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Source: (consider it) Thread: Priestly genitalia [Ordination of Women]
Stowaway

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# 139

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Gregory,

Very interesting, the last few posts. If the priesthood is not about power or leading it would certainly be less oppressive than some models (RC springs to mind). I confess my ignorance about your power setup. Are women really in positions of authority? Do you permit a woman to preach? Does the average orthodox woman feel oppressed. I suspect that even if the answers to both my previous questions is "yes", they would still be second class.

I like your logic about leadership (or at least kingship). Leader is an unbiblical term. It gathers together too many elements (The visionary, the decision maker, the organiser, the example, the exhorter).

Prophet as an office is the same. However, if you believe in guidance by gifting, the priesthood of all, and the distrubution of prophetic gifts as per the Bible, there's no problem.

Maybe you are right. It's Orthodox v Quakers. Either the church has developed as Christ wanted, or it has simply reintroduced practices fulfilled by the New Covenant.

If forced, I would go with the Quakers.

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Warning: Mid-life crisis in progress


Posts: 610 | From: Back down North | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Edward Green
Review Editor
# 46

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quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
That’s not what I said …

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.


Erm, what about all the woman anglo catholic priests? I dislike this blanket "all high church anglicans are anti woman priests" just because of Forward if Faith. It's like saying "All evangelicals are against women Priests" because of Reform.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Stowaway

Quote:-

"Are women really in positions of authority? Do you permit a woman to preach? Does the average orthodox woman feel oppressed."

Yes, Yes, No.

No. 1 ... this has always been the case ... women Orthodox theologians, monastic superiors and evangelists have always existed and had authority over men .... even bishops in the case of monastics.

No. 2 ... admittedly this is rare but there is nothing in Orthodox theology or practice that forbids it in principle. Certainly there have been women preachers ... Sts. Mary Magdalene, Nina, Elizabeth the New Martyr (for a more up to date example).

No. 3 ... ask my wife!

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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# 38

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Just a quick one to say thanks, Stowaway, for the detailed response to my provocation! I'll try to respond but it may be a few days as I'm out a lot this weekend. Also thanks for the link. Will check that out.

Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


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Angloid
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# 159

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Stowaway wrote
quote:
But I didn't think we were talking about directional leadership here.
I thought we were talking about administering the eucharist.
Which is it?

Where we go wrong is in separating the two - the roles of pastor (a better term than 'directional leader') and leader of worship. The eucharist, at least in the catholic traditions, is the focal gathering of the people of God (how's that for a new bit of jargon? ) and so the one who presides is not just performing a functional task that anyone could do (like handing out hymn-books) but gathering together, in the name of Christ, the people of God. That is a pastoral task and hence the two functions should be linked in my opinion. Which is why I see - from a catholic perspective - every reason why women who - it is admitted on all sides - fulfil a pastoral role and do it very well - shouldn't be admitted to the priesthood.

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AlastairW
Apprentice
# 445

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Hang on - can I just clarify (as an Anglcian clergyman) that the Church of England here as often tries to have a foot in both camps and ends up doing the theological splits.
But, as far as I'm concerned, when I'm standing at the communion table I am doing exactly what the new English Common Worship book says - I am "presiding". It's not me, I am simply the focus of the corproate worship of the two or three (or more!) gathered around in Christ's name to meet him in the symbols of bread and wine.
I am given authority to preside on everyone's behalf by my ordiantion.
Incidentally (a) this means I think I should also be able to delelgate this authority to preside to other church members, as I delegate the authority to preach.
And (b) I know from experience that working with a female colleague and taking turns at presiding enhances the worship, and makes a visual and practical statement about the onenes in Christ Paul teaches in Galatians 3:28.
Oh yes, and to go back to an earlier query, there is no difference between "priest" and "minister" - just two different wrods for the same thing!

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ptarmigan
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# 138

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quote:
Originally posted by sacredthree:
Erm, what about all the woman anglo catholic priests? I dislike this blanket "all high church anglicans are anti woman priests" just because of Forward if Faith. It's like saying "All evangelicals are against women Priests" because of Reform.


In the C of E, the opponents come from two small opposite and extreme wings of Evangelicalism and High-churchism. Most people are in favour, and they are a growing majority.

Generally even the most stalwart opponents of the principle of women priests gradually mellow if they have any contact with actual women priests. Hence the ostrich mentality of F in F.

Theology is influenced by experience.

Can anyone imagine a person born in this century growing up to think that women can't be priests? Let's get real folks.

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


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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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ChastMastr: by "subjugation" I did not mean male headship as Paul discusses it. I meant the Church's disgraceful record of encouraging men to view women as enticements to sin, the medieval antifeminist tradition which reinforced priestly celibacy primarily by describing women as evil, the fact that the Church has historically viewed and treated women as second-class human beings. For too long the Church looked the other way, or even gave approval, when men beat their wives -- this alone for me is enough to discredit tradition as a guide in the matter at hand.
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Pyx_e

Quixotic Tilter
# 57

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with all due respect alistairw, in my opinion there is a HUGE difference between minister and priest. maybe a idea for another thread but you cant just toss that in and have it unchallenged.

it is part of this stretching the C of E goes through that trinity theological college in bristol trains christian ministers, most of whom go on to be ordained deacon and priest ( and because of the blind spots in their training have no idea what it means to be a priest as opposed to a minister), go look at their web site.

sigh it points to a difference in theological approach that is fairly obvious and for you to suggest that their isnt a difference is either niave or silly.


