trafficking, crisis pregnancy and peace. It’s even easier to think of Catholic women in our communities, dioceses and families who move us with their quiet but dogged attention to the needy.

What might this experience offer the church today, at a moment in time when reforming the bureaucracy is front and center for Pope Francis?

There are a few lessons. First: when it comes to reforming the bureaucracy, Pope Francis and his “gang of nine” should turn to women for a grasp of its shortcomings and their human cost. They can also turn to the women who are today running large church organizations—e.g., charitable, educational, health care—for examples of how they are doing things differently. The church should also ponder that human beings are most moved by personal, loving witness of the kind given in one-on-one relationships and small groups, of the kind with which women spend a great deal of time. How often people testify that their lives were changed by the example of a single person or small group! They are moved to a better place by people who are plausible to them because they have shown their love in concrete ways.

One of the lessons here must certainly involve tone. The church is struggling with how to speak to those facing family breakdowns or disconnections between sex, marriage and parenting. Within their personal spheres of influence, women learn that tone matters as much as substance. The Extraordinary Synod on the Family’s relatio gestures toward the importance of tone. Pope Francis directly affirms it.

Women are also particularly skilled at confronting big odds and big organizations beyond their control on behalf of the weak. Think of the woman who founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving; think Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., Norma Ray, Rosa Parks, Jeanne d’Arc and Mother Teresa. Think of the hundreds of thousands of women who started and staffed crisis pregnancy centers and marched on Washington in order to make pro-life the living, breathing force it is today.

There is much more to be said about what women can bring to the church. Considering their extensive experience with more “outsider,” small-community work, however, women should at least be tapped to help figure out how the church can operate without the shortcomings bureaucracies entail.

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Luis Gutierrez
3 years 4 months ago
The article uses the word "women" several times, which is an emerging (and refreshing) innovation in orthodox Catholic literature related to church reforms. Too bad the words "ordination" and "priesthood" are still missing, because the only reform that is necessary and sufficient to move beyond the current hiatus is the ordination of women to the priesthood. Celibate women first, so there is no need to conflate the primary and clear cut issue with other important but secondary (and as yet less well defined) issues of human sexuality. This is a sign of hope, even though words are not yet substantiated by action: "The way in which Jesus Himself regarded women, in a context that was far less favorable than our own, casts a powerful light illuminating a road that takes us far, on which we have traveled only a short distance. It is a road we must travel with more creativity and boldness." http://www.news.va/en/news/general-audience-the-complementarity-between-man-a
Paul Ferris
3 years 4 months ago
Great link. The Pope ends his reflections by noting that people today, even believers, live their lives without a sense of the existence and presence of God. Without a sense of the Holy Trinity, active in our lives at each moment it is so easy to lose our ways, especially in the 'reciprocity between men and women." The Trinity is the model of reciprocity. Think of the issue of abortion as a case of broken reciprocity between a man and a woman. The best way to reduce and even eliminate abortion is for men to be included in the equation in condemning the practice. Most women would not choose abortion if they had a strong, caring, responsible, loving man supporting them and their baby. I think Pope Francis should explain more clearly his comment: Catholics should not breed like rabbits. Is he really open to a realistic way to limit births beside marital abstinence or natural family planning ? If not what is he talking about? All this talk about leadership roles for women and sharing power does not equal in importance a woman's decision to conceive, bear, birth, and raise a child. No decision of the Magisterium in the past 60 years has been more alienating to the laity, especially women, as the all or nothing, black and white, decision regarding birth control.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 4 months ago
Absolute agreement on reciprocity and the Trinity. As in the Trinity, there is both unity and difference between persons, men and women. One God, one communion of Persons. One human nature, one communion of persons. This is beautifully explained in John Paul II's Theology of the Body. It endorses neither radical patriarchy nor radical feminism, and provides a vision of marriage, and gender relations in general, that can be summarized as unity in diversity ("original unity of man and woman"), individuality in community ("communion of persons") and equality in mutuality ("spousal meaning of the body"). The complementarity of man and woman is for reciprocity and mutual enrichment, not mutual exclusion. As you say, the boys are as responsible for most abortions as the girls, perhaps even more so when they conveniently disappear after getting the girl pregnant. The Theology of the Body upholds the teaching of Humanae Vitae but explains the *why* in addition to the *what* of responsible parenthood. It also makes more explicit the realities of life and the responsibility of couples to make decisions in conscience and assume responsibility for those decisions, which (if memory serves) is only implicit in Humanae Vitae by advising confessors not to be rigid. As you suggest, nothing human is 100% pure, black or white. Procreation decisions must be jointly made by husband and wife. So I respectfully disagree, when you say that "All this talk about leadership roles for women and sharing power does not equal in importance a woman's decision to conceive, bear, birth, and raise a child." In my view, precisely the opposite is the case. Church teaching about responsible parenthood lacks credibility as long as we don't have female priests that can be "mothers" to complement male priests that can be "fathers." If both the ordained "fathers" and the ordained "mothers" are celibate, wouldn't that be a good example for Catholic couples who are struggling with marital discipline to avoid "breeding like rabbits"? I have nothing against married priests, but believe in my heart that, in the Catholic Church, nuns (and other qualified celibate women) should be ordained before the celibacy requirement is reconsidered.
Paul Ferris
3 years 4 months ago
I read Theology of the Body but I have forgotten most of it. I did not remember a meaningful discussion of the immorality of artificial contraception. I think John Paul II also wrote a book called Love and Responsibility, He said it is wrong for a man and woman to use each other. OK nothing to argue about there.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 4 months ago
You may want to read it again. I get more out of it every time I read it. The discussion pertaining specifically to Humanae Vitae starts in section 118 of the 2006 translation by Michael Waldstein. The moral issues about artificial contraception are carefully considered in light of the entire theology of the body, and not as a black or white issue but as a matter of conscience to be jointly decided by husband and wife. The moral ideal is clearly stated in terms of both the unitive and the procreative meanings of the conjugal act, and the spiritual value of conjugal chastity is also presented, but there is nothing about reasonable use of artificial contraception being intrinsically immoral in every case. We may get further clarification about this from the synod of bishops later this year.
Paul Ferris
3 years 4 months ago
"but there is nothing about reasonable use of artificial contraception being intrinsically immoral in every case. We may get further clarification about this from the synod of bishops later this year." I wish what you write were true but Pope John Paul II was a staunch defender of HV. In fact he came to the attention of Pope Paul VI when he gave him a retreat and defended HV. Of course he was a student of phenomenology so he gave a lot of elaboration to the body as nuptual symbol. Much was very profound but sometime he got into debatable observations when he describe the women's role in intercourse as basically a passive surrender to the man. Like many celibates he had an ambivalent attitude to sexual pleasure and got in trouble with the public when he said it was wrong for a man to lust after his wife. If you take the word lust in its actual meaning I have no problem with it but it sounded like the old moral code a la Augustine that to maximize pleasure in intercourse was at the very least a venial sin.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 4 months ago
It would be helpful if you can show me where in the TOB he says that using birth control is always intrinsically immoral. If memory serves, this is not said in HV either. Honest to goodness, I don't see in either HV or the TOB the kind of ambivalence you describe. The unitive value of the conjugal act is never questioned. Are we reading the same documents?
Paul Ferris
3 years 3 months ago
HV and the whole ponitificate of Pope John Paul II insisted that every act of intercourse must be open to the possibility of life without any artificial interference with the sexual act: that includes, the pill, condoms, diaphragm, and coitus interruptus. It is not ambivalent It is clear, apodictic.. I do not see where you are coming from on this.
