Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The truthiness about women's ordination

My BustedHalo dialogue has still got me on women's ordination, and I happened to notice this from Australia, the standard argument against women's ordination, this time from Sydney's auxiliary bishop, Julian Porteous: "I always point to the fact that when God became incarnate, it was as man. And I also say that Jesus did not feel constrained by cultural or religious laws of the day, so the choice of men as disciples was deliberate." OK, remember, just because you say something over and over doesn't make it true. (Note to George Bush: This goes for you, too.)

First, yes, Jesus was a man, but even Thomas Aquinas said God's Word could have become incarnate in a woman (he said it was just be inappropriate, since women are of lesser dignity than men--that whole Eve and the apple thing, you know). So, unless you want to argue that women are not sufficient for the incarnation, dump that one.

Second, enough with the BS that Jesus only had male followers. There are plenty of women in the lists in both the gospels and the letters of Paul: the Marys, Martha, Salome, Junia (named an apostle by Paul), Chloe, Phoebe, Prisca, Lydia, Rhoda, and my personal faves, Lois and Eunice. Some of these women hosted the church in their houses and may well have led the Lord's Supper. Others, including Prisca, were missionaries and teachers in their own right. You think she held back so the men could lead?

Connecting the ordination question to the all-male list of the Twelve is even less helpful because

wait for it ...

Jesus never ordained anyone. Not even at the Last Supper, unless you think the "Do this in memory of me" is an ordination, in which case only men should be allowed at Mass. (Talk about empty churches!)

Ta-da! Church tradition doesn't talk about "priesthood" in relation to anyone for a couple of centuries, when we started picking up those bad ol' pagan ways from the Romans--they had loads of "priests." We had elders (presbyteroi), deacons, and overseers/bishops ("episcopoi"), but not "priests." And at least some of those were women.

No matter how you turn it, the argument against women priests always collapses into the Jesus was a boy and only picked boys argument. Fancy it up all you want with words like "complementarity" and "in persona Christi capitis," but it's little more than the sign painted on the outside of every little boy's treehouse: "No girlz allowed!!!"


At 11:15 PM, Blogger AC said...

You forgot one about Women not being able to have jesus in spirit because they are female. I like your reasons for the other reasons people give. Its stupid that half the population of the church is not allowed to fully partipated in mass.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Ken Cornelius said...

You are so far off base regarding the early history of our Church and the accepted and steady teaching of the (very) early Church Fathers (e.g., re: ordination of the Apostles by our Lord, etc.). You really should investigate and study, including and especially, the things with which you (and all of us) are predisposed to reject before pontificating so assuredly about things you obviously know next to nothing about.


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