Bishop Walsh: priests should marry…

Paddy at Balrog picks up another important ‘marriage’ story, that of Catholic priests. For once he and David Vance are in agreement. It is intresting that Bishop Walsh has not been reprimanded by church authorities. It is proving difficult to get young men to accept a long term vocation. None of the boys I went to school with, who joined the priesthood after school, are still there. Three out of four of them went on to get married. See also marriedpriests.org.

  • Rationalist

    The whole priests and celibacy issue has been the topic of debate for a long time now. Rather than reprimand the bishop for it, the Vatican will most likely turn a blind eye towards it. The present pope is unlikely to address the issue in any meaningful way, but faced with rapidly declining vocations throughout the western world the church will eventually have to relax the rules one day, but not any time soon I suspect.

  • Henry94

    Dr Walsh is misleading people. It is not going to happen. The last Synod of Bishops confirmed that less than two months ago. So it’s foolish to pretend it’s a live issue.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200510/s1488508.htm

  • Ratonalist

    I wouldn’t say he’s misleading people. He’s simply addressing an issue which desperately needs to be addressed even though there’s no chance of the celibacy rule being changed within the foreseeable future. The Vatican’s policy of continue to ignore something and it will eventually go away can’t hold sway forever. If enough pressure comes from enough influential voices things will eventually change, albeit slowly.

  • Henry94

    Rationalist

    All the really influencial voices are on the other side. Nobody denies the Church faces a crisis.

    The Cardinals who voted for Ratzinger have a very different view on what caused the crisis and what needs to be done.

    Where the Church is Orthodox and traditional there is no shortage of vocations.

  • spartacus

    Henry94:

    “Where the Church is Orthodox and traditional there is no shortage of vocations.”

    As in where, exactly?

    The Cardinals who voted in Ratzinger, and the new Pope himself do indeed have a different view of what needs to be done. Turn the clock back pre-Vatican II, reconstruct the distant, unresponsive, semi-feudal hierarchy in place previously, and revive the most disgusting and retrogressive aspects of Church teaching on sexuality generally. They will end up with a much smaller, extremely reactionary hard-core committed to rolling back the recent, tentative engagement with modernism. And a flock that deserts them in greater and greater numbers. Maybe not such a bad thing.

  • heck

    If two priests love each other then they should be allowed to marry.

  • Ringo

    Willie Walsh a great man for getting a headline for himself in the national press for saying something blindingly obvious to the rest of the country, but totally at odds with the laws of the Catholic church.

    It is a classic case of his hand-wringing with Willie at pains to show that he’s ‘not like all the rest’. These decisions are made and influenced in the Vatican, not in Ennis or D’Olier St.

  • Ringo

    Spartacus
    Where the Church is Orthodox and traditional there is no shortage of vocations.

    As in where, exactly?

    Africa, Asia, Latin America.

    They will end up with a much smaller, extremely reactionary hard-core committed to rolling back the recent, tentative engagement with modernism. And a flock that deserts them in greater and greater numbers. Maybe not such a bad thing.

    The idea of a church that moves with the times is ludocrious. Look at the Anglicans.

  • Brian Boru

    As a Catholic I agree this celibacy rule is just stupid, as are the ban on women priests and their opposition to contraception, divorce and homosexuality. No wonder so many of us just don’t care what the hierarchy has to say these days. They are stuck in the Stone Age.

  • Ringo

    BB

    As a Catholic I agree this celibacy rule is just stupid, as are the ban on women priests and their opposition to contraception, divorce and homosexuality

    And how exactly are you a Catholic? Time to face facts, you’re what Ruairi Quinn would call a post-Catholic.

    Matter of interest, what’s your take on the whole God and Heaven thing?

  • spartacus

    Ringo:

    Wrong you are. Of course the hierarchy likes to believe that it is impervious to changes in the temporal world, but any cursory look at changing views (and formal doctrine) on celibacy, abortion, sexuality generally within the Chruch over time flies directly in the face of that siplistic view. More than that though you seem to assume a monolithic Church which, again, the most conservative Popes try to project, but it is of course far from reality. The ascent of Ratzinger itself, and JPII before him to a lesser extent, signalled the trumph of the most conservativ elements over other strands, including–powerfully, in Latin America–liberation theology.