Paul Ferris
3 years 3 months ago
Also read Pope John Paul II EVANGELIUM VITAE where he writes at length about the connection of contraception with abortion which he strongly condemns. This encyclical is a profound theological statement with its basis against killing. It also condemns a whole host of modern evils.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
There is a connection between contraception and abortion, which also extends to Canon 1024 as an artificial contraceptive of female priestly vocations. Granted that HV sections 12 to 15 sound draconian (especially section 14), you can drive a truck through them when you consider allowance for the "lesser evil," not as an excuse to avoid responsibility but as a decision of conscience to be made by each couple in their concrete circumstances. HV and EV give the objective moral principle, but they don't pass moral judgement about subjective personal decisions (see sections 18, 25, 29). Of course, they challenge people to strive for what is best and don't exonerate people from making their own decisions in conscience. But we cannot expect the Church to say that something is 100% good when it is not. Likewise, the church hierarchy should not expect the faithful to agree that something is 100% good when it is not (the male-only priesthood comes to mind). Only infallibly defined dogmas are 100% pure. Neither HV nor EV are dogmatic definitions, so each catholic couple must assume responsibility to take them into account and then make their own decisions in conscience, which many of them are already doing albeit with varying degrees of responsibility.
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
It is clear your first run through the document which you purported changed the Church’s teaching - Lumen Gentium - was in response to this discussion. The Church is the Body of Christ. Anyone who is saved therefore is part of the Church. The Church has recognized the Baptism of Blood and the Baptism of Desire since the apostolic age. St Paul, Romans 2:14-16, made clear that the Gentiles will be judged on the Law written in their hearts. So, every fundamental piece of the correct understanding of "outside the Church there is no salvation" was in place centuries ago, and there was no change in the Church's teaching. When someone says the Church is changing the unchangeable, that a document which says “ the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful” does not pertain to them because it was addressed to bishops, all the while making it clear that their theological background is nil, the only dialogue possible is to counsel that person to cease sparring with the Church and get lined up with the mind of the Magisterium. In the interim I would cease spreading errors.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Good clarification. Finally, I get it, so there was no need to change anything, it was simply a matter of clarifying a misunderstanding about divine revelation brought about by confusing the Church as the Body of Christ with the Catholic Church as a religious institution headquartered in Rome. Good to see that asking questions can lead to insightful clarifications. Now, I am seeking another clarification, this time about "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" in light of "Humanae Vitae." Can you clarify for me how is it possible to say that we are "pro-life" while, at the same time, refusing to allow Christ to call baptized women to the ministerial priesthood, even as the patriarchal culture is passing away? I am familiar with CCC 1577 and CCC 1598. In CCC 1577, I see a patriarchal rationalization of the male-only priesthood that is hardly credible. In the "more essential" CCC 1598, the first sentence says that calling only males is a choice, and the second sentence specifies who can make the choice, but I cannot find any dogmatic definition that the patriarchal understanding of CCC 1577 (and the same argument in "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis") is a matter of faith. Can you help me to clarify this confusion in my mind? Just textual analysis and logic please, no need to speculate about my mental and spiritual well being, OK? :-)
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Both Humana Vitae and Evangelium Vitae to the extent that they draw from the ordinary and constant teaching of the Church are binding and conscience and irreformable. Just like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
What is "the ordinary and constant teaching of the Church"? It is not helpful, in my view, to discuss such glittering generalities. Let's be specific. HV and EV are encyclicals, a higher teaching level than letters like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. All papal teachings deserve consideration and respect, but none of these documents contain any dogmatic definition of any revealed truth. Everything in them is "work in progress," just as the church is "work in progress." To lump all church teachings into a single box, and say that everything in the box is infallible, is utter nonsense. The history of doctrinal development shows otherwise.
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_30061998_ad-tuendam-fidem.html https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFADTU.HTM http://www.canonlaw.info/a_adtuendam.htm That is your answer. You are completely incorrect as to whether these documents contain revealed truth (the dogmatic definition is really a separate issue), the history of doctrinal development never contains a 180 degree turn.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Until Vatican II, there was no salvation outside the Church. Now there is. If this is not a 180 degree turn, then I don't know what is. The links you provide are even lower in the hierarchy of church teachings than Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. A "motu propio," meaning "something on my own initiative"? Is this the answer? Please... The entire Bible contains revealed truth, but not everything in the Bible is revealed truth if it is interpreted in a *literalist* manner. Was the world created in six calendar days? Does the Sun revolve around the Earth? Is planet Earth the center of the universe? Have we seen the end of time as the early church expected? Do you really think that a "motu propio" is revealed truth, better than the Bible? Please...
