Can the Catholic Church Ordain Female Deacons?

by Joe Heschmeyer

What are the Catholic Church’s reasons for not allowing women to be permanent deaconesses? Deaconesses seem much more justifiable both scripturally and by early Tradition. Are different arguments used against them, or the same (ie that the Twelve were all men)?

This is a good question, and after responding, I realized it was probably one that other Christians struggle with. After all, doesn’t St. Paul describe Phoebe as a “deaconess” in Romans 16:1?  So here are the basics of what you need to know.

  • The Apostles restricted the diaconate to men only:  The office of deacon is created in Acts 6:1-6.  And the Apostles give clear instructions in Acts 6:3 — “brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”  The seven chosen are all men: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas (Acts 6:5).  That’s not a coincidence.
  • Scripture is clear that the diaconate is male-only: In addition to the above, St. Paul lays out the requirements for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, and says things like “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity…” (1 Timothy 3:8).  If God wanted (or permitted) women to serve as deacons, then 1 Timothy 3 is wrong: it’s not required for deacons to be men of dignity: they can be women of dignity, also.  Obviously, we can’t conclude that Scripture was wrong, so it must be the push for a female diaconate that’s wrong.
  • The Greek word for deacon isn’t always a clerical title:  The Greek word here literally means servant or server.  That’s because the first job of the deacons involved the daily distribution of food to widows (Acts 6:1).  So when St. Paul refers to Phoebe as a diakonos, he might be calling her a deaconess of God, but he might also be calling her a servant of God.
  • There were deaconesses in the early Church:  Whatever St. Paul may have meant in Romans 16:1, there’s no question that there were women referred to as deaconesses in the early Church.  They were tasked with things like women’s adult Baptisms (since Baptisms at that time were done in the nude).  But what’s also clear is that they had different requirements than the requirements for deacons, and were considered part of the laity (see below).  Once these sex-specific roles were no longer needed, the job of deaconess disappeared.
  • The Council of Nicea ended any controversy: Canon 19 of the First Council of Nicea (the same Council giving us the Nicene Creed), said in relevant part: “Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.”  That’s incredibly clear. But just in case it wasn’t, the Church addressed this issue in later Ecumenical and regional Councils, as well.

Given all of this, we should recognize that the “deaconesses” were laywomen who served as servants of God, and assisted the clergy.  Holy women? Absolutely.  Female deacons?  Absolutely not.  

Proponents of women’s ordination to the diaconate pit themselves against the Apostles’ clear instructions in Acts 6:3, St. Paul’s description of the qualifications needed to become a deacon in 1 Timothy 3, and the explicit teaching of the First Council of Nicea.  But if the Apostles, St. Paul, Scripture, and the Council of Nicea are wrong on this point, why trust them on any point?  Why bother keeping First Timothy in Scripture, or praying the Nicene Creed?  

If you want the Christianity of the Apostles, that includes a male-only diaconate.  If you want something else, there are bigger problems then women’s ordination that need to be addressed.

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178 Responses to Can the Catholic Church Ordain Female Deacons?

  1. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Can the Catholic Church ordain women deacons? Yes. It is not a physical impossibility.

    Will it?

    Not likely. hinks Toad. jobs for the boys, in these hard times.

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  2. JabbaPapa says:

    Canon 19 of the Council really doesn’t seem to clearly support your argument, the Likewise in the case of their deaconesses and the let the same form be observed is an order that those of them from among the Paulianists coming into communion with the Church that were found worthy should be rebaptised and re-ordained into the Catholic Church, as deaconesses, whereas those among them who were not were to be deposed…

    That deaconesses are considered as inferior to deacons, and specifically considered as laity, is OTOH quite clear in the canon — I suppose that in the modern Church this would be a status similar to that of a consecrated Minister of the Altar.

    This question is simply not as clear cut as you suggest, IMO.

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  3. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Maybe it’s another headline wording question:
    Maybe it should say, “Has the catholic Church the slightest intention of ordaining female deacons?”

    Like

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Possibly — there is no doctrine of the Church saying that women deacons are impossible. There are canon laws and sovereign instructions forbidding their ordination, but that’s another matter entirely.

    Like

  5. Chris Sullivan says:

    In the middle of the 1Tim3 passage about deacons, there is this:

    Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything.

    The official notes to the NAB, published by the US Catholic Bishops, says this:

    * [3:11] Women: this seems to refer to women deacons but may possibly mean wives of deacons. The former is preferred because the word is used absolutely; if deacons’ wives were meant, a possessive “their” would be expected. Moreover, they are also introduced by the word “similarly,” as in 1 Tm 3:8; this parallel suggests that they too exercised ecclesiastical functions.

    The ancient Church, especially in the East, had women deacons. And they were ordained. The Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 expressly provided for a ceremony of the laying on of hands and ordination for women deacons (see the Apostolic Constitutions). The Greek Orthodox Church recently resumed their ancient tradition of ordaining women deacons.

    In 1018 Pope Benedict VIII conferred on the cardinal bishop of Porto the right to ordain bishops, priests, deacons, and deaconesses.

    In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI changed Canon Law to distinguish more clearly the difference between priests, ordained to act in the person of Christ, and deacons, ordained to serve the people of God in and through the Word, the liturgy and charity. This would appear to go some way towards opening up the possibility of women deacons.

    God Bless

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  6. Gertrude says:

    JP: I’m not sure that Canon 19 applies to deaconesses in quite the same way as the Canon applies to those (male) Paulinists who where eligible for Ordination by a Bishop. The Canon refers specifically as not having the same status within the Catholic Church as they had within the Paulinists (although as above they had some status as holy women) prior to Nicea – hence Ordination being desirable. The Council categorically says that they (deaconesses) are numbered amongst the laity.
    The status of Deacon (as a step toward Ordination) should not be confused with the post-conciliar Deacon (a married man, who will not be ordained) that we are used to now in some parishes. Since Vatican 2 produced no dogmatic pronouncement, and was, as the Holy Father has frequently stated, a Pastoral Council, there is no precedent in Canon Law (to my knowledge) since Nicea that would indicate any change.
    I am sure some-one much more familiar with Canon Law (Factmonger?) will correct any error of mine.
    Btw, Canon 3 :This great synod absolutely forbids a bishop, presbyter, deacon or any of the clergy to keep a woman who has been brought in to live with him, with the exception of course of his mother or sister or aunt, or of any person who is above suspicion.
    This would seem to exclude deaconesses as having any liturgical status.

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  7. JabbaPapa says:

    The Canon refers specifically as not having the same status within the Catholic Church as they had within the Paulinists (although as above they had some status as holy women) prior to Nicea – hence Ordination being desirable. The Council categorically says that they (deaconesses) are numbered amongst the laity.

    While I was looking at this earlier, it seems that the point about them being laity was not in the original text — but it was added on later ; after the Church discovered that the Paulinist women deacons were not actually ordained as such !!

    So you could be looking at it the wrong way round ; instead of this being a canon saying that women deacons are not to be ordained, it seems to be a canon saying that the Paulinist women deacons could not be ordained because they were in fact laity.

    Concerning 1 Tim:3, there is one section on the character of “women” (in the context of the deaconship) ; and another on the character of deacon’s wives (in the Latin mulieres/uxores).

    The status of Deacon (as a step toward Ordination) should not be confused with the post-conciliar Deacon (a married man, who will not be ordained) that we are used to now in some parishes. Since Vatican 2 produced no dogmatic pronouncement

    The notion that the deaconship should be reserved for men preparing for the priesthood was the modern novelty, not the other variety.

    Btw, Canon 3 :This great synod absolutely forbids a bishop, presbyter, deacon or any of the clergy to keep a woman who has been brought in to live with him, with the exception of course of his mother or sister or aunt, or of any person who is above suspicion.
    This would seem to exclude deaconesses as having any liturgical status.

    That clergy are forbidden from having kept women is hardly relevant to the question of women deacons…

    Your argument seems not very strong, sorry 🙂

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  8. Toadspittle says:

    .
    “Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything.” Chris quoes 1Tim3.

    Bit of luck for men that it specifies women here,

    Toad will leave the tap dancing on scriptural, doctrinal and textural pin heads to others.
    And, although it is impertinent, and irrelevant, he will give his personal opinion. It is a matter of terrific unconcern for him how the Church treats and regards women.
    But, from his own observation, (and surely of anyone with eyes in their head) women would make, not only better deacons and priests than men, but better cardinals, bishops and popes.
    True, in several cases they could hardly make worse – but still..

    Like

  9. Toadspittle says:

    …And – if the Church in its wisdom, steadfastly declines to take advantage of this invaluable resource, the dying words of W. C. Fields come to mind.
    But, as they are somewhat crude, shall remain there.

    Like

  10. Gertrude says:

    JP: My comment on Canon 3 was purely to illustrate that no reverse provision had been made for deaconesses thus confirming their status as laity.
    I appreciate your points.

    Like

  11. JabbaPapa says:

    My comment on Canon 3 was purely to illustrate that no reverse provision had been made for deaconesses thus confirming their status as laity.