P

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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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erm, pyx_e, me old fruit - have you been reading a lot of Don Marquis recently?

I think we have to be clear here - all traditions have differences on the issue of women in the priesthood. It's not an issue of labels - the only group that could possibly deemed to be unanimous on it within, say, the CofE, are that amorphous centre-less blob called "Liberals".

Anglo-Catholicism is not uniform on this - cp. the difference between FiF and Affirming Catholicism. On my first visit to my Anglo-Catholic Parish Church I was preched at by a woman, deaconed to by another woman, and had a woman as my representative presiding at the Eucharist.

Evangelicals are split on this issue - you have the likes of REFORM, who on the one hand despise most AC-ism, but have entered into a marriage of convenience with them on this point. It should be noted that it was the 2-1 split within the Evangelical constituency in favour of women that swung the '92 vote.

Roman Catholicism has its voices - Dr Lavinia Byrne being a notable one. And Elisabeth Behr-Sigel has written on this subject from an Orthodox point of view (I understand - from Kallistos Ware's [see the MW report on the Orthodox service in Oxford] "The Orthodox Church" that the last Patriarch of Alexandria had floated the idea as well).

However, the two "sides" - Catholic and Evangelical - argue from different positions. The Evangelical attitude is based on reading Paul as applicable today. The Catholic/Orthodox teaching, however, is more theologically nuanced - and Gregory summarises it as follows:

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

I refer to my long and tedious post on the "plumbing" thread as to my view of this argument. Suffice it to say here that this approach requires a reading of the Nicene phrase, "he came down from heaven and was made man" as emphasising being made "a man" rather than "human".

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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
Gill
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# 102

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quote:
The congregations of naughty men have sought after my soul

Wey hey! Lead me to 'em!

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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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quote:
Originally posted by Gill:
Wey hey! Lead me to 'em!

Shame on you, Ms Ashton! How dare mock the great words of Coverdale! When we consider what he has achieved - giving us the English Psalter AND have a successful second career in Deep Purple, with whom he had such hits as --.....Oh hang, that's David Coverdale, isn't it? Doh!

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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
Gill
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# 102

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I wasn't mocking, I was agreeing!

ROFLMAO

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Hogspawn
Apprentice
# 924

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I am man, a believing catholicy anglican, but not a priest. What's the difference between a priest and me? Sorry to ask the disingenuous question. I just wonder how many different answers there are to this.
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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Alistair W

Speaking as a former "Anglican clergyman" let me assure you that a great section of the CofE simply tolerates the use of "President" in Common Worship (from its precursor the ASB). The eucharistic theology of the "meeting chairperson" is a dated 80's thing and not catholic eucharistic theology at all. In you tradition "minister" and "priest" may be synonymous but in others they are not.

To the Catholic Anglican layman who wants to know the difference between himself and a priest ... as to sin, no difference. As to role as a Christian minister (both of you) the priest is charged with a charism and an office that have not (as yet) been recognised in yourself. You undoubtedly will have charisms and offices which he has not as well. Together you make a great team ... the body of Christ.

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

Ship's scavenger
# 139

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OK, I'm confused again. Priest is not minister.

Since neither of these are New Testament terms, can anyone give me a statement on how these terms are supposed to relate to elder, overseer, deacon and pastor (apostle, prophet and evangelist too if you want)?

Also, can anyone give me a New Testament explanation for this? Since priest in the New Testament only refers to the whole church, how is priest so unique in these churches?

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Pyx_e

Quixotic Tilter
# 57

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dyfrig , on this board i ougth to read don quixote

also i have no wish to divert this thread away from is discussion on "bits that do or dont make a difference" , is anyone is serious about discussinf the priest/minister thing than start a thread. but PLEASE dont us the " its not in the bible so it cant be right " argument . that is niave, silly and boring ALL at the same time. perhaps we should start a thread of "things not in the bible that we chriatians use every day" the list is endless and most have helped us get on with loving God.

P

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It is better to be Kind than right.


Posts: 9778 | From: The Dark Tower | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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Angloid, your point is obviously self-evident to you, but please can you explain why being a woman would preclude someone from preforming pastoral tasks ("Bringing together the people of God")?

As a woman, the last 20 years of my life have been spent pastoring! Family, school, even groups at Uni who naturally sort of fell into place under me.(!) It seems to me that relationally women are well-equipped to be pastors. PLUS they don't have willies telling them what to think all the time! (Unless there are some on the PCC of course...)

Hey Father G - there's one for the other thread - women tend to relate better. Is that admissible?

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Posts: 1828 | From: not drowning but waving... | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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Aha, thanks Ruth! Yes, things got rough but I think later on -- in the Middle Ages (which is a period I love in some ways but not in others -- like the Renaissance, etc.) some things were not as good as in, say, the so-called Dark Ages. But I'm not talking about a comparatively recent period of tradition, or limited to one part of Europe; I'm talking about two thousand years in the Catholic Church Universal, i.e. the churches which I believe to have "valid" Apostolic Succession, the Roman, Eastern and Anglican. I don't at all agree with the rather strange (and to me heretical) notions of women as more evil than men, etc., which became popular later on, and were not universal in the Church.