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Before Vatican II Leonard Feeney, SJ, was excommunicated for teaching an interpretation of "outside the Church there is no salvation" that differed from the one which was explicated in Lumen Gentium at Vatican II. The assertion, then, that "Until Vatican II, there was no salvation outside the Church. Now there is." is complete and utter poppycock, and the folks that go around saying things like that are the same folks who for some reason think they are qualified to reject Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. People just like you, untrained, unqualified, non-theologians, who should be spending their time doing some useful, saying their rosary, helping out around the Church.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
What is the explanation in Lumen Gentium? If memory serves, it says that the one and only Christian Church *subsists* in the Roman Catholic Church but people of good conscience outside the Church can be saved. Sounds to me like a significant refinement of the old rigid understanding based on Unam Sanctam. OK, perhaps not a 180 degrees turn, but a significant clarification, don't you think? So where is the "poppycock"? Should I be excommunicated for saying that the "infallibility" of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is poppycock? Sorry that my qualifications are not up to your standards. Ever heard of the sensus fidelium?
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Rather than letting memory serve, you ought to actually go read the document and some coherent explanations by people who know their stuff before putting another syllable in the comments section. It is neither a 180 degree turn nor a significant clarification - it is a recapitulation of what the Church always taught and a long exposition on the visible Church's relationship to others. The poppycock was your statement that the Church changed its teaching. The "fidelium" includes only those who accept the Church's teaching. It is hard to be faithful and keep up a non-stop rejection of various teachings which displease you.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
"Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience." (LG 16) Surely, this is better than what I wrote from memory. Apologies for using my own words rather than simply repeating what has been said in the past by the apostles and their successors. However, it would be poppycock to say that LG is infallible (even though LG are my initials!) because Vatican II deliberately refrained from issuing infallible definitions and fulminating anathemas against anyone. With regard to the "fidelium," there are many Catholics who are in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood. Do you consider them to be heretics?
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
"Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience." was Catholic doctrine prior to the Vatican II. Anything from the Deposit of Faith is infallible, whether or not it involves a definition. The sentence above, for example, was the Catholic teaching when Leonard Feeney, SJ, was excommunicated. Any Catholic who rejects the Catholic teaching that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood is a material heretic and cannot be considered part of the “faithful”. Whether they are aware of it or not is one question, if they are aware of it culpability is another question. Once a Catholic has rejected a teaching, she or he cannot be counted among the faithful. Attempting to counter a teaching by rejecting it and building an odd poorly grounded theological argument based on fragments of knowledge is hardly an activity of the faithful.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
OK, so if the text quoted from LG was always the church teaching, then where did the idea that there is no salvation outside the church came from? Because I can remember people saying things like that before Vatican II, and I remember Vatican II bishops saying in public that it had been very difficult for them to digest the idea that people could be saved outside the Church. Another question, what is a "material heretic"? Is that different from just plain heretic? Anyway, since I have never rejected the deposit of faith, and have never rejected anything that has been written and signed by any Pope, before or after Vatican II, it is reassuring to hear you say that I am not a heretic. However, in light of Father Leonard Feeney's case when he was excommunicated for insisting that "extra Ecclesiam nulla salus" regardless of having a good conscience, could it be that those who now insist that women cannot be ordained may eventually be excommunicated for the same kind of doctrinal rigidity? One more question, just to make sure that I have not rejected the deposit of faith. What is exactly the deposit of faith? Is the living Tradition of the Church part of the deposit of faith? According to "Fidei Depositum" (preface to the "Catechism of the Catholic Church") the faith "is always the same yet the source of ever new light" (cf. Mt 13:52). So, could it be that the deposit of change doesn't change but our understanding of the deposit of faith is amenable to new insights?
