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Source: (consider it) Thread: A decision to cross the Tiber
Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Given His life, teachings, practice and the historical and cultural context, Jesus must have expected the apostles not even to consider ordaining women. So why didn't He do or say soemthing explicit if it was His will that women should be included in the presbyterate?

That doesn't make sense. You seem have made a typo there. Its more meaningful if you remove the words "not even" and write:

quote:

"Jesus must have expected the apostles to consider ordaining women."

which fits the evidence of the New Testament better.

Whilst there is a typo, it's not the one you seem to think. I mistyped "something". But the rest is exactly as I intended. Given that He didn't include a woman in the Twelve, and given the socila nd religious roles of women in 1st c. Judaism and Jewish society - and given that He said nothing explicit at all about including women in the apostles' ministry - how could Jesus just have expected His apostles to teach and practise their inclusion in ordained ministry? Why would He imagine that they would even consider it?

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
There's Mary Magdalene, too - "The Apostle to the Apostles." That label is an early one (perhaps originating with Bishop of Rome Hippolytus in the 3rd century), continued throughout the middle ages, and was used even by JPII (if I'm not mistaken)! In any case, it's a fairly obvious fact, whether or not it's been used for so long. If Magdalene wasn't an Apostle, you could have fooled me.

Then I'm sorry to say it, but...

The meaning of the phrase "apostle to the apostles" is very clear in context. It means the messenger to the apostles - the message being that Christ had risen.

And what did you think "Apostle" means? (Hint: it means "messenger.")

Paul obviously didn't think that "Apostle" was equivalent to "Disciple," BTW, either. Of course, by your definition, he's not an "Apostle," either - which I think would in fact be problematic with an appeal to "Tradition."

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Doublethink.
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The modern RC church does not function like the early church. I think it is fair to say the 12 could not have conceived of it in its current form. But presumably just because it would never have occurred to St Peter to tweet, or that his successors would celeberate the eucharist using coin sized discs of something noone would usually recognise as food - doesn't mean you think these developments aren't in keeping with the faith. What exactly, do you think Jesus as a man knew about the current form of the mass ?

[ 13. July 2011, 18:53: Message edited by: Think² ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Triple Tiara

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# 9556

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
So you can carry on talking about the wonderful ability of the Church to pass on traditions as much as you like. My entire point is that if the original source isn't a satisfactory one, you're not going to end up with a good result, and I am far from persuaded that the original source for this tradition is any good.

Basically, using Cyprian's analogy, your high-quality channel is delivering water that a lot of us think looks a bit muddy and tastes bad. Repeatedly pointing to how nice the channel is just isn't working for me.

Nope, you misread Cyprian. He speaks explicitly of introducing something to the Tradition which muddies the water. Then he goes on to spell out that the authentic Tradition goes back to Christ. If you introduce something which does not go back to Christ and the Apostles, then you have a problem.

The ordination of the Twelve - Christ breathes on them and gives them the Holy Spirit for the Office to which he commissions them - is the origin of ordination. Note: he breathes on the Twelve. They later lay hands on others to commission as well. Christ does not initiate the Office of deacon and presbyter and episcope, but the Twelve do. They too limit their selection to men. There is your source. That is the source you are judging as not being "any good".

[ 13. July 2011, 18:58: Message edited by: Triple Tiara ]

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
And what did you think "Apostle" means? (Hint: it means "messenger.")

Come off it, TubaMirum - I'm not quite that stupid.

The phrase "messenger to the messengers" is clearly a nice turn of phrase, but how does it (a non-scriptural epithet, by the way) prove, in the lack of ANY other evidence WHATSOEVER that St Mary Mag was an apostle in the same sense that the Twelve were?
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
Paul obviously didn't think that "Apostle" was equivalent to "Disciple," BTW, either. Of course, by your definition, he's not an "Apostle," either - which I think would in fact be problematic with an appeal to "Tradition."

Um, wrong. Why do you say that?

[ 13. July 2011, 21:44: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
You've used the existence of a tradition as part of the argument for the correctness of the tradition. My entire point is that this simply doesn't work.

If it can be shown that a particular tradition was apostolic and undisputed until very recently, then that IS prima facie (not knockdown) evidence that it is at least not catastrophically wrong.
Yes, that makes sense. Now, I just need someone to show me that it is, in fact, apostolic.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
So you can carry on talking about the wonderful ability of the Church to pass on traditions as much as you like. My entire point is that if the original source isn't a satisfactory one, you're not going to end up with a good result, and I am far from persuaded that the original source for this tradition is any good.

Basically, using Cyprian's analogy, your high-quality channel is delivering water that a lot of us think looks a bit muddy and tastes bad. Repeatedly pointing to how nice the channel is just isn't working for me.

Nope, you misread Cyprian. He speaks explicitly of introducing something to the Tradition which muddies the water. Then he goes on to spell out that the authentic Tradition goes back to Christ. If you introduce something which does not go back to Christ and the Apostles, then you have a problem.

The ordination of the Twelve - Christ breathes on them and gives them the Holy Spirit for the Office to which he commissions them - is the origin of ordination. Note: he breathes on the Twelve. They later lay hands on others to commission as well. Christ does not initiate the Office of deacon and presbyter and episcope, but the Twelve do. They too limit their selection to men. There is your source. That is the source you are judging as not being "any good".

I don't misread Cyprian. What I am suggesting is that I tend to suspect the rule about no women priests IS the introduction of something muddy to the water.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Given that He didn't include a woman in the Twelve, and given the socila nd religious roles of women in 1st c. Judaism and Jewish society - and given that He said nothing explicit at all about including women in the apostles' ministry - how could Jesus just have expected His apostles to teach and practise their inclusion in ordained ministry? Why would He imagine that they would even consider it?

