• RSS Queering the Church

    • The Celibacy Wars: A Reason for Hope? August 9, 2014
      Quite suddenly, my news feeds are full of stories and opinion pieces on celibacy and gay Christians, from the evangelical Christian Charisma News and the like on the one hand, to the gay Advocate on the other. On the religious…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
    • Pope Francis: The Family as a “Centre of Love” – and Inclusion. August 8, 2014
      In a message to the First Latin American Congress on the Pastoral Care of the Family in Panama, Pope Francis’ thoughts on the nature of family deserve close attention by LGBT Catholics. What is the family? Beyond its more pressing problems…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
    • Email sent to my followers June 27, 2014
      Whew! It's time to catch my breath. Since the release of Queer Clergy in February, I've been on the road ... Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and California. I have been the guest of book clubs, adult forums, LGBT reconciling groups, the Pacific School of Religion, and I've been a guest preacher (always a treat for an old lawyer). I've mad […]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • Where Are You? October 26, 2011
      Greetings to all others who grace these pages! Thank you for stopping by. If you still have a reader pointed here, this blog no longer publishes in this location, but can be found at this new link. Please subscribe to the new feed, get the new blog via email or read us by liking us on Facebook or by following me on Twitter.If you want more, please feel free […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Fran)
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Lovemaking: Pathway to Truth, Harmony and Wholeness August 30, 2014
      We know . . . the self-scripts of conventional society. We are thus fragmented within ourselves and [often] in conflict. . . . In contrast to this, when people allow their false separation to dissolve, as is sometimes possible in music or lovemaking or sincere worship, a truer individuality emerges and a harmony between these individualities is possible. Whe […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part II) August 30, 2014
      Following is a second excerpt from theologian Michael Morwood's 2013 book It's Time: Challenges to the Doctrine of the Faith. As with the first excerpt I shared, this one focuses on the Divine Presence, an understanding that the word "God" points to a Mystery that permeates everything that exists. For Morwood, patterns of the Divine Prese […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • The travails of young love July 30, 2014
      On a bit of a hiatus from blogging for the summer as I recollect my spirit, but I may have some reflections to share this weekend about the difficulties of young love. Been listening to tales of heartbreak from some of my young students. And young River Viiperi has broken from his partner of two years, Paris Hilton, so these must be difficult days for him as […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
    • Papa Francesco does it again July 14, 2014
      Well, the whole world - or at least the semi Christian world - is all a flutter over yet another freewheeling interview of Pope Francis conducted by acknowledged atheist and La Republica journalist Eduardo Scalfari. Before the ink had barely dried, Father Lombardi of The Vatican Press Office was already huffing out his damage control , assuring us that Scalf […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • プロミス審査申し込みはこちらcomhtml August 30, 2014
      プロミスの「お借入診断」、簡単に言うと仮審査になります。キャッシング会社によっては簡易審査、仮審査、3秒審査などと呼ばれていますが、いずれにしろ簡易的な審査であることは変わりありません。この審査が本結果となるものではなくあくまでも参考になる程度の目安になっています。プロミスのお借入診断は3つの条件を入力するだけになっています。・生年月日・年収・他社からの総借入額これをいれるだけで自動審査によってわずか1秒ほどで審査結果が画面に表示されます。一般的には借り審査の場合、年収や借入額だけではなく借り入れ件数が最も重要な問題になってきます。というのも、現在の借入額だけではなく推測できる未来の借入額も見えてくるからです。全てが同じ融資額30万円が限度だったとします。キャッシングカードを3枚持っていて借金が90万円あるのと […]
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Links August 30, 2014
      - Physics .... - I remember reading this book when I was a teen, Now a movie about the book and its writer ... - From Tina Beattie: Pope Francis has done little to improve women’s lives - From an international law blog: Update on Archbishop Wesolowski Prosecution
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