    I did understand your point, but it remains a weak one IMO — neither women deacons nor women clergy were the central focus of the First Council of Nicaea…

    Like

  12. Gertrude says:

    Agreed!

    Like

  13. The Raven says:

    Chris

    You’ve mentioned the role of deaconesses and the re-institution of deaconesses by the Church of Greece.

    It’s already been pointed out that Nicea ruled that deaconesses should be numbered among the laity.

    The position in the Greek church is more interesting, as the deaconesses provided for by the Holy Synod are only intended to serve cenobitic communities, undertaking a role similar to that of many Latin women religious in their own houses (Carthusian nuns were [still are?] given a maniple to wear on their right arms on their final profession, as they took the place of male clerics at points in their liturgy). It would be wholly wrong to assume that the role taken on by these Greek nuns is of the same character as that of a deacon.

    Much is made in theAmerica article that you are taking as your source of the fact that the Greek deaconesses are consecrated (the word ordained is not used in the Greek), but this misses two important points: we have our own western tradition of consecrating women as consecrated virgins, the Greek practice is only echoing something that we have been doing for a long time; and the right of consecration is very different to that of the rite of consecration of a deacon – this is a fundamental point, given the Orthodox emphasis on liturgy and praxis.

    We can argue all that we like about the role of deaconesses in the early Church (and should try to ensure that we do not end up conflating those who practice διακονία with those holding the office of deacon), but the citation of the examples of the Church of Greece and Russian Orthodoxy is little more than wishful thinking on the part of persons eager for some gateway to te ordination of women.

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  14. JabbaPapa says:

    It’s already been pointed out that Nicea ruled that deaconesses should be numbered among the laity.

    Well I’ve contested that one, anyway !!!

    I think that it makes no such ruling.

    Like

  15. Chris Sullivan says:

    The esteemed Toad writes:

    if the Church in its wisdom, steadfastly declines to take advantage of this invaluable resource

    Chris completely agrees, and that the Church is the poorer for it.

    The Church has long taught the importance of sexual complementarity but she deprives herself of the benefits of that complementarity by her exclusion of women on too many levels.

    God Bless

    Like

  16. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    What levels are these?

    Surely you know that a woman who directs a choir is equally a leader as a priest.

    I don’t understand why clericalism is constantly promoted, while attacking the church for it.

    Like

  17. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    The issue being raised is whether deaconess ranked among the laity ?

    If so, then there can be an opening for them.

    A deacon does not offer sacrifice or preside over the sacraments.

    Like

  18. rebrites says:

    If being a choir director is equal to being a priest, why are women ministers in general, according to Nicea, “to be numbered only among the laity”? Accent on the ONLY.
    This says that since all deacons, priests, bishops, etc., are men. Deacons, priests, bishops, etc. are BETTER. Therefore… laity are lesser, and women are lesser. Trying to fob off gifted women with Sunday School Teacher, choir director, sacristan, etc. and telling them they are somehow “equal” reminds me of the old saw; “don´t p— on my leg and tell me it´s raining.”

    Like

  19. teresa says:

    Well, Rebrites, I think there are more possibilities for women to be active in the Church. For example to be a journalist for religion, like you! I know a Dominican nun who teaches at the Priest Seminary. And great women religious writers, thinkers, Edith Stein for example, who translated Thomas Aquinas, abbesses! A lot of possibilities. I must confess I never feel the ambition to be a member of the clergy… Though I sometimes, curiously do wish that I could be a warrior, a woman warrior of course, and it is such a nice feeling to ride a horse and wield a sword (fantasy only, I am not strong enough), but I can imagine myself as a good soldier… But I just can’t imagine myself as a “priestess”, no way! In our neighbourhood there is a former nunnery, the abbess used to have a seat in the Diet, and that is really a high position!

    Or Birgit of Sweden who rebuked the Pope, also Catherine of Siena, if I remember correctly.

    Here is a picture of the Fürstäbtissin (Duchess-Abbess) of Essen, which illustrates her high position quite well:

    Like

  20. Jerry says:

    Not to mention teachers in Catholic schools

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  21. Srdc says:

    rebrites,

    Ministers men or women are to be numbered among the laity. The priesthood is a particular office in the church.

    The highest calling is to be a saint.

    Equality in dignity is not the same as equality in function. We are all equal, but have different roles to play.

    Like

  22. Jerry says:

    Equality in dignity is not the same as equality in function. We are all equal, but have different roles to play

    I’m going to be cheeky and point out that I’ve just written a post about one of great ‘strong woman’ of catholic history.. 😉

    https://twilightoftheidols21.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/the-ecstacy-of-st-teresa-part-i/

    Jerry, AKA Badger

    Like

  23. Jerry says:

    Equality in dignity is not the same as equality in function. We are all equal, but have different roles to play

    Was meant to be in quotes 🙂

    Like

  24. Srdc says:

    Great post Jerry! Thanks for the link. I would also think that priests cannot be brides of Christ, the way nuns can.

    Like

  25. Chris Sullivan says:

    A fascinating analysis of how Aquinas’ arguments against ordaining women were grounded in his miscogynist views then current.

    http://www.womenpriests.org/theology/aqui_gen.asp

    Some more details here of how other scholastic theologians fell into the same trap.

    http://www.equalityforwomen.org/courses/wijngaards2/trad06.htm

    God Bless

    Like

  26. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m afraid that someone is there ahead of you, Jabba, and they make a convincing argument.

    It’s exactly the same argument as above, just from a different point of view.

    But on the other hand, there continued to be women deacons into the 8th and 9th centuries, after which point the office became more and more restricted to women religious, although some nuns would continue to be ordained as deacons into the 12th and 13th centuries (which is when the order vanished completely)…

    In fact, at the time of the Council of Nicaea, there were even some women *priests* (having a strictly limited role similar to that of an auxiliary priest, taking charge of some very small communities only) — the ordination of whom was only formally forbidden at the end of the 5th century, over 150 years later.

    One big problem that I have with these analyses is that they are anachronistically applying some modern interpretations and expectations into this early 4th century text.

    I’m particularly concerned that this statement about Paulianist deaconesses is being read as a general statement about women deacons in the Church, given that they existed for many hundreds of years after Nicaea. In fact, given that the actual, formal institution of the ordination of women deacons is LATER than Nicaea, so that it’s a straightforward anachronism to take this canon from Nicaea as the relevant one. The relevant texts are actually much later ones, from between 5th and 8th centuries.

    There is a fairly good historical analysis of women deacons up to about 5th century HERE : http://reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/deacon.htm (caveat it’s NOT a Catholic website).

    The arguments are MUCH better presented : women deacons *were* in fact ordained. This started locally in 3rd century, became more widespread in late 4th century, and was formalised by canons in the 5th century.

    They were basically consecrated widows, who performed duties towards women that men could not. They were NOT clergy. All of this is true in relation to Gertrude’s original comment ; but the justification for this is not found in the texts that she quoted, but is to be found elsewhere, in the 5th to 8th century texts dealing more specifically with the questions involved here.

    Nevertheless, they had several clerical attributes, in that they were ordained, in that they had to make a vow of celibacy, and in that they were integrated into the ecclesial authority of their bishops.

    The website is not very good for anything post-5th century though, and information as to the roles of these women deacons is obviously going to be scanty.

    Their status was not unlike that of consecrated virgins or widows today ; particularly that of those women religious who work in parishes and other such communities of laity. The big difference is that they received an ordination, so that rather than being organised into religious communities, they simply belonged to their diocese, under the authority of their bishop or their curate.

    The order of deaconesses was considered as a separate order from the deacons, and considered an inferior one — although the two orders of deacons, men and women, did share some common attributes and functions.

    They did have a teaching role, and they had many of the attributes that a deacon has today, which is to say : never a leadership role.

    The fact that they were under the authority of their bishops necessarily means that there must have been a fair amount of local variation in what was expected of them.

    One important thing though, remains very clear, that they did not have any sacrificial function during the consecration nor the sacrifice.

    A male deacon is someone who can be considered for ordination into the priesthood, so that it is natural that he should have a part in these things ; a woman deacon cannot be, so that it is natural that she shouldn’t (although she could clearly participate in the same ways that altar girls and laity can, in readings, catechesis, and so on).

    Can the Catholic Church ordain women deacons ? Certainly, and the canons detailing the conditions and requirements whereby a woman might become a deacon already exist.

    Would the Catholic Church be right to do so ? This is the far thornier question, given that any renewal of this order would require that there should be some adjustments to it, in accordance with the roles of both deacons and laity as they have been defined since Vatican II onwards.

    I don’t think that this is a difficult question as taken from either a scriptural or historical perspective ; it’s a difficult question in terms of how such women deacons would be defined.

    Would their consecration be limited to some women religious, as in 9th to 13th centuries ? If so, given the fact that some women religious already fulfill this sort of role in some parishes, would there be any point in recreating this order ?

