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Source: (consider it) Thread: Priestly genitalia [Ordination of Women]
TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
The problem is that I cannot just spell out the specifications God put in all beings. And I am not sure that that's even possible. After all, we are not to assimilate those "specifications" with our ratio. There is another processor for them in man.

The problem for us is that you yourself wanted to talk about the differences between men and women, and what that has to do with the priesthood, so I do believe you're going to have to spell it all out if you want to make the sale.

I notice you haven't responded to Olivia, either, so I'll ask for the fourth time: what characteristics do all men always possess that no women ever do? What behaviors are unique to men, and contrariwise, to women?

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El Greco
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I don't want to make any sale. I am not interested in entering any cultural war, and frankly, I am surprised that instead of focusing on becoming holy, some women bring unrest and schism in their churches by this debate. Perhaps there are hidden benefits in activism, but I only see it as a distraction from Christian's true goal which is sanctity and salvation.

I did make a reply, perhaps one you wouldn't like, but it's there. These things cannot be spelt out so that the secular egalitarian demand gets satisfied. It's more of what one's spiritual eyes can see, than what one's ratio can process in an explicit way. I am surprised with this stance. If you really think that women and men are the same, then I think you have already made up your mind and no discussion is possible; after all, there is no common ground from which to make that discussion.

[ 24. July 2007, 10:10: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
and even though there were more Mothers than Fathers

How do you know that? Is there any evidence for that? I'm asking more out of curiosity for Christian history, rather than to undermine what you are saying in this thread.

quote:
nobody preserved their writings or passed anything much down about them
How do you know they wrote? I thought what we have from the desert fathers comes from travelers that visited them and kept in memory some of their sayings. Most of what I have read from them is sayings anyways. They seemed more interested in getting saved than writing things.

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Rosa Winkel

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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
did make a reply, perhaps one you wouldn't like, but it's there. These things cannot be spelt out so that the secular egalitarian demand gets satisfied. It's more of what one's spiritual eyes can see, than what one's ratio can process in an explicit way. I am surprised with this stance. If you really think that women and men are the same, then I think you have already made up your mind and no discussion is possible; after all, there is no common ground from which to make that discussion.

Well as I said, in my opinion it is difficult to define 'male' and 'female' characteristics when one considers the effect to which the environment can produce those characteristics. I did say however that I do believe there to be general differences.

I would also like to know how there were more 'Mothers' than 'Fathers'.

I would also ask you, Andreas1984 though (funny, in a Liverpool fans forum I go under the name 1984), is to repeat what you may have written elsewhere in this thread: what differences are there between men and women?

[ 24. July 2007, 10:42: Message edited by: Liverpool fan ]

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Qupe
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Andreas, with all genuiune respect, maybe men and women working and ministering together is part of the church's sanctity and the world's salvation, not a distraction from it. My view is certainly not that women and men are the same - IMO all priests, male and female reflect God in their own unique way, and gender is part of that (just as culture, personality, age, tastes, family upbringing etc all contribute to making us the person we are). And IMO we need as many different reflections of God as possible, so as to get a clearer picture of who He really is.

I do appreciate that people have strong views on this subject - coming from a conservative evangelical church I know lots of very devoted christinas who are anti-OoW, and we have 'agrred to disagree'. When I meet up with them now we chat about the (many) things we do have in common, and pretty much steer clear of the subjects on which we know we will disagree. Maybe that's selling out, maybe it's "striving to live at peace with all men"...

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El Greco
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There are many diseases that are more common among members of one sex than another. This indicates that there are many ways in which the bodies of men and women differ. And this includes the human brain. Our brains are part of our bodies and the body-soul dualism developed in Western world gets blurred nowadays.

I remember a spectrum, from the University of Washington, with Asperger's syndrome one the one end, girls near the other end and boys somewhere in the middle (since I don't have the figure at hand, I'm not being precise here; just want to give you the general gist). The way the two genders behave and think on average is different.

There's an interesting article in the Economist, for beginners, on gender differences. Like I said, we are merely beginning, as a scientific community, to explore this issue.

ETA: Cross-posted with Doulos

I hear you. I agree that we reflect God in different ways. I am not that sure that this is the only issue we must take into account with regards to priesthood though.

[ 24. July 2007, 13:26: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Rosa Winkel

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You're right in saying that health issues are different for both sexes: men are more likely to suffer schizophrenia and die of prostrate cancer, to give two examples.

I ask again, what differences are there between men and women? I know there are differences, but what are they, in your view?

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El Greco
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Have a look at the article I linked to. It says much of what I think as well.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
The issue here has to do with the way God gifted humanity, and the diversity He chose. Did He give different gifts to men and women? I think so. After all, this is what diversity means.