  • Henry94

    Spartacus

    You have a view of the Church which is dialectical almost to the point of being cartoonish. I wonder Willie Walsh would be pleased to be defended in the dead language of Marxism.

  • Ringo

    Wrong you are

    Good man Yoda.

    but any cursory look at changing views (and formal doctrine) on celibacy, abortion, sexuality generally within the Chruch over time flies directly in the face of that siplistic view.

    And it is completely unsustainable.

    A lot of the features of Liberation theology owe more to an attempt to return to the core values of the Church, rather than the (relatively) recently tacked on changes. For example, simplicity and focus on the poor – these predate the the distant, unresponsive, semi-feudal hierarchy.

    Do you think the church started out as a distant, unresponsive semi-feudal hierarchy? Quite obviously it didn’t. It was the very process of change that you are now clambouring for that allowed it to mutate.

    As the prophet Johnny Giles might say – ‘if it is right in the first century, its right in the twenty-first century’. And then he’d say something about ‘moral courage’.

  • Young Fogey

    The conversation went:

    Where the Church is Orthodox and traditional there is no shortage of vocations.

    As in where, exactly?

    Africa, Asia, Latin America.

    In the case of Africa and Asia, correct. In the case of Latin America, complete nonsense. The vocations crisis, and the crisis of Roman Catholicism more generally, is more acute there than anywhere else on the planet, including Europe. Parishes of half a million, anyone? Church attendance is high nowhere in Latin America – in Uruguay it is as low as 4%. Conversion to Pentecostalism and various Evangelical sects is rife.

    It annoys me that people turn this into a rich-poor issue or a conservative-liberal issue when it simply isn’t. It’s more an old-new issue. (E.g., rich Korea is seeing booming vocations, mass conversions from Buddhism, etc., etc.).

  • One of the ironies of this debate is that there are in fact married priests in parts of Latin America to whom the church turns a blind eye, simply because they are good at what they do, despite not being celibate. Otherwise there wouldn’t be active church communities in these parts of the world – a crisis which is currently affecting the church in Europe. I’d recommend reading “Shattered Vows” by David Rice, himself an ex-priest who left the priesthood to get married.

  • Brian Boru

    Sorry Ringo. I should have said “as someone baptised a Catholic”. And on God and Heaven I not believe in them. Religion is superstition and historically the main cause of wars and responsible for millions of deaths.

  • spartacus

    henry:

    perceptive as i am, you’re going to have to help me here. what is it in what i wrote that you find ‘cartoonish’? perhaps i can clarify something for you?

  • Henry94

    spartacus

    Please don’t clarify anything for me. I even found trot-speak tedious when I was young so you can imagine how I feel about it now.

  • spartacus

    does that mean you’ve grown up now henry? does your brand of republicanism include luvving up to church ‘tradition and orthodoxy’? that should win over the prods and the dissenters, don’t you think? why have they not responded more enthusiastically, i wonder…

  • spartacus
    The celibacy rule is operative only in the Roman or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. In the other Rites, the usual rule is the same as that for the Orthodox Churches which are not part of the Catholic Church, i.e. priests may marry but, married priests cannot become Bishops, nor may Bishops marry.

    So, the issue of celibacy is not really one of doctrine but of practice in the Roman Rite and a change would not be quite as dramatic nor as disturbing as one might think.

    On the whole, I expect as change in the not too far distant future and in may be done on a national basos by national conferences of bishops.

  • It is not like abortion where there are reasons based on scripture to oppose it.

    I have a few close friends who would join the priesthood in the morning if they were allowed to get married, they are now training to be RE teachers instead.

    I can’t understand the opposition

    There is nothing as sickening as when you hear a priest on the alter lecturing the people on married life and divorce when the same individual doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

    Married priests would bring a new dimension to the parish and would bring the priest closer to his parishioners.

  • The Devil

    I saw an exorcism recently, things were so bad they had to get the Devil in to get the priest out of the child.

  • “had to get the Devil in to get the priest out of the child”

    A disgusting comment!