I should point out here, at the risk of offending my more Protestant brethren, that from my point of view the clergy of all non-Catholic (in this sense) Christian denominations are not "priests" in the sense I mean here at all, whatever their sex. (But then in the sense I mean, many of them would say, "Good!" as they'd think I'm calling them idolaters or magicians due to my view of Communion and the Sacraments in general.) We are all still brothers and sisters regardless, and I trust that Jesus will reconcile us all in the end later -- I'm just pointing this out because for me the issue is not whether a woman can do what a Baptist minister does -- it has to do with things Baptist ministers do not do at all (for them, the bread and wine/juice are only symbolic and such). It's whether she can be truly consecrated priest.

David
Probably looking loonier/more schismatic than ever now

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


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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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[Waves finger] Ah-ah-ah, pye_e babes:

PLEASE dont us the " its not in the bible so it cant be right " argument . that is niave, silly and boring ALL at the same time

I have already had to give Gregory a smack for this line of arguing (see Councils thread). Just because you find something desperately dull doesn't make it right or wrong. Our entertainment value to you is not a measure of truth. I would respectfully point out to you that any appeal to "Tradition" must, be defintion, take the Scriptural part of that Tradition deadly seriously, as it's as much part of that organic process as anything else.

Now, you have a choice. Either:

(a) justify your threefold condemnation of a significant section of the readership of this board, with quotations and illustrations of why the written testimony of Peter, Paul, James, John, Jude, and the Evangelists should not be appealed to in this discussion (and we shall say no more about it) or

(b) I shall have to put you over my knee.

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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
Nightlamp
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# 266

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The modern theology of priesthood can really be owes its thanks to Cyprian (or not as the case maybe) 3rd Century church Father and Bishop.
He started to call the church elders (presbyters) Priests. In contrast to Augustine who remaining calling them Presbyters.

Bishops were really in hose days considered to be the first amongst equals since they were the overseers of the Elders nad generally elected from among the priests. so to me it is totally illogical to have female priests (presbyters) but not Bishops.

Cyprian started to tie OT theology of priesthood into presbyters (church eldership)and then being people of a different order and sacred in some way It fitted in very nicely with his theology of the eucharist.

He introduced the idea of the Bishop standing in the place of christ at the eucharist which later developed as the Priest (presbyter) standing in the place of the Bishop.

Why did he do this? partly because he was attempting to increase the authority of Bishops against heresy (isn't power the source of so many bad things)and to to avoid his presbyters being conscripted into the wars so he created a theology saying they were set aside and special and hence not eligible to being in the wars.


In the BCP minister and priest are considered to mean the same thing as is Presbyter and Priest in the ASB so to be in the anglican tradition to say they mean something different is at least odd.

I am not saying the modern doctrine of Priesthood is wrong simply that its origin is a tleast murky.

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I don't know what you are talking about so it couldn't have been that important- Nightlamp


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Pyx_e

Quixotic Tilter
# 57

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it is childish to say " it aint in the bible so i wont belive it" there is so much in the bible that we dont belive AND so much that is not in the bible that we do belive.

its in the bible but we ignore, slavery , women being silent, dress code , usery.

it aint in the bible but we use it, the trinity, the creeds ,the doctrines of the fall , redemtion and justification by faith.

resorting to this argument is often a bullying tactic, or an evading one. one claiming the unisalable high ground of supposed biblical authority and the other a un-thought out throw away to shut up someone who is annoying them.

the term priest is not found in the NT but we have had priests for 17 centuries ! also we know that the word was derived form the word presbyter which is in the NT. its silly.

the discussion should be about difference in roles between priest and minister , percieved and actual.


P

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It is better to be Kind than right.


Posts: 9778 | From: The Dark Tower | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Thanks, pyx (which windmills are you tilting at in particular? )

If you look at URL=http://www.cired.org/faith/priest.html]this Assyrian Orthodox Church site[/URL] (the crowd gasps as Lewis finally manages to conquer URL links) you'll find an interesting and quite lucid explanation of why a "priest" is needed.

However, it doesn't explore the issue of why that priest has to be a man.

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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
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Hell, damn and bugger it!

Try again:

this Assyrian Orthodox Church site

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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
Lyra
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# 267

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Just come in on this, and I'm afraid I haven't had the time to read each post carefully.

But from a very subjective point of view - if God has a problem with women priests, he should stop calling us. Or does someone think this was all my idea? Because trust me, the cost of answering this call has been just about everything I had.

You can argue theology all you like. Me, I'm going to do that which is given me to do, and be what I am called by God to be. And as long as I'm following him, I can cope with everyone else arguing about the theory.

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Erm, what about all the woman anglo catholic priests? I dislike this blanket "all high church anglicans are anti woman priests" just because of Forward if Faith. It's like saying "All evangelicals are against women Priests" because of Reform.

Of the High Anglican Churches in walking distance from my house [about three!] all of them oppose women priests. When I asked one of the wardens why I was told it was because of their beliefs about communion. Given that these are my only encounters with HC I've assumed they're typical - sorry! When I was CofE I was low church

Tubbs

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Posts: 12618 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nicolemr
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# 28

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father greg, you said:

quote:
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.

um, why? thats to say, why is sex/gender a bar to this relationship? i admit that there are some differences between male and female, though not so many or as important as you seem to feel, but why does that preclude this relationship?

i guess what i'm really asking is, what do males have that females don't that makes them fit to be preiests, from your point of view, and females not?

it seems like your arguing in circles. women can't be preiests because they are female, because females can't be preiests because they aren't male. but whats the reason? what is this essence of maleness that it requires to relate to god in the way a preiest does?

and if you can't define it, then why should i believe that it exists?