If you have a man with the calling to be a priest, a man without the calling to be a priest, a woman without the calling to be a priest, and a woman with the calling to be a priest, then you have more diversity than if you just have the first three and don't have the woman who is called to be a priest.
This is what diversity means. If you have only two genders and everyone who is part of each gender has the same gifts then you don't have as much diversity as if gifts are spread between the genders.

Possibly the reason woman are making a fuss about becoming a priest and causing division is that being a priest is the way in which God wants those women to become holy. Equality isn't some abstract entitlement: it means that if two people are called by God in the same way we recognise the call in the same way.

Dafyd

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Rosa Winkel

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Sorry Andreas, I just read that article which I found brilliant. It'll defo be useful for the workshop I am doing on gender roles next week. [Smile]

So there are differences in things like

men can throw further
men can throw with a higher velocity
women can name more words beginning with the same letter
women are more likely to use emotional aggression
men masturbate more
women are more likely to understand maps through landmarks (well, I do the same, mind)
and a few more

If we are to say that women are to be excluded from the ordained Priesthood due to innate differences between the sexes, then which differences are meant exactly?

Edit in response to Dafyd's post. Yes, it seems that, from the studies, that more male Priests are more likely to be genius. However, they are also more likely to be idiots.

*insert joke about old Team Parish here*

[ 24. July 2007, 14:28: Message edited by: Liverpool fan ]

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El Greco
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Dafyd

a) that's no diversity... there are only two categories there, those called and those not called, the distinction between the two genders is lost there.

b) one does not become a priest to become holy. In fact, in many cases in the past the opposite was true. From those that were holy priests were selected.

c) equality is not something I would go for... Yes, pay respect to everybody, yes honor everybody, but this does not mean we are all the same. After all, star differs from star in glory. I think that term comes with a lot of baggage, and I don't like that baggage.

OliviaG

monks are not only living in monasteries apart from the rest of the world. The monk in question has spent a lot of time interacting and even working with women.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Asperger's syndrome one the one end, girls near the other end and boys somewhere in the middle (since I don't have the figure at hand, I'm not being precise here; just want to give you the general gist). The way the two genders behave and think on average is different.

There's an interesting article in the Economist, for beginners, on gender differences. Like I said, we are merely beginning, as a scientific community, to explore this issue.

All utterly irrelevant to the issues at hand.

If the reason you have men as priests but not women was to do with their natural abilities and biological differences, then some women would quqlify and many men not, because our biological characters overlap. Some men are shorter than some women. Some women run faster than some men. At the extreme the fastest or tallest or strognest women are faster and taller and stronger than all but a tiny minority of men. The same is almost certainly true for psychological characters that differ between sexes.

But the rule of your church is that no women are eligible to be ordained priest at all. So if there are justifiable doctrinal reasons for that they have to be in the field of symbolism and imagery, not of ability and mentality. Everything that a male priest has to actually do to be a priest can be done by at least some women somewhere. So ability cannot be the reason that nop women are ordained.

So talking about the psychological or physiological differences between men and women is of no relevance.

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El Greco
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Liverpool fan

From the article: "That boys and girls—and men and women—are programmed by evolution to behave differently from one another is now widely accepted." and "These differences in structure and wiring do not appear to have any influence on intelligence as measured by IQ tests. It does, however, seem that the sexes carry out these tests in different ways."

Research needs to get done in that direction, I think.

Until we know more about that, and discuss in a church-like way about what science tells us, I don't think we can pinpoint why (if at all) women cannot become priests.

My tradition has a vast experience on the struggle within as one moves towards God, and has developed an understanding of man that is astonishing. There is an issue of translation here, because they did not use the terms we are familiar from modern psychology, but they did an amazing work. We can't just disregard that and go for whatever the cultural wars of our era dictate. I'm making this paragraph to explain that ancient practices and understandings are to be taken into account. Which is quite the opposite of what, at least much of Protestantism, seems to be doing...

I am concerned that we spend our creativity and efforts in winning cultural wars, in winning the world, than we do for the salvation of our souls. If this is true, then all these quarrels do not come from God and have no place in His church.

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
All utterly irrelevant to the issues at hand.

On the contrary. Some here speak as if there is no difference between men and women. This needs to be opposed first, before we can even start exploring what it means to be a priest.

To quote from the above-linked article: "In the past, it was assumed that a female was simply a male with hormones, says Tracey Shors, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University." This is very dangerous for spiritual matters, because it shows no proper understanding of difference and diversity and distinctions.

Now, physiological and psychological differences come into play because science barely begins touching them. As far as I can tell science does not take into account the spiritual issues we get to deal with in Orthodox Christianity. So, unless science expands its paradigm so that it can take into account this spiritual experience, it's no surprise we can't expect it to solve the debate of women's ordination...

[ 24. July 2007, 14:52: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Rosa Winkel

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I can appreciate that past understandings are to be respected. The thing is, various past understandings have been, in the light of further research and experiences, to be wrong. Look at Christian anti-Semetism, for example. (and no, I am NOT saying they are similar [Biased] ). The quoted line about science being found out to be wrong in the past could also be used to talk of understandings of the Bible.

