• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • To my Republican Friends July 6, 2020
      You voted for Trump even though you didn't like him. Doubted his character. Questioned his fitness for the job. Yet, your aversion to Hillary was even greater The post To my Republican Friends first appeared on Spirit of a Liberal.
      Obie Holmen
    • Wormwood and Gall a Midwest Book Award Finalist May 4, 2020
      The Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) recently named Wormwood and Gall as one of three finalists for a Midwest Book Award in the Religion/Philosophy category. The awards program, which is organized by MIPA, recognizes quality in independent publishing in the Midwest. The post Wormwood and Gall a Midwest Book Award Finalist first appeared on S […]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Rob Sheffield Pays Tribute to the “Peaceful and Stormy at the Same Time” Songs of Christine McVie December 6, 2022
      Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone magazine has written a heartfelt and insightful appreciation of the life and music of Christine McVie, who died last Wednesday, November 30.Following, with added images and links, are excerpts from Sheffield’s tribute that particularly caught my attention.Christine McVie always came on like the grown-up in the room, which admit […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • “Your Perception Is a Choice” December 5, 2022
      My friend Iggy is dedicated to facilitating mind and body transformation – within his own life and the lives of others who are similarly interested in holistic personal growth and change. To this end, Iggy’s professional/vocational life involves providing a range of services, including mindset mentoring, naprapathic massage, and personal training in boxing, […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • So the Former US President and Current GOP Candidate for the Presidency Calls for a Coup and the End of US Democracy — And? December 5, 2022
      President Donald J. Trump 2 March 2019, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, MD; official White House photo by Tia Dufour, at Wikimedia CommonsHeather Cox Richardson, "Letters from an American: December 3, 2002":The leader of the Republican Party has just called fo […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • I'm Now on Mastodon — Please Feel Free to Connect December 2, 2022
      I've now succeeded in setting up an account on Mastodon.My handle there is @wdlindsy@toad.socialPlease feel free to connect to me there if you wish. I'm hoping to reconnect via Mastodon to as many of the friends and conversation partners I had on Twitter, with whom I've lost touch after I left Twitter when Musk acquired it. I'm a total no […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
  • 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

    • A saint for the millenials: Carlo Acutis beatified today in Assisi. October 10, 2020
       A saint for the millenials: the young Italian teen, Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 of galloping Leukemia, will be beatified today in Assisi by Pope Francis (last step before being officially declared a saint). Carlo came from a luke warm Catholic family, but at the age of 7, when he received his first 'Holy Communion', he displayed an astonishing […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
    • Ronan Park and Jack Vidgen: The Travails of Gay Pop Stars October 28, 2019
      (Jack Vidgen)Quite by accident, through a comment from a performance arts colleague of mine, I stumbled across the recent bios of two boy teen singing sensations, both of whom made a big splash worldwide 8 years ago. The first, Jack Vidgen, won Australia's Got Talent Contest in 2011 at the age of 14, primarily for his powerful renditions of Whitney Hust […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • We the People December 6, 2022
      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.Trump has called for ... Why? So […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

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.)

Condren’s statement is being widely circulated, and it deserves to be heard as widely as possible.  I’ve seen it now at Religion and Morality, Clerical Whispers, Bishop Accountability, and in the e-newsletter of Voice of the Faithful.

I’m offering a link to Condren’s commentary here, with a brief reflection on her article, in order to invite readers of Open Tabernacle to read Condren’s fine analysis of the recent Vatican decision to couple clerical pedophilia and women’s ordination in a single document re: penalties for transgressing church laws.  In Condren’s view, this Vatican decision is the “final straw” for women, because the Vatican’s Normae de Gravioribus Delictis provides heavier penalties for those “attempting” to ordain a woman than it does for priests sexually abusing minors.  Condren notes the shock of many faithful Catholics in her Irish homeland following the publication of this document.

As Condren indicates, the shocking Vatican decision to link clerical pedophilia and women’s ordination in a single document is causing many Catholics to take a second look at the arguments set forth in the Vatican’s 1976 document forbidding ordination to women, entitled “Declaration on the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood.”  Paul VI issued this document despite the findings of his own Pontifical Biblical Commission that there is no sound scriptural basis for excluding women from ordination.