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


Posts: 11621 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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Well, one argument some say has weight is this:

(1) God is masculine in relationship to His creation and to the Church; He is the Bridegroom and we are the Bride; He impregnates us, not we Him. Masculinity and femininity, as part of the order of the universe (and not merely in human culture, certainly not merely human constructions), exist to represent/symbolise/more? these two mystical poles of reality.

(2) The tradition of male-only priests (as well as other things) partly conveys this cosmic order on a sacramental level.

This does not prove that women should not be priests; there may be counter-arguments -- but this may be one aspect of this issue.

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


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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Nicole

The maleness of Jesus is the issue here. Do you remember my comment about the two different kinds of representation:-

(1) Ambassador for the Queen .... the ambassador does not have to be female.
(2) Macbeth ... the role is better played by a male.

There are limitations of course in the second example .... in the Eucharist the priest does not "play" Jesus .... Jesus acts through him.

This is the essential difference between Protestant and Catholic/Orthodox eucharistic theology in relation to the priest.

The next question of course is:- "Did Jesus have to be male?" There are several possibilities:-

(1) No but according to God's plan, yes, because it was a defective culture.
(2) Yes because it was the divinely appointed culture.

Those who subscribe to (1) must admit of some limitation or constraint on the Christ event. Those who subscribe (2) insist on divine rectitude in essential matters .... the gender of Christ is not an inconsequential matter, they say.

How can we discern the right path:-

(a) Dismiss the question as irrelevant. Christ could have been male or female. He just happened to be male. Spin of the genetic coin. That, however, is essentially the same as (1) since it makes God's act mindless .... unless of course gender is completely irrelevant. It didn't seem to be completely irrelevant to Christ Himself of course as this revolutionary agent of God ... or rather God Himself would have made a better balanced choice for his disciples. So, would Jesus commit himself to something he knew to be wrong just to defer to cultural expectations? Jesus the Englishman? the arch-pragmatist? I don't think so. Hardly seems worth dying for does it?

(b) We could try and answer the question of course ... but the result is much the same if we assume that (1) it was important (2) God knew what He was doing.

Since we can assume that God did know what He was doing we are pushed to consider in what way gender might indeed be important and even determinative.

This is why the main action on this question lies on the other thread about "plumbing." I am going there now!

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


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

Ship's scavenger
# 139

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1) If Jesus' masculinity was such an issue, would he not have exercised it? Instead, he gives an example to those who, in imitation of him, have made themselves eunuchs.

2) Those who are "Oh, so bored" with the scripture v tradition debate need to read their New Testament again and watch Jesus dismantling the traditions of the elders because THEY WERE WRONG!

Does 1700 years of tradition invalidate scripture if scripture is implacably opposed to something?

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Warning: Mid-life crisis in progress


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Nunc Dimittis
Seamstress of Sound
# 848

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A word in answer to Fr Fiddleback's statement re the Diocese of Sydney.

Women are not silent, in accord with St Paul's supposed dictums. They can sing, lead the music group, put overheads on the OH projector... Levels of forbidden-ness vary from place to place. At the Cathedral (until recently) a woman could preach, lead the prayers, and read lessons. Technically women may be ordained deacons in Sydney, which means they can technically marry people, and baptise, as well as preach or lead services of Morning or Evening prayer (or their equivalents).

They are not allowed at all to be priests.

However it does extend deeper in places where the Jensens hold most ferociously. Women there are not allowed to have any spoken part in leadership of services. Even at the Cathedral, the male clergy looked down on the women who did preach there, and the main liturgical action was performed by men.

The whole lay presidency thing was "suggested" as a "response" or "solution" to the ordination of women debate in the Diocese. "If we throw them a milksop they will go away." This comes from several misunderstandings:
1) "What those in favour of Women's Ordination want is to preside at Communion"
2) "lay presidency is a shortcut where we can say everyone can preside at the Eucharist, but then we can take away and ban all ministry of women in the Diocese"
3) "priesthood relates to an administrative function only. There is no sacramental importance to the role or title, all Christians (ie the Elect) being a priesthood, and there is nothing pertaining to the leading of services a "presbyter" does which could not be done by any other male in the congregation."

They take the authority thing of Paul very seriously - but as with many of their kind who are fundamentalist literalists, other things can be overlooked and ignored, eg head covering of women (surely an important issue if one takes everything Paul says as literal and binding on our time? How can one dismiss this as "not relevant to our time"? How is one to decide what is and is not relevant of the rest of Scripture?).

In other words, in regards to lay presidency and to women's ordination, the Diocese has missed the point entirely, probably deliberately, because lay presidency is designed to take the wind out of the sails of all who hold the "specialness of priesthood"...

now I am getting fit to start ranting in Hell. Maybe I should go vent off down there!


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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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I resist being drawn on the differences between men and women side of the womens' ordination debate because I have usually found such arguments to be unhelpful. I start by saying (for example) that men judge distance better than women and women have superior linguistic ability than men and immediately we get a ding-dong between those who think that this is learned behaviour and those who think that it is an evolution thing tied up in our genes. I start off by saying that men's sexuality is different from womens and immediately we get a ding dong between those who see this as ingrained and those who think of it merely as a matter of practice and technique.