Aha. NOW we're really hitting on something.

Given the social and religious roles of women in 1st century Judaism and Jewish soceity.

This is the crux of my concern. Are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of God about the role of women? Or are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of 1st Century Jews about the role of women?

This is exactly what I've been trying to get at. This is precisely why the reason for doing something is so important. The views of eternal God about the differences and similarities between men and women, and their roles, I'm interested in. The views of 1st Century Jews that God coped with at the time but didn't endorse, I'm not so interested in.

It's untangling one from the other that's not so simple.

But this is one reason I'm also interested in the success of women as ministers. In those denominations that have had the temerity to raise up women into these positions, there isn't a lot of evidence of God making his views known by striking them down or causing their ministries to falter.

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Yes, that makes sense. Now, I just need someone to show me that it is, in fact, apostolic.

Well, it seems to have been the universal and undisputed practice of the Apostles and their disciples. What more were you looking for?
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Given that He didn't include a woman in the Twelve, and given the socila nd religious roles of women in 1st c. Judaism and Jewish society - and given that He said nothing explicit at all about including women in the apostles' ministry - how could Jesus just have expected His apostles to teach and practise their inclusion in ordained ministry? Why would He imagine that they would even consider it?

Aha. NOW we're really hitting on something. [...] This is the crux of my concern. Are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of God about the role of women? Or are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of 1st Century Jews about the role of women?
I'm not sure you got the jist of my argument, which was about Christ's will for the Church. It is claimed that Christ clearly desires and intends there to be women in ordained ministry. He must also have known how radical that was given the cultural and religious concepts and practices of His time on earth, and must have known His own disciples well enough to know that this wasn't going to happen without some pretty explicit teaching or action from Him. So where is it, and why did it fail? Did Christ just get it wrong?
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But this is one reason I'm also interested in the success of women as ministers. In those denominations that have had the temerity to raise up women into these positions, there isn't a lot of evidence of God making his views known by striking them down or causing their ministries to falter.

Are you serious? We have to assume it's what God wants because it doesn't make him smighty?

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orfeo

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Not 'assume', no. It's merely one factor I would take into account.

I do understand the gist of your argument, but I'm yet to work out whether I think the reasoning is sound. I can't shake the sense that the basic flavour is: 'he didn't stop us following our usual practices so it must be okay'.

Which is fine as far as it goes, but I'm not entirely convinced that it logically leads to 'and any OTHER practice besides our usual practice is therefore NOT okay, so we must never change our practice'.

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Triple Tiara

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# 9556

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I don't misread Cyprian. What I am suggesting is that I tend to suspect the rule about no women priests IS the introduction of something muddy to the water.

There was no introduction of such a rule - it comes from the source and it just continued. There was no sudden explicit ruling about this until Pope Paul VI in the 1970s when the opposite was being proposed.

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TubaMirum
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# 8282

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Chesterbelloc, my (obvious, to me at least) point was that the word "Apostle" does not necessarily imply "one of the Twelve."

Paul is an Apostle and was not "one of the Twelve." Barnabas is also called an Apostle in Acts - which the tradition counts as being written by Luke - and he wasn't "one of the Twelve," either. So quite obviously being an Apostle is not equivalent to being one of Jesus' original 12 disciples.

So, from both Scripture and Tradition, the word is used in a wider way than you are using it, and includes other people. I don't think this is at all controversial.

And I contend that Magdalene and Junia are among these Apostles - as Paul and the Tradition both have it.

[ 14. July 2011, 12:24: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
And I contend that Magdalene and Junia are among these Apostles - as Paul and the Tradition both have it.

But I really don't see the evidence for their being apostles even in the extended sense.

For a start, Mary Magdalen is never referred to as such in Scripture at all, and I've explained how I think the "apostle to the apostles" thing works. And the most recent research I have heard of (although I confess to not having read it) apparently concludes decisively that the phrase about Juna and Andronicus should not be taken to mean they were apostles themselves but that there were well known to the apostles.*

Even if either were apostles in the extended sense, would this tell us anything about women being in presbyter's orders? Since we still have no documentary evidence whatsoever of women being in presbyter's orders, even if Mary and Junia were "apostles" wouldn't this be even stronger evidence for the strength of the universal tradition?

*Daniel B. Wallace and Michael H. Burer, "Was Junia Really an Apostle?" New Testament Studies 47 (2001): 76-91.

[ 14. July 2011, 12:56: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Given that He didn't include a woman in the Twelve, and given the socila nd religious roles of women in 1st c. Judaism and Jewish society - and given that He said nothing explicit at all about including women in the apostles' ministry - how could Jesus just have expected His apostles to teach and practise their inclusion in ordained ministry? Why would He imagine that they would even consider it?

Well, Jesus did a lot of things that people didn't expect him to do, and that was maybe one of them.

But we have no evidence at all that Jesus ever gave any instructions to anyone about ordaining people as presbyters, so for you to assume that if he had given such instructions he would have excluded women is a bit stringy.

We do, however, know that the earliest churches recognised many different ministries, formal and informal. Paul lists them, three times (and the lists are different from each other).

And we know that in NT times Christian ministers were not neatly divided into bishops, priests, and deacons. (Even using those ecclesiological words is overloading early texts anyway - "overseers, elders, and church workers" woudl be a better translation).