  • Young Fogey

    Henry 94

    I was interested to note on David Vance’s site that you attend a Society of St. Pius X liturgy. SSPX is, of course, a schismatic movement outside the Roman Catholic Church, and its congregations tends to be both small relative to population and consist of people who made a conscious choice of leaving the Roman Catholic Church and becoming part of what they saw as a more ‘pure’ form of Catholicism. And as a new denomination it hasn’t had the time to build up the generations worth of people with only a nominal attachment to the church, but yet expect to be hatched, matched and dispatched in it. Naturally it doesn’t have a problem finding vocations in sufficient numbers to tend its relatively small flocks from its highly committed congregations.

    Conservative Catholic splinters like their Protestant analogues are growing rapidly in proportionate terms, but they do so from a very low base and the sum total of their efforts does little to stem the tide of rapid dechurching in the traditionally Christian parts of the world.

    In contrast, the Roman Catholic Church does have a serious vocations problem. If Benedict decides to push his anti-gay witchhunt to its logical conclusion, then the Church in Europe and North America will likely find it has a clergy shortage of Latin American proportions. And the problems of Latin America will themselves get worse – plenty of gay Catholic priests down there, too.

    As it stands, the Catholic Church in many parts of Europe (Germany, France and Holland in particular) is held together only by priests being lent from third world countries, most of which can ill afford to do so, and increasingly by married men ordained as permanent deacons, often early retired and functioning as de facto parish priests without, of course, the ability to say Mass. The incongruity of that situation will only become more obvious with time.

    While the recent Synod rejected any change in the rules of celibacy, which as others have pointed out only apply to Latin Rite Catholics and not Uniates, Maronites, Assyrian or Armenian Catholics, etc., the debate was far from one sided if reports in the religious press are to be believed. Some of gone so far as to say that only the personal intervention of George Pell (Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney) prevented something of a shocker at Benedict’s first Synod. The debate is far from dead and runs constantly in some parts of the world – e.g. the Pacific – where Catholic congregations can have gaps of as much as two years between visits by a priest to say Mass, a problem which visibly does not affect their Anglican or Lutheran neighbours.

    This one is set to run and run.

  • SeamusG

    Brian Boru,
    Just feel I have to counter your assertion that “Religion is superstition and historically the main cause of wars and responsible for millions of deaths.” It’s an oft-repeated cliche and it doesn’t hold water.
    I would point to WWI, WWII, the tyrannies of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, the atrocities in Rwanda, the apartheid regime of South Africa and any number of other conflicts in the last 100 years alone.

  • spartacus

    Ringo:

    You write-

    “A lot of the features of Liberation theology owe more to an attempt to return to the core values of the Church, rather than the (relatively) recently tacked on changes. For example, simplicity and focus on the poor – these predate the the distant, unresponsive, semi-feudal hierarchy.

    Do you think the church started out as a distant, unresponsive semi-feudal hierarchy? Quite obviously it didn’t. It was the very process of change that you are now clambouring for that allowed it to mutate.”

    On the first part, I mostly agree with you: LT represented both a return to basics and an attempt to extend Vatican II into the social realm in ways that scared Church conservatives. David Vance would have shared their fears and their contempt for the ‘gospel of the poor,’ of course.

    On point two, agreed again that the Church started out very differently, as a challenge to the status quo and one based mostly among non-elites. Within a little over a century, though, it had made its peace with the status quo, until it became inseparable from it.

    But am I missing something? Early on, in the post I was responding to, you argue that the notion that the Church is affected by the outside world is “ludicrous.” But then you suggest that the Church had in fact ‘started out differently’ and changed. Which is it?

  • spartacus

    Chris:

    I’d read something along similar lines before, but just plucked this off the internet and thought you might give it a read. From the ‘Un-told History of Catholic Position on Abortion’:

    “Most people believe that the Roman Catholic church’s position on abortion has remained unchanged for two thousand years. Not true. Church teaching on abortion has varied continually over the course of its history. There has been no unanimous opinion on abortion at any time. While there has been constant general agreement that abortion is almost always evil and sinful, the church has had difficulty in defining the nature of that evil. Members of the Catholic hierarchy have opposed abortion consistently as evidence of sexual sin, but they have not always seen early abortion as homicide. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the “right-to-life” argument is a relatively recent development in church teaching. The debate continues today.”

  • T

    Mick, if you’re moderating right now, be aware that some of the strings below seem to have been hi-jacked by tela-tubbies.