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
It apparently came from people like yourself who go around talking about things they know nothing about. Some of the nonsense you're spouting came directly from the usual internet "experts" who do exactly that. Sunday's first reading from Acts contains this about Jesus Christ: "There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” which is the basis for "outside the Church there is no salvation". Everyone who is saved is saved through Jesus Christ, and through no other source. There is simply no nice way to tell you that you are in over your head, making statements that are contrary to fact and to Catholic teaching, and that you really ought to remediate some of these mistaken ideas you're running around with before your salvation itself hits a shoal and sinks.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Please don't worry about me, allow God to be my judge and let's focus on the issue irrespective of personal opinions, expertise, authority, and responsibilities. Agree that everyone who is saved is saved through Jesus Christ, the one and only Mediator. But is that the same as saying that nobody can be saved who is not in visible communion with the Catholic Church?
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Apostolic counsel is to advise your Christian fellow that he is heading for the abyss. What you do with about it is in fact your problem. You mucked up "outside the Church there is no salvation" and there is no reason to continue discussing it. The Church did not change its teachings and in order to understand what the aphorism means you need to study it, its origin, and its history. If you rely on idiots for your information, you wind up repeating idiotic things. That would cause most people to recognize they are far past their limits in challenging the Holy Father, who wrote in his Petrine role of confirming the brethren, who specifically ruled out this was changeable, but you seem to know no limits at all.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
OK, let's agree to disagree on "outside the church there is no salvation." But there is, because we are saved in and by Jesus Christ, not by belonging to any particular church or religious tradition. My next question is about the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae," published in 1968 and directed to *all* the faithful. Isn't CANON 1024 an *artificial contraceptive* of female priestly vocations?
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
I do not wish to engage in your tediously pointless nitpicking. You were wrong on "outside the church there is no salvation", which indicates you are unqualified to challenge the Church's teachings and unwilling to admit an error.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
I was not wrong. You were wrong, and you are still wrong by confusing "there is no salvation but in the name of Jesus Christ" with "there is no salvation outside visibly belonging to the pilgrim Catholic Church." But this is not about being right or wrong. We are trying to have a fraternal dialogue, not a zero-sum debate. Now please consider another question that, hopefully, might be addressed in the forthcoming synod of bishops on the family: isn't CANON 1024 an *artificial contraceptive* of female priestly vocations? Or is it that "Humanae Vitae" applies to the domestic church but not to the hierarchical church? This is no nitpicking, it is a legitimate question that pertains to the mystery of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:21, 32).
Paul Ferris
3 years 3 months ago
The whole of HV but especially paragraphs #12--#15.
Lisa Weber
3 years 4 months ago
Before we expect Pope Francis and his "gang of nine" to turn to women for "a grasp of its shortcomings and their human cost", perhaps we should humbly look in the mirror at our own shortcomings and their human cost. When women can only muster "scattered responses" when the pope opens the door to discussion, perhaps the problem is with the women of the church more than it is with the church hierarchy. Some of our shortcomings are that we have no leadership structure among the women and no forum for dialogue either among the women or between women and the church hierarchy. Perhaps we should consider why women are so afraid to talk to each other that we cannot manage to have a discussion, even among ourselves. I would offer the suggestion that we have yet to develop a feminine culture civilized enough to support a public dialogue.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 4 months ago
Are you serious? To suggest that women are responsible for the shortcomings of patriarchy is like suggesting that the poor are responsible for the shortcomings of poverty. Both men and women are sinners, we all share in one and the same fallen human nature. Bureaucracy is a problem in the Church just the same as it is a problem in any other human institution. But bureaucracy is not the root cause of the issue at hand. Hierarchy is not the root cause either. PATRIARCHY is the root cause (Genesis 3:16). How can women have coherent input to Church governance is they are excluded from Holy Orders? The patriarchal priesthood is NOT a dogma of the Catholic faith. Isn't it time to recognize this and move on to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate, for the glory of God and the good of souls?