And we know that women are described in various church ministries in other parts of the New Testament. We know that women are described as prophets (which in context quite probably implies preaching as much as some kind of ecstatic utterance, if only because Paul distinguishes the two in the same sentence). We know that women are described as deacons ("worker" might be a better translation, and it might not imply any formal ordination, but then exactly the same is true of male deacons of the time) We know that some women taught some men. We know that some women were the heads of households in which churches met (one of the origins of eldership and later ordained presbyters). We know that Lydia was leading some sort of public worship or prayer in the open air when Paul met her (how does that fit with our current image of the "social and religious roles of Jewish women in first century society"?) We know that Priscilla is described as "expounding the way of God" to Apollos.

Insofar as there is any evidence for formal ordination at all in the New Testament (I'm convinced there is but I know clever people who say there isn't) there is no evidence that it was restricted to men.

So as we know women were in at least some kinds of church ministry, and as we know ordain people when the church sets them aside for those kinds of ministry, then our question is not "can women be ordained?" but "can women be ordained to this particular ministry?" And we'd have to answer that ministry by ministry, case by case, church by church, woman by woman.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
And I contend that Magdalene and Junia are among these Apostles - as Paul and the Tradition both have it.

But I really don't see the evidence for their being apostles even in the extended sense.

For a start, Mary Magdalen is never referred to as such in Scripture at all, and I've explained how I think the "apostle to the apostles" thing works. And the most recent research I have heard of (although I confess to not having read it) apparently concludes decisively that the phrase about Juna and Andronicus should not be taken to mean they were apostles themselves but that there were well known to the apostles.*

Even if either were apostles in the extended sense, would this tell us anything about women being in presbyter's orders? Since we still have no documentary evidence whatsoever of women being in presbyter's orders, even if Mary and Junia were "apostles" wouldn't this be even stronger evidence for the strength of the universal tradition?

*Daniel B. Wallace and Michael H. Burer, "Was Junia Really an Apostle?" New Testament Studies 47 (2001): 76-91.

If you go back and read the discussion again, I was speaking with orfeo about whether or not women could be considered Apostles. You decided to enter into this limited discussion and brought these other elements into it yourself - and now we've gone on this tangent for a page and a half. And at the end of it, again it simply boils down to your preference for the "universal tradition."

The fact is that I'm simply not anywhere near as invested in "the strength of the universal tradition" as you seem to be. I'm really perfectly OK with changing "universal tradition," if there's no good reason not to. As are you, as a matter of fact, since the RCC has done it numerous times. Some of these have been offered here: priestly celibacy, marriage as one of Seven Sacraments, etc.

The early church did it, too, when it did not demand circumcision, and forwent the kashrut laws. As you've noted, doctrine develops; I'm just taking that argument seriously, that's all.

[ 14. July 2011, 14:26: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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Chesterbelloc

Tremendous trifler
# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
our question is not "can women be ordained?" but "can women be ordained to this particular ministry?" And we'd have to answer that ministry by ministry, case by case, church by church, woman by woman.

Ok then. If that's our question the answer would seem to be there's no evidence, biblical or patristic, that any woman was ever ordained by any church to the particular ministry of presbyter.

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
If you go back and read the discussion again, I was speaking with orfeo about whether or not women could be considered Apostles. You decided to enter into this limited discussion and brought these other elements into it yourself - and now we've gone on this tangent for a page and a half. And at the end of it, again it simply boils down to your preference for the "universal tradition."

Limited discussion? You asserted that there had been women apostles and I replied with evidence to the contrary. Sorry to have intruded. But it's no tangent. "At the end of it", that evidential claim boils down to the balance of actual evidence, I'd have thought.

quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
The fact is that I'm simply not anywhere near as invested in "the strength of the universal tradition" as you seem to be. I'm really perfectly OK with changing "universal tradition," if there's no good reason not to.

Fine. But then why did you bother with the whole Junia "tangent" in the first place?

quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
As are you, as a matter of fact, since the RCC has done it numerous times. Some of these have been offered here: priestly celibacy, marriage as one of Seven Sacraments, etc.

The early church did it, too, when it did not demand circumcision, and forwent the kashrut laws. As you've noted, doctrine develops; I'm just taking that argument seriously, that's all.

The Apostolic Church did not change a pre-existing Christian tradition - it established one in the light of Christ's teaching.

The classic statement of the development of doctrine is Newman's - and he argued that it always builds upon the uniform past, confirms it but never reverses a uniform pattern of past traditon. Celibacy isn't a case of doctrinal development, because the rule of clerical celibacy is merely a dsiciplinary matter for Latin Rite clerics.

The explicit inclusion of matrimony as a fully-fleged sacrament is a very good example of genuine development of doctrine, however, because it builds on and confirms the existing and emerging practice and theology of Christian marriage in accordance with CVhrist's teaching. It contradicts nothing of the Church's past teaching or mainstream praxis.

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Fine. But then why did you bother with the whole Junia "tangent" in the first place?

If you'd gone back to look at the point where this came up in the thread, as I suggested before, you'd already know the answer to this question....
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Chesterbelloc

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Humour me...

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
There is, to me, an air of unreality about the argument that women cannot be priests against the experience of the Christian church every time the attempt has been made to ordain them.

Whilst I am sympathetic to the testimony of good fruit being borne on the branches of women's ministry (heck, there can be good fruit from anyone exercising good pastoral and teaching care regardless of sex or orders), it cannot in the end count for more than the weight of tradition and the startling lack of any dominical teaching or example to head an all-male ordained ministry off at the pass, it seems to me.

I'm afraid there's just no way of confirming an objective state of affairs like being in Holy Orders purely subjectively or on empirical grounds.