The Catholic Spring: Ferment in Switzerland

One of the disadvantages of English as a home language, is that too often it leaves us weak in other tongues, and as a result all too ignorant of developments in the wider world (outside, that is, the UK, the USA, and the British Commonwealth). A case in point is the matter of Catholic discussion around matters of ordination to the priesthood, which the Vatican insists must be restricted to celibate males. In the English – speaking world, the National Catholic Reporter caused a stir last week with an editorial proclaiming that contrary to directives from Rome, Catholics have not only a right but a duty to discuss women’s ordination, but in other regions, discussions have gone much further.  Fortunately for us linguistically challenged English speakers, Rebel Girl does a sterling job of bringing to our attention useful information from foreign language press, in English translation. From Brazil, for example, she reported recently how Archbishop Dom Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho of Teresina

told reporters last week that, regardless of any opinions Pope Benedict XVI may have expressed on the importance of celibacy, the pontiff’s words on this question are not infallible. He reiterated the Church teaching that the Pope is only considered infallible on matters of faith and morals and mandatory celibacy doesn’t fit in those categories. The bishop added that “the fact that to be a priest you also have to be celibate is a discipline that the Church can change.”

-Rebel Girl, at Rentapriest

But it’s in Switzerland that things are getting really interesting. In a fascinating pamphlet, a Swiss abbot, Martin Werlen, has gone way, way beyond simply urging us to discuss ordaining women priests – he has suggested among other notable innovations, that it is time for the Church to appoint women cardinals!

Continue reading

The Lay OBLIGATION to Discuss Women’s Ordination

We are all too familiar with the Vatican insistence that not only is women’s ordination impossible, but that even discussion of the subject is not permitted.

Others disagree. In  a hard-hitting editorial, the National Catholic Reporter argues strongly that not only do we have that right, but lay Catholics at least have an obligation to discuss this, at every possible opportunity, and in every available forum.

We must speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels.

-   National Catholic Reporter.

How do they get to this unfamiliar conclusion, so at odds with the familiar Vatican line?

The voice of the faithful

The starting point, the spark that lit their fuse, was the Nov. 19 press release announcing Roy Bourgeois’ “excommunication, dismissal and laicization”, for his role in encouraging and assisting the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, and in particular one notable assertion:

The most egregious statement in the  is the assertion that Bourgeois’ “disobedience” and “campaign against the teachings of the Catholic church” was “ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Bourgeois, attuned by a lifetime of listening to the marginalized, has heard the voice of the faithful and he has responded to that voice.

Bourgeois brings this issue to the real heart of the matter. He has said that no one can say who God can and cannot call to the priesthood, and to say that anatomy is somehow a barrier to God’s ability to call one of God’s own children forward places absurd limits on God’s power. The majority of the faithful believe this.

The voice of scripture

So, one part of the NCR critique rests on the observation that women’s ordination has the support of the faithful. This is important in itself, and I return to it later. But there’s another part to the argument – that the Vatican claim to rest on a firm foundation in Scripture is unsound:

In October 1995, the doctrinal congregation acted further, releasing a responsum ad propositum dubium concerning the nature of the teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: “This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.” The ban on women’s ordination belongs “to the deposit of the faith,” the responsum said.

However, this claim to be based on the “written word of God” is a recent invention, contradicted by earlier  conclusions of the Pontifical Biblical Society

In April 1976 the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded unanimously: “It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate.” In further deliberation, the commission voted 12-5 in favor of the view that Scripture alone does not exclude the ordination of women, and 12-5 in favor of the view that the church could ordain women to the priesthood without going against Christ’s original intentions.

What were “Christ’s original intentions”? We do not know directly from his words or actions, as he neither spoke of ordination, nor ordained anyone: the practice of formal ordination did not begin until well after New Testament times. Rather, the assertion rests on an interpretation, from the fact that only men were included among “the twelve”. There are two objections to this. First, as the women priests movement and others have noted, there certainly were many women prominent in the service of the Church in other capacities. The only person explicitly described in the New Testament as a “deacon” of the church was Phoebe, a woman. Should we conclude from this that only women should be deacons? Other women are also described as “servants” of the church (which is the meaning of the word “deacon”). More controversially, there is another example, Junia, described as “most famous among the apostles” – and Junia appears to have been female. There’s an even more example of women’s inclusion, familiar to all – but we usually miss its significance. In an article prompted by the Church of England failure to approve woman bishops, Tom Wright (former bishop of Durham) notes that

All Christian ministry begins with the announcement that Jesus has been raised from the dead.  And Jesus entrusted that task, first of all, not to Peter, James, or John, but to Mary Magdalene. Part of the point of the new creation launched at Easter was the transformation of roles and vocations: from Jews-only to worldwide, from monoglot to multilingual (think of Pentecost), and from male-only leadership to male and female together.