So, I want to flush out our feelings and beliefs on this one by asking a prior question. What is it really to be "man" ... to be "woman" ? I notice that this human ontology discomfits some contributors as much as much as ontology in another sphere ... christology. This is a fultural biase in Protestant cultures. We tend to ask:- "What is this for? How does it work?" ... rather than:- "What is this? What is it called to to be/become?"

I will now go a little further ...

The priest at the altar must "image" Jesus since He (Christ) is the celebrating High Priest. In Catholic/Orthodox Eucharistic theology the celebrating priest is not merely a "worship leader" or a representative of Christ in the sense that an ambassador represents the Head of State. In these last two examples the gender of the representative is incidental to He/She who is represented. In the Church, Christ acts through the priest who in ESSENTIAL matters (ie. not being Jewish or circumcised) must configure to Christ Himself.

I have tried to show that gender is an essential and not incidental aspect of our common humanity. I then went on to consider whether or not Christ could have been female. I think I showed that maleness was not incidental or accidental to the Incarnation. I then claimed that the burden of proof ... that God didn't know what He was doing or that 1st century Judaism was a defective culture for the Incarnation (by excluding women from certain functions sacred functions) or that Christ would have knowingly held back from the truth for pragmatic reasons ... this burden of proof falls on those who would ordain women to the priesthood, (and I don't mean Methodist ministers here, I mean priests).

Now, on the matter of WHY 1st century Judaism and Christ Himself did not admit women to certain sacred functions one has first to recognise that women did exercise certain ministerial functions that were to do with the Word, (analagous to Protestant conceptions of ministry ... not priesthood). So, there were women prophets (Anna), women preachers (Mary Magadalene), women religious / political leaders (Esther). In those sacred functions that have a sacramental and sacrificial quality about them though (eg. the Levitical priesthood) women were never admitted.

Now this is not just about menstruation or else post menopausal women might have been priests. It is about how in a sacramental-sacrificial system (which Protestants generally do not have) the priest images the divine action in and through him. The Jews were not blind to the fact that only God can deal with sin and the maleness of the priest that imaged this had everything to do with the fact that Israel had to be distinguished from her pagan neighbours who also had sacramental-sacrificial systems. In these, of course, fertility and not redemption was a primary theme. Not unsurprisingly this gave rise to a debased religiosity where divinity was naturalised and human sexuality divinised. Interestingly, in those sacramental-sacrificial Christian systems where the earth-feminine-mother has reasserted itself (see Rosemary Radford Ruether's "Women Church") the priesting of women (why do Christians resist the term "priestess"?) is part and parcel of a religious reconstruction in which the Universe is born out of the God-Womb or Cosmic Egg.

This radical feminist agenda literally creates a new religion where "God" is stripped of transcendence and Fox-like we equate spirituality with getting better acquainted with our sensuality (Sex 'n Dirt School).

Protestant Christians avoid this altogether by sticking to their non-sacramental non-sacrificial practice of ministry ... but this is not the same as priesthood where the Image, Presence and Action are controlling factors.

The key isue then is whether there is any virtue in the sacramental-sacrificial system? (NO! I hear all our Protestant brethren shout!) There IS because look what happens when you dump it! You get a cultus completely indifferent to gender which then conditions people to thinking of their own gender and sexuality as merely "plumbing" or an inconsequential aspect of their humanity. In arguing their case our Protestant brethren are really arguing backwards from their own conclusions. The difference with us Orthodox and Catholics is that SEX / GENDER MATTERS.

... which brings me finally to the key issue ...

in what sense(s) does sex / gender matter?

because:-

(1) As Ian has shown the only way to be human is to be man or woman
.... as to Ruth's example of chromosomal abnormalities .... exceptions make bad law.

(2) Mens' and womens' sexuality is different. It's not just a question of intercourse, it's to do with how we relate to each other.

(3) In religious symbolism the fertility component must be feminine and on the human side. To divinise it leads to idolatry and pagnism. That is why the role of Mary .... on the human side .... is so important in orthodox Christianity.

So the gentle goading about "tell us the disabling differences ... anything you can do we can do" ... misses the mark by a long way. There is nothing that a man could DO in priesthood or anything else that a woman couldn't DO as well if not better. Let's be clear about that. Arguments concerning female ordination from the Orthodox/Catholic side have nothing to do with function and everything to do with being man or woman, sexuality and imaging God as transcendent to the material realm.

I am sure that there will be a lot more to be said about this.

I have posted this on the "plumbing" thread because I have now brought these two threads together. They may or may not diverge again. I just didn't want the male / female issues to get lost (as they usually do) in equal opportunities.

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


Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
Shipmate
# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:

The next question of course is:- "Did Jesus have to be male?" There are several possibilities:-

(1) No but according to God's plan, yes, because it was a defective culture.
(2) Yes because it was the divinely appointed culture.



Not to mention a Divinely appointed human biology. I believe human sex (and gender also) is, itself, symbolic. (But then I think you do too -- just wanted to chime in...)

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

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
The key isue then is whether there is any virtue in the sacramental-sacrificial system? (NO! I hear all our Protestant brethren shout!) There IS because look what happens when you dump it! You get a cultus completely indifferent to gender which then conditions people to thinking of their own gender and sexuality as merely "plumbing" or an inconsequential aspect of their humanity. In arguing their case our Protestant brethren are really arguing backwards from their own conclusions. The difference with us Orthodox and Catholics is that SEX / GENDER MATTERS.