I know this is a bit unfair, because you have made it clear that you see this as a settled question, not as one that is still open, but you ignored the question to which that quote was an addendum. What would you accept as discharging the ‘burden of proof’ that you say is on us?

Assuming that there is no radically new documentary evidence waiting to be found in caves of catacombs to reveal the long list of women ordained by St Peter, we are stuck with the documents that we’ve got, and cannot really expect any new material on apostolic practice. So saying that we could prove the case by showing it was part of an apostolic tradition is effectively saying that we’ll never be able to prove it. Are you saying that on the strength of the new testament material, NOTHING could persuade you that women can be ordained? If not, what could?

quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But this is one reason I'm also interested in the success of women as ministers. In those denominations that have had the temerity to raise up women into these positions, there isn't a lot of evidence of God making his views known by striking them down or causing their ministries to falter.

Are you serious? We have to assume it's what God wants because it doesn't make him smighty?
Orfeo (unusually) underplays his hand here. We don’t need to look at who God causes the earth to swallow to make the case.

Read ken’s posts, and Angloid’s, on this thread. They summarise the experience of many, many Anglicans. There were thousands of doubters in our churches who were not sure about the ordination of women, and the experience of women’s ministry has largely convinced them. In my church this Sunday, there will be, in at least every other pew, someone who wasn’t sure whether God wanted women to be priests, and now wonders what the fuss was all about. I can’t think of anyone, not one person at all, who was doubtful, and was persuaded by experience that woman priests are an impossibility.

You don’t need to ask why God didn’t send a plague of locusts over the land. You DO need to ask why it was not the general experience of Anglicans that our worship was less inspiring once ordained women started leading it. Why we did not come away from the communion rail feeling somehow less comforted when a woman had celebrated eucharist, or why we did not feel the words of absolution suddenly fail to lift our burdened consciences when a woman pronounced them. Why are our churches not filled with doubters saying “Of course, she’s very nice, I wouldn’t here a word against her, but somehow it’s not the same when she leads. I feel, less in touch with God, somehow.” Because they aren’t. Practically everyone who was at all open-minded on the issue has moved in the same direction, towards acceptance.

To me, that’s compelling. That’s as close to undeniable evidence of the Spirit at work as you’re going to see, absent actual tongues of fire. If God were firmly against women’s ordination, you might, I think, expect that at least as many Christians who where open to being persuaded either way would find the experiment moved them against the change as were moved to favour it. That didn’t happen. And it seems to be true across the board – high church, low church, MOTR, rich, poor, black, white – we have been blessed by women priests.
It seems to me that if you are at all open to persuasion on this issue, experience will convince you that women can be priests. The proof being that in the CofE, and as far as I can tell, every other denomination that has made the attempt, practically everyone who was open to persuasion HAS been convinced.

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orfeo

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Indeed, what Chesterbelloc refers to as God being 'smighty' was more about whether or not the ministry thrives and prospers. I wasn't requesting thunderbolts from the sky. I was looking for some kind of evidence that having a female priest does not, in fact, work and work rather well.

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Chesterbelloc

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Short (and doubtless inadequate, because it's very late here) answer to you both...

As far as I'm concerned, purely subjective answers to what the Catholic Churh considers objective questions (whether any particular person is in Holy Orders) are inevitably inadequate - as I think I said above.

I'm not going to be popular for adding this, but I also would need any such subjective responses to be in the context of an indisputably Catholic context - not an Anglican one - to count as any kind of relevant evidence anyway. Imagine a trad anglo-catholic hearing the same argument about the efficacy of a Baptist minister's sacramental ministry. Any evidence of spiritual nourishment from a non-episcopally ordained individual would likely seem strictly irrelevant in a discussion between them about the sacramental grace of orders.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Imagine a trad anglo-catholic hearing the same argument about the efficacy of a Baptist minister's sacramental ministry.

I personally can't see any problem with evidence that a different approach in another denomination works. But that probably just proves that I'm not a trad ango-catholic! I come from a low Anglican church that often had more in common with some of the non-Anglican churches around town than it did with the ones in its own denomination.

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
I do wonder why, though, the "tradition" argument is accepted at face value in the case of the Orthodox and not in the case of the Catholic Church?

What's the difference here? Is it because the Catholic Church is bigger? Or because it's in the Western tradition? Or precisely because it HAS changed in other respects? Was it Vatican II that made the difference?

I'm just wondering, that's all....

I would guess it's due to the history of the medieval "schoolmen" and their mode of argumentation in the church of the west - a phenomenon that entirely passed the eastern churches by.

Sorry, I missed this.

So, essentially, the Catholic Church is being asked to give its reasons on the matter because that's what it does. It's how Church itself operates, and the "tradition" argument alone won't cut it.

I think you're right about that. And what's really interesting about this, when you get right down to it, is that "tradition" is really the only argument we're seeing here.

It doesn't really seem to be a matter of "doctrine" at all! I was thinking about this today, having recently been reading Inter Insignores, the 1977 "Declaration of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the question of admission of women to the ministerial priesthood."

There's really not much there at all, except appeal to "Tradition" - the "Apostolic Tradition," in particular. And it does seem to me that pressing people on this issue brings up all kinds of strange arguments that attempt to inject "doctrine" into the discussion - the "women are not proper matter" being one of the more bizarre.

Of course, appealing to "Apostolic Tradition" has its own problems - the fact that Christ never spoke about priests one way or another, for instance - and the examples of Magdalene and Junia (and other women) in ministry and other roles in the Apostolic era. But people just attempt to explain these things away.