  • I don’t know why this is such an issue when you look back historically and see that the reason Priests were banned from marriage originally was to dissuade their sons inheriting the priesthoods and the lands,etc.

    In the early days Priests were free to marry. Why shouldn’t they be able to now? It seems like an intelligent move for the Catholic Church.

  • Moyle Rover

    Willie Walsh is not the only senior cleric to follow this line Cardinal Keith O Brien, head of the church in scotland, and a native of this parish, has frequently spoke in favour of married priests. To quote him ” we need to distinguish between church laws and gods laws”

  • PaddyReilly

    Heck, best laugh I’ve had all week.

    The point about the Patriarchate of Rome is that the rule of priestly celibacy was brought in to prevent priests from alienating ecclesiastical property for the benefit of their offspring. Now that we have an effective legal system that could prevent this, the rule makes no sense, and the expence of settling Child Molestation cases is an equivalent loss of income.

    In Eastern Rites and the Orthodox Church a priest can marry, and has to marry. If he wishes to remain unmarried he has to become a monk. Priests whose wives die cannot remarry but they can then become bishops.

    < >

    I’m a little confused here. I was under the impression that the Diocese of Westminster had licensed two churches to say mass according to the Tridentine Rite, and that they were run by the SSPX. Is the SSPX not an ex-schismatic movement, or are there two SSPXs?

  • Henry94

    Young Fogey

    i SSPX is, of course, a schismatic movement outside the Roman Catholic Church

    May I draw your attention to recent remarks by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, curial prefect for the Clergy and for the Ecclesia Dei Commission which clarify the position of SSPX and place it within the Church.

    Cardinal Hoyos appeared on Italian television, and in an interview, made the following statement:

    “We are not facing a heresy. One cannot say in correct, exact, precise terms that there is a schism [here]. There is a schismatic attitude in the consecration of bishops without a pontifical mandate. They are inside the Church; there is only lacking a full, a more perfect — as was said in the meeting with Msgr. Fellay –a fuller communion, because there is communion” .

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos declared that both the bishops and the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are within the body of the Church, even if not in full communion. An analogy would be that they may reside within the body of the Church, but not necessarily within its heart.

    This is a big step forward for the many people who are working for and praying for the restoration of full communion.

  • GayIreland

    Removed. Pending further action.

  • Young Fogey

    Henry 94, brushing through the ecclesiastical semantics, SSPX remains out of communion with Rome. Mid-ranking Vatican officials, often with some personal sympathy for the aims of the SSPX, have made encouraging noises in the past but none of this has come to anything. Nor can it. SSPX recognises the authority of Rome only when Rome does what the SSPX wants. I don’t have a problem with that personally as I don’t recognise the authority of Rome myself, but then again I don’t pretend anything otherwise.

    Did not Ratzinger himself describe the SSPX’s consecration of Bishops in 1988 as a schismatic act.

    Oh, hell, why should I care, I’m just an Anglo-Catholic and SSPX probably regard our Mass as some bloke (or bird!) in a dress playing pantomime games with a bit of bread.

  • smcgiff

    Why do I get the impression that if marriage was allowed in the morning there wouldn’t be a huge rush from the current crop of priests to become married? Many are too old for a start. Many that sought the companionship of a woman have left.

    But, to my mind, the priesthood attracts a particular male that would have no interest in what the traditional (man/woman) marriage would have to offer.

    I say this from an agnostic POV, and am undoubtedly prejudiced, not believing in callings and all that.

    However, allowing a married priesthood could only benefit and attract the right kind of people in the future.

    That it has not even been considered at the top within the RC speaks volumes. Then again, what interest would a vegetarian have in promoting McDonalds?

  • Zorro

    Why were the chosen apostles all male? It isn’t as though Jesus was afraid to challenge the norms of society. We are taught that His word and deed is as relevant for us today as it was for the people at the time. Therefore is it not right to question why His most favoured were all male?

  • Young Fogey

    Therefore is it not right to question why His most favoured were all male?

    What about God’s most favoured – Mary?

    It is ludicrous to say that woman is fit the be the vessel for Our Lord on earth but not to celebrate Mass. Utterly ludicrous.