Excuse me!!! I would like to disagree with you on the following points:

  • null
  • I don't think any of the Protestants here said that there wasn't any value in the sacramental-sacrifical system. It's just our [my?] tradition doesn't put as much emphasis on it. In my church preaching and living the Word is considered more important

  • I don't think any of us are indifferent to gender - it's just that I don't consider gender to be one of the limitations that should be used when working out what roles men and women should play in the church. The job should go to the candidate with the best ability - whatever their sex.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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


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ChastMastr
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# 716

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I'd say the only reason there is "virtue" in the "sacramental-sacrificial system" is if it is true. If it is forbidden idolatry/sorcery, then chuck it. If it is ordained by God, then keep it. If it is a mix, try to understand what parts are wheat and what parts are chaff. We may have gained insights from all sorts of things, or been confused by all sorts of things, but that's a secondary issue to whether or not this view of the Sacraments is, or is not, correct to one degree or another. Maybe the view of women (one kind of Protestant might say) is the one good thing in a sea of lies; maybe the view of women (one kind of Catholic might say) is the only confused part in a truly Godly institution. But in any case I don't consider -- non-feminist though I am (in this case, anyway), sacramentalist though I am -- the view of women to be the main thing in our doctrine of sacraments.

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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
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

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Gill: you take me to task for saying
quote:
Which is why I see - from a catholic perspective - every reason why women who - it is admitted on all sides - fulfil a pastoral role and do it very well - shouldn't be admitted to the priesthood.

and it's only now I realise what I said - the exact opposite of what I meant! I meant to say 'there is every reason why women...SHOULD be admitted to the priesthood.'
Hope that clarifies matters. Sorry about that. It's dangerous writing complicated sentences in these little boxes.

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

Posts: 12891 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Amos

Shipmate
# 44

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Fr. Gregory--you refer to Christ's Jewishness as an inessential element of his particularity. Are you quite sure that this is so? How could He have been anything else?
Amos

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At the end of the day we face our Maker alongside Jesus--ken

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Amos

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# 44

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Apologies for double-posting. It also occurs to me that the logic of the argument for a male-only priesthood demands that communion be received only by females, since only a female can represent the essential femininity of the Bride.
Amos

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At the end of the day we face our Maker alongside Jesus--ken

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Angloid
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# 159

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Fr Gregory
quote:
The priest at the altar must "image" Jesus since He (Christ) is the celebrating High Priest.

You present your case eloquently and well. I tend to agree with the above point. Except that I still can't see why a woman can't image Christ unless she can't either share in the full benefits of baptism. Call me a pragmatic and illogical anglican if you wish (I am , but if there was something intrinsically unnatural in a woman presiding at the altar, you'd think that witnessing it for the first time at least would be unnerving. My experience has been quite the opposite.

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

Posts: 12891 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pyx_e

Quixotic Tilter
# 57

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I am opposed to the ordination of women (because it is a devisive issue) BUT i am in favour ordaining everyone that God calls , male female or as in the bristol diocese , both , do you SERIOUSLEY think God gives a shit ?

Pyx_e

oh i feel better now

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It is better to be Kind than right.


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Nicolemr
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# 28

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ok, why is it that of all the human characteristics of jesus (after all, he was, in no particular order, jewish, "white" (as opposed to negro, not white in the sense of blond blue-eyed aryan...), a semite, either right-handed or left-handed (ever think of that one? maybe only lefties can be real priests), brown-haired (probably... but who knows, maybe he was prematurly bald!), circumsized, not to tall (in all likelyhood), and so on. of all those things, why is "male" the only one that is neccessary for someone to be in order to "image" him? indeed, since salvation is for all humanity, why is any specific charicteristic neccessary?

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

Posts: 11621 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
AlastairW
Apprentice
# 445

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Fr Gregory Says "The priest at the altar must image Jesus because he is the celebrating Great High Priest"
For me this sums up neatly why those churches which argue for priesthood are precisely wrong.
The whole point of the letter to the Hebrews is that, through his death and self offering in it, all systems of priestly sacrifice achieving limited forgiveness, and the sacrifical systems that went with them, have been fulfilled = completed = rendered irrelevant by the work of God in Jesus. He is the Great High Priest, who by his once and for all sacrifice of his historical death, has abrogated the whole human sacrificial system.
Therefore, to continue to want to claim a priesthood offering / renewing / repeating a sacrifice is to do precisely what many from a Jewish backrgound in the NT times wanted to do (CF Acts, Galatians) - reintroduce parts of the Old system / covenant into the New.
As Paul, Hebrews etc make clear you simply can't do this - God has made all thigns new in Christ. And one of the most basic ways in which he makes all things new is by providing direct access to himself for all in fulfilment of his own promises (ie by coming to us in his gift of the Spirit at Pentecost).
In the new Testametn context we are all the body of Christ, we are all the image of Christ (male and female, Gentile and Jew, slave and free).
TO go back on that, to reintrodcue a sacrificing priesthood, or any other special sub category or class within the Kingdom, is to undermine what God has done in Jesus.
And that, for me, however nicely worded the arguments, is final.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Alastair

We do not believe in a sacrificing priesthood in the way you describe it. Nothing can add to the significance of what God in Christ did for all on the Cross. We do however believe that in the Eucharist all the benefits of Calvary are re-presented to the world, (1 Corinthians 11:26). The priest images this presentation and Christ through Him does it.