I don't know who was talking about there being no differences between men and women. I wasn't. The differences are, it seems, slight. I do not believe that you have shown why these slight differences should make any difference as to whether women should be ordained.

It seems anyway that you disregard the use of science in making a decision as to whether a women should be ordained, if you believe that science does not go far enough.

Science does, of course, require belief in the conclusions of the analysis. Hence the use of words 'studies show', or 'tests show'. We do the same in Chrisitanity, in that we say 'the Bible says, or 'interpretations say'.

People like myself believe that we are now in a position to look back with a degree of compassion in what was found in the past, but also with criticism.

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El Greco
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Anti-Semitism in the church is an open issue for me, because I am not aware of historical studies about anti-Semitism in the Orthodox Church. Now, what other churches did, that's another issue, and the fact that we are not in communion needs, from my perspective, to be taken into account... Perhaps that's an easy way of avoiding the problem by linking it with a Western Christianity that is in schism from Orthodoxy because of heresy, but perhaps there is some truth there.

I agree with the point you are making though. Personally, I think that the church has been mistaken on her view of the world, thinking that pain and death are results of a Fall and that God did not create them but man is to blame for them. In my view science shows how vital death and pain are (natural selection, among other things) and it proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that death existed long before the first human-like being was born.

I believe that religion must engage with science. I think that "discussion" between science and religion has begun in the West, but we are far from that beginning in Orthodoxy. I get excited when I think about the attempts I know of where people try to see how religious experience fits with the scientific way of seeing the world and vice versa and how both can change by listening to the other. In my view, science needs to take into account the experience of our Saints and the paradigm needs to get changed. Who knows how these things develop in the future?

I don't believe the differences between the genders are slight. Slight might be the differences between me and you, but not between me and OliviaG. Of course, this does not mean that they are so big we are a different species, but they exist and they make life more... interesting! I agree that I haven't shown why the differences we already know of should lead us to conclude that women cannot become priests. After all, we don't even agree/know on what a priest is! My only wish has been to point us to that direction.

What do women priests say about their priesthood? What do people in their parishes say? If they sense no difference exists between the past and the present, then perhaps no such difference exists after all. Of course, this applies for Protestant Churches, so I doubt those conclusions can have any effect in Orthodoxy. But since that's not an issue in Orthodoxy (at least not at the moment), those conclusions can be useful in the debates among Protestants.

[ 24. July 2007, 15:54: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Carys

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That article is looking at statistical variation and I agree there are some tendencies, but that doesn't mean that women and men are distinct just men are more likely to be good at x. One obvious thing is height. If you take all the people over 6 foot tall, most of them are going to be men, but some of them will be women and generally a man will be taller than a woman, but for example, my sister-in-law is taller than my brother. I think what people are looking for on this thread are examples where all men can do something but not any women. People are people and whilst there are traits and tendencies, some women fit the `male' tendencies better than they do the `female' ones and vice versa. But that doesn't get us anywhere on whether women can be priests.

Carys

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El Greco
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Well, of course genes have to do with traits and tendencies... But if differences are perceivable in that level, what happens on a different level? This discussion gets very tricky, because it presupposes a unified view of the world, and we are not close in unifying religion and science... Is our genetical heritage and our way of up-bringing all there is in the way man is constructed?

The fathers speak of "words", "specifications"-"wills" that God implants in all creation. How are those words different between men and women? How can we tell? That's an interesting question, but I am not optimistic that it can be discussed at depth when many are not even aware of that patristic view of the world...

Another interesting question is what a priest is and how he performs his role. The lack of consensus among denominations makes discussion even more difficult.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
"In the past, it was assumed that a female was simply a male with hormones, says Tracey Shors, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University."

Just goes to show that even professors of neuroscience can say stupid things. Or, more likely, get misquoted by journalists who don't understand what it is they did say.

quote:

As far as I can tell science does not take into account the spiritual issues we get to deal with in Orthodox Christianity. So, unless science expands its paradigm so that it can take into account this spiritual experience, it's no surprise we can't expect it to solve the debate of women's ordination...

Quite so. So what's genetics got to do with it?

The reasons your denomination does not ordain women are nothing to do with genes or hormones so they are irrelevant to the argument.

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cor ad cor loquitur
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Now, physiological and psychological differences come into play because science barely begins touching them. As far as I can tell science does not take into account the spiritual issues we get to deal with in Orthodox Christianity. So, unless science expands its paradigm so that it can take into account this spiritual experience, it's no surprise we can't expect it to solve the debate of women's ordination...

Andreas, as far as I can tell virtually nothing, no discipline, no expertise, nothing except your private experience (and that of the church fathers and saints whom you, again privately, identify), can 'take into account the spiritual issues we get to deal with in Orthodox Christianity.'