- quoted at Face2Face blog

And a contribution in the comments thread to that article, adds the important observation that

In the 2nd and 3rd Century church Mary Magdalene was called the “Apostola Apostolorum” (the Apostle of the Apostles) for that very reason Mr. Wright cites.

So, it is not surprising that the Pontifical Biblical Commission should have concluded “that Scripture alone does not exclude the ordination of women” – and the assertion by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI that it does, is simply false.

We must also consider, when evaluating the Biblical evidence, not only the words, but also the context of the time. It is scarcely surprising that only men were included in the twelve: among Jews of the time, as in other Mediterranean societies, men took leadership roles in almost every aspect of life. The really notable feature of Jesus’ example, was not his exclusion of women, but how easily he included them in his circle, and engaged with them in discussions, to a degree that was far more inclusive than was usual for his day. From that perspective, it is unconscionable that the approach to women’s inclusion by the modern Church is not ahead of secular society, but behind it.

 The voice of tradition

The second part of their assertion is that the exclusion of women is “from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church”. But this too, rests on shaky grounds. There is at least some evidence that just as women were named in the New Testament as “servants” of the Church, from the time that formal ordination began, at least a few women were so ordained as priests: and definite evidence that many were ordained as deacons.

The voice of the Magisterium

The third part of the cIlaim, is that

“it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.” The ban on women’s ordination belongs “to the deposit of the faith,” the responsum said.

It is here that NCR brings out what for me is its strongest, most fascinasting argument. We are accustomed to the Vatican claims about “Magisterium” in support of their pronouncements, but I for one am often unclear on what, precisely, constitutes authentic “magisterium” – and what is at bottom, little more than Vatican assertions. NCR reminds us that there are in fact, three magisteria in the church.

Blessed John Henry Newman said that there are three magisteria in the church: the bishops, the theologians and the people. On the issue of women’s ordination, two of the three voices have been silenced, which is why the third voice must now make itself heard.

-   National Catholic Reporter.

We know that many bishops, and rather more theologians outside the ivory towers of the CDF, do not believe that the door should be closed on discussion of women priests, or of married priests – and some would specifically desire to begin with their ordination, at least to the diaconate. Unfortunately, the unbalanced and unjust power structures currently prevailing in the Church makes it difficult or impossible for these people to speak up freely, without seriously endangering their careers and livelihoods.

That places a particular responsibility on the rest of us, those not beholden to the Vatican in material terms, to speak up on their behalf, as well as our own.

I am publicizing this important editorial as widely as I can. I hope you will do the same.

 

Robert McClory on Danger of Turning Metaphor Into Law

I’ve long contended that one of the most pernicious confusions that religious believers with a fundamentalist bent introduce into public discourse about religious issues is this: they take what is metaphorical, and they try to freeze the metaphor.  To absolutize it.  To make the analogical into a litmus test of absolute truth rather than a metaphor pointing in imperfect, halting human language to what transcends language. Continue reading

Benedict’s Thoughts on Priesthood: Confused, Contradictory.

As I reflect on Pope Benedict’s observations on the priesthood as recounted to Peter Seewald in “Light of the World”, what strikes me most is the range of models that he refers to as determining the essential requirements of the job – and how these shift, depending on the context. But if we take precisely the same models he does, and move them to different contexts, they flatly contradict the established rules for admission, and even undermine the standard approach to dealing with “homosexuals” in the Church, but not in the priesthood.

Continue reading

Irish Theologian Mary Condren Comments on Recent Vatican Document Coupling Clerical Pedophilia and Women’s Ordination: Last Straw for Women

Dr. Mary Condren

At the beginning of this week, Irish theologian Mary Condren published an outstanding commentary on the recent Vatican document coupling clerical pedophilia and women’s ordination.  Condren’s analysis appeared in the Irish Times.  (Once again, one of the encouraging developments of this tipping-point moment in the history of the Catholic church is the willingness of the secular media to provide forums for serious, open discussion of theological and moral issues, when the church itself and its institutions have not provided those forums in recent years.) Continue reading

Vatican Diverts Attention from the ‘Hide-the Pedophile’ Scandals by Attacking Women’s Ordination

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

The New York Times recently reported that the Vatican, while revising its laws on disciplining pedophile priests, simultaneously pronounced “…that ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia.”