    The whole thing seems very questionable in any case, no matter how you look at it (unless it’s from the secular point of view of women’s rights, which is actually an irrelevant one given that the deaconcy is a religious order, and the women’s deaconcy required vows of celibacy as strict as any priest or religious).

    It does however remain an open question in my opinion 🙂

    Like

  27. The Raven says:

    Jabba

    I suspect that we are, in part, violently agreeing with one another.

    Let me try to present this clearly:

    • as we have both already mentioned, the consecration of deaconesses, in history and in Orthodoxy, was very similar to our current practice of consecrating women as consecrated virgins;

    • I am afraid that you are falling into the trap of conflating consecration and ordination (perhaps not helped by the current substitution of the word “ordain” for the word “consecrate” in the appointment of a bishop – the order of bishop and priest being a single order, there is no need to ordain);

    • the role of deaconesses (both in history and in their modern Orthodox incarnation) was and is not that of a deacon – their role is mainly associated with corporal ministration to women that would breach modesty or the bounds of an enclosure for a man to undertake.

    The point about the conflation of consecration with ordination is key here – it is the nail that Chris’ fellow travellers hang their arguments for women’s ordination on – ordination, a sacrament, marks the start of a life in sacerdotal or diaconal orders; a consecration is a commitment to the service of the Church – it does not have the same sacramental character.

    Could the Church consecrate deaconesses again? Of course, but we must remember that in doing so it would be doing something very different to ordaining deacons.

    Like

  28. The Raven says:

    Reb,

    Forgive me, but I think that you may be reading putting a polemical emphasis onto the word “only” that was not intended in the original text – I read it, in this context, as meaning solely, rather than reflecting anything about the relative dignity of clergy and laity.

    Like

  29. Toadspittle says:

    .

    I must confess I never feel the ambition to be a member of the clergy… Though I sometimes, curiously do wish that I could be a warrior, a woman warrior of course, and it is such a nice feeling to ride a horse and wield a sword (fantasy only, I am not strong enough), but I can imagine myself as a good soldier… But I just can’t imagine myself as a “priestess”

    Teresa confesses both to a lack of imagination and ambition.
    Well, it is not given to us all.

    Swords, however, are not intended for ‘wielding’ but for cutting off heads, and generally dismembering and maiming other human beings.
    Toad suggests Teresa might be better off imagining herself a “priestess.”
    Practice is the thing:
    Remember the Red Queen and learn to believe six impossible things before breakfast each morning!

    Like

  30. The Raven says:

    Chris

    I’m afraid that your links really tell us more about the prejudices of the authors of that website than they do about Acquinas or the other scholastics.

    Like

  31. JabbaPapa says:

    I suspect that we are, in part, violently agreeing with one another.

    Mostly so, yes — but :

    • as we have both already mentioned, the consecration of deaconesses, in history and in Orthodoxy, was very similar to our current practice of consecrating women as consecrated virgins;

    Similar yes ; identical no. I’d say that “very similar” is overly strong.

    The difference is that women deacons were a (minor) secular order attached to dioceses, whereas our religious are in regular orders attached to their own communities.

    This is not a superficial difference.

    • I am afraid that you are falling into the trap of conflating consecration and ordination (perhaps not helped by the current substitution of the word “ordain” for the word “consecrate” in the appointment of a bishop – the order of bishop and priest being a single order, there is no need to ordain);

    No, I am not — women deacons were ordained, in that they received the Sacrament of Order. NOT a sacramental, but the sacrament. And deacons are themselves ordained in the modern Church.

    This was certainly not the priestly ordination, but it was an acceptance into a lesser order.

    Consecration is something else, and I am not confusing the two — though I can understand that you may not have realised which limitations were inherent to my earlier comments, given that I did not specifically mention them … 🙂

    Like

  32. The Raven says:

    Jabba

    May I correct you on a couple of points:

    • consecrated virgins do not just exist in the cloister, they are among us laity even now!

    • the ancient western right of consecration was just that, not an ordination, as is the extant rite of consecration of Greek and Russian deaconesses; and

    • you are making the mistake of treating the order of deacon as the same as that of deaconess – I remember in the 1980s, a stern Anglican lady deacon insisting that she was a “woman deacon” and not a “deaconess”, the two being wholly distinct.

    Like

  33. teresa says:

    Toad, to imagine myself as “priestess” demands too much fantasy, perhaps I can see myself in the role of Iphigenia, but not in the role of a Catholic “prietess”, the latter is too absurd for me!

    As for fighting, I am peaceful in nature but I will serve in the army in a just war. For example, if I were Jewish and persecuted, yes, I would join the partisans and use weapon.

    Like

  34. JabbaPapa says:

    • consecrated virgins do not just exist in the cloister, they are among us laity even now!

    I *was* hoping not to confuse the debate with that point, which I am aware of.

    But :

    • the ancient western right of consecration was just that, not an ordination, as is the extant rite of consecration of Greek and Russian deaconesses;

    I’m sorry Raven, but you’re just wrong concerning this historical point. They were indeed ordained ; and the elevation of a priest to Bishop is called an episcopal ordination by the way.

    Like

  35. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    The distortion of Aquinas arguments has been refuted here.

    What Aquinas never said about women?

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/03/003-what-aquinas-never-said-about-women-38

    Like

  36. Toadspittle says:

    .

    “The distortion of Aquinas arguments has been refuted here.” Says Srdc

    …and, while we are all dancing on an Aquinas-inspired pinhead, the Catholic Church is lurching down the rapids of indifference, feminism and pedophilia.

    Like

  37. Chris Sullivan says:

    to imagine myself as “priestess” demands too much fantasy,

    St Therese of Lisieux apparently managed it. But then again, she was a saint.

    Jaba Pappa is correct that women deacons in the ancient Church were ordained. They were therefore clergy. Whether or not society was so structured that their functions were the same as male deacons is another matter.

    But then, society changes doesn’t it ? And it is remarkable how much of Catholic structure has been borrowed from the prevailing society down the centuries.

    God Bless

    Like

  38. Chris Sullivan says:

    srdc,

    The First Things (awful journal of the neoCatholic Right Wing who enthusiastically supported the invasion of Iraq) quotes this from Aquinas:

    With respect to the particular nature the female is something defective and occasionatum, for the active force in the male semen intends to produce a perfect likeness of itself in the male sex; but if a female should be generated, this is because of a weakness of the active force, or because of some indisposition of the material, or even because of a transmutation [brought about] by an outside influence.

    That sure sounds awfully miscogynist to me, even thought First Things does its best to try to explain it away.

    The reality is, as the Vatican has officially admitted, the traditional scholastic arguments against ordaining women are simply wrong, based on bad science, and outdated anti-female prejudice.

    When we find that the small “t” tradition is wrong then we need to revisit it in the light of the genuine big “T” Tradition – what Christ actually taught and the apostles actually did. And they had women in leading roles. Apostles to the apostles at the resurrection. And the leaders who saw the Church through the crisis of the crucifixion, where scripture records the men running away and the Pope denying Christ. Thank God at that moment we had strong women leaders to lead the Church.

    God Bless

    Like

  39. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    The church is much bigger than any of these things.

    Winston Churchill said, ‘The fact that the Roman Church in the course of two thousand years has outlived all other institutions means that there must be something in her faith that can survive so many centuries.'”

    Like

  40. Chris Sullivan says:

    Toad,

    Well, at least lurching down the rapids of feminism might not be a bad idea for the Church. John Paul II was pretty keen on feminism.

    God Bless

    Like

  41. teresa says:

    Chris, could you please provide some textual evidence that St. Therese of Lisieux dreamed of being priestess, thanks in advance. We must judge from the context.
    As for feminism etc, too much ideology is never good for religion.

    Btw. you are a man, aren’t you Chris? As a woman I would really like to ask you to respect my opinion about women in the Church, and sorry, really feel no need for being a priestess, I am sorry to disappoint you but a woman must decide for herself.

    You see Chris, Toad for example, as a real gentleman and friend, likes to mock me slightly with good humour, but he knows very well that a woman knows what is the best for herself and can decide for herself, he never tries to impose his ideology upon me as a woman, while you, dear Chris, I do feel you are enforcing your own ideas upon the others… And if we dare to disagree, God forbid, we are then women without a head of their own…

    Like

  42. Toadspittle says:

    .


    “The fact that the Roman Church in the course of two thousand years has outlived all other institutions means that there must be something in her faith that can survive so many centuries.’”

    Well Srdc, Winston Churchill might well have said that, but it clearly didn’t impress him enough to do anything about it personally, did it?

    One wonders how much the fact that the Egyptian religion lasted over three thousand years impressed him as well. The old numbers game.
    For all Toad knows there may well have been religions that lasted five thousand years in India or China, for example.
    If so, if time alone is the criterion, shouldn’t we be looking at them?
    And, although Islam is a mere 1,400 years old, it is, numerically wiping the floor with Christianity these days. So what does that tell us?

    Like

  43. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    The pastoral approach to these things needs to change, but the theology remains the same.

    The priesthood as an office was created to offer sacrifice. The Mass is Christ’s sacrifice. The priest acts in the person of Christ, when re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice on calvary. The cross is the centre that unites both men and women in the blood of Christ.