It seems fruitless to quote soi-disant Orthodox theologians (e.g. Bishop Kallistos) because you tend to write them off as unOrthodox or un-spiritual or "not born from above". Certainly RCs and Protestants don't seem entitled to a voice in this dialogue because we lack the spiritual experience that you claim. So it isn't clear how the "debate about women's ordination" is to be solved; or whether there is a debate going on here at all.

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El Greco
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That was a very cheap shot.

Orthodoxy has developed through the course of many centuries an understanding of the world. It's final form can probably be found in the works of Maximus the Confessor. We are talking about logoi that are especially important theologically speaking because they have their reference to the Logos itself. We see logoi as having to do with God's love. It's not a surprise that modern science does not take into account that aspect of the logoi that has to do with love. Because of that, science does not get to know the world in its wholeness. Do you think that makes it impossible to discuss with me? We also speak about logika beings that are bodiless - angels and demons. Science does not speak about them. Who know, in the future we might get to understand better what the extra-dimensions that get shown up in our equations are. But for the time being, these things are not taken into account.

I find your post hostile and unnecessarily so.

As or the debate, it's not a debate of the catholic church. As far as I can tell, it's only a debate in Protestant churches, and whether what happens among Protestants can have any meaning in Orthodox terms that's another issue altogether.

A very cheap shot...

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Rosa Winkel

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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
What do women priests say about their priesthood? What do people in their parishes say? If they sense no difference exists between the past and the present, then perhaps no such difference exists after all. Of course, this applies for Protestant Churches, so I doubt those conclusions can have any effect in Orthodoxy. But since that's not an issue in Orthodoxy (at least not at the moment), those conclusions can be useful in the debates among Protestants.

I find you more open that other 'Orthodox' I know.

Well if you ask me (I am Anglican and don't consider myself to be Protestant [Biased] ) based on my experience of women Priests:

There was a woman Curate in the Church I was brought up in the early 80's. I knew nothing at the time of women not allowed to be ordained. She was nice and I liked her services.

Later in the same Parish another woman Curate was there. I had a very rough patch at the time and she related to me well and helped me a lot. There was a male Priest in the Parish but I did not turn to him.

The Church I went to when I started with Church again in my 20's was borderline FIF. [Frown] But I also knew some women Priests in a Cathedral I later worked with.

If I was to be asked about differences.....it would be hard. Both the first Curate and male colleagues did good work with children. A male Priest in the borderline FIF Church was helpful pastorally speaking for me. I could relate to the women Priests in the Cathedral well, but then again, I could also do so with the male ones. If ever I have not liked so much the work of a Priest, it has had more to do with personality or their theological, pastoral, liturgical or preaching skills, not to do with their sex.

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Qupe
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There is always the suggestion that (shock, horror) women might actually be better at some things than men! Communication, intuition, nurturing to name three of the most stereotypical.

I'm not saying for one moment that in and of herself a woman would make a better priest than a man, but IMO there are certain aspects of preisthood which are more suited to traditionally feminine qualities (see list above).

I still maintain that men and women ministering together and learning from each other is the closest we are going to get to Paul's "for all are one in Christ Jesus" this side of heaven.

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Rosa Winkel

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So being communicative, intuitive and nurturing is being feminine?!

So I, a man, am being feminine then?

News to my girlfriend, that is.

I'm not attacking you, just arguing against labelling behaviours as being sex specific. We dealt with such things earlier on this same page.

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Qupe
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I did say that these are the qualities most often ascribed to women, in the same way that leadership and physical strength are most often ascribed to men. Of course it's a stereotype, and of course it's a pretty crude one at that.

The point I was trying to make is that when women become priests, they are not trying to become like men (by encroaching upon a traditionally male arena) - women bring a different set of skills, abilities and backgrounds to the priesthood and thereby (IMHO, of course) enlarge the scope of what it means to be a priest, and by representing God women add a new facet of who God is. (I'm sure that's all been said already on this thread. Sorry to repeat.)

I see the OoW as in the same vein as the ordination of more people from different ethnic backgrounds - IMO what is important is that the church is as diverse and therefore as welcoming to people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds, as poss. And IMO the particular issue of diversity within the priesthood is important because priests are the public, visible, vocal, representative bit of the church. It's important that all people are represented. Certainly the CofE I belong to , and other churches round here, are rather monolithically middle-aged middle class white male-dominated. Not that there's anything wrong with being a middle class middle aged white male, of course. These are my vicars and I love them to bits. I would just find a wider spectrum more exciting, that's all.

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
I don't want to make any sale. I am not interested in entering any cultural war, and frankly, I am surprised that instead of focusing on becoming holy, some women bring unrest and schism in their churches by this debate. Perhaps there are hidden benefits in activism, but I only see it as a distraction from Christian's true goal which is sanctity and salvation.