Lisa Weber
3 years 4 months ago
I am absolutely serious. Having tried to do a number of different things in church, from discussion group to prayer group to reading group and other activities, my experience is that it usually gets undermined by women. The lack of discussion among the women in the church is the fault of women. No one is keeping women from having a discussion of women's issues, but it is not happening anywhere. We can complain about men locking us out of the church hierarchy, but we can't seem to organize anything ourselves. We want men to create and maintain a structure then give us a leadership role in it. Why are we unable to create and maintain a leadership structure of our own? Patriarchy is not the model that Jesus indicates. Matriarchy does not work either. The feminine side of the church is governed in a matriarchal manner by women appointed by the church hierarchy. The result is that the church has an ongoing exodus of members and a near-complete silence among the women. The problem underlying both patriarchy and matriarchy is that followers are assigned the role of children. Most people have no interest in remaining children all their lives so they just leave a church that will not allow them to grow up.
Paul Ferris
3 years 3 months ago
Apathy is always a serious problem I am afraid. The issue for most lay women I repeat is not a desire for leadership. It is anger at the lack of understanding and appreciation for what women go through in their lives as mothers and wives. This all stems from HV and its total abstract approach to married sexuality divorced from any real consideration of what is going on in the lives of a family. I can think of four or five concrete examples which I will not list here of where there is no justification to say that a woman should have another child and natural family planning or abstinence is the answer. And my serious concrete examples can be multiplied millions of times over in the ordinary lives of men, women, and families. The older generation of laity attend liturgy because Christ is proclaimed there and there is a strong belief in the sacraments. The younger generation of Catholics who did not go to Catholic schools and only had a smattering of Catholic doctrine through CCD, plus the influence of secular society, does not have an attachment to the practice of the faith. Every professional survey supports this conclusion. The problem of leadership for women in the church is minor compared to the problem of the absence of women's voices and experience in the church. This may be alleviated somewhat by putting a few women, be they nuns or laywomen in positions with leadership and titles but does not get at the core of the vast indifference and flight of women from the church.
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
The Church does not tailor its teaching to make detours around things that folks find difficult or that endorse folks' particular vices and sins. Humanae Vitae is a dogmatic document based on primarily the natural law augmented by the Church's constant understanding of the issues considered. If you would feel comfortable going to the foot of the cross as the scourged Jesus gasps out His last breath and telling Him "it's too hard, I need an exemption", I suppose you've provided yourself an internal forum of some sort for a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Most people when it's put that way suck it up.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
HV is about faith and morals but is not an infallible dogma of the faith. It is a good summary of what is objectively and morally good, and the *why* is further explained in John Paul II's "Theology of the Body." However, it passes no judgement on subjective personal decisions of conscience. By the way, please note that the teaching of HV goes both ways. Isn't Canon 1024 an artificial contraceptive of female priestly vocations? My friend, these issues will not be resolved by fulminating anathemas either way, but by prayerful discernment and sensible dialogue.
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Whether or not something is definitive appears to correspond to whether or not you agree with it. Humana Vitae draws from the Church's constant teaching as to the very purpose of the sexual function. No, Canon 1024 is not an artificial contraceptive of alleged female priestly vocations. It is an application of the definitive teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which itself is founded on the constitution of the Church by its divine Founder.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is definitive about the past and the present (as of 22 May 1994). It says nothing about the future, so it cannot possibly be definitive about the future, and it was not pronounced in a "definitive manner" as prescribed in CCC 892. Humanae Vitae was not formally proclaimed as a dogma either, so it is amenable to further clarification. Nothing dogmatic about it, was not pronounced infallibly, says nothing about forbidding further doctrinal development in the future. Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive of female priestly vocations because it actually prevents the Lord from calling women by refusing to mediate their vocations. The constitution of the Church is hierarchical (apostolic) but not necessarily patriarchal.
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
That Ordinatio Sacerdotalis "says nothing about the future" is fantasy. "Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force." "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." "preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium" "pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself" "in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren" "this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful" Obviously you don't definitively hold it, apparently because for some reason yet to be explained you are special.