This move also appears to be designed to obfuscate just how little has been done to punish predator priests.

The great abolitionist and suffragette Sojourner Truth once remarked, “[That little man in black says] woman can’t have as much rights as man because Christ wasn’t a woman. Where did your Christ come from? . . . From God and a woman. Man has nothing to do with Him.”

Her point is clearly lost on the traditionalists of the Catholic Right and all-male Vatican hierarchy, which has revealed itself to be so threatened by female priests that they wield the threat of the excommunication most severe form of censure, over proponents of the cause.

The traditionalists’ explanation for not ordaining women is that Jesus only chose men as his Apostles. This explanation has been effectively refuted by theologian Father Charles Curran. The men Jesus chose as his first disciples, he noted, were exclusively Semitic. Therefore, a logical extension of traditionalist rationale would mean that only Semitic men may become priests. (European men need not apply. And that means you, Ratzinger.)

But the equation of women’s ordination with clergy pedophilia is also a red herring.

As the aforementioned New York Times piece reported regarding the new rules on accountability for priests:

Those measures fell short of the hopes of many advocates for victims of priestly abuse, who dismissed them as “tweaking” rather than a bold overhaul. The new rules do not, for example, hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor do they require them to report sexual abuse to civil authorities — though less formal “guidelines” issued earlier this year encourage reporting if local law compels it.

This was not lost upon The Women’s Ordination Conference. In a tersely worded denunciation, Executive Director Erin Saiz Hanna observed, “”The Vatican’s decision list women’s ordination in the same category as pedophiles and rapists is appalling, offensive, and a wake-up call for all Catholics around the world.”

Saiz-Hanna further noted, “The idea that a woman seeking to spread the message of God somehow “defiles” the Eucharist reveals an antiquated, backwards Church that still views women as “unclean” and unholy.”

She also highlighted a bigger issue:

Furthermore, we are extremely disheartened that the Vatican did not appropriately use this opportunity to meaningfully address the handling of sexual predators in its ranks. While some strides were made in this revision of the 2001 sexual abuse policy, it does not go far enough. We are calling on our members to take action: express their concern and call for real accountability by demanding that the hierarchy release the names of all accused Catholic leaders; reach out to survivors and take steps to make sure children are protected now; and, discontinue all financial contributions that benefit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

In a related statement, David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), cut right to the heart of the matter:

The crisis isn’t due to inadequate church policies. It’s due to reckless, secretive and self-serving church officials, who seem to consistently value their own comfort and reputations over the safety of their flocks. Tweaking existing church policies won’t have real impact on bishops’ behavior and won’t make the changes that kids need to be safe.

“We suspect,” Clohessy continued, “that thousands of dangerous clerics are in parishes today, not because defrocking guidelines are inadequate, slow or confusing, but because bishops are timid, fearful and callous.”

Clohessy’s analysis is spot on.

The Vatican’s pronouncement is timid because it fails to compel bishops to cooperate with secular government in prosecuting predatory clergy. Instead, a culture of secrecy and avoidance is not only continued but is further enabled.

It is fearful in its misogynistic attempt to wield the anxiety of eternal damnation as a means of thwarting a more inclusive Church while simultaneously leaving vulnerable potential pedophile victims.

And it is callous in its utterly transparent attempt to use the issue of women’s ordination as a smokescreen to cover up just how little the Vatican has actually has done to address the long-festering wound of sexual abuse.

While I am sure that many Catholic prelates are sincere in their beliefs about these things, it is possible too, that their beliefs are propped up in part by scriptural interpretations of convenience. Maybe an important reason why they fear women as equal members of the clergy is because they would be less able to play the old shell game of “hide-the-pedophile.”

New York Times on Rome’s Coupling of Clerical Pedophilia and Women’s Ordination: Inept Posturing

This is a brief addendum to what I published yesterday about the document released by the Vatican this week, which couples clerical abuse of minors with women’s ordination.  I’d like to note, as a postscript to what I published yesterday, that today’s New York Times has an editorial addressing the document. The Times critique of the Vatican document runs along channels similar to my critique. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 145 other followers