Well this, apart from being insulting, ignores broad swaths of Old Testament witness. I can think of nothing more sad than to have one's vocation denied, and I can hardly fault women with priestly vocations for being strident in their defence when I would do the same. And I find your assertion that one doesn't become a priest to become holy highly suspect. Dafyd's careful wording was perfect, IMO. For some people, the priesthood is how they are called to grow in holiness, just as for some it is the lay estate or the diaconate.

quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
A very cheap shot...

I don't think so, Andreas. You claim to want to debate, which would presumably imply some openness to learning why people support OoW. Yet you seem determined to block any "evidence" in favour of it as, inadmissible, beside the point, or "a cheap shot". You're arguments about gender differences blow my mind. Ken's post sums up my concerns: in talking about the priesthood, we aren't talking about skill sets. You'll have to forgive me for being only familiar with Western Catholic objections to OoW, but they usually take great pains to assure us that women are just as "competent" in ministry as men. The issue is whether they are valid "matter". And I can't confidently say that they are not simply because there are general differences in the way they think/emote from men. As a male - indeed one with Asperger's syndrome - it is not my patterns of thought that I see as the primary relevant quality to my vocation.
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El Greco
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I said earlier that to me the ordination of women is an open question. My arguments are not in favor of the side that says no woman can become a priest. Rather, they are about what we must consider further while we are discussing this issue. By we, I mean the Church as a whole, in a manner fitting to the Church.

I was reading today about Saint Mary of Alexandria. She was a Saint, because she acted in order to change herself, and she was successful at that. Many people I see engaging in cultural wars want to change the world. The focus has shifted and this is very dangerous from a Christian point of view.

After raising my concern for what I see as the unchristian character of activism, I would like to make some additional points.

If God has been ordaining women in priesthood, then the universal church has been unable to hear God until feminism was proposed in the West. I am firm that people do not become priests to fulfill needs of their. The mere fact that we are discussing this shows a gap in thinking.

I pointed to differences in behavior and thinking between men and women, because if we realize that it's not hard to start asking questions about the gift of priesthood. ken replied by lowering the focus to things like running and jumping. I spoke of the mind, in order to go from there to the spirit, and ken spoke for the body, thus shifting the focus, even though what he calls skills are in reality gifts. They might have to do with the body, but this does not diminish their character.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Knopwood
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I don't think God assigns our vocations on the basis of our needs, but once God does so, I'm quite leery about getting in the way.

As far as the spirit goes, I'm not prepared to accept that there are fundamental spiritual differences between men and women. Besides (I think this has been said before) if there are, does that mean that a man who is female in spirit cannot be a priest, and that a woman who is male in spirit can? What about individuals who fall outside of a binary gender system? These are no longer merely theoretical questions, not in natural science, and certainly not in the circles where I travel.

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Comper's Child
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
If God has been ordaining women in priesthood, then the universal church has been unable to hear God until feminism was proposed in the West.

I suppose that could be said for the abolition of slavery as well. Poor God...
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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by Comper's Child:
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
If God has been ordaining women in priesthood, then the universal church has been unable to hear God until feminism was proposed in the West.

I suppose that could be said for the abolition of slavery as well. Poor God...
Yes, that's precisely what bothers me about this argument. People say: "Are you suggesting that the Church was wrong until 1976?!" And I say yes, it was following the grand tradition of error in this matter as it has in the matter of banking in the middle ages, slavery prior to abolition, etc. etc. With a name like "Liturgy Queen", I could hardly take the line that reversal of a long-held position is by nature a bad thing.
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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
After raising my concern for what I see as the unchristian character of activism, I would like to make some additional points.

[Killing me] Obviously these people didn't get the memo.
quote:
I am firm that people do not become priests to fulfill needs of their.
I don't think anyone is saying that. Ego and vanity are dangerous in any profession. People become priests to exercise their talents and fulfill the needs of their neighbours.
quote:
I pointed to differences in behavior and thinking between men and women, because if we realize that it's not hard to start asking questions about the gift of priesthood.
I disagree. You cited an article in the Economist, a popular non-scientific magazine. You have presented stereotypes and generalizations. You have yet to specify even one observable, definable characteristic which is exclusive to men and relevant to the duties of a priest. OliviaG
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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Obviously these people didn't get the memo.