Winni Veils
3 years 3 months ago
The biggest problem I've found for why anyone is unwilling to commit to things is an utter lack of hope. If someone feel like both candidates in an election are bad and there is no hope of ever changing the current political situation, it's very hard to get them to vote. If a leader believes she will be condemned and berated and questioned and not supported if she tried to speak out to the world and that no one will listen to her, it's hard for them to run for office. If a whistleblower is convinced that no one will listen to their warning, they will hunker down and protect themselves and their jobs and try to survive rather than try to change it. The women of the church, for many reasons, have lost hope in changing the church, and I think they've had good reason. The behest of Pope Francis that he wants to listen more won't change that. A business can't just say it wants to hear from whistleblowers and get feedback and criticism if it continues to fire or threaten to fire whistleblowers or turns all feedback and criticism straight into the circular file. Our dear pope and the hierarchy will sadly have to do much more to give women in the church hope that their voices will be heard.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
The one and only fix to this situation is to start ordaining women to the priesthood. Nothing less would do. Actually, the ordination of women to the priesthood would be in perfect continuity with apostolic tradition if it is recognized that the masculinity of Jesus is incidental to the incarnation and that baptized women are members of the body of Christ as much as baptized men are. If there is no need for male circumcision to be baptized and ordained, then there is no need for any form of female circumcision either, even if female circumcision was never done in the Jewish tradition. We are now under the New Law that transcends all human cultures, patriarchal and otherwise.
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
The one and only fix to this situation is the automatic excommunication of anyone who states that the one and only fix to this situation is to start ordaining women to the priesthood.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Ordaining women to the priesthood *IS* the one and only fix to the situation, and no excommunication is warranted for saying so. Actually, applying the fix would be in perfect continuity with apostolic tradition as long as the fix is applied with the approval of the Pope as successor of Peter (CCC 1598). Isn't this what "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" is about? The current hiatus is about showing who is in charge, isn't it?
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Were you a religious or clergy, you would in fact be facing excommunication. Your position has been totally rejected.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Facing excommunication? Why? I am not a bishop. "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" is addressed to bishops, ordering them to temporarily stop official discussion of the ordination of women. The letter is NOT addressed to all the faithful. How can I be excommunicated for not obeying an order that was not given to me? Please... Totally rejected? By whom? Loosen up, brother, no need to be so melodramatic...
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
Open defiance of a teaching, scandal by causing others doubts, and so on. Get ordained and find out. "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" is addressed to all Catholics, and there is nothing temporary about it. You can say it a hundred times and it will not be any truer than it was the first time you made that mistake.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
I am not in open defiance of any teaching of any Pope. I don't want to be ordained, but I can read. Please check the actual document: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1994/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19940522_ordinatio-sacerdotalis.html To whom is it addressed? To all Catholics, or to the bishops? Compare to other documents. Do your homework!
Martin Eble
3 years 3 months ago
You are in open defiance of the teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and its mandate that the discussion cease. Unfortunately you are also in denial, as your comment to which I am responding illustrates. I wish I could help you.
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Sorry, but you are not answering my question. Is "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" addressed to the entire Church or just to the bishops? http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1994/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19940522_ordinatio-sacerdotalis.html
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 3 months ago
Agree, neither patriarchy nor matriarchy should be normative, but some form of hierarchy of governance is needed for any human community. Gender balance in the hierarchy will be no panacea, but better than what we have now. Children are children and parents must allow them to grow up, but in every family, including the church as a family, we still need parents - male and female.
ed gleason
3 years 4 months ago
Here is the data on women leaving the RCC and taking their future children with them. . Women, 95% of the time decide the venue for their marriage . Catholic marriages are down 50% in twenty years.. Why? ... because women decide not to get involved in this male dominated Church.. Another 25 years with the children being un-Churched where will the male only priesthood be? Maybe a math guy can show us a graph in Braille so that blinded eyes can see the future> The average age at my parish this morning was about 65. [a good guess] . We have in San Francisco an A/B waging a culture war that will never gain traction. . A historical theologian once described San Francisco as just like Corinth.. a prosperous sea port with a diverse population. St Paul came an established a fine Christian community in Corinth w/o calling the Corinthians 'no good pagans'.. It's the message stupid.. women had better get a new and sincere message or away they go. . .

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