But I do think you're right; the Church is being asked instead to use its usual method - appeal to doctrine. But there just isn't anything that works, so it's this instead.

[ 15. July 2011, 02:04: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
S Imagine a trad anglo-catholic hearing the same argument about the efficacy of a Baptist minister's sacramental ministry. Any evidence of spiritual nourishment from a non-episcopally ordained individual would likely seem strictly irrelevant in a discussion between them about the sacramental grace of orders.

And to the rest of us that would seem like "more fool them". Their 19th-century faux-mediaeval obsessions about bureaucratic or legalistic "validity" would likely seem strictly irrelevant in a discussion about Christian ministry in either New Testament times or today.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
Of course, appealing to "Apostolic Tradition" has its own problems - the fact that Christ never spoke about priests one way or another, for instance - and the examples of Magdalene and Junia (and other women) in ministry and other roles in the Apostolic era. But people just attempt to explain these things away.

Hold on a mo, TubaMirum.

First, the fact that Christ never spoke explicitly about the presbyterate is no more a problem for a Catholic doctrine of orders than the fact that He never spoke explicitly about the Sacrifice of the Mass is a problem for a Catholic eucharistic theology. It is what Christ instituted and what the Apostles (and their successors) having received the Holy Spirit developed and passed down that matters. And one thing they passed down, without equivocation, was an all-male presbyterate.

As for attempting to "explain away" Mary Magdalen and Junia's status as apostles, I think a more accurate description of what has happened on this thread is that they theory has been floated and relevantly critiqued. If you don't think the arguments against are good enough, by all means respond to them. But please don't just dismiss them tacitly and then say the claims have been merely "explained away" when in fact they have been fully engaged with.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
As far as I'm concerned, purely subjective answers to what the Catholic Churh considers objective questions (whether any particular person is in Holy Orders) are inevitably inadequate - as I think I said above.

I see that, but if it never makes a discernable subjective difference whether someone is in Holy Orders, wouldn't that be a cause for concern? I might, and doubtless do, make all sorts of mistakes about my experiences of God in worship, but if the sacraments are meant to have any tangible effect on this world at all, invalidating them ought to make a difference on average to the way in which the church experiences God.

Since the Catholic Church effectively sets the parameters for the "objective" question, it seems to me that what you are saying is that no evidence whatever could convince you that it is possible for a woman to be ordained so long as the Catholic Church defines a male human as the only valid matter for that sacrament.

That's not a criticism of you in any way - you've said clearly that you think this is a settled question. But it does mean that any talk of ‘burden of proof' is a red herring, doesn't it? There never could be any proof that you would accept.

quote:
I'm not going to be popular for adding this, but I also would need any such subjective responses to be in the context of an indisputably Catholic context - not an Anglican one - to count as any kind of relevant evidence anyway. Imagine a trad anglo-catholic hearing the same argument about the efficacy of a Baptist minister's sacramental ministry. Any evidence of spiritual nourishment from a non-episcopally ordained individual would likely seem strictly irrelevant in a discussion between them about the sacramental grace of orders.
I take the point, but the Anglican experience seems to work across the board, and to be consistent with that of non-Anglican traditions. It's not the case that one sort of churchmanship found that OoW was blessed by God but another did not.

I suppose you could say that there aren't any priests at all in the Church of England, but then we're back to the flight-sceptic at Farnborough, advancing a position that is sublimely unreal, while evidence to the contrary skims his hair at six hundred miles per hour, blowing coloured smoke out of its arse.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
But it does mean that any talk of ‘burden of proof' is a red herring, doesn't it? There never could be any proof that you would accept.

That there is no evidence that I do accept does not mean that there never was going to be any evidence I could accept. For instance, if it could have been conclusively be shown that there were a string of unquestionable and undisputed women presbyters in the Apostolic or immediately-post-Apostolic period, then that would certainly count. But there is no such evidence. The absence of evidence was enough for JPII conclude the Church has no authority to proceed in that direction.
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I suppose you could say that there aren't any priests at all in the Church of England, but then we're back to the flight-sceptic at Farnborough, advancing a position that is sublimely unreal, while evidence to the contrary skims his hair at six hundred miles per hour, blowing coloured smoke out of its arse.

That's where the Fanborough analogy falls down, I think. Let me tweak it a bit. The Catholic position on non-Catholic orders is more like a person at the airshow who is sceptical about the continued existence of flyable Spitfires. The guy next to her keeps saying, "Look - there's one right there above your head!" There's too much speed and smoke and other engine-noise and glaring sunlight to make her certain, but she's pretty sure that it's a Hurricane instead.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
any talk of ‘burden of proof' is a red herring

Can I just add to my comment above in response to this bit.

Although the matter is settled for Catholics, it remains true that others continue to criticise that settlement on various grounds. One of those grounds is that it is clearly Christ's will that women should be ordained, another is that there were women apostles and/or prebyters in the apostolic church: those who make them have to bear the burden of proof for those claims. This is no red herring, merely because the issue is already settled for me.

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
Of course, appealing to "Apostolic Tradition" has its own problems - the fact that Christ never spoke about priests one way or another, for instance - and the examples of Magdalene and Junia (and other women) in ministry and other roles in the Apostolic era. But people just attempt to explain these things away.

Hold on a mo, TubaMirum.

First, the fact that Christ never spoke explicitly about the presbyterate is no more a problem for a Catholic doctrine of orders than the fact that He never spoke explicitly about the Sacrifice of the Mass is a problem for a Catholic eucharistic theology. It is what Christ instituted and what the Apostles (and their successors) having received the Holy Spirit developed and passed down that matters. And one thing they passed down, without equivocation, was an all-male presbyterate.