You do realize that none of them has been in communion with my church, right? Unless you think everybody believes in a wide church where all who call ourselves Christians belong to, your replying to a comment I made by pointing to these people is rather strange.

quote:
You cited an article in the Economist, a popular non-scientific magazine.
We are discussing. Informally. In an online forum. What I did was to POINT TO A DIRECTION. It would be unreasonable to think that "proof" can be given here. Yes, I cited an article that speaks of much work done by scientists. The data are there for everyone to study further. I didn't just cite an article. I cited an article and in doing so I gave many opportunities for those that want to pursue the issue further to search on.


quote:
You have yet to specify even one observable, definable characteristic which is exclusive to men and relevant to the duties of a priest. OliviaG
"relevant to the duties of a priest" is the part I would like to comment on. You seem that it is clear what that duties are. From my point of view, we haven't defined that. You want me to show that women can't be priests, when there is no definition of what makes someone a priest! [brick wall]

quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
Besides (I think this has been said before) if there are, does that mean that a man who is female in spirit cannot be a priest, and that a woman who is male in spirit can? What about individuals who fall outside of a binary gender system? These are no longer merely theoretical questions, not in natural science, and certainly not in the circles where I travel.

Very interesting points. And very unsuitable I am to give answers to those questions. What are the official churches doing? Are they giving answers? I think that these issues are pressing and important. What are our shepherds and theologians doing?

quote:
Originally posted by Comper's Child:
I suppose that could be said for the abolition of slavery as well. Poor God...

Could you expand further on what you mean by "abolition"? When did "slavery" for example got abolished in let's say the Byzantine Empire? Why aren't there nowadays slaves here? What happened?

As far as I know, slaves under the Roman Law were people whose mother was a slave, people that had been captured in a battle and people that have sold themselves to pay a debt. In the Byzantine Empire, the rich were told off by the great Saints for their injustice, including their taking people as slaves for debts. Hardly a modern concept to think that all people are to be treated with dignity. The Church has been shouting that for centuries.

quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
With a name like "Liturgy Queen", I could hardly take the line that reversal of a long-held position is by nature a bad thing.

I don't say that reversal IN GENERAL is a bad thing. I am raising concerns about very particular issues. It doesn't mean that my concerns are true. Nevertheless, I am not saying that no change is to be accepted whatsoever.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Comper's Child
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The very fact that slavery continued in the Byzantine Empire and in parts of the West into the 19th century under Christian leadership shows that simply because things were such and such a way in the first century doesn't mean it's God's intention they remain that way. Unless you'd argue that slavery is diivinely sanctioned. Your point that women priests (in any church) is of a late development is a very weak argument IMHO.
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El Greco
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That was not my point in its wholeness. My concern was the link between feminism-activism and ordinations of women. Saints have been condemning injustice for centuries. Both women and men Saints. Why not this particular injustice? And why if now is the time for that to change, why did the activists bring that up and not someone else? Can this be indicative of something?

The way I understand the historical Christian message is that God calls us into salvation. He does not demand that the world gets changed. So, while slavery can exist, God calls the slave to live the freedom that is in Christ and not the freedom that is in the world. He also calls the servant-owner to behave with generosity and kindness because he is not without a Master himself.

If the Church starts focusing on changing the world, then the church becomes just like a political party or movement, it becomes part of the world and misses her reason for existence, the change that MUST happen within before a human person receives Christ in the Banquet within.

[ 27. July 2007, 20:39: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Obviously these people didn't get the memo.

You do realize that none of them has been in communion with my church, right?
You do realize that "in communion with my church" is not the most widely applied definition of Christian, right?
quote:
"relevant to the duties of a priest" is the part I would like to comment on. You seem that it is clear what that duties are. From my point of view, we haven't defined that. You want me to show that women can't be priests, when there is no definition of what makes someone a priest! [brick wall]
If there is no definition of what makes someone a priest, how can you be sure that men can be priests? OliviaG

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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leo
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If he does not demand that the world be changed, why did he bid us pray 'thy kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven?'

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If he does not demand that the world be changed, why did he bid us pray 'thy kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven?'

Funny, I just typed and discarded three posts with those exact words. God is ok with slavery as long as the slaves are Christians and the masters are nice? [Projectile] OliviaG

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
God is ok with slavery as long as the slaves are Christians and the masters are nice?

No. God does not expect us to create a theocracy on earth, like Islam for example seems to be proposing. God meets with us where we are. Even though for example wealth is wicked, God does not demand that we abolish money. God is interested in something much more fundamental. He asks that His Rule (Vasileia) comes into us; He calls us into His Bosom.

I fear that instead of doing the internal work that is necessary, we are spending our time on external work, losing ourselves instead of winning ourselves.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
I said earlier that to me the ordination of women is an open question. My arguments are not in favor of the side that says no woman can become a priest. Rather, they are about what we must consider further while we are discussing this issue. By we, I mean the Church as a whole, in a manner fitting to the Church.

I was reading today about Saint Mary of Alexandria. She was a Saint, because she acted in order to change herself, and she was successful at that. Many people I see engaging in cultural wars want to change the world. The focus has shifted and this is very dangerous from a Christian point of view.

After raising my concern for what I see as the unchristian character of activism, I would like to make some additional points.

If God has been ordaining women in priesthood, then the universal church has been unable to hear God until feminism was proposed in the West. I am firm that people do not become priests to fulfill needs of their. The mere fact that we are discussing this shows a gap in thinking.