Dear Amos

I made a misleading comment. I was resisting the idea of the necessity of the priest being ethnically Jewish and circumcised in order to image Jesus the Jew. The mission to the Gentiles makes of Christ the Jew something more.

As to Communion being received only by females because the Church is the bride ... no that doesn't follow because the feminine imagery of the Church refers to the responsiveness of the human ... males included. Men and women alike both honour Lour Lady's "fiat."

Dear Angloid and Nicole

The continuing mismeeting of minds here is because there is a disagreement over the significance of gender / sexuality when compared with other features which are ephmerally human rather than systemically human. Gender / sexuality for us is not simply a matter of charism or roles but human identity. It's very difficult I think in the Protestant tradition to appreciate what a high value we place in the feminine in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy. That also doesn't help.

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


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Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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I resist being drawn on the differences between men and women side of the womens' ordination debate because I have usually found such arguments to be unhelpful.

I'll BET you have! LOL

I think your last post is a semantic mish-mash to try to get out of the hole you've dug yourself into.

Systematically human? Okay - back to Nicole's list, then... baldness, etc.

I always thought the main thrust of the Gosepl was that Christ took on HUMANITY, not MALENESS.

Otherwise salvation would only be extended to men.

Therefore it should be possible for any human to image him. And I still haven't seen a convincing argument as to why women can't do so.

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Still hanging in there...


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Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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Angloid - thanks! That explains it!

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Still hanging in there...

Posts: 1828 | From: not drowning but waving... | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hooker's Trick

Admin Emeritus and Guardian of the Gin
# 89

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Well well. I always wonder if the arguments about the priesting of women are theological or sociological in nature? It would be refreshing if some people would get their heads out of their arses long enough to confront whether they are making sociological statements defended by theology or theological statements defended by sociology. Or just be honest enough to admit to doing both because the Church Militant is both sociological and theological.

Now, down to business.

ChastMastr. I'm sorry but the "we've been doing it this way for a long time so mustn't change" doesn't wash even for the Catholics amongst us. How about (male) priests being married? The church has changed its mind on that one a couple of times. Which way is right? How about the frequency with which we make our communion? Again, the church has changed its mind about that -- maybe we should go back to receiving in one kind only, or to receiving only two or three times per anum. Oh, and how about the supremacy of the bishop of Rome? We "Catholics" can't agree about that, and even the Roman church evolved in its doctrine of Papal supremacy and infallibility. Tradition evolves.

nicole. I think you're forgetting that people like Fr Gregory do not think that what your clergyperson does with bread and grape juice is a Sacrament at all. Does that help in your confusion? Actually, I think it's terribly amusing that Fr Gregory would argue with you about whether your Methodist minister could be a woman because by his understanding it doesn't make any difference since Methodists aren't priests and don't celebrate valid Eucharists anyway.

Fr Gregory: Why do all your posts seem to be long and eloquent ways of saying the same thing "this is true, this I know, because the Orthodox church told me so."?

A final thought.

What about transsexuals? What if a woman gets a sex-change operation and aquires all the appropriate equipment. Could s/he then be ordained priest? I hear some of you saying "certainly not". If it's not the willy that makes the difference, what is it and how do you know you've got it? Chromosomes, presumably. Awfully clever of God to write valid consecration in the genetic code, no?

HT

Oh -- by the way. For those of the Anglican persuasion. In 100 years this is going to be old news, and we'll be saying OF COURSE women should be ordained because we've been doing it for so long. 150 years ago you'd have been hard-pressed to find an Anglican church with candles on the altar. Odd how quickly we get used to "norms".


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Honest Ron Bacardi
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# 38

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Hooker's Trick wrote -
quote:
Oh -- by the way. For those of the Anglican persuasion. In 100 years this is going to be old news, and we'll be saying OF COURSE women should be ordained because we've been doing it for so long.

Yes - fully accepted that could be the case. Although I note that your argument depends on tradition It would be wrong to turn this into an Anglican thread, but such a focus is inevitable given the fact that of the churches that claim an ordained priestly ministry, it is the Anglicans and Old Catholics who have gone down this route.

However, what concerns me is an alternative scenario akin to what seems to have happened to the early Johannine Church. Judging by the J. epistles, a substantial number judged themselves guided only by their personal paraclete - obviously oblivious to claims that "that (i.e. the Gospel of J.) is not what it meant". Historically, what happened is that this group spiralled off into Marcionism & Gnosticism - and it seems to be agreed by Johannine historians such as Raymond Brown that this could well have been the main body in terms of numbers. The rest - the rump - hooked into the catholic church and became an important voice in mainstream thought.

I spend quite a bit of time listening to Anglican voices from all over the world - it seems to me that the new leadings of the Spirit (or is that with a lower-case "s"?) resemble this latter scenario far more than the first. Certainly as judged by the utterances of major figures in the US and Canadian churches. Australia and the UK being not that far behind. I suppose that in this case, "mainstream catholicism" would be replaced by Rome, Orthodoxy and the Evangelical mainstream.

But the real nightmare is this. If the ordination of women as priests is a good and proper thing, then if this auto-marginalisation of Anglicanism occurs, The Cause will assuredly sink with it. Who will suffer from this? Why, women of course - again. Gnostics, Marcionites, Collyridians - all had women priests, and quite a bit of the thinking of the early church in this area was tied up with the refutation of these heresies. That would happen again.