As for attempting to "explain away" Mary Magdalen and Junia's status as apostles, I think a more accurate description of what has happened on this thread is that they theory has been floated and relevantly critiqued. If you don't think the arguments against are good enough, by all means respond to them. But please don't just dismiss them tacitly and then say the claims have been merely "explained away" when in fact they have been fully engaged with.

Well, to be precise:

Earlier, you claimed that "in context," the description of Mary Magdalene as "apostle to the apostles" was clear - except that you haven't given any "context" at all. That certainly appears to be an attempt to "explain the idea away"; it doesn't seem to me that you've "fully engaged with" it - or even made any sort of real argument at all!

Also: the attempt to make "Apostle" equivalent to "the Twelve," when this is explicitly not the case right in Scripture. That problem was never "fully engaged with," either.

Paul regards himself as an Apostle, and so of course does the Church. Then we must ask: what, exactly, is meant by the word "Apostle"? Here's a list of New Testament apostles: Barnabas (Acts 14:14); Timothy and Silas (1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2:6: "We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority."); Andronicus and Junia (using the straightforward, rather than the convoluted, interpretation); Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25, in which Epaphroditus is described as a "messenger" - but the same word in the Greek, apostolon, is used.

It's fairly obvious to me that the word "Apostle" is used, at least by Paul (himself an "Apostle"), in a much wider way. The attempt to cut Junia alone out of this group is, yes, "explaining her away." (Originally, of course, she was "explained away" by making her a man! You'll forgive me if I see the very same process at work here.)

In any case: she was the first to see the risen Christ - and spread the word about it. I mean, while we're "extrapolating" from the story of Christ on the topic of the Eucharist and Presbyters - why don't we "extrapolate" from this at the same time? This was as "passed down" as any of the things you mention - and I do call this "explaining away," honestly. Not on your part personally, but on the part of the Church - because women and their roles were simply not considered at all.

[ 15. July 2011, 14:56: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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TubaMirum
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(Is, really, outrage!)
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anne
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
That there is no evidence that I do accept does not mean that there never was going to be any evidence I could accept. For instance, if it could have been conclusively be shown that there were a string of unquestionable and undisputed women presbyters in the Apostolic or immediately-post-Apostolic period, then that would certainly count. But there is no such evidence. The absence of evidence was enough for JPII conclude the Church has no authority to proceed in that direction.

(my italics)

Thank you, that helps, I think, as I try to untangle the 'tradition' argument in my head. Of course, I appreciate that it might take us into a whole new world of convolutions as the 'what is unquestioned?' and 'undisputed by whom?' conversations unfolded, but even so, I find it very useful as it establishes that, at least for some holders of the 'tradition position' (?) evidence could trump tradition.

Which means that it's worth continuing to unpack the historical record, to understand the roles of men and women in the early church and how those roles map onto our current understanding of ordained ministry. The way in which those roles were understood and handed on then feeds into the tradition as received today. Which explains to some extent the evidential value given to tradition, for some people and some churches.
(I think!)

anne

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Aha. NOW we're really hitting on something.

Given the social and religious roles of women in 1st century Judaism and Jewish soceity.

This is the crux of my concern. Are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of God about the role of women? Or are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of 1st Century Jews about the role of women? ...

Supposing Jesus had wanted to include women among the twelve. Back in the day, it's likely that a woman would have needed permission from her father / husband / sons to leave her family duties to become an apostle. If she were independent e.g. a financially self-supporting wealthy widow with no children or other relatives (and how many of those were there?), she might have been able to join in, but would probably be subject to quite a bit of public disapproval, what with the hanging around with men she wasn't related to, travelling alone, etc. The disapproval would probably extend to the entire faith community for including such women in leadership positions. To me, it's perfectly reasonable to see that this wasn't a hill to die on at the time.

Things are different now, at least in our culture.

And how is it possible that possession of a Y chromosome creates some sort of special relationship with God, but having two X chromosomes makes a person "invalid matter"? Would Jesus have equated a woman's spiritual worth to that of a tree? [Disappointed] OliviaG

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TubaMirum
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(I meant Mary Magdalene, of course, in my last para above! I see now that's not clear, but of course that was my intent.

And of course, she's not alone in being among the first to testify to the Risen Christ! There are others - all women - involved as well....)

[ 15. July 2011, 16:45: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
Earlier, you claimed that "in context," the description of Mary Magdalene as "apostle to the apostles" was clear - except that you haven't given any "context" at all. That certainly appears to be an attempt to "explain the idea away"; it doesn't seem to me that you've "fully engaged with" it - or even made any sort of real argument at all!

What I meant was that the epithet was used in the context of the resurrection, where Mary is the one to bring the message to the apostles - that's the reference. But since we're talking about context, we simply don't know where and in what context the epithet was first coined, merely that it is early - not who coined nor what they meant to imply by it nor what the context of the comment was. Really, nothing. That's a very unclear precedent upon which to base a claim that there's apostolic tradition in favour of women prebyters. I really don't think it will bear the weight you're putting on it.
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
It's fairly obvious to me that the word "Apostle" is used, at least by Paul (himself an "Apostle"), in a much wider way. The attempt to cut Junia alone out of this group is, yes, "explaining her away."

Actually, Paul is extremely sparing with that term, tending to restrict it to himself and the Twelve. The exceptions are Timothy and Silas, who are called apostles in 1st Thes. (and who seem to function as such in their ministries) and Apollos who is called an apostle in 1st Cor.