    As for the celibacy thing, all it does is perpetuate the idea that sex is somehow sinful.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Why were the chosen apostles all male?’

    Ah – but were they? You’ve to remember that Christ’s life and his actions have been filtered by thousands of years of self interested bureaucracy.

  • smcgiff

    ‘It is ludicrous to say that woman is fit the be the vessel for Our Lord on earth but not to celebrate Mass.’

    Although, I’d have paid good money to be present if he’d had chosen Joseph to be the vessel!!!

  • Henry94

    YF

    It is ludicrous to say that woman is fit the be the vessel for Our Lord on earth but not to celebrate Mass. Utterly ludicrous.

    Jesus choose his apostles and he did not choose Mary. Why not? Was he ludicrous?

  • Zorro

    Young Fogey / smcgiff

    I believe the issue of married priests is separate from that of women priests.

    I find it difficult to reconcile the fact that though Jesus was afraid to challenge the norms of society, he decided an all male 12 line up. Why? I take on board the the Church , as an institution, has been shaped by the times during which it has evolved. Nonetheless I find it difficult to believe there were any women apostles who have been whitewashed out of biblical records.

    Is it not more likely that Jesus didn’t choose women in His 12 squad line up because he wished them to play a different kind of role? Not better, not worse, just different.

  • Zorro

    CORRECTION

    02:21 POSTING SHOULD READ:-

    ..though Jesus was not afraid to challenge the norms of society, he decided on all male 12 line up.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Not better, not worse, just different.’

    Why? Based on Sex – Why?

    And what role? Keeping house for the PP?

  • Zorro

    smcgiff

    Ony later based on gender but initially why was it so? i can not for the life of me think Jesus, in his blessed infinite wisdom, decided not to choose put any women in his line up because he could see what was going to happen in the Middle Ages! Surely if that had been the case, he would have left a parable or a message for us?

  • smcgiff

    Zorro,

    If we are all equal in the eyes of God (which I’m led to believe includes Christ) then gender is a non-issue.

    ‘though Jesus was not afraid to challenge the norms of society, he decided on all male 12 line up.’

    I find it highly plausible that Jesus had at least one female disciple late in his ministry. Jesus was very much a man on his time, and knew his audience. For example he spoke Aramaic and not Latin, a more open language. He understood his audience. His ministry might have been over before it began if he travelled with females. Females that travelled with men were considered prostitutes.

    What I’m trying to say is that Jesus worked on this earth not completely unrestrained. He did after all wait until he was into his thirties before beginning his ministry.

  • Young Fogey

    Henry/Zorro:

    Jesus choose his apostles and he did not choose Mary. Why not? Was he ludicrous?

    I find it difficult to reconcile the fact that though Jesus was afraid to challenge the norms of society, he decided an all male 12 line up. Why?

    These are, at first glance, powerful arguments. Ultimately, I think they fall down as red herrings.

    Problem Number 1: Jesus also only chose orthodox, Gallilean, Jewish men as his apostles. No diaspora Jews, no Samaritans, certainly no Greeks or Romans. Indeed the question of whether or not gentiles could be Christians was the defining argument of 1st Century Christianity; had the Petrine faction won the argument, none of us would be Christians today and the Christianity would be a minor, probably forgotten, Jewish sect.

    Modern Christians always underestimate the importance of this debate, trying to look behind the surface of those Paul v Peter debates for wisdom on how to resolve church conflicts today. That shouldn’t mean we forget what they were about though (and the fact that it all seems faintly ludicrous to us today – sacrificed food and all that – ought to tell us something about our need for a sense of perspective).

    Problem Number 2: The Apostles are seen here as a model for priesthood. I’m not sure that the early practice of the Church upholds that view of them. We know too little about how the order of presbyters emerged in the very early Church to be sure, of course, but apostles function very much as proto-Bishops from the first Pentecost. There were, of course, a much wider group of coummity leaders who, fairly rapidly, developed into what we would call the priesthood today. Naturally, in the patriarchal cultures of the Mediterranean 2,000 years ago, they were all men – who else would preside over an evening meal there?

    It’s also worth pointing out that the balance of scriptiural evidence supports the emerging diaconate having been open to women at the time. That’s a function that Rome denies women today.