I pointed to differences in behavior and thinking between men and women, because if we realize that it's not hard to start asking questions about the gift of priesthood. ken replied by lowering the focus to things like running and jumping. I spoke of the mind, in order to go from there to the spirit, and ken spoke for the body, thus shifting the focus, even though what he calls skills are in reality gifts. They might have to do with the body, but this does not diminish their character.

You are very insulting indeed. Your point of view is holy; people who ask you to explain your point of view are "activists" and "unChristian." (Why is it when women ask men to explain themselves in plain words, they are "strident," BTW?)

People who even discuss this in a way you don't are "lowering the tone." You misrepresent what people are saying here - pretending that somebody has said that "there's no difference between men and women" - while being aggressively insulting as well.

Andreas, if you can't answer a simple question that's been put to you a dozen times already on this thread, I'd say it's nobody else's problem. Fortunately, I've lost all interest at this point.

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Soror Magna
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One more post, and then I flounce. (Well, actually, go on shore leave.)
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
I said earlier that to me the ordination of women is an open question. My arguments are not in favor of the side that says no woman can become a priest. Rather, they are about what we must consider further while we are discussing this issue. By we, I mean the Church as a whole, in a manner fitting to the Church.

So, what do we need to consider? You've brought up the following:

The link between ordination of women and feminism: it's irrelevant, unless the intent is to tar the issue with the feminist brush. There have been Christian churches (yes, Christians) ordaining women since the early 1800s. Historically, there have been priestesses in a variety of cults and religions. Women were ordained before feminism.

Activism is "un-Christian": thousands, perhaps millions of Christians, past, present and future, disagree, by words and/or actions.

Women want to be priests to fulfil their egos: that is an uncharitable assumption about another person's motivation. If some women are seeking the priesthood for the wrong reasons, I suspect the same is probably true of some men as well. Either you trust the Holy Spirit and the process prior to ordination or you don't. If egotistical male candidates are weeded out, the same should be true of female candidates.

Sex and gender differences: as ken and Liturgy Queen have pointed out, the issue is not that women cannot carry out the functions of the priesthood, but that they're simply the wrong sex. If gender mattered, then butch women would be allowed to be priests but effeminate men would not be. [Snigger]

But andreas, I will take your advice:
quote:
I fear that instead of doing the internal work that is necessary, we are spending our time on external work, losing ourselves instead of winning ourselves.
I'm getting cranky, which is a sign to stop. Everybody, have a great week, and I look forward to seeing fresh, new arguments when I return! Cheers, OliviaG

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Everybody, have a great week, and I look forward to seeing fresh, new arguments when I return! Cheers, OliviaG

That seems to say that you're on vacation, and are off to some lovely, sandy beach or something like it?

Hope so, and have a great week yourself!

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cor ad cor loquitur
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Obviously these people didn't get the memo.

You do realize that none of them has been in communion with my church, right?
When I followed that link, it included

St Athanasius
St John Damascene
St Justin Martyr
St Gregory the Wonderworker
St Ambrose
St John Chrysostom
Sts Cyril & Methodius
St Antony of Egypt
St Ignatius of Antioch

Surely at least a few of these are in communion with your church, Andreas... ?

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by cor ad cor loquitur:
When I followed that link, it included

Not the whole page was linked to, but a chapter of that page, with the title "Christian activists", namely John Woolman, William Wilberforce, Elizabeth Fry, Sojourner Truth, Lord Shaftesbury (Antony Ashley Cooper), William Gladstone, Harriet Tubman, Catherine Booth, William Booth, and Walter Rauschenbusch.

quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
Your point of view is holy; people who ask you to explain your point of view are "activists" and "unChristian."

I did NOT say that. I was talking about the fights and wars that took and take place over that issue, that caused schisms and uproar. I'm not saying anybody is being activist here. Here we discuss. But in real life, activism has pursued the ordination of women.

quote:
Originally posted by TubaMirum:
Andreas, if you can't answer a simple question that's been put to you a dozen times already on this thread

You want me to prove that women cannot become priests. If that kind of "proof" was possible, then all discussion on an international level would have come to an end a long time ago. There is no rational argument that suffices to "prove" anything. There are only arguments coming from both sides, and I am not taking sides here.

quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
So, what do we need to consider? You've brought up the following:

I have brought up mainly two things:

The relation of activism to the gospel (I think they are opposing each other), and the distinction that exists between men and women. We are familiar with that distinction on a physical level, we start to understand that distinction on a neurobiological level, and we have not even touched that difference on a spiritual level.

I have NOT said that women become priests to fulfill their egos (I spoke of needs and I did that only after someone else spoke of the fulfillment of their needs)

Let me repeat that I don't take sides here. I am very interested though in the distinctions that exists between the genders on a spiritual level, and the many issues variance inside the people of one gender poses.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
You want me to prove that women cannot become priests. If that kind of "proof" was possible, then all discussion on an international level would have come to an end a long time ago. There is no rational argument that suffices to "prove" anything. There are only arguments coming from both sides, and I am not taking sides here.