I would be interested in a more detailed analysis by HT (or anyone else obviously) as to why the first scenario seems so likely to you.

Thanks
Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


Posts: 4759 | From: the corridors of Pah! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:
ChastMastr. I'm sorry but the "we've been doing it this way for a long time so mustn't change" doesn't wash even for the Catholics amongst us. How about (male) priests being married? The church has changed its mind on that one a couple of times. Which way is right? How about the frequency with which we make our communion? Again, the church has changed its mind about that -- maybe we should go back to receiving in one kind only, or to receiving only two or three times per anum. Oh, and how about the supremacy of the bishop of Rome? We "Catholics" can't agree about that, and even the Roman church evolved in its doctrine of Papal supremacy and infallibility. Tradition evolves.
...
What about transsexuals?


quote:
How about (male) priests being married? The church has changed its mind on that one a couple of times. Which way is right?
When did the catholic church universal change its mind on that? The early church allowed it, the Eastern Orthodox never stopped allowing it, and the Roman Catholic church is the only one which has insisted on it.

quote:
How about the frequency with which we make our communion? Again, the church has changed its mind about that -- maybe we should go back to receiving in one kind only, or to receiving only two or three times per anum.
I'd say that's not a difference in theology but in practice, and often had to do with logistical and practical matters rather than belief in the nature of Communion itself.
quote:
Oh, and how about the supremacy of the bishop of Rome? We "Catholics" can't agree about that,
That's correct; but we do agree, or rather did till very very recently, on the issue of the ordination of women, which is my point. I consider those areas on which ... let's do it in reverse alphabetical this time (alas, my Eastern friends get stuck in the middle again) Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans all agree, or have agreed up till very recently ... to be doctrinally more important than our differences. (Even the RC and EO churches in recent times agreed that the filioque clause was not a real obstacle nor a genuine doctrinal difference, or so I have heard.)
quote:
I'm sorry but the "we've been doing it this way for a long time so mustn't change" doesn't wash even for the Catholics amongst us.
Well, it does "wash" for quite a few of us, actually; what do you mean to say here?

Speaking as someone who entered Christianity from outside, and who had to pick a denomination, I wrestled long and hard over which one to stick with. Which one's theology I thought was most true. It ultimately came down to the RC and the Anglicans (knew little at the time about EO), and while I think our differences matter, and some things did develop, I am struck by the doctrinal consistency of the catholic end of the spectrum for two millennia. If something only developed in the last 500 years, I am much less sure of it than if it was in practice for the fist 500. (Indeed, this is one reason I'm an Anglican, ironically enough; no offence to my RC (and more Protestant) brethren (and sustern), but my readings of Eusebius and other early writers led me to conclude that Apostolic Succession, bishops/priests/deacons, validity of sacraments as sacraments and not merely symbols, etc. were all present from the beginning or jolly close to it -- but that the notion of the Bishop of Rome as earthly Head of the Church was not. There's more to it than that -- I think some of the Anglican doctrinal certainty on certain doctrinal matters (Trinity, etc.) with less absolutism on some others (e.g., we don't make a specific churchwide stand on the precise nature of Holy Communion; we believe it is a real sacrament but do not all subscribe to the Lutheran consubstantiation or the RC transubstantiation) certainly makes more sense to me (the Reason part of the three-legged stool (inc. Scripture and Christian Tradition) that is this complete breakfast) than many other things. But to get into everything I believe here (gone on too long already) would be inappropriate.

quote:
What about transsexuals?
Well, I'd say one important bit -- which is really a different issue -- is "does an operation and hormone treatments make someone really another sex or gender?" I do not see how it does, but this gets back into ontology and essence and so forth (in which DNA may very well be a relevant factor; the separate DNA is certainly an issue for some of us who wrestle with the abortion issue). It's not the possession of something crafted to look like a penis which makes someone a man or not.

And obviously I'm an essentialist rather than an existentialist in all of these matters...

Agh, running late to work now. Look, folks, despite our differences, we are all agreed that we are Christians and that we are trying to love Jesus and one another above all else, aren't we? Yes, I think these are important issues, but I think tempers are starting to run high here and on other gender-related threads, and I think that whoever is right -- and we should not stop arguing -- we need to recognize that the other side is sincere and trying to live out their faith as best they can, yes?

God bless,

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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Agreed David but I must reply on 2 non-related matters ...

Strange as though it may be to understand for other Christians and Christian traditions I find MY OWN way of believing congruent with what the Orthodox Church teaches. I honestly, freely, without constraint or obligation and joyously recognise that faith as my own ... poor benighted fellow that I am!

Speaking very simply let me cut through ther semantics ...

Men and women are different and equal.
Some differences make some functions and modes of being more appropriate to either sex.

I'm sorry that's so unacceptable or unfashionable but there it is.

I don't thing anything further can be achieved by this thread. I applaud David's sentiments. Let's get on with gospel.

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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
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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Agreed. But I’d like you to try and do a bit of empathy for me.

Imagine that you go to church and wish to serve the Lord according to your calling and giftings. Now imagine that you get told that you can’t do that because … you’re a woman. [Like we had any choice]. Imagine being told stuff in all seriousious by people in authority like “men were made to manage and women were made to make the tea”. Now imagine how p’eed off you feel. The message you get, even if that’s not what was intended, is that as a woman you’re God’s second best. Not good enough for this or that …

The reason that so many of us get angry is that we’re “as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more”.

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: 12618 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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