    Problem Number 3: This interpretation denies the continuing ability of God to reveal himself to His people through the Holy Spirit. That seems to me like a nice, well-intentioned, blasphemy. If God wanted the Church to have male priests only 2000 years ago, but go co-ed today, that’s his business. Discerning God’s will is the hard part of course, but then again it always has been.

    Problem Number 4: The old argument that women can’t be priests because they represent Christ at the altar. That seems to me to suggest that the most important thing about Christ where his organs rather than his divinity. That seems rather crude and reductionist, to put it politely.

    Sorry to go all theological.

    As for married priests, I can’t think of a theological defence enforced celibacy, myself.

  • smcgiff

    Well put, YF

  • Henry94

    YF

    With all due respect your case is thin, speculative and utterly unconvincing. It is the kind of case made when the belief comes first and scripture is then ransacked for justification.

    As Gene Robinson is demonstrating the same process can be used to justify anything.

    Jesus also only chose orthodox, Galilean, Jewish men as his apostles.

    That is a silly argument in the light of your later point about the continuing ability of God to reveal himself to His people through the Holy Spirit. Has anyone ever suggested that the Holy Ghost was guiding us in such a direction.

    The Apostles are seen here as a model for priesthood.

    And they always have been by everybody. But when that gets in the way of the desired outcome attempts are made to introduce doubts that never arose in any other context. That alone should warn you that your theology is suspect.

    This interpretation denies the continuing ability of God to reveal himself to His people through the Holy Spirit.

    A case that can be used for any novelty. If the Holy Ghost wanted Women Priests in the Catholic Church then he would not have given us the Popes he did.

    The old argument that women can’t be priests because they represent Christ at the altar.

    The really old argument is the feminist one that gender is a social construct. It is being demolished by science. When science doesn’t suit the liberal left of course they don’t want to know about it.

    Christ came into the world as a man and choose men as apostles with whom he initiated the Eucharist.

    The last Pope told us that he did not have the authority to overturn that. The Orthodox agree.

    The Anglicans think they do have that authority. Let see where it takes them.

  • Young Fogey

    <I>With all due respect your case is thin, speculative and utterly unconvincing. It is the kind of case made when the belief comes first and scripture is then ransacked for justification.As Gene Robinson is demonstrating the same process can be used to justify anything.

    OK, so you don’t like gay bishops. I don’t see a problem with them. There we are. I can see there might not be a complete meeting of minds coming up here…

    That is a silly argument in the light of your later point about the continuing ability of God to reveal himself to His people through the Holy Spirit.

    Why? It is entirely complementary to and supportive of the point I made later on. Revelation was not complete at the moment of the Ascension. Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to us for the remainder of time. In the 1st Century, the Holy Spirit led the Church into a new understanding of rituals such as circumcision, in the 18th on slavery, in the 20th on the place of women in the church. Why can you accept the revelation of the Holy Spirit as possible for the first case, and presumably the second, but not the third? It’s not your business to tell God what he can and can’t do. Or mine, for that matter.

    Throughout Christian history, there have been people who thought that God’s revelation stopped at some point when it was comfortable for them, usually about 20 years before their grandparents were born; that gives us all a nice sense of certainty that we’re holding up the old traditions, doesn’t it?

    I mean take your own devotion to the Tridentine Rite – it’s a beautiful and moving liturgy; I can understand why some people find it, for them, the perfect expression of our devotion to God. But some people see any other liturgy as heretical and invalid in celebrating the Mass. So, why did the Holy Spirit wait until the 1550s before letting us in on the secret? And why did revelation stop at that point, after 1500 years?

    Apostles and priesthood: And they always have been by everybody.

    Ahem! Big assertion – any evidence for it?

    A case that can be used for any novelty. If the Holy Ghost wanted Women Priests in the Catholic Church then he would not have given us the Popes he did.

    You can use that argument to support anything, too, you know Henry. If the Holy Ghost had wanted the Popes to be the sole determinant of what was right within the Catholic Church, presumably he wouldn’t have given us the split with the Orthodox or the Reformation either.

    The really old argument is the feminist one that gender is a social construct. It is being demolished by science. When science doesn’t suit the liberal left of course they don’t want to know about it.

    Aw, Henry, that’s very sweet of you. I haven’t been called part of the liberal left for a long time.