    The priesthood came into existence the day blood was shed and the day sin entered the world.

    In the Bible every time blood is shed, God asks for a sacrifice or atonement. In the New Testament we find references to Christ blood making peace with us.

    In the Orthodox church, this blood distinction is still kept.

    If a priest should cut himself while he is in the Holy Place, he must leave. His blood cannot share the same space as the Blood that is there by virtue of Christ’s Priestly Presence.

    This is spiritual armageddon being fought around the Eucharist.

    Women simply cannot be priests, because the Priesthood points to HIS atoning sacrifice. If it points to something else it becomes a broken sign.

    C.S Lewis got this when he said, “Change the meaning of the priesthood and you will soon end up with a different religion and a different God.”

    Like

  44. Srdc says:

    Teresa,

    I have to agree that Christ is being forceful here. Before we get into arguments about who wanted to be a priest. It’s important to understand what the priesthood is and what it stands for.

    In many debates people simply refuse to address this. They either ignore it or start insulting the messenger.

    It makes them confront the fact that is this is true, then Jesus is truly God and it’s quite unsettling.

    Like

  45. The Raven says:

    Jabba

    Your point on episcopal consecrations is certainly true since the introduction of the new sacramentary, but this change in terminology is a very recent thing.

    I’d be interested in your references for the ordination of deaconesses.

    Like

  46. Chris Sullivan says:

    but a woman must decide for herself.

    Chris is all for that, but within due limits. Limits drawn precisely where one persons rights start to infringe on another’s. A women’s right to choose is a somewhat bloodstained slogan, is it not ?

    And what about those women who feel called to the priesthood by God ? Are they not also allowed to decide for themselves ? Who knows if God isn’t really calling them ?

    God Bless

    Like

  47. teresa says:

    Chris, thanks for the link, and there only one single sentence is mentioned: “If I were a priest, I would …”, like I wrote before “If I were a Jew I would…”, I like Jews very much but I never desire to be a Jew as I am none, and that is the case with St. Therese, she was only expressing her high respect before the Holy Eucharist.

    I must agree with Srdc here that your arguments are made in the way as people feed these ducks for their liver, forced down the throat!

    Like

  48. teresa says:

    Chris, you are really being dishonest here. A woman has the same intelligence like man and so I have the same right to maintain my opinion and you don’t have the right to force yours upon my mind, as you are not Christ, nor God, you are only Mr. Chris Sullivan, an equal human being. And does this equality between us as equally intelligent human beings has anything to do with abortion? You do seem try to “win” your case with some very creepy methods, sorry for being so blunt but that is the impression you made upon me. As for women who feel being called by God, why not join a convent?

    Like

  49. Chris Sullivan says:

    srdc,

    I would have thought that the ones being really forceful here are the ones forcing women and even priests out of the Church and bishops out of the episcopacy because of this issue.

    God Bless

    Like

  50. Chris Sullivan says:

    I like Jews very much but I never desire to be a Jew as I am none

    Perhaps teresa lacks imagination here also ?

    Pius XII said we are all spiritually Jews.

    I won’t like to have much to do with them.

    Maybe it would be better for us to love our neighbors ? Bit hard when we refuse to have much to do with them, isn’t it ?

    God Bless

    Like

  51. teresa says:

    Well, Mr. Sullivan, life is too beautiful and too short to be engaged in such unpleasant discussion with you. I am off to listen to some very beautiful Yiddish songs, for those who like this kind of music, I recommend this one, people like you would call it “misogynous”, “falsch ist sie wie alle Frauen….”:

    Like

  52. Chris Sullivan says:

    I’m sorry if I upset you, teresa. I didn’t mean to.

    Thanks for the song.

    God Bless

    Like

  53. The Raven says:

    Chris

    The plain fact, that you cannot escape from, irrespective of whether Jabba or I am right in our contentions about the historical “ordination” or “consecration” of deaconesses, irrespective of whether deaconesses were numbered among the clergy or laity by antiquity and irrespective of the exact nature of the role carried out by deaconesses in antiquity, their role was not a precursor of the ordination of women to the priesthood.

    Agitators for the reintroduction of deaconesses into the Latin Church seem to base their enthusiasm on the view that it would be a stepping stone towards the ordination of women to the presbyterate (as proved to be the case among the Anglicans). Such an approach contains a fundamental dishonesty at its heart: it relies on the citation of a historical precedent for an entirely different form of διακονία from that sought by advocates of women’s ordination.

    One issue that has always worried me about advocates of women’s ordination is that they often frame their account of the reasons that their campaign has not met with success in the context of a discourse about power, rather than a discourse about service. That says a lot to me about their perception of ordained ministry, none of it particularly good.

    By the way, you won’t win many arguments by taking a slosh at the messenger instead of tackling his arguments head on (I am referring to your response to the article on First Things, which was big on deploring their politics and light on argument to the point).

    Like

  54. Chris Sullivan says:

    Raven,

    I think we should have women deacons because I think women deacons would be a good idea, and one which has a very solid foundation in Tradition. The ordination of priests is to a different degree of service than that of deacons, so, no this would not necessarily be a stepping stone to ordaining priests, as you say.

    On the other hand, the Church’s refusal to ordain women deacons, despite very clear historic precedents, points to the same problem with the lack of women making the important decisions in the Church and the attitudes of the scholastic theologians I have quoted above – that of a systematic exclusion of women from a variety of leading roles. Institutional sexism.

    One can hardly take First Things very seriously as a messenger of Christ, or of the Church, giving it’s appalling role in supporting the invasion of Iraq, in the deliberate killing of many innocent human persons, in opposition not only to Christ but also to the Bishops, the Pope, and to Cdl Ratzinger who declared the invasion to have no support in Catholic teaching. First Things is a very right wing and very political journal.

    God Bless

    Like

  55. JabbaPapa says:

    Jaba Pappa is correct that women deacons in the ancient Church were ordained. They were therefore clergy.

    No, they were certainly NOT clergy !!

    Like

  56. The Raven says:

    Chris

    1. The model of diaconal service that Tradition gives us for deaconesses differs significantly from the role carried on by our modern permanent and transitional deacons – you are either advocating a novelty (and wrapping it up with an anachronistic appeal to Tradition) or seeking the formalise a type of διακονία that Is already carried on by religious and lay-women.

    2. Your comment displays a good example of that power discourse that I mentioned in my last comment.

    3. While neither you nor I supported the war in Iraq, support for that war is hardly a sign of heterodoxy, like the matter of the death penalty, this issue is one that Catholics may legitimately hold differing opinions on. It does not need to be pointed out that misplaced support for an ill-conceived war is not germane to the interpretation of scholastic theology.

    Like

  57. Chris Sullivan says:

    Raven,

    One is reminded that Aquinas also supported, in his Summa, the burning of heretics at the stake.

    The Church has moved on from the limitations of scholastic theology, both on killing people and on women.

    There is nothing that Catholic Permanent Deacons do today which could not, and in fact isn’t already, be done by women. Therefore, it would seem that there are no fundamental theological obstacles to women deacons with the same functionality as male deacons. The Church of the 21st Century doesn’t have to follow the social conventions of the 1st millennium.

    God Bless

    Like

  58. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    Your problem is pride plain and simple. Service is not power. Those interested in job promotions should probably not be in the priesthood.

    There is a hierarchy of truths so the sacraments would be more important than Aquinas’s personal views on political issues. The former being a sign of God’s covenant with people that is irrevocable.

    I recommend you study actual Catholicism, instead of wasting your time on heretical websites.

    As a woman, I have never experienced any sexism in the church, so your efforts to convince me or teresa are futile.

    Like

  59. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    Your cherry picking of Aquinas is also dishonest.

    Like

  60. Chris Sullivan says:

    Srdc,

    Your problem is pride plain and simple

    Not sure what you mean by that. Are you judging me ?

    The burning to death of heretics is not merely a political issue.

    It’s an ecclesiastic (Church) issue.

    And an issue of morality which does not square with “Love your neighbour. Do not kill. Put down your sword. Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies”.

    The modern Popes have distanced themselves, and critiqued, scholastic theology because they understand it’s shortcomings.

    When the shortcomings of the scholastic theological view of women are readily apparent, one has to question the theology the Church has built up based on precisely those erroneous theological understandings. All theology rests on and is built up upon certain premises. When those premises themselves have been shown faulty, then the theology built upon them needs re-examination. Aquinas himself would have quite happy to do that. I expect he’s already revised his views on the appropriate role of women and about burning heretics.

    God Bless

    Like

  61. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    The church’s views on this issue are not based on culture.

    Cardinal Newman outlined seven points for valid doctrinal development.

    http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/1998/aug1998p10_553.html

    http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/anichols/intro-fromnewman.html

    Like

  62. Chris Sullivan says:

    Chis agrees with Newman that the proper development of doctrine is a very good thing. So do the Popes. May its development continue as the Church slowly grows more and more into a better and more complete understanding of the Gospel.

    God Bless

    Like

  63. Srdc says:

    We finally agree on something. Even, If I still disagree with your statements about Aquinas and women.

    Like

  64. Srdc says:

    The Holy Father comments on change in the church .

    “For some decades now we have been experiencing a decline in religious practice and we have been seeing substantial numbers of the baptized drifting away from church life. This prompts the question: should the Church not change? Must she not adapt her offices and structures to the present day, in order to reach the searching and doubting people of today?

    In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes self-satisfied, settles down in this world, becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world. Not infrequently, she gives greater weight to organization and institutionalization than to her vocation to openness towards God, her vocation to opening up the world towards the other.

    One could almost say that history comes to the aid of the Church here through the various periods of secularization, which have contributed significantly to her purification and inner reform.

    Openness to the concerns of the world means, then, for the Church that is detached from worldliness, bearing witness to the primacy of God’s love according to the Gospel through word and deed, here and now, a task which at the same time points beyond the present world because this present life is also bound up with eternal life. As individuals and as the community of the Church, let us live the simplicity of a great love, which is both the simplest and hardest thing on earth, because it demands no more and no less than the gift of oneself.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20110925_catholics-freiburg_en.html

    Like

  65. JabbaPapa says:

    One is reminded that Aquinas also supported, in his Summa, the burning of heretics at the stake.

    The Church has moved on from the limitations of scholastic theology, both on killing people and on women.

    Aquinas’ opinions on the punishment of heretics are as little relevance to the questions concerning women deacons as a gratuitous mention of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party would be.

    There is nothing that Catholic Permanent Deacons do today which could not, and in fact isn’t already, be done by women. Therefore, it would seem that there are no fundamental theological obstacles to women deacons with the same functionality as male deacons. The Church of the 21st Century doesn’t have to follow the social conventions of the 1st millennium.

    Deacons have a role during the Eucharistic sacrifice that no laity and therefore no women can partake of, so that your first statement here is a false one.

    Second, that’s a rather simplistic, limited, and frankly ill-informed view of theology, if you think that it can boil down to simple either/or proposals, dealt with in a jiffy.

    Third, the lack of consensus regarding these questions is a theological problem, and not an easy one.

    Fourth, the position that a woman deacon would hold in the Church as regards to the Mass in particular is most certainly not a theologically simple one either, given that there exist several canons that strictly limit the religious functions of women deacons, which would need to be addressed in the light of Vatican II and the earlier Councils.

    Finally, this is not a matter of “social conventions”, it’s a matter of the religious necessities for proper Eucharistic Sacrifice.

    Like

  66. JabbaPapa says:

    The burning to death of heretics is not merely a political issue.

    It’s an ecclesiastic (Church) issue.

    It is neither, given that no heretics are burned at the stake by the Church.

    If this is the sort of nonsensical argument that your position requires, then it is quite clear that your position can only be a bad one.

    Like

  67. JabbaPapa says:

    FWIW, Cardinal Newman’s analysis of doctrine and the evolution of doctrine is nearly identical to the one that I have devised for myself.

    Like

  68. The Raven says:

    Chris

    I think you may have shot your own fox:

    1. You have stated that you are lobbying for an innovation in the Church (namely women as deacons, rather than their historic role as deaconesses) – why bother trying to invoke Tradition? You’re lobbying for something that is unprecedented in Tradition. Why bother arguing about first millennium Church praxis? You’re arguing for something that is unrelated to that praxis.

    2. You’re playing the man and not the ball again – Aquinas may well have said any number of things that are no longer held to be literal truth by the Church, or reached conclusions that we would no longer draw – none of that is relevant to this debate as the Church’s current position owes more to Bl John Paul’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis than to St Thomas’ Summa. And, as you know, the Church’s stance on the ordination of women anciently pre-dates scholaticism.

    3. Your own position boils down to “deacons do jobs that ladies already do, therefore let’s make ladies deacons” – that is an argument that makes sense in an employment law context, but we aren’t talking about a job, we’re talking about the sacraments: you need to produce a valid theological argument in favour of your position.

    Like

  69. Toadspittle says:

    Tempest in a tea cup

    Like

  70. Srdc says:

    JabbaPapa,

    That’s a great question. What is necessary for the Eucharistic sacrifice and Why?

    Like

  71. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    “Deaconesses”. I remember in the ’70s it was decided to abandon such appellations as conductress, waitress, actress and so on. Good idea too.

    It seems word has yet to reach certain quarters. Maybe a century or two will do it.

    Like

  72. JabbaPapa says:

    What is necessary for the Eucharistic sacrifice and Why?

    A priest, a table or altar, bread and wine (and a cup and dish/plate), and two or three to gather in remembrance of Christ. That the priest be not excommunicated, and from the participants’ point of view that they be in good standing with the Church. The Missal or some other good work to ensure that the readings and other rituals be performed properly.

    Like

  73. The Raven says:

    “”Deaconesses”. I remember in the ’70s it was decided to abandon such appellations as conductress, waitress, actress and so on. Good idea too.

    “It seems word has yet to reach certain quarters. Maybe a century or two will do it.”

    That must have been a seventies thing, we certainly still have actresses and waitresses in this neck of the woods.

    While, from an employment law perspective, I would be wholly inclined to agree that it’s a jolly good thing that we no longer draw a distinction between people doing the same job on the basis of their sex (at least not linguistically; we’ve got a long way to go before we can truly say that women are treated fairly in the workplace), the point is that the deaconess of antiquity didn’t do the same job as a deacon: the distinction remains valid.

    Like

  74. Chris Sullivan says:

    Jaba,

    You said:

    Deacons have a role during the Eucharistic sacrifice that no laity and therefore no women can partake of.

    Exactly what is it that the deacon does during the Eucharistic sacrifice that no laity and therefore no women can partake of ?

    I’m thinking of what a deacon does during the Eucharistic sacrifice and I think I’ve seen Catholic laity doing pretty much all of those things, at least in cases of necessity.

    God Bless

    Like

  75. Srdc says:

    Raven,

    Yes, I am glad that women have the same job opportunities as men. The people who complain about Catholics barring women from the priesthood, need to take a look at religious orders of women that are entirely self-sufficient, and do work that most women still consider a man’s job.

    Like

  76. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m thinking of what a deacon does during the Eucharistic sacrifice and I think I’ve seen Catholic laity doing pretty much all of those things, at least in cases of necessity.

    The bearing and presentation of the Essences is a priestly function, that only deacons among non-clergy can partake of.

    You are confusing this function with the extraordinary ministries that laity can perform.

    The only exception to that rule that I can think of is that there is a procession in the Chrismal Mass in Holy Week where unbaptised catechumens (who have nevertheless been received into the Catechumenate, and therefore belong to the Church) bear and present the unconsecrated bread and wine, and the unconsecrated oils of baptism, of the catechumens, and for the anointment of the sick, to the Bishop and the priests of the diocese prior to the Mass that will renew the clerical vows for the coming year, and consecrate these things (I have done this myself once, and will never do it again obviously).

    Like

  77. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Some people know all the words and they know the tune but they never quite learn the song.

    Like

  78. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Srdc says::

    “Yes, I am glad that women have the same job opportunities as men.”

    Oh, really? Let’s ask some of the other ladies on here what they think!

    Then Srdc says:
    “The people who complain about Catholics barring women from the priesthood, need to take a look at religious orders of women that are entirely self-sufficient, and do work that most women still consider a man’s job.
    Well, Srdc – Toad, at least is not complaining, he is merely pointing it out.
    As far as he is concerned the Church can appoint Barbary Apes to the priesthood.
    Probably have less trouble with pedoplilia if they did, but that is by the way.

    However, what you seem to be indicating, is that – no matter how many bootmenders, bookmakers or boilermakers may be women – when it come to bishops – the stained-glass ceiling comes smartly down.

    (Sdrc is Toad’s fave, by a mile! Can’t wait to meet her! What a Cardinal she would make! )

    Like

  79. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Cardinaless – get it right willya?

    Like

  80. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    An order may take on a job to make a living, but none of them are careers and people probably had better jobs before, they joined.

    Anybody interested in job prospects should probably not be in the priesthood/religious life.

    Like

  81. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Quite right Sr; don’t let him away with it….

    Like

  82. The Raven says:

    “Some people know all the words and they know the tune but they never quite learn the song.”

    No need to be so hard on yourself – you’re among friends, we don’t mind the odd bum-note.

    Like

  83. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    “Halleluyah I’m a bum”!

    Like

  84. Gertrude says:

    Reading through the comments, just one thing slightly ‘bothers’ me. JP says:
    A priest, a table or altar, bread and wine (and a cup and dish/plate), and two or three to gather in remembrance of Christ.
    Holy Mass, I am sure you will agree, is not a memorial service in that remembrance is the criteria – that is a Protestant conception.
    Participating in Holy Mass we meet with Christ present in the Eucharist. Just thought I’d clarify in case of error!

    In the celebration of Mass the priest is in ‘Alter Christus’ – that is, in his sacramental role he is in the person of Christ. Since Jesus Christ was a male – it impossible for any ‘female’ ever to be in the position ‘Alter Christus’. Simples.

    Like

  85. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Good comment G, and you’re right to keep Jabba on the right track, but as Christ is also God, doesn’t that transcend mere gender and sexuality? Does Christ remain male in Heaven? I think not: surely not. If Mary was fit to be the Mother of God on earth, doesn’t that also show that women have the ability to perform simple priestly duties? – surely a mere bagatelle after being in the same category as the Mother of God.

    To assert as some do, that women are, let’s say it, inferior to men just won’t wash today. It doesn’t matter (to me at least) what tradition says here. Calling on tradition for authority is a mediaeval concept, perhaps 1000 years out of touch with more enlightened times.

    And at one time tradition itself was revolutionary and challenging. Let’s move forward!

    Like

  86. Gertrude says:

    I didn’t say (or intend to imply) women where inferior to men Whippy – just different! The reference to Our Blessed Lady is a misunderstanding in reference to her part in the Incarnation. Nowhere in scripture is it implied that Our Blessed Lady had any desire for anything other than her ‘Fiat’ – being the Mother of Christ. In fact, if you cast your mind back to the first miracle of Our Blessed Lord – the Wedding Feast at Cana – you will recall her words to the servants,who were told to fill containers with water after the wine had run out, were ‘do as He says’.
    As for “God remaining male in Heaven” as the first person of the Trinity – God the Father, and God the Son and the Holy Ghost, not God the Mother, God the daughter and God the sprite (not sure if there is gender in ghosts!)

    I personally am not a subserviant woman – never have been, but my womanhood is incomparable with that of a male – we are just different. I have achieved all the goals of my life that I have sought, made mistakes along the way, but am totally at peace with my femininity,and with my place in the order of things. I am therefore exactly how God intended me to be. OK so unlike Our Blessed Lady – I am not without sin, although as I progress along the years the opportunity to sin gets less – but there is no problem. 😉

    PS: I found an article on an American website ‘Adoptapriestess’ – from what I gather you join up and they give you a name of a wannabe priestess – and you pray for her. Only in America!

    Like

  87. Srdc says:

    Wall,

    Jesus is also the new Adam. The first Adam stretched out his hands for the tree of death. This destroyed his relationship with God and with Eve.

    “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.” Romans 5:12

    The second Adam, stretched out his arms on the tree of life (cross). This restored his relationship with God and with his bride.

    In Catholic theology, the church is not just a building, but the mystical bride of Christ. A living organism on a journey towards her beloved.

    The Mass is the re-presentation of Calvary, the entire church is at the foot of the cross during the Eucharistic sacrifice, uniting herself to Christ.

    The Church and Christ together form the whole Christ.

    Mary is the new Eve. The first Eve exchanged truth for a falsehood. Eve was the crown of creation who chose to listen to the lies of a creature who was lower than her.

    Mary is the second Eve, who won victory over the serpent by choosing to listen to God instead.

    I hope this makes sense. I know it’s deep theology.

    Like

  88. The Raven says:

    Whippy

    How is compliance with the prevailing zeitgeist (that there is no difference between the sexes) either radical or revolutionary?

    Surely to be radical or revolutionary one must stand in contradiction to the prevailing orthodoxy.

    Like

  89. Srdc says:

    Raven,

    In the church men and women are called to stereotypical jobs, but to love as men and women. We are called to love like Jesus and Mary.

    For men this is done through the priesthood, fatherhood, where by they can lay down their lives for a friend, for women through motherhood and bringing life into the workplace.

    Like

  90. Jerry says:

    the prevailing zeitgeist (that there is no difference between the sexes)

    That isn’t the prevailing zeitgeist, it is a fringe view that peaked (and it was a small peak) in the seventies. Straw man

    Like

  91. JabbaPapa says:

    Reading through the comments, just one thing slightly ‘bothers’ me. JP says:
    A priest, a table or altar, bread and wine (and a cup and dish/plate), and two or three to gather in remembrance of Christ.
    Holy Mass, I am sure you will agree, is not a memorial service in that remembrance is the criteria – that is a Protestant conception.
    Participating in Holy Mass we meet with Christ present in the Eucharist. Just thought I’d clarify in case of error!

    Gertrude, I was answering a question about what the *conditions* are for saying Mass, not a question about the *nature* of the Mass. Including the condition that Christ Himself taught, “when 2 or 3 are gathered …” et cetera…

    Just to clarify, in case of error 😉

    Like

  92. JabbaPapa says:

    WEMW :

    … as Christ is also God, doesn’t that transcend mere gender and sexuality?

    No. Jesus was a man, and He was not a woman nor intersex not transgendered…

    Does Christ remain male in Heaven? I think not: surely not.

    You could just as well ask how many angels can dance on the head of a pin…

    This is an imponderable, and neither tou nor anyone else is likely to be able to answer that question ; which, due to its imponderability, is BTW an irrelevant one…

    If Mary was fit to be the Mother of God on earth, doesn’t that also show that women have the ability to perform simple priestly duties? – surely a mere bagatelle after being in the same category as the Mother of God.

    Apples and oranges.

    Mary’s vocation was to be a mother — this is an entirely different vocation to that of a priest ; both in the early Church, and in the modern Church.

    To assert as some do, that women are, let’s say it, inferior to men just won’t wash today. It doesn’t matter (to me at least) what tradition says here. Calling on tradition for authority is a mediaeval concept, perhaps 1000 years out of touch with more enlightened times.

    And at one time tradition itself was revolutionary and challenging. Let’s move forward!

    These comments strike me as being perfectly irrelevant to the questions at hand, and they seem to be pretending that transient modern notions can somehow be inherently superior to ancient teachings and long tradition.

    Be as radically modernist as you want, but don’t expect any others to participate in this heresy.

    Like

  93. JabbaPapa says:

    I hope this makes sense. I know it’s deep theology.

    Sorry, can’t resist — this is actually medieval tradition, not deep theology.

    There’s nothing wrong with medieval tradition of course, and indeed this particular example of it is precious and valuable ; but its actual nature is as a metaphor for the deep theology, rather than being the deep theology itself 😉

    The metaphor breaks down in fine analysis ; but of course all metaphor will do the same, it’s just the natural limitation of that particular figure of thought. 🙂

    Like

  94. Chris Sullivan says:

    Since Jesus Christ was a male – it impossible for any ‘female’ ever to be in the position ‘Alter Christus’.

    I’m always wary of arguments that “God could never do such and such” because they are arguments against the omnipotence of God, one of God’s principal attributes.

    If God wanted to consecrate the bread and wine via the ministry of a women, he could.

    But why just pick on Jesus’ masculinity ? Why not say that because Jesus was a Jew and so were all the Apostles, then priests must also be Jews ?

    God Bless

    Like

  95. Jerry says:

    Sorry, can’t resist — this is actually medieval tradition, not deep theology.
    There’s nothing wrong with medieval tradition of course

    Jabba, it’s a relief to hear that there is nothing wrong with medieval tradition. I presume that srdc meant that the theology involved had a certain depth to it, and therefore might be difficult for some readers. An entirely reasonable claim it seems to me. Why you should lay ‘deep theology’ against medieval tradition as if the two are mutually exclusive I cannot understand. — Though you sure did sound knowing..

    Like

  96. JabbaPapa says:

    Well, I seem to have been thinking during my sleep about men deacons versus women deacons and their relative nature during the period where both orders of the deaconcy existed side by side (roughly 3rd-12th centuries, or about a thousand years — which is no short period in Church History, by any standards).

    There seem to be two forms of sexism that are at war here in this thread, one that is implicit but not very subtle (that women should be ordained as deacons because modern sexual equality falsely teaches that women are inferior in the Church and that traditional Catholic womanhood is implicitly an inferior state of being) ; the other which is very subtle indeed, but constitutes sexism nonetheless (the teaching that women deacons were inferior to men deacons, because they didn’t play an active part during the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and because of an adherence to some more institutionalised sexism that seems to have opposed the deaconcy of women at the time of its creation, 3rd and 4th centuries ; and to have opposed it at the time that it was phased out, 9th-12th centuries).

    But if we think about it with any clarity, it would seem obvious that the actual difference between the men and women deacons was NOT one of superiority and inferiority ; but it was that these were men, and those were women.

    The fact that they had been ordained as deacons would not have magically vanished away the teachings of the Church concerning the role of men, and the role of women.

    The men deacons were (and are) expected to do men’s work, including the men’s work during the Eucharistic Sacrifice, that women do not partake of.

    The women deacons were expected to do women’s work, which would have been more directly conceived as an extension of mother’s work generally, so that it would have been focused (as the history of the women’s deaconcy appears to show) on Charity and Hospitality work, the tending of the sick, the care and teaching of children, the managing and ordering of churches as “households”, and generally to be expressing all of the highest virtues of a Catholic womanhood within the framework of a vow of celibacy, and an ordained service to their diocese and their bishop. This is not the same as the vocation of a woman religious.

    Women deacons were clearly not expected to do the work of men ; no more than men deacons are expected to do the work of women.

    There was no fundamental sexism in this arrangement nor in the differences between men and women deacons, except some sexism in an overly strong opposition against any form whatsoever of ordination for women during the Middle Ages which finally did away with the order of deaconesses ; there is no question of inferiority or superiority, except in the minds of some ultra-traditionalists who still cleave to the false teachings that priests might be superior to laity, and “therefore” men superior to women – and in the minds of modernists and radical feminists who falsely believe that men and women could somehow be completely interchangeable. None of which is in any sort of obedience to the Catholic teachings on these questions.

    Like

  97. JabbaPapa says:

    Why you should lay ‘deep theology’ against medieval tradition as if the two are mutually exclusive I cannot understand.

    I’m not — I was just being pedantic 😉

    That this particular tradition is a metaphor of the deep Marian and Adamic theology is BTW hardly expressing a notion that they might somehow be opposed…

    Like

  98. Jerry says:

    Well with equal pedantry, one might point out that the metaphor, functioning as a bearer of meaning, is in itself a theological statement of some depth, to use the metaphor is to engage in deep theology, as srdc did. But now my tongue is rather stuck in my cheek 😉

    Like

  99. JabbaPapa says:

    Well yes I agree, and conversely the depth of the related theology does explain how the metaphor can be a difficult one to understand, from the point of view of my own sect of pedantry :p

    Like

  100. JabbaPapa says:

    cripes, just seen that in my response to WEMW I messed up the coding for the italics — sorry about that, the lack of any visual distinction between quotes from him and my own responses is a little confusing…

    CP&S – We’re always happy to sort out coding for a contributor

    Like

  101. The Raven says:

    “That isn’t the prevailing zeitgeist, it is a fringe view that peaked (and it was a small peak) in the seventies. Straw man”

    I have to disagree, Jerry, the idea that male and female do not have separate or distinct characteristics underlies the greater part of our equalities legislation, often with ludicrous results (e.g. the recent ruling that women drivers should pay the same rates of insurance as men, despite the proven fact that women are involved in far fewer collisions than men).

    You see the same attitude informing the behaviour of young women in most English town centres on a Friday night.

    Like

  102. The Raven says:

    “Why not say that because Jesus was a Jew and so were all the Apostles, then priests must also be Jews”

    That’s a little silly, Chris, the incarnation of Our Lord was the New Covenant, by our baptisms we become people of the New Covenant, the new Israel.

    Like

  103. Chris Sullivan says:

    Jesus’ Davidic desent featured rather centrally in his messianic status, so requiring all priests to be Jews because Jesus was a Jew would not appear to be quite so easy to dismiss. As Jesus was of Davidic descent, should priests also be of Davidic descent ?

    I’m not for a moment saying they should, but it seems to me that an argument that priests must be men because Jesus was a man has no more validity than saying that priests must have Davidic descent because Jesus did.

    In both cases were talking the same thing – genes.

    But surely what defines us as Catholics is not genes but baptism.

    God Bless

    Like

  104. The Raven says:

    Chris

    The twelve men that Our Lord chose to be His Apostles were not of Davidic descent (or, at least, the Gospel writers do not tell us that they were of Davidic descent). Our Lord clearly did not consider Davidic descent to be relevant.

    (I’ll also make what should be a redundant point: sex is a matter of chromosomes not a matter of genetics)

    Like

  105. Srdc says:

    JabaPappa,

    There are many metaphors, but this one stands out, because the incarnation was not into any of those other metaphors. Jesus became flesh and blood, like Adam did.

    Yes, Jesus is male in heaven. Jesus and Mary already have glorified bodies in Heaven.

    At the final resurrection of the body, we too will be given glorified bodies that will live forever, but we will still be male or female.

    “The son of God, became man, so the sons of men, might become gods”

    Like

  106. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    You are on to something here. The reason the priesthood was genetic in Judaism, is because it was the expectation that out of the priestly line the Messiah would come. This is why priests only married the daughters of other priests.

    Mary’s father was a priest.

    God was found at the centre between life giving blood and death blood. There are many examples of this in the Bible.

    God was seen as the first priest, who could only atone for sins.

    The cross is the centre that unites both men and women in the blood of Christ.

    In the Orthodox church, these blood distinctions are still kept.

    If a priest should cut himself while he is in the Holy Place, he must leave. His blood cannot share the same space as the Blood that is there by virtue of Christ’s Priestly Presence.

    Like

  107. Srdc says:

    I will also add that the people who” think” Catholic women belong to a faith that tells them they are only fit to sit in the kitchen and be silent.

    Need to seriously get some help, instead of taking out their angry out on other people because I have NEVER been treated that way.

    Like

  108. Toadspittle says:

    .

    “At the final resurrection of the body, we too will be given glorified bodies that will live forever, but we will still be male or female.”

    Explains Srdc. Now we are geting somewhere. Toad takes that to mean we shall have sexual organs in Heaven. Will we be able to use them?

    For some time now, Toad has been trying to find out what will go on in Heaven when we get our bodies back. Will Quasimodo still have his hump?

    Like

  109. Jerry says:

    For some time now, Toad has been trying to find out what will go on in Heaven when we get our bodies back. Will Quasimodo still have his hump?

    The belief doesn’t exactly claim that people will get their bodies back, that is why the relationship between the person now and the person after the resurrection is compared to the relationship between a seed and a full grown plant. — The seed and plant are organically connected but utterly different. The seed ‘dies’ and is transformed. Talk of resurrection of the body is more subtle than mere ‘resuscitation’. Your question about Quasimodo is ill formed.

    Sorry to be brief Toad but people answered in more detail the last time you raised this exact question, using exactly the same example

    Like

  110. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Well, Jerry I know I’m repearing myself, , but I didn’t get a satisfactory answer then. Not even remotely close.
    That’s why I’m asking again.
    All this, “…doesn’t exactly claim that people will get their bodies back” from you sounds like fudging to me. Will we or won’t we? Very simple question. If yes, in what condition?
    And what about Srdc’s claim that we will have our marriage tackle in Paradise?
    Yes? No?
    If yes, what for?

    Like

  111. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    Jesus says we will no longer be given in marriage in heaven (see Mt 22:30). Why? Because we no longer need signs to point us to heaven, when we’re in heaven. The “marriage of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7) – the union of love that alone can satisfy – will be eternally consummated.

    This is why erotic desire is not separate from the love of God for us.

    Like

  112. Jerry says:

    Sorry Toad, fair enough.

    <iIf yes, in what condition?
    The most internally coherent accounts I’ve seen imply that it is not at all question of “getting anything back”, and not a question of complete discontinuity either. — That’s the idea behind the acorn/tree analogy.
    But I don’t know if a satisfactory answer is possible. In fact I’m almost certain it isn’t.

    And what about Srdc’s claim that we will have our marriage tackle in Paradise?
    Yes? No?
    If yes, what for?

    Nostalgia?

    Like

  113. Chris Sullivan says:

    In the resurrection we have our bodies back, but made new and better.

    Jesus did seem to say that in the resurrection we are no longer sexual but like the angels.

    So I think Toad may be onto something about the resurrected body not having the same sexual distinctions as bodies in this world.

    God Bless

    Like

  114. Toadspittle says:

    .

    “Nostalgia?”

    Says Srdc. Well, it’s as good an answer as Toad is likely to get.
    He’s fond of nostalgia. It will probably be the death of him. With luck.

    Like

  115. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    Angels do not have bodies. Like the angels here refers to be able to see the beatific vision or the face of God. The Trinity in all it’s glory.

    There are a few saints who have experienced this. They have called it painful, because once you see the face of God, you do not want to continue living on this earth, but want to be with God.

    Like

  116. Toadspittle says:

    .
    Sorry Srdc and Jerry. Signals crossed again. Doh.

    Like

  117. Toadspittle says:

    .

    But surely, isn’t what will befall us in the Hearafter of consumate importance? If it is, how come nobody seems to have a clue as to what will happen in Heaven if and when we are reunited with our vile bodies?

    Like

  118. Chris Sullivan says:

    SRDC,

    In the gospel passage Jesus refered to being like the angels in the sense of not marrying and procreating vs the Sadduces question about the woman with 7 husbands.

    That does seem to contain the idea of a rather radical restructuring of sexuality in our resurrected bodies.

    God Bless

    Like

  119. Srdc says:

    Chris,

    Our Bodies will be the same, but will be they will be transformed into a glorified state, freed from suffering and pain, and enabled to do many of the amazing things Jesus could do with his glorified body (cf. 1 Cor. 15:35–44, 1 John 3:2).

    There is no talk about restructuring of sexuality anywhere in scripture or church tradition.

    Like

  120. Jerry says:

    Peter Kreeft has written a very interesting article affirming the idea of sexuality in heaven

    http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/sex-in-heaven.htm

    Like

  121. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    The idea of having our ‘tackle’ in heaven or hell is risible. Sounds very much like the Islamic male fantasy of endless available virgins in Paradise, accompanied by the watery sounds of fountains. Very earthly pleasures.