Now to Junia and Andronicus (not "Junia alone"). I definitely tackled that thorny issue by citing the latest scholarship I could find on it. I have now read that paper in it's entirety myself (available here ). The conclusion of the authors is that the most obvious reading of the phrase is that Andronicus and Junia were known to the apostles - not noted among them as apostles themselves. They cite lots of evidence for this, and the wiki article on "Apostle (Christian)" [sorry - can't link to it because of parentheses] cites them as the last word on it. Amongst their conclusions:
quote:
In sum, over the past three decades the exclusive view [i.e., that Junia and Andronicus are not referred to as apostles] has been only scarcely attested in translations or exegetical and theological literature. Yet the arguments against it are largely a kind of snowballing dogma that has little of substance at its core [...] one has to wonder how there could be such a great chasm between the scholarly opinion about Rom. 16:7 and what the data actually reveal. Our sense is that the unfounded opinions of a few great scholars of yesteryear have been, frankly, canonized.
I do recommend reading the whole thing. Once you have, we can have the debate about Junia again, if you like, but I'll need some correspondingly strong evidence to convince me to the contrary. At any rate, I really don't think this can be dismissed as "explaining her away."
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
In any case: she was the first to see the risen Christ - and spread the word about it. I mean, while we're "extrapolating" from the story of Christ on the topic of the Eucharist and Presbyters - why don't we "extrapolate" from this at the same time?

Two things: 1) extrapolate to what, though? What does that unabiguously tell us? And, 2) it's not for us to extrapolate it into, say, an argument for women priests since it didn't seem to have anything like that particular significance to anybody at the time. We "extrapolate" from the last supper to the Eucharist precisely because the apostles and their disciples did (which is why we have the Eucharist in the first place). If they hadn't, it would not be for us suddenly to do so after 2000 years.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
To me, it's perfectly reasonable to see that this wasn't a hill to die on at the time.

Fair enough. But why though doesn't our Lord - who knew his time well enough and how his ministry would devlop in it - give the later, more enlightened Church something substantial to go on, like a "hard saying" which they "cannot bear now" to his disciples about inclusive ministry? That would have let them off the hook whilst being something that we today could pick up and use as clear evidence for women priests? Too much of this "the times wouldn't allow for it" stuff is basically implying that Jesus got it wrong or failed to see something which we grasp.

quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
And how is it possible that possession of a Y chromosome creates some sort of special relationship with God [...]? Would Jesus have equated a woman's spiritual worth to that of a tree? [Disappointed] OliviaG

Here you've lost me. Who's been saying this? The "invalid matter" term is merely a way of describing unfittedness to a particular sacrament - like using orange juice and fillet steak for communion. It's not about individual personal worth.

[ 15. July 2011, 17:48: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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TubaMirum
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Chesterbelloc, you really have to stop insisting that I'm making a "claim that there's apostolic tradition in favour of women prebyters."

Nowhere have I said anything remotely like this; you yourself have made this claim several times now, but I haven't - not even once. Please do stop saying I have.

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Chesterbelloc

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Then what's your point in raising Mary Mag and Junia in the first place? Were you not suggesting there was apostolic precedent for women in such roles? [Confused]

[ 15. July 2011, 17:53: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Then what's your point in raising Mary Mag and Junia in the first place? Were you not suggesting there was apostolic precedent for women in such roles? [Confused]

Oh, brother....

(Q: How many times do I have to say the same thing on this thread? A: So far, at least three, I believe.)

[ 15. July 2011, 17:55: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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Chesterbelloc

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Why not just answer my question? I doubt I'm the only person here who's under the impression you've been using Mary and Junia to try to undermine the argument from tradition against female priests. What is it you've said "three times"? When I last expressed incomprehension about this ("Humour me..."), you just ignored me.

[ 15. July 2011, 17:59: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Why not just answer my question? I doubt I'm the only person here who's under the impression you've been using Mary and Junia to try to undermine the argument from tradition against female priests. What is it you've said "three times"? When I last expressed incomprehension about this ("Humour me..."), you just ignored me.

I ignored you because I'd already told you why, precisely, here.

I was referring back to this.

It really isn't my fault if you pay no attention when you ask for an explanation and one is given. It's also a perfectly reasonable topic to be discussing on this thread, so I'm not sure why I need to defend it at all. You decided to interject your own opinion in a discussion I was having with somebody else; the very least you could do it acknowledge what's actually being talked about.

[ 15. July 2011, 18:10: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

First, the fact that Christ never spoke explicitly about the presbyterate is no more a problem for a Catholic doctrine of orders than the fact that He never spoke explicitly about the Sacrifice of the Mass is a problem for a Catholic eucharistic theology.

This is weird. On the one hand you say that women can;'t be ordained because Jesus never explicitly said they could be. On the other hand you say that only men can be ordained even though Jesus never explicitly said they could be. You are having your cake and eating it. When the Lord is silent on a matter you assume he must agree with the Pope. That's not a respectable way of arguing.


quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Aha. NOW we're really hitting on something.

Given the social and religious roles of women in 1st century Judaism and Jewish soceity.

This is the crux of my concern. Are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of God about the role of women? Or are we following a tradition because it reflects the views of 1st Century Jews about the role of women? ...

Supposing Jesus had wanted to include women among the twelve. Back in the day, it's likely that a woman would have needed permission from her father / husband / sons to leave her family duties to become an apostle. If she were independent e.g. a financially self-supporting wealthy widow with no children or other relatives (and how many of those were there?), she might have been able to join in, but would probably be subject to quite a bit of public disapproval, what with the hanging around with men she wasn't related to, travelling alone, etc.
But women did go araound with Jesus and support him with money. Ands they were in different situations. Mary and Martha and the other Mary (whichever one it was) don't seem to have had husbands. Salome was presumably there with the agreement or permission of her husband - at any rate she was travelling with her sons as well as Jesus so among family, maybe Zebedee was fed up with the whole thing. The same might apply to "Mary of Clopas" if Clopas is in fact the same person as Cleopas. No-one is quite clear about who Susanna was. Joanna the wife of Chuza on the other hand presumably did not have the public approval of her husband. But she followed Jesus and she helped pay the bills.

Later in the time of the earliest church at least some Christian women travelled around, perhaps as merchants, and at least some of them taught the faith as they went, and some of them supported churches financially or held them in their own homes. Priscilla seems to have been going about with her husband, but no-one mentions any husband for Lydia.

Also, if there are any Bible-believing fundamentalist types reading this, I have to mention the Perfect Wife in Proverbs 30. She gets up early and works hard running her own business and dealing in property so that she can fund her husband who doesn't have to go to work at all but can sit around talking to his friends. Sounds perfect to me! Where's mine?

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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[To TubaMirum]

Nope. You've lost me.

You were talking to orfeo about whether or not there were women apostles - you cited Junia and Mary Mag - and I responded with scepticism about both cases. Is it the connection between women apostles and women presbyters you're contesting? Because the connection is pretty obvious on a thread like this: the one is most often cited to prove the appropriateness of the other.

Really, you're not being as clear as you seem to think here. To me, at any rate. I'll try again after supper...

[ 15. July 2011, 18:22: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
[To TubaMirum]

Nope. You've lost me.

You were talking to orfeo about whether or not there were women apostles - you cited Junia and Mary Mag - and I responded with scepticism about both cases. Is it the connection between women apostles and women presbyters you're contesting? Because the connection is pretty obvious on a thread like this: the one is most often cited to prove the appropriateness of the other.

Really, you're not being as clear as you seem to think here. To me, at any rate. I'll try again after supper...

I wasn't "contesting" anything. I simply wrote to respond to something orfeo had said, plain and simple (I've now said this quite a number of times, too; why is this so difficult to understand?).

You're the one doing all the contesting; you decided you wanted to talk about what I said. Now I'm talking about it.

What in the world is the problem?

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
... Here you've lost me. Who's been saying this? The "invalid matter" term is merely a way of describing unfittedness to a particular sacrament - like using orange juice and fillet steak for communion. It's not about individual personal worth.

CL on page 2 of this thread:
quote:
Invalid matter is invalid matter; he may as well have tried to ordain a tree or a car or a horse.
And whether a woman feels devalued by exclusion is up to her, no? I certainly found that comment insulting. OliviaG
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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
On the one hand you say that women can;'t be ordained because Jesus never explicitly said they could be. On the other hand you say that only men can be ordained even though Jesus never explicitly said they could be.

What? I have said no such things. I have argued that the Catholic Church has no authority from Scripture or Apostolic Tradition to ordain women. Not simply because the Lord never says anying explicit to allow it, but because the balance of what He does (and does not) say combined with the way the Apostles interpreted that did not in fact lead to women being ordained from then till now. The apostles were given the gift of the Holy Spirit to discenr His will for the Church, after all. From all that I take it - could be wrong - that the Lord did not intend that they should be. Not conclusive, but...
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
When the Lord is silent on a matter you assume he must agree with the Pope. That's not a respectable way of arguing.

When the Lord is silent and nobody contests a tradition that is not in any obvious way undermineded by His teaching for 1900 years - and even then only by a comparatively small minority of Christians - then I think people are entitled to draw some conclusions and share them critically with others. That is not a disreputable way of arguing in my book.

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
... Here you've lost me. Who's been saying this? The "invalid matter" term is merely a way of describing unfittedness to a particular sacrament - like using orange juice and fillet steak for communion. It's not about individual personal worth.

CL on page 2 of this thread:
quote:
Invalid matter is invalid matter; he may as well have tried to ordain a tree or a car or a horse.
And whether a woman feels devalued by exclusion is up to her, no? I certainly found that comment insulting. OliviaG

Right, sorry - missed that. Get the reference now. I see what CL is getting at but prefer my own example, and won't be using CL as my press officer any time . [Biased]

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
I wasn't "contesting" anything. I simply wrote to respond to something orfeo had said, plain and simple (I've now said this quite a number of times, too; why is this so difficult to understand?).

Because you keep responding critically to my critique of your suggestion that Junia and St Mary Mag were apostles? Are you not arguing that we should accept them as apostles?

This is getting just the tiniest bit bizarre - like the Python argument sketch...

--------------------
"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
I wasn't "contesting" anything. I simply wrote to respond to something orfeo had said, plain and simple (I've now said this quite a number of times, too; why is this so difficult to understand?).

Because you keep responding critically to my critique of your suggestion that Junia and St Mary Mag were apostles? Are you not arguing that we should accept them as apostles?

This is getting just the tiniest bit bizarre - like the Python argument sketch...

Yes it is. I can't for the life of me comprehend why you don't understand why I object to being told I've said something I haven't.

But let's just drop it at this point, because we obviously aren't getting anywhere....

[ 15. July 2011, 22:20: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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Chesterbelloc

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# 3128

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Fine. I'm still none the wiser.

Hot tip for the future: respond to honest questions for clarification with direct answers rather than repeated, eye-rolling "I've-already-told-you" elipsis. Result? You don't look as if you're dodging the issue and I don't end up questioning your sincerity and/or my sanity, and there's more good-will all round. Heverywan's heh winner.

--------------------
"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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