    Seriously, as I see it, you’re putting up a false dichotomy here. Of course gender is more than a social construct; but similarly common humanity completely outweighs gender difference. Men and women aren’t two different species. Surely what was important about Christ was his divinity, and his humanity, not his Y-chromosome or his privates.

    As far as science goes, I’m not entirely sure in what way science contradicts anything I’ve said. Maybe if I was Tabitha Firestone it would… but then again Tabitha and I would have, um, limited common perspectives.

    Christ came into the world as a man and choose men as apostles with whom he initiated the Eucharist.

    Christ came into the world as a Jew and chose Jews as apostles with whom he initiatied the Eucharist.

    Christ came into the world as a White and chose White as apostles with whom he initiatied the Eucharist.

    Christ came into the world as a Semite and chose Semite as apostles with whom he initiatied the Eucharist.

    Christ came into the world as circumcised and chose circumcised people as apostles with whom he initiatied the Eucharist.

    None of these has been held to be a barrier to priesthood since about AD 70.

    The last Pope told us that he did not have the authority to overturn that. The Orthodox agree.

    The Anglicans think they do have that authority. Let see where it takes them.

    Hmmmmm, do let’s but I don’t think women priests are the cause of many of our problems (oh, and I’ll admit, we have plenty) these days.

  • Henry94

    YF

    OK, so you don’t like gay bishops. I don’t see a problem with them. There we are. I can see there might not be a complete meeting of minds coming up here…

    I would say in that case that we are wasting our time. The difference is too great. But it is nice to come across someone who can discuss a religious issue in a calm and respectful manner. It’s rare enough. I’ll say a prayer for you at the Latin Mass over Christmas and I hope you say one for me too.

  • When the RC church accepts women priests and when it’s priests can marry then we will see priests marrying each other and good luck to them!

  • Young Fogey

    I’ll say a prayer for you at the Latin Mass over Christmas and I hope you say one for me too.

    Goes without saying Henry. I hope you don’t mind it being said at a Church of Ireland modern language midgnight mass in one of the few churches in Ireland where ‘woman’ and ‘concelebration’ can appear in the same sentence without people choking! 😉

    When the RC church accepts women priests and when it’s priests can marry then we will see priests marrying each other and good luck to them!

    Anglican priests marry each other all the time, Bertie. It’s strange and odd for like, about two years and then the novelty passes and its normality.

  • YF

    “Anglican priests marry each other all the time”

    you make it sound like they do it over and over again!

    A colleague of mine was telling me that he had got engaged to a priest. They were both divorcees and were having trouble finding someone to marry them. So in effect having found a priest to marry him he needed to find a second one prepared to marry him!

  • Zorro

    Young Fogey

    Problem Number 1: Jesus also only chose orthodox, Gallilean, Jewish men as his apostles.

    The question here is “why?” We can elude to arguments surrounding Jesus the man and Jesus the divine, clearly he was both. To pigeon-hole Jesus as the Divine Marketer merely working his audience is somewhat foolish. I believe there was something more profound to it than that and His understanding of events was enlightened spiritually, philosophically and theologically.

    Problem Number 2: Naturally, in the patriarchal cultures of the Mediterranean 2,000 years ago, they were all men
    Correct. But Jesus actively challenged society’s norm. Isn’t that the reason he came in the first place? So then, why didn’t he make an example and include a woman as an apostle. I don’t believe it is simple enough to say he probably did and this has been whitewashed out of history by subsequent patriarchal society. Sending a clear message to us today, He made a point of associating himself with sinners both men and women, never being afraid to rock the boat of social norms.

    Problem Number 3: This interpretation denies the continuing ability of God to reveal himself to His people through the Holy Spirit.
    Wrong. It suggests that though we may not fully understand God’s plan, we can, in all humility, acknowledge this. We can say that we recognise a message has been sent but we don’t fully understand it. I agree that discerning God’s will is not always easy but then again we do have prayer and can ask for understanding.

    Problem Number 4: The old argument that women can’t be priests because they represent Christ at the altar.

    I’m not sure if many people fully support this line of argument, after all the priest is the celebrant of the Mass and not required to carry out all sacraments.

  • smcgiff

    *rolls eyes* at Zorro/Henry94