Condren rehearses (and refutes) the arguments of the 1976 Vatican document.  I highly recommend Condren’s concise summary of the Vatican arguments vs. women’s ordination.  She focuses on (and deconstructs) four primary arguments of “Declaration on the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood.”

These are as follows:

1. That incarnation took place in the male sex and therefore women are excluded from the priesthood.

2. That no women were ordained in the New Testament.

3. That the practice of the church has a normative character in the fact of conferring priestly ordination only on men; it is a question of an unbroken tradition throughout the history of the church.

4. That when Christ’s role in the Eucharist is to be expressed sacramentally, there would not be the “natural resemblance” which must exist between Christ and his minister if the role of Christ were not taken by a man; in such a case it would be difficult to see in the minister the image of Christ.

I’m struck, in particular, by one significant theological basis for Condren’s critique of the decision of the Catholic magisterium to exclude women from priestly ministry.  She cites the ancient patristic dictum (repeated in the work of St. Athanasius) that “what has not been assumed cannot be redeemed.”

The logic of this patristic affirmation is that God had to become fully incarnate in the human flesh of Jesus in order to redeem all of humanity.  What God did not assume through the act of incarnation–what God did not assume into the human flesh and redemptive act of Christ–is left outside the circle of salvation, because it was not assumed into Christ’s incarnation and redemption.

This ancient patristic christological insight has profound pastoral implications, and Condren is correct to point them out.  When the church chooses to treat the human flesh of its female members as if that flesh is defective, is less than fully human, is incapable of mirroring and transmitting the divine, it contradicts one of its core christological insights: what is not assumed cannot be redeemed.  (And when the church, at a pastoral level, treats the human flesh of its gay and lesbian members as if our flesh is defective, less than fully human, and incapable of mirroring and transmitting the divine, it similarly contradicts one of its most fundamental christolological affirmations, at a profoundly troubling level).

The church’s refusal to grant all rights and privileges of the baptized to women–a refusal most emphatically underscored by the exclusion of women from ordination–is more than a pastoral blunder.  It undercuts, at a profound level, one of the core insights of our faith: that the principle of incarnation requires the church always to reach out and draw the humanity of every human being into the circle of salvation.  Insofar as their refusal to ordain women and their punishment of those who “attempt” the ordination of a woman are premised on the belief that the human nature of women is secondary to that of heterosexual males (and Condren argues convincingly that this is the underlying presumption of the church’s refusal to ordain women), the Catholic church’s leaders are betraying, clouding, failing to communicate one of the most central insights of our religious tradition vis-a-vis the incarnation.

Insofar as the pastoral leaders of the church proclaim to women and to LGBT persons that our flesh is defective and its worth is subordinated to the worth of heterosexual male flesh; insofar as the pastoral leaders of the church require women and LGBT persons to apologize for and  hide our actual, God-given human nature as a precondition for full participation in church life: to that extent the church’s pastoral leaders are making null and void one of the most central proclamations of our tradition–namely, that the salvific mission of Christ is to draw all things to himself in the act of redemption.

I won’t say more about Condren’s article in this preface.  I do encourage readers of this blog to read it.  It’s well worth the read.  And the link is provided above . . . .

Advertisement

4 Responses

  1. […] here to see the original: Irish Theologian Mary Condren Comments on Recent Vatican Document … By admin | category: WILLIAM & MARY | tags: beauty, clerical-pedophilia, document, […]

  2. […] (On Mary Condren’s analysis of the Vatican and women’s ordination, also see Bill Lindsay’s commentary here at Open Tabernacle) […]

  3. These are the theological voices, the prophet voices of what the Spirit is “saying” in our times, and with a vision of the future, but rooted squarely in sound theological and faith history!

    Again, keep up this eloquent and insightful theological reflection! It is a labor of love and Spirit!

    • Thanks for the positive feedback, Steve. I do intend to keep (trying to) share my own insights as a theologian at this and other blog sites–in part, because I’ve become convinced that the level of theological discourse has been radically diminished in our church in recent years, and blogs provide an opportunity to redress the balance.

      Yes, I agree: Mary Condren and other women theologians have prophetic insights that our church dismisses to its peril.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: