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Source: (consider it) Thread: Priestly genitalia [Ordination of Women]
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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"A real woman," said a (male) speaker at a Forward in Faith* rally some months ago, "knows that a woman cannot be a priest."

(*the organisation of Catholics within the Church of England opposed to women's ordination.)

Not a new idea, of course - John Chrysostom in the fourth century said there were some things women couldn't do.

Unhelpfully, neither elaborated on this - so we don't know the reasoning behidn these conclusions.

So, what arguments are there against the priesting of women? What reasons do opponents give?

I'll start with one that was offered to me in all seriousness: there were no women at the Last Supper.

(Of course, logically, this means that no woman should ever receive communion or be in the room, let alone celebrate it. But I only thought of this after I'd got home.)

[ 27. May 2012, 17:40: Message edited by: Louise ]

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
Shipmate
# 365

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Doesn't this belong in hell?

Oh well. The arguments are fairly simple, and though scorned by most people nowadays, are deeply held by others. They are, as I understand them:

1. Jesus was male, and so, according to this argument, His representatives in the church should be.

2. Jesus chose only male disciples, despite the fact that many women followed Him also, who were both highly regarded by Him and privy to things that the men were not (i.e. His first appearance after His resurrection was to women.)

3. Paul was vehement in his opposition to females teaching doctrine: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak...for it is shameful for women to speak in church" (I Cor. 14.34). Also, "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man but to be in silence" (I Timothy 2.11).

4. Numerous non-Biblically based arguments are made by various authors, such as Leon Podles in "The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity." The gist of these arguments, as I understand them, is that as women are accepted as priests in denominations, the men depart or their point of view is excluded, and the churches decline in various ways. I don't know what the evidence for this is.

Probably there are other arguments, but these are the ones I have heard. The absence of women at the Last Supper is not one that I have ever run across, although it would follow from reason two above.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
pagan flower
Apprentice
# 867

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just a thought - re last supper type things - if no women, who did the cooking and washing up??

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walk in light,

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Posts: 17 | From: North West, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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The last one I heard was that since men are supposed to be the heads of households, so also should men be leaders of churches.

This view was qualified by the "practical" idea that if you can't find a qualified man, then it's okay to have a woman be the minister.

To me it boils down to very simple questions: does God call women to be ordained or not? Does God give the gifts of preaching and teaching to women or not?


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ptarmigan
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# 138

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Rather weak arguments Freddy.

1 & 2: Jesus and his disciples were also Jewish, brown skinned, Aramaic speakers born before the invetion of the motor car, but do we require that of priests?

3: So what denomination reqires women to be silent in church? I.e. no praying out loud, not even the lord's prayer, no singing of hymns etc etc. We're all liberals at heart by that standard.

4: Is there any evidence that churches with women in ministerial roles are declining faster than those without? I imagine not, just rhetoric.

Must try harder.

Pt

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All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well. (Julian of Norwich)


Posts: 1080 | From: UK - Midlands | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
BigAL
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# 750

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quote:
Originally posted by ptarmigan:
3: So what denomination reqires women to be silent in church? I.e. no praying out loud, not even the lord's prayer, no singing of hymns etc etc

Some Brethren Churches ........ singing is not a problem ... but women do not speak by themselves. They have to wear hats too!!

Alex

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The Bible contains the Answer of that I am certain


Posts: 507 | From: Newcastle, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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"Doesn't this belong in hell?"

It was posted here quite deliberately so that we could discuss this without degenerating into name-calling and also, whilst I'm pretty familiar with the Protestant arguments against it, I would be very interested in the more, I suppose, "Catholic" (in the church order sort of sense) arguments onthe other side of the church, because in a sense those are much more theologically nuanced than the usual "the Bible says" dogma that I'm used io from my experience of British Fundamentalism.

It seems to me that a false divide is being set up in order in the Catholic churches to not have to think about ordaining women.

It is false, because it contradicts the very point that the Nicene-Chalcedonian church kept banging away at: that the second person of the Trinity, tho' fully God, was also fully human. "What he did not assume, he did not save" went the old adage, to ram home the point that Jesus was fully human.

In the literature of the parts of the Church that pride themselves in their oh-so-radical anti-PC-ness, much effort is spent labouring the point that "Man" means man and woman, therefore it is an "inclusive" term.

Yet, when it comes to the theory that the priest represents Christ at the Eucharist (a very high view, I admit) it's not the "Man-ness of Jesus (in the wider sense) that is drawn upon to justify the position, but rather his "man"-ness, his malenss. Viz. "Jesus was a man, so only men can be priests".

This strikes me as a reasonably impossible position to hold - either you believe Jesus was fully "human", sharing the characteristics common to all 6billion of us, regardless of gender, and thus can be represented at the Eucharist (if representation is required at all) by any Human - alternatively you must believe that only a man can represent Jesus, suggesting that the God-Man* (*wider sense) must have an essential, ontological element of maleness in him, which therefore requires there to be a difference in the humanity of mene and women.

And the consequence of that is to say that women can't be saved!

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Astro
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# 84

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I liked George Carey's statement when the issue os women priest was being considered by the CoE, along the lines that the Holy Spirit and his gifts were poured out on women as well as men at Pentecost.

You have to put things into the context of the first century, it would have been difficult for women to travel around freely with Jesus as the Apsotles did. Jesus did not call any slaves to be his Apostles probably for a similar reason, in fact the apsotles were generally middle class (e.g. small business men who owned their own fishing business that employed other, and tax collectors etc.) who could travel around with him.

Given his teaching on not withholding support from your family by saying that the money is dedicated to God I doubt that he would have called anyone with family responsibilities, so that rules out most first century palestinian women.

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if you look around the world today – whether you're an atheist or a believer – and think that the greatest problem facing us is other people's theologies, you are yourself part of the problem. - Andrew Brown (The Guardian)


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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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Of course if you stetch the already unreasonable position of "Jesus was a man, so only men can be priests" to it's logical conclusion Jesus was a Jew so only Jews can be priests. That's one way of making sure the Church doesn't have any priests.

Alan

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All I want for Christmas is EU


Posts: 32183 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Donne

Renaissance Man
# 220

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I believe another objection is that women menstruate (making the sanctuary unclean). Eg. In the greek orthodox church women are asked not to bake the prosforon during their periods.
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Stowaway

Ship's scavenger
# 139

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quote:
Originally posted by Dyfrig:
"A real woman," said a (male) speaker at a Forward in Faith* rally some months ago, "knows that a woman cannot be a priest."

Did you hear that, all you women! If you want to be priests, you can't be real women!

....

so you can be priests!

Seriously

We are a royal priesthood.

All of us.

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babybear
Bear faced and cheeky with it
# 34

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quote:
Originally posted by Stowaway:
Did you hear that, all you women! If you want to be priests, you can't be real women!

I'd rather be a priest than a 'real woman'.

I have a womb, breasts, two children whom I have breastfed. For me those are enough to confirm to me that I am a woman. Maybe at some stage I may eventual become real.

bb


Posts: 13287 | From: Cottage of the 3 Bears (and The Gremlin) | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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I am definitely not getting involved in this but I can't resist replying to this from Ruth ...

"To me it boils down to very simple questions: does God call women to be ordained or not? Does God give the gifts of preaching and teaching to women or not?"

GH: The gifts of preaching and teaching do not maketh a priest ... a minister perhaps which ALL are called to be (in the sense of the universal priesthood of all believers). So in the Orthodox Church the PREACHER and TEACHER St. Nina was instrumental in the conversion of the Georgian court to Christ and therafter the evangelisation of Georgia .... the earliest Christian kingdom. She is called (and venerated) in the Orthodox Church as "equal-to-the-apostles." She was not a priest.

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Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
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Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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Well, for me it's that the Church didn't ordain women as priests for nearly two millennia, even though Jesus and the early Church let Gentiles in (and become priests as well!), overturned a host of other cultural norms and so forth, and even St. Paul -- the man who said that "male or female, all are one in Christ Jesus," a line often used as justification for female priests -- also said he would not allow a woman to speak in church. So whatever Paul had in mind (apart from the question of respecting his letters as authoritative), it seems that he could view all of us, male and female, as "one in Christ Jesus" while not believing in men and women as having the same roles or functions in the Church.

So, for me, it comes down to Christian tradition and that I have yet to see any argument convince me that we should overturn that.

(Doctrinally, so everyone knows where I am coming from, I am an Anglo-Catholic; at least here in the US I would be considered so. I'm not wholly sure if that word means the same over in the UK though. It's not a matter of "style of service" as it is my theology, i.e. not "High Church" with emphasis on candles so much as doctrines... pretty much taking C.S. Lewis as my modern teacher with a dash of Chesterton would be a good way of summing up)

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Pyx_e

Quixotic Tilter
# 57

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the main stay of the "catholic" argument is that the roman church has not agreed to this / adopted this theology. until the pope says so we should not does not strike me as an idea that holds water but....

P


( LOL @ f***ing Man Utd )

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Posts: 9778 | From: The Dark Tower | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Manx Taffy
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# 301

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Laying my cards on the table, i am an Agnglican with generally a catholic theology. But the issue of the ordination of women is the one area where I struggle to uphold a traditional catholic view point.

The only arguements against ordination of women that hold any water for me are the point of tradition put forward above and in the Anglican communion the effect on unity within the communion and the major set back to progress in relationships with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches which I value greatly.

Tradition does however evolve and I cannot oppose the movement towards the ordination of women but I don't think the time was quite right in the Anglican communion. It is not an issue that I am confronted with personally because in our diocese ordained women are not licensed to practise.


Posts: 397 | From: Isle of Man | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Honest Ron Bacardi
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# 38

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Hmmm - I wish I had the confidence to say that I knew the answers. All I will say (and this is not directed at anybody here) that this subject seems to bring out the most stunning crop of badly-argued, preconceived ideas around. On all sides. Let's hope something else transpires here.


However, just to point out that the terms of the debate can (as ever) be skewed by the way in which it is framed. e.g. CAN women be priests? What about the question SHOULD women be priests? And the point Dyfrig raises about the doctrine of the priest being in "persona Christi" - well, I suppose in a general sense there is something in that, but is the priest not also leading or representing the people before God? It seems to me that ALL these questions - and many, many more - need to be examined.

Speaking as an Anglican now (sorry, but it has to be confessed at some stage), I have been upset by the poverty of the arguments used in this debate in my own Church. If there truly may be an underlying difference (see the thread started by Fr. Gregory) should we not understand what those differences may or may not be first? Right now so much seems to hinge on "civil rights" and "equal opportunities" language. What "rights" exactly do we have before God?

Lest this be misconstrued, I have argued since well before the priesting of women in the CofE that this was a subject that must be grasped seriously. I remain a possibilist, despite the depressing lack of answers to most of these questions.

Just one final point - I know Dyfrig's title to this thread is intended to be taken light-heartedly, but I distinctly remember there was one canon of one of the great Councils (Nicaea?) that addresses the issue of eunuchs in the priesthood. I seem to recall that the fathers thought it was OK if you had been snipped involuntarily, but that voluntary castration barred you from the priesthood. If so, they clearly thought that genitalia were unimportant, but perhaps a manifestation of something else. What?

All questions today I'm afraid.

Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


Posts: 4804 | From: the corridors of Pah! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fiddleback
unregistered


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3: So what denomination reqires women to be silent in church? I.e. no praying out loud, not even the lord's prayer, no singing of hymns etc etc. We're all liberals at heart by that standard.[QUOTE]

From all accounts the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney would come very close to this view. The proposals made by its Synod for lay presidency would mean that anyone, ordained or not, would be able to preside at Holy Communion providing that he had a viable set of male gonads. If not, wear a hat and keep stumm.


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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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What about the question SHOULD women be priests?

Fair comment - but let's start even more basic than that: should anyone be priested, and if so, why?

Is the priest not also leading or representing the people before God?

Again, a valid point - so who should represent a group of people before God?

Speaking as an Anglican now (sorry, but it has to be confessed at some stage),

You have my sincerest sympathies.

Right now so much seems to hinge on "civil rights" and "equal opportunities" language. What "rights" exactly do we have before God?

But this is not new - Paul propounded his apostleship on the basis that he had the right given to him by God. And the question of the "right" to serve God is as much one that men have to answer as women. There is no male and female in Christ - period. To apply one standard to women and another to men needs a basis in sound reflection, the various traditions, theology, reason and the teachings of Christ.

All questions today I'm afraid.

You just can't get the staff these days.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nicolemr
Shipmate
# 28

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father greg said:

quote:
: The gifts of preaching and teaching do not maketh a priest ... a minister perhaps which
ALL are called to be (in the sense of the universal priesthood of all believers).

coming from a methodist background, i find this impossible to understand. what, exactly, do you hold the difference to be between a minister and a priest? far as i've ever been able to tell, its a difference in name only.

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Posts: 11681 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Manx Taffy
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# 301

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quote:
Originally posted by nicolemrw:
father greg said:

coming from a methodist background, i find this impossible to understand. what, exactly, do you hold the difference to be between a minister and a priest? far as i've ever been able to tell, its a difference in name only.


Which is why I think it is not yet the time for the Anglican and Methodist churches to consider re-unification as we have different understanding as to the priestly role of ordained ministers.


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Edward Green
Review Editor
# 46

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quote:
Originally posted by Stowaway:

We are a royal priesthood.

All of us.


We are a royal Priesthood, and we were chosen before the foundation of the world. It is corporate, not individual, and refers to the church. Therefore the Church ordains Priests to represent our collective Priesthood.

The main argument that I see from a catholic point of view is this;

"Women cannot represent Christ"

I find this highly suspect theologically, because I refuse to believe that the risen Christ is Male or Female.

I like Manx am an Anglo-Catholic very much in favor of woman Priests, and many of the best Anglo-Catholic priests I know are in women

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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manx taffy quoted my post and then said:

quote:
Which is why I think it is not yet the time for the Anglican and Methodist churches to
consider re-unification as we have different understanding as to the priestly role of ordained
ministers.

well manx, instead of being snide and dismissive, you might try answering my question.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!


Posts: 11681 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear "sacred three"

QUOTE: "I find this highly suspect theologically, because I refuse to believe that the risen Christ is Male or Female."

So, when the Risen Christ appeared to St. Thomas and asked him to touch the wounds s/he was androgynous yes? Will that be with or without breasts please?

Then of course we have the old neo-Nestorian schizo-christ ... a new variation indeed!

Dear Nicole

The difference between minister and priest? As a Catholic or Orthodox Christian understands it the difference lies in the sacramental representation of Christ as High Priest, (although, technically, pace St. Ignatius of Antioch this is, strictly, the bishop).

This is a sacrificial reference in relation to the Eucharist, NOT that the priest sacrifices Christ afresh but that he is the vehicle for the once for all offering of Christ of Himself to the people re-presented in each celebration and sealed in the reception of Holy Communion. In the Protestant Churches, ministers (lay or ordained) do not have this persona or function.

I am not going to get into the iconic argument here concerning women and the priesthood. My aim, simply, is to distinguish minister and priest according to our understanding. (I say "our" but actually most Protestant Christians used to make these distinctions. Insofar as many now do not, this reveals the deference with which many Catholics (not Orthodox) have articulated these things, (or, usually, not), so as to not offend. The impression has been given, therefore, (wrongly), that there is no distinction to be made.

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Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
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Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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Oh, for GOODNESS' sake! It wasn't church practice for the priest to have a car for 2000 years, either!

Derrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

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Posts: 1828 | From: not drowning but waving... | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Eddy-baby, I don't think you can say that the risen Christ is neither male nor female -because the risen Christ has to be the raised Jesus.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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*shrug* This is a point which has been consistently held by the Church -- and by the Anglican, Eastern and Roman Catholic/Orthodox end of the spectrum -- for two millennia. It wasn't devised at the last minute, or discarded early on.

If the greatests saints were OK with this for centuries upon centuries, then I am at least a tad uncomfortable gainsaying them in a matter as serious as this. It's not a question about science or technology, but on whether in spiritual matters I trust the people who told us about Jesus in the first place. I'm also not saying (have not yet been convinced of this either as many arguments seem to me to be knee-jerk from the other side) that a woman could not be a priest -- I am simply unconvinced that the women in question are in fact priests. I might be convinced someday; it would make things easier in some ways for me, but I must not let myself be convinced for the wrong reasons.

And the question is also a valid one: Even if women should not be ordained as priests, are the ones who have been in fact priests anyway whether anyone likes it or not? I.e., once the bishop has laid hands on them, mistake or not, has the mystical transformation taken effect? Can and should are two different things.

And yes, for me, this has nothing to do with women being excellent teachers, preachers, or saints for that matter -- and everything to do with the sacramental nature of the priesthood. Many male priests and even bishops will be, I am sorry to say I believe, in Hell in the end; many who have been ordained, I believe truly so, have been apostate or worse, or even preach horribly false doctrines from the pulpit or higher. I have also known at least one very faithful woman who has done many good, even seems to have gifts of healing, and while I am not convinced of her priesthood, I am most definitely convinced of her ministry.

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by ChastMastr:
It's not a question about science or technology, but on whether in spiritual matters I trust the people who told us about Jesus in the first place.

The people who gave witness to the risen Christ in the first place were women. Paul speaks of women as co-workers. I know Fr. Greg will be all over this as the usual Protestant desire to freeze Christianity at the early-church development, but I don't buy the tradition argument for this one, for one simple reason. The churches that perpetuated this tradition over centuries also supported the mis-treatment and subjugation of women over these same centuries. I don't trust them.


Posts: 24425 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Manx Taffy
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# 301

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quote:
Originally posted by nicolemrw:
manx taffy quoted my post and then said:

well manx, instead of being snide and dismissive, you might try answering my question.


Nicole - yes sorry
re-reading my reply is does come across like that. I was rushing to leave work.

I did not mean to be dismissive but I must admit I was taken aback. Given time I would have clumsily described the difference as Fr Gregory so accurately described them.

I also did not mean to be snide. I would love to see more church unity but I think if fundamental differences such as our view on the role of ordained ministers are brushed under the carpet then this will lead infact to old wounds being re-opened wide again under a veil of unity. Better to accept our differences and concentrate on those areas where we can have unity such as non-sacremental worship and social action.

Sorry again.


Posts: 397 | From: Isle of Man | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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quote:
Originally posted by Stowaway:
We are a royal priesthood.

All of us.


Yet, the Church has never been very good at this concept - parts of Orthodoxy have regarded monasticism as Christianity par excellence (thankfully Symoen the New Theologian told people where to get off on that one); there has always been this "prists and other ministers are better than the rest" attitude. Even the second collect for Good Friday in the BCP has the implied suggestion that the Church is actually those in formal vocations and ministry.

Pagan flower - as they were all men, the washing up after the Last Supper is still lying there in a pile. They were going to eat the leftovers for breakfast on the Friday morning, but never got round to it. Their mum is coming around later to sort them out. (interestingly, the gnostic Gospel of Simon the Zealot has James the brother of John sneaking a last swig from a beer can as they leave, only to find out that someone (Jude or Thaddaeus probably) had stuck a fag but into it. Eugh.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
3. Paul was vehement in his opposition to females teaching doctrine: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak...for it is shameful for women to speak in church" (I Cor. 14.34). Also, "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man but to be in silence" (I Timothy 2.11).

But don’t you have to put that in context?! At the time of writing I Cor 14:34, many women would not be used to being at the Temple or being spoken to about matters of faith. A popular proverb at the time was, “Better the Torah be burnt than given to a woman”. So many women wouldn’t have a clue what was going on and would ask the person next to them – causing a disruption. What Paul’s basically saying is that “If you’re not sure what’s going on then wait until you get home or to the end of the service” before asking your questions!!!!!

And 1 Tim 2.11 needs to be put into a similar context. If you read between the lines of the Bible, there were many women in the Church who were householders and did have authority – such as Pheobe the Deacon etc. But these were the exception rather than the rule. Again, Paul is saying that as a rule of thumb, if you have two candidates for the same job and one is a man and one is a woman, then unless you know the woman very well, then the job should be given to the man. This is because you could assume that the man would have a basic level of education and understanding which you couldn’t assume for the woman unless she was known … The Early Church would have withered and died without the support and leadership of powerful, educated women.

These writings need to be put into the context of Jesus’ treatment of women – he valued them, encouraged them to use their gifts for service and servant-hood etc. The Reserection [can’t spell today!] was first revealed to a woman – in a time when a woman’s word was worthless. I suspect that he would be horrified by some of the institutionalised sexism within the church. When I was a newbie Christian I was informed [quite seriously] by one of the church elders that “men were made to manage and women were made to make the tea”. This in a denomination that has permitted the ordination of women since 1921! He seemed completely oblivious to the fact that women were managing the day to day life of the church – they just weren’t preaching! The secretary, the Sunday school teachers and youth leaders, the catering people, the music leader and several band members, a few deacons, some missionaries etc – were all women and if they stopped managing and making the tea then the Church would have ground to a halt in a few days! Every so often I feel extremely evil and wish that we women would down tools in the Church for a week or so. That would show ‘em.

God pours out his blessings and gifts on men and women and commands us to exercise them in the appropriate context! To tell someone that they can’t exercise a God given gift because of their sex is just pants! [But the appropriate context thing also kicks in as it would be inappropriate for a woman to exercise the gift of priesthood in an Anglo Catholic church due to their specific beliefs about communion and the role of the priest as representing Christ]

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am


Posts: 12651 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stowaway

Ship's scavenger
# 139

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So this is really a niche debate for high churches isn't it?

My statement about the priesthood of all believers is not so much refuted as dismissed with "we accept that but we ordain priests anyway". And I can't appeal to the Bible because you (or some of you) accept the Bible plus tradition, which is a circular argument. "We do it this way because we always do it this way. The fact that the NT has pretty clear statements about priesthood is ignored.

Gregory's statements here are interesting. The possesion and use of gifts does not constitute priesthood, he seems to say, whereas it certainly does in the sense of the believer's priesthood. Interestingly, the example he uses is of teacher, thereby weakening the use of Paul as a subsidiary argument against women priests. (The primary argument being the representation of Christ at the altar)

The biblical church leader office of elder does not seem to be what you are talking about either. This is more of an administrative role with mundane skills.

So the high church priestly role is one of representing Christ at an altar in the breaking of bread (or whatever you want to call it). Leaving aside the fact that to identify a single person in the congregation to represent Christ is an insult to the body of Christ, it is clear that you would need someone who most clearly is able to represent Christ.

A Jewish man in his early thirties.

Who would you choose if you had the choice of:

A middle-eastern woman in her early thirties.
An old caucasian man.

It's a bit like, who gets to play Santa Claus!

Unless, of course, it isn't, and the argument is really there to mask an uglier agenda.

If this is all about representing Christ, then we need the whole church up there.

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Posts: 610 | From: Back down North | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
BarbaraG
Shipmate
# 399

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quote:
Originally posted by babybear:

I have a womb, breasts, two children whom I have breastfed. For me those are enough to confirm to me that I am a woman.
bb

I have the womb and the breasts, but haven't used either of them in the bearing or feeding of children. Does this make me less of woman?

I'm sure you didn't mean that, bb.

BarbaraG

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still trying to make sense of the world


Posts: 143 | From: Nottinghamshire | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian M
Shipmate
# 79

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It's fascinating that the Catholic Church, which is the staunch defender of the male priesthood, is also the promoter of Mary as the flower of women (although, maybe the latter is just an attempt at balancing the former?) and has communities made up solely of women - who, I understand, are some of the most vociferous fighters for inclusive language in liturgy and Bible translation.

Somebody said before about if there aren't any men maybe then it's OK to have women - what does this say about the failure of God's provision - like when Deborah was chosen as a Judge, there was not ONE faithful man in the whole nation of Israel?

In all this discussion of the importance of who presides over communion, isn't it worth bearing in mind that other than when Jesus first gave bread and wine saying "Do this in remembrance of me" (ie. eat the bread and drink the wine - no mention of how and who by it is to be served), the Bible never tells us who actually administered communion, only who shared in taking it (and who should not take it, etc etc).

Is it the bread and the wine that's important (and what that commemorates), or the person standing at the altar?

Ian


Posts: 332 | From: Surbiton, Surrey, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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That’s not what I said …

quote:
So this is really a niche debate for high churches isn't it?

High Church Anglicans have specific beliefs about the role of the Priest as representing Christ in Communion – yes! And although I may disagree with them, I feel it’s important to respect them. So if I ever got a call to ministry [please God nooooooooooooooo! ] then I wouldn’t expect to exercise it there.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am


Posts: 12651 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Honest Ron Bacardi
Shipmate
# 38

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Stowaway wrote -
quote:
So this is really a niche debate for high churches isn't it?

I hope not. I'm sure you are probably aware of much of what follows, but just for the avoidance of misunderstanding I'll say it anyway.

The word "priest" in English is derived from the the old French "Prestre", which ultimately comes from the Greek "Presbyteros". Usually translated as elder, this word also means "senior, advanced in years, father..." according to my koine Greek lexicon. Peter's reference to "the priesthood of all believers" (1 Pe 2) does not refer to presbyteroi but to hierateuma. We have no word for sacrificing "priests" in English - although the word persists in derivatives like "Hieratic" - so we use "priest" instead, to much confusion, especially here when we are claiming some sort of common typology.

"The priesthood of all believers" is a Jewish concept related to the passover sacrifice. As every household was obliged to sacrifice on the same occasion, the act was delegated to the head of the household, who returned from the temple with the animal for the passover supper. The entire family participated and were dressed similarly for the occasion - this was the "priesthood of all believers". The head of the household would start the family liturgy of remembrance with the words "Why is this night, of all nights..." - note the present tense. His job was to "represent" (=re-present) the original occasion in the present, so that the entire family could "re-member" it. It was as real as the original exodus.

Please re-read 1 Peter 2. You will see that the entire imagery relates to the temple and to sacrifice, whose meaning has now been burst open for us in Jesus. But it only has meaning in this context. It never ceases to amaze me how often this phrase is trotted out by those who go on to deny any sort of sacrificial meaning to the eucharist. The whole purpose of a hierateuma was to offer sacrifices.

You also wrote -

quote:
If this is all about representing Christ, then we need the whole church up there.

The whole church is up there. Why do you think it is so frequently said that the most important word in the eucharistic liturgy is the amen at the end of the main eucharistic prayer?

Speaking frankly, if you are to ignore the OT typological implications and make it mean anything you want it to mean, then I doubt if much further debate is possible. If you think a minister is someone else (we are all called to minister) then I'm not surprised that disagreements about this subject will never be settled. In fact I sympathise in a way - any attempt to inhibit the ministry of women is sinful.

Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


Posts: 4804 | From: the corridors of Pah! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stowaway

Ship's scavenger
# 139

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All of which does nothing to weaken my case. In fact it strengthens it! Thanks for that IanB!

So, priest is really New Testament elder is it? And it is the believer's priesthood that is of the Old Testament sacrificial type?

Thank you and good night.

I don't think much of the priesthood of all believers being only the heads of the fathers' households.

I thought that the point of a sacrament was to embody a spiritual truth. To have a guy at the front say something, and the people say "amen" is not a good dramatic representation of the priesthood of all believers. It says the opposite.

Which is probably the answer to your question

quote:
Why do you think it is so frequently said that the most important word in the eucharistic liturgy is the amen at the end of the main eucharistic prayer?

And, to get back to the point, there were woman elders in the early church, weren't there?

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Warning: Mid-life crisis in progress


Posts: 610 | From: Back down North | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ptarmigan
Shipmate
# 138

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Whatever St Paul said about women was referring to the women of his day; generally poor, uneducated, lacking contraception, treated as second class citizens by all, and ritually unclean at certain times of the month.

One of the most amazing thing that St Paul did say was "Let the women learn". Education open to women as well as men???? On an equal basis???? Subversive or what? What would people have thought?

Only certain of us with a particular agenda focus on the next few words: "in silence and submission". Maybe that was the model of learning which was practiced at the time.

St Paul was a man of his time. He couldn't imagine things which hadn't yet been invented.

He had never seen a motor car and it would be folly for us to try to work out a transport policy by seeing what the bible has to say about horses and chariots.

The modern woman, with access to education, contraception, money, employment and the vote is unknown to the bible writers and completely outside what they could imagine.

They have no more to say about the role of a woman in 21st century than they do about the role of the motor car in the 21st century.

Pt

P.S. I suppose I could have said all that in 2 words: "Please contextualise".

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All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well. (Julian of Norwich)


Posts: 1080 | From: UK - Midlands | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nicolemr
Shipmate
# 28

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manx taffy, ok, i do accept your appology, but you still haven't answered my question.

neither have you, father greg.

let me put it another way.

what does a priest do that my minister does not?

certainly my minister administers the sacrements. so whats your point? wheres the difference?

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!


Posts: 11681 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Honest Ron Bacardi
Shipmate
# 38

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Stowaway wrote:
quote:
So, priest is really New Testament elder is it?

As a fellow Scot you should have remembered that presbyter is but priest writ large. Just check any dictionary.

Also -

quote:
I don't think much of the priesthood of all believers being only the heads of the fathers' households.

I didn't say that - quite the opposite in fact. The priesthood covered ALL believers - all members of the family. I was pointing out the ceremonial background. Please re-read my posting where I said The entire family participated and were dressed similarly for the occasion - this was the "priesthood of all believers".

Likewise you wrote -

quote:
And it is the believer's priesthood that is of the Old Testament sacrificial type?


In a sense yes, but only insofar as the only sacrifice now is the full, final and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus himself, which we "re-member". The purpose was described by the early church (and still is so described) as an anamnesis - a Jewish concept which the passover supper was designed to ensure.


quote:
To have a guy at the front say something, and the people say "amen" is not a good dramatic representation of the priesthood of all believers. It says the opposite.

You'll need to unpack your reasoning on that one a bit more - if we are in agreement, is it not fitting that someone leads us and that we signal our willing assent? Always remembering that this is servant leadership we are talking about here. I doubt that you are pointing towards some anarchistic free-for-all, but I don't understand what you are proposing.

quote:
And, to get back to the point, there were woman elders in the early church, weren't there?

Were there? The word presbyteroi is used in the gospels of the sanhedrin. The evidence of it materialising in the early church is at the "second stage" - when the apostolic ministry was nearing its end, as evidenced in the pastorals and later Pauline works. At this stage it seems to be synonymous with oversight. There were many women involved in teaching, prophesying, indeed in church planting. Were any of them presbyters? Evidence please. Please note that I am not regarding this as a "killer argument" - I'm open to persuasion either way.

Let me go back to an earlier posting of yours, where you said -

quote:
It's a bit like, who gets to play Santa Claus!

Unless, of course, it isn't, and the argument is really there to mask an uglier agenda.


Two choices offered. The correct answer being, perhaps c), neither of the above. But never mind that for now. What is this "uglier agenda" that all who have the temerity to disagree with you are constrained to be following? Perhaps you might care to share with us your own agenda - then we can discuss how ugly that might be by comparison. I was under the impression that purgatory was for the debate of these points. If you wish to disagree with me on any posting, fine - state your reasons, adducing whatever support you see fit. But your last post failed signally to do that. I was trying to give some reasons as to why this Christian, at least, agreed with another poster who pointed out why we do believe in the priesthood of all believers, and how that is not a problem for us, as you seem to think it ought to be.

If these matters are relevant then perhaps they might point us towards an answer. I don't claim to know that answer (see an earlier posting of mine). We need debate, not just assertions.

Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


Posts: 4804 | From: the corridors of Pah! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Metcalfe:
Somebody said before about if there aren't any men maybe then it's OK to have women - what does this say about the failure of God's provision - like when Deborah was chosen as a Judge, there was not ONE faithful man in the whole nation of Israel?

I have been very interested in the story of Deborah for years and have wondered how she came to be a Judge.

I have never heard that at that time there was not ONE faithful man in the whole of Israel. What is your source for this? It's not in the chapter of Judges that tells about Deborah.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.


Posts: 20248 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
Shipmate
# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
The people who gave witness to the risen Christ in the first place were women. Paul speaks of women as co-workers. I know Fr. Greg will be all over this as the usual Protestant desire to freeze Christianity at the early-church development, but I don't buy the tradition argument for this one, for one simple reason. The churches that perpetuated this tradition over centuries also supported the mis-treatment and subjugation of women over these same centuries. I don't trust them.

Then I suppose we must simply disagree, as for me, the hierarchical roles of husbands and wives (which is what I take your statement about "subjugation" to mean) is informed by Christian tradition as well. I also emphasize that I am coming from traditions which treat -- by some more Protestant standards than my own -- things like Communion and the like as practically "magical," devotions to canonized saints as appropriate (in ways some Protestants consider idolatrous), and so forth. For me, it really matters that the man who applies oil -- blessed by a bishop -- in the sign of the cross on my forehead when I am ill -- be a priest in what I believe to be valid Apostolic Succession -- which for me is pretty much limited to the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and a few very small Lutheran-related ones which are in (I believe) Estonia and Latvia.

This does not at all mean that I think that sincere believers in other churches are not "real" Christians, or even that God cannot bless them in any number of ways, but I wanted to make my position clear: It's not just about the nature of women, it's about the nature of the priesthood as we in the Catholic churches understand the concept. It has more to do with the nature of Sacrament (one must have bread or wine to consecrate Communion, one must have water for Baptism, and as I understand it one must have a man for Holy Orders) than the nature of ministry -- to which we are all called.

And as I said, if someone has an argument which convinces me, then I'm prepared to hear it -- but thus far all of the ones I have heard -- thus far -- have been of (1) a modern political nature and/or (2) a kind which doesn't take into account Christian tradition in general; I cannot at all believe that our greatest saints -- for two thousand years -- have been consistently and horribly wrong on such a matter as this, not a technological or scientific matter but a moral one. It is not as if the Pope, the Eastern Patriarch, and the Archbishop of Canterbury all received visions telling them that "a new era has dawned and thou shalt ordain women to the priesthood; it was right to withhold this in the past, but now the corner has been turned." It seems to me more that, in a highly political era of gender study, much of which is not particularly Christian in its philosophical assumptions, people are often treating ordination to the priesthood as if it were a legal right, in the same way as considering women for any other part of the "work force." But for people like me, it is not at all the same kind of thing as getting a job in an office or even in the military; it has to do with everything from masculine and feminine symbolism, which for many of us is not at all merely a function of human society, but grand poles on a metaphysical level -- that being men and women has much more to it than physical "plumbing" and even has spiritual ramifications, though we do not understand all of them (and probably won't here on Earth no matter how long we try). We see God as masculine and creation (including all men and women) as feminine; Christ as Bridegroom and Church as Bride. There is much more to it than this, but in some ways I freely admit -- even proclaim -- that my view of this philosophically has more in common with the ancient Pagans (Sky-Father, Earth-Mother) than with many modern non-sacramentalist Christians. (But then for me, believing that Jesus' death was a mystical sacrifice -- the deepest magic we know of -- puts me more in tune with ancient Jews and Pagans than it does with some modern bishops in my own church (Episcopal in USA) who aren't even convinced He rose again from the dead.)

Yes, I suppose this makes me look like a rude barbarian from some lost tribe. But then I participate in ritual cannibalism every week as part of my religion, and am quite up front about my view of its being that -- or rather that it is the Reality behind fallen human impulses toward same... Macrocosm and microcosm, etc.

The previous, which with bits of humour at times, was all quite serious. Yes, I am very strange...

David

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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The word (minister, priest, presbyter, pastor) doesn't matter Nicole. All (well most) celebrate / preside the Sacraments. The distinction Orthodox and Catholics make between (say) minister and priest has to do with the the clergyperson's (yuk word!) persona and relationship to the eucharistic sacrifice ... or as we say "the unbloody offering." Protestant ministers just simply do not do this. The iconic (representational) arguments just do not apply in this context.

Of course, people come back at me then and say "shouldn't you be Jewish and circumcised?" Of course not! But my interrogators have a view of gender and sexuality as a mere adornment, a human institution almost ... not the definitive (and differing) ways of being human. (See my thread on "plumbing")

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™


Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nicolemr
Shipmate
# 28

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father greg, honestly, i don't think your doing this dliberatly, but you are starting to really frustrate me. you say:

quote:
The
distinction Orthodox and Catholics make between (say) minister
and priest has to do with the the clergyperson's (yuk word!)
persona and relationship to the eucharistic sacrifice ...

well, what does it have to do with the clergypersons persona? what exactly are you saying here? what relationship does a priest have that a minister does not have? are you talking about transubstantiation? or what?

i honestly don't think your trying to be evasive, i think we have some miscommunication problem, but your confusing me more than ever.

you have said that a woman can be a minister but not a priest. what exactly does a priest do that a minister doesn't that a woman can't do?

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!


Posts: 11681 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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I have a headache! Can someone explains some of this using simple words and short sentences Thank you!

Tubbs

Back on Monday ....!

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am


Posts: 12651 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

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Tubbs - don't work too hard. You said
quote:
[But the appropriate context thing also kicks in as it would be inappropriate for a woman to exercise the gift of priesthood in an Anglo Catholic church due to their specific beliefs about communion and the role of the priest as representing Christ]

before everybody else who wasn't (was?) at work chipped in with the rest of the debate.
I wanted to say 'Huh???'
Some of the best women priests are anglo-catholics - and why can't a woman represent Christ?

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Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12899 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bob R
Apprentice
# 322

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Methinks you are all asking (and ansewring) the wrong question.

The real question is should there be any priests?

My recollection of the book of Hebrews throws significant doubt on the practices of the Catholic and Anglo-Catholic communions in this respect. My understanding is that the priestly office is abolished by Christ's once for all sacrifice.

So the question as to whether women should be priests does not arise, men should not be priests either.

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I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.

Oliver Cromwell in a letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 3 Aug 1650


Posts: 43 | From: Greenock | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stowaway

Ship's scavenger
# 139

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IanB,

Forget the scottish bit. I am a yorkshire lad and have not set foot in any of the large denominations since moving north of the border ten years ago. Assume I know the bible and have visited most types of denomination. I know little high church theology, but have spent enough time in high church to have a sense of the psychological dynamic.

Therefore I am taking my definitions from the Bible, which does not speak of elder (single) in relation to church and does not isolate the breaking of bread as a boss-man function. Instead it happened from house to house (acts) and with a lot of congregational initiative (corinthians).

I see what you meant about the priesthood of all believers. However, it seems that you have levels of priests (a heirarchy): the priest initiator and the priest spectator.

OK, I am happy about the sacrifice type, though you could have mentioned the sacrifice of praise - equivalent perhaps to the wave offering. Except that I can see why you could not mention it - because it is up to the whole church to offer that sacrifice.

quote:
You'll need to unpack your reasoning on that one a bit more - if we are in agreement, is it not fitting that someone leads us and that we signal our willing assent?

Well, let's say that you wanted to do a play about community. You would not present a picture of people locked in individual cells. The sacramental sharing of bread and wine portays a very strong subtext. The priest "has it", he is the lonely "set apart" source who is a conduit of the grace released in communion. He is the giver. The congregation receive.

The point about servant leadership is welcome, but a bit like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Priesthood is a power relationship because the weekly (daily) drama proves it. This criticism also applies to those churches that elevate the pulpit.

quote:
I doubt that you are pointing towards some anarchistic free-for-all

Don't bet on it, but thanks for what you perceive to be cutting me some slack.

But I didn't think we were talking about directional leadership here.

I thought we were talking about administering the eucharist.

Which is it?

And I suppose this is what I mean by something uglier. A line of argument is proposed, regarding the need to have a man to represent Christ at the Lord's supper. And the next minute we have slipped to who can run the church.

quote:
I don't understand what you are proposing.

Well, how about other dramas. A small child breaks a loaf of bread and presents it to kneeling worshippers. A beautiful picture full of resonance. Your picture of families gathered to share together, perhaps with singles welcomed into the families. A proper meal with a bread and wine (possibly even cheese!) final course. A different person bringing their own representation of Christ eack week. Is that enough to be going on with?

quote:
I was under the impression that purgatory was for the debate of these points ... all who have the temerity to disagree with you

If anything I say makes you think I am saying "shut up", please ignore me and possibly let me know. I am developing the combatative style for my fights with Martin PC Not who is very robust. I think he must be rubbing off on me. I will try to be more restrained.

quote:
We need debate, not just assertions

Agreed. I put the point up expecting someone to fill in the gaps, because I am tired of long posts. So much for that idea. This site

Christian Thinktank - women in the early church

was mentioned in the last thread on women's ministry (by Steve, I think). Summary - there is evidence of female elders, deacons, bishops e.t.c. Please read.

See, I had to do all the work in the end anyway.

--------------------
Warning: Mid-life crisis in progress


Posts: 610 | From: Back down North | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Nicole

I'm sorry about the theological short hand but I didn't realise that you didn't know that the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches have different experiences of and beliefs concerning the Eucharist and this affects how each church understands the role and personhood of its ministers, priests, whatever.

I include personhood because what you are as a priest is just as important in our traditions as what you do, (which anyone can learn and execute as a mere task).

I'm not talking about transubstantiation.

When I refer to the iconic argument I do not mean the kind of representation of Christ that an ambassador might fulfil for the Queen, (a well know misunderstanding of this by Geoffrey Lampe). In this understanding of representation, the sex of the ambassador need bear no relationship to the sex of the monarch.

In the Catholic and Orthodox churches the priest stands-for-Christ in the celebration by way of participation in what Christ does through him. This participation requires congruence in those deep things of our humanity of which sex / gender is an example and Jewishness or circumcision is not.

That is why there is a male priesthood in these churches but a male and female ministry. You don't need to distinguish the terms (which are only words). We do.

It is not a matter of the person who preaches or teaches or leads, (no headship here). In our traditions this (teaching / preaching / leading) is not exhaustive or exclusive or definitive of what a priest is about. Being the icon of Christ at the Eucharist is what the priest is about. There is a lot more to it than that but that's the centre.

Of course, if someone does thing that gender or sexuality is a deep issue then this will make no sense at all .... which is why I started the other thread on "plumbing!"

Those who question whether we should have priests at all had better be consistent. You need (if this is the case) to ask whether we should have prophets or leaders either. Remember that Christ is priest, prophet and king. The Reformation never had much problem accepting that God had shared the last two minstries ... just the first one! (.... unless that is you're a Quaker).

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™


Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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from my last post ... typo, sorry!

"Of course, if someone does NOT THINK that gender or sexuality is a deep issue then this will make no sense at all .... which is why I started the other thread on "plumbing!"

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™


Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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