No. For the hundredth time, the question was: name one characteristic or behavior that occurs in men exclusively that is related to ordination to the priesthood. (Or, conversely, name such a characteristic in women.)

You've openly said that there were "many" such. We're only asking for one. You've also said we had to "see with our spiritual eyes," so we've been asking you to see with your spiritual eyes and let us know what you come up with.

I remind you again that you were the one who brought up "the differences between men and women" and wanted to talk about it; once we started to talk about it, you called us "unChristian activists" and said we were "lowering the focus" instead.

At this point, as I said, I've lost interest; I don't particularly care for being called such names for complying with a request that came from the name-caller in the first place.

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Augustine the Aleut
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Andreas1984 earlier posted:
quote:
That was not my point in its wholeness. My concern was the link between feminism-activism and ordinations of women. Saints have been condemning injustice for centuries. Both women and men Saints. Why not this particular injustice? And why if now is the time for that to change, why did the activists bring that up and not someone else? Can this be indicative of something?
Andreas does make a fair point here. There were condemnations of slavery (since folk like that comparison) since patristic times, through the great Bl. Bartolomé de las Casas laying waste to any pretence at an intellectual argument for slavery, and to the work of Bl.William Wordsworth.

Differentiation between the sexes never really seemed to reap the same degree of fire and focus, likely (IMHO) because most speakers and writers were male. Mediaeval and post-mediaeval women saints wrote either of more intimate personal religious experience, or of nuts-and-bolts aspects (Saint Hilda worrying about how to administer estates). More modern saints, such as Dorothy Day (Andreas and others will, I trust, allow me my own canonization process for the sake of discussion) argued for the place of women as equals to men in terms of the daily life of communities. Perhaps they thought of the question of women priests, but I'm not aware of it being other than a contemporary preoccupation (mind you, there is much I've not yet read).

That having been said, this may not be at all important in terms of the question itself. Isaiah wrote of how Cyrus was God's instrument in the rebuke of Israel and so it might be that God decided to use feminist activists (with their imperfect understandings of theology etc) to put the issue forward. The timing might not be indicative of anything at all (although a now-expired Assumptionist nun with whom I did a course some years ago believed that it might be because in the 20th-century circumstances of sex-segregated prisons and prison camps, where people were held for long periods, sacraments could only be provided through women priests).

Or perhaps we weren't looking at the icons in the right way? Andreas' question isn't a bad one, but we're not likely to be able to get a real answer this side of the veil.

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
The relation of activism to the gospel (I think they are opposing each other)

[Ultra confused]
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El Greco
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# 9313

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I think it was Saint Gregory the Theologian that said "I do not accept this legislation, neither do I approve of the custom. Those who legislated were men, and this is why the legislation is against women". Why didn't he go a step further and speak about ordinations as well? Why didn't he make that extra-step?

The Church, at least in Byzantium, did not discriminated against women. "The female [gender] is receptive of virtue having been created by the Creator equal in value with the male [gender]". I have read, in a short speech given by the Archbishop of Athens, that the Church had a positive impact in society. Constantine the Great forbade the killings of servants, legislating that it was murder, and he allowed that servants can be liberated, changing the Roman legislation. Justinian gave the servants that have been liberated the same rights free men had, Theodosius the Great accepted the Church's demand that fathers cannot have a life-death right on their children, legislating that killing your own children is a heinous crime. Selling one's children got forbidden, and Justinian demanded that all children that have been sold by their fathers get liberated. Women stopped being thought of as possessions, and Theodosius the Great legislated so that women can control their own property and that they can take custody of their children.

Many things we take for granted have their roots in the first Christian Roman Kings. The above paragraph contained only a few examples, after all the Archbishop's speech was not about that topic. I guess that studying history will reveal many examples where the pagan laws and norms changed because of Christianity. Which leaves me wondering why those people did not allow for women priests.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Comper's Child
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# 10580

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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
I think it was Saint Gregory the Theologian that said "I do not accept this legislation, neither do I approve of the custom. Those who legislated were men, and this is why the legislation is against women". Why didn't he go a step further and speak about ordinations as well? Why didn't he make that extra-step?


Perhaps it was beyond his imagination.
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HenryT

Canadian Anglican
# 3722

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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
...And why if now is the time for that to change, ...

For much of the Christian church, the change happened over a century ago; most of the Anglicans were late to the party in the 1970's.

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"Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned" P. Henry, 1788

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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As I said before I have come round to thinking that Luke/Acts was at least partly deliberately written in favour of women's participation in Christian ministry (amongst a lot of other things of course). There is a whiff of the manifesto about it.

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Ken

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

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