    Jerry tells Toad that Toad’s question about Quasimodo is “ill formed”. Is this a very welcome joke on a site where sinister accusations of heresy are chucked around by grim wannabee undergraduates of the Torquemada Charm School?

    A bit of cheer is welcome here so thanks Jerry for lightening up the postings.

    Like

  122. Jerry says:

    There is no talk about restructuring of sexuality anywhere in scripture or church tradition.

    Further research would be interesting. I would say at the outset that the blanket claim that in two thousand years of Church tradition there has been no talk of sexuality in heaven is somewhat audacious.

    Like

  123. Jerry says:

    Jerry tells Toad that Toad’s question about Quasimodo is “ill formed”. Is this a very welcome joke on a site where sinister accusations of heresy are chucked around by grim wannabee undergraduates of the Torquemada Charm School?

    Truth be told Jabba, I only realised I’d made a joke after I pressed “post”. Humour from the sub-conscious 🙂

    Like

  124. JabbaPapa says:

    cripes, this “argument” has been ongoing since at least, let me think, hmmmmmm, the 13th century …

    I say “argument” in quote marks, because the fact of the matter is that this is a complete imponderable that nobody alive in the world today can possibly know the truth of.

    We know that the Communion of the Saints is real, but we haven’t the faintest idea even what substance or essence they partake of, nor anything else of any kind of tangible nature — except that Christ Himself returned in the flesh.

    There have been a great many speculations about the nature of Christ’s Flesh after the Resurrection, which basically amount to sheer guesswork.

    Nevertheless, the doctrines of the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and also Transubstantiation, all partake of the same assurance that our flesh shall become as Christ’s — of course, if any contributors to this blog have also died, and also been in the Kingdom of Heaven, and have also returned from the dead, then perhaps they might enlighten us ?

    Meanwhile, this “question” of whether the Saints will be able to have sexual intercourse in the afterlife is striking in its banality and its sheer lack of any sort of originality nor actual meaning.

    Like

  125. Srdc says:

    The Mass has cosmic and eternal dimensions.

    Many non-Catholic as well as Catholic scholars have noticed that the whole structure of Revelation is a big Passover liturgy where Christ, the Priest King, the firstborn Son and the Lamb looking as though it’s been slain conducts and celebrates the heavenly liturgy. And the earthly liturgy is meant to be a reflection in that, a participation in that, and the early Church took it for granted.

    In other words we are standing in heaven during the Mass.

    Like

  126. JabbaPapa says:

    Me :

    Meanwhile, this “question” of whether the Saints will be able to have sexual intercourse in the afterlife is striking in its banality and its sheer lack of any sort of originality nor actual meaning.

    I mean, let’s just say for the sake of the “argument” that the answer is yes.

    And ?

    So what ?

    Would this somehow be interesting in some sort of bizzarre way ?

    Like

  127. Jerry says:

    In other words we are standing in heaven during the Mass.

    Well Jabba, in the context of this discussion srdc has opened up a rich vein of humour. Best left untapped I warrant.

    Like

  128. Jerry says:

    Well here’s Kreeft, coming rather close to being creepy in my view:

    I think there will probably be millions of more adequate ways to express love than the clumsy ecstasy of fitting two bodies together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Even the most satisfying earthly intercourse between spouses cannot perfectly express all their love. If the possibility of intercourse in Heaven is not actualized, it is only for the same reason earthly lovers do not eat candy during intercourse: there is something much better to do. The question of intercourse in Heaven is like the child’s question whether you can eat candy during intercourse: a funny question only from the adult’s point of view. Candy is one of children’s greatest pleasures; how can they conceive a pleasure so intense that it renders candy irrelevant? Only if you know both can you compare two things, and all those who have tasted both the delights of physical intercourse with the earthly beloved and the delights of spiritual intercourse with God testify that there is simply no comparison.

    A Heavenly Reading of the Earthly Riddle of Sex
    This spiritual intercourse with God is the ecstasy hinted at in all earthly intercourse, physical or spiritual. It is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong, so different from other passions, so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that just elude our grasp. No mere practical needs account for it. No mere animal drive explains it. No animal falls in love, writes profound romantic poetry, or sees sex as a symbol of the ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the image of God. Human sexuality is that image, and human sexuality is a foretaste of that self-giving, that losing and finding the self, that oneness-in-manyness that is the heart of the life and joy of the Trinity. That is what we long for; that is why we tremble to stand outside ourselves in the other, to give our whole selves, body and soul: because we are images of God the sexual being. We love the other sex because God loves God.

    Like

  129. Srdc says:

    Jerry,

    Yes, it’s funny how one fundamentalist Scott Hahn thought the book of Revelation was about the end of the world or Armageddon and when he started studying found out the early church saw the Catholic Mass instead.

    Like

  130. Jerry says:

    Joyful Papist, who you all know, wrote an excellent piece on “sex in heaven” last year. can’t find it though.

    Somewhat off-topic, I’m researching ugly modernist churches if anyone would like to help:

    http://twilightoftheidols21.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/ugly-churches/

    Like

  131. Srdc says:

    Jerry,

    The Holy Spirit is called experience of love of God. What some Protestants or charismatics experience during what is known as being slain in the spirit. Some Catholics experience during Eucharistic adoration.

    When I was at Stuebenville a few years ago, a lot of youth mentioned how they felt like they were being set on fire, during adoration.

    Chesterton said, that every man who knocks at the door of a brothel is looking for God.

    Like

  132. Toadspittle says:

    .
    “Chesterton said, that every man who knocks at the door of a brothel is looking for God.”
    Srdc is pleased to tells.

    Makes one wonder what the man who knocks on the door of a church is looking for, does it not?

    “Meanwhile, this “question” of whether the Saints will be able to have sexual intercourse in the afterlife is striking in its banality and its sheer lack of any sort of originality nor actual meaning.
    Would this somehow be interesting in some sort of bizzarre way ?”

    Yes, Jabba, extremely.

    And Toad foresees a startling rise in the number of conversions if it becomes accepted dogma

    Like

  133. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Thanks Sr for your constantly reasonable comments, and your steadiness in face of the mockers.

    But may I say that this experience you mention of young people “being set on fire during adoration” is identical to the feelings that many young people have at rock/pop concerts, and is actually a sublimated/displaced form of sexual desire, entirely normal, especially in the young.

    Sex and religion have often been conflated and perhaps those you saw at Stuebenville experienced this? Your Chesterton quote is very appropriate in that case.

    Like

  134. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Jerry

    You say you are researching “ugly modernist churches”. Nice(?) work if you can get it. But can you tell me if “ugly” and “modern” are synonymous to you? Are they joined at the hip, these two words?

    Any examples of these churches which you’d care to share? It would be interesting.

    Many thanks!

    Like

  135. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    JP

    You link the words “bizarre” and “sexual intercourse”.

    Want to shed a little more light on this pairing?

    Like

  136. Toadspittle says:

    .

    “We know that the Communion of the Saints is real, but we haven’t the faintest idea even what
    substance or essence they partake of, nor anything else of any kind of tangible nature — except that Christ Himself returned in the flesh.
    There have been a great many speculations about the nature of Christ’s Flesh after the Resurrection, which basically amount to sheer guesswork.”

    Admits Jabba, metaphorically, if not literally, scratching his bonce.
    Then why do many of us persevere with this hopelessly unproductive line of thought? Why don’t we all just wait until we die, and then see what happens?

    While having as much fun as possible in the meantime?

    Ugly.modernist churches? “Paddy’s Wigwam” in Liverpool is the odds-on favourite.

    Like

  137. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    It is asked above: why don’t we wait till we die and see what happens? Because (sigh) there is no opportunity to report back with our findings. Been like that for a while. Pig in a poke, some say.

    On church buildings…interesting images at http://www.christianitytoday.com

    And Ugly as Sin Modern Church Architecture.com

    Like

  138. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Forget the first link – it’s no good; I got the source from Google.

    Like

  139. Srdc says:

    Wall Eyed,

    Older people also experience this too.

    I don’t think rock concerts transform people. They don’t teach people things like the meaning of family. F-Forget, A- About, M- Me, I-Love, Y-You.

    The fruit is in seeing the gifts of the Holy Spirit being manifest. For example. Mother Theresa used to spend an hour every day in Eucharistic adoration, and said that it would be impossible for her learn to love like Christ, if she did not.

    Yes, religion and sex has always been conflated. Sexual promiscuity is often the desire for the love of God, just in the wrong places.

    Like

  140. Jerry says:

    Whippy,

    Any examples of these churches which you’d care to share? It would be interesting.

    Yes, hence my link, http://twilightoftheidols21.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/ugly-churches/ 🙂

    Like

  141. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Jerry, you’ve certainly found some vomitive examples here. But there are examples of fine modern(ist) church buildings which I am unable to show. I can’t do much online I’m sorry to say. But these good examples exist.

    Like

  142. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, Jerry and others who are interested: Are the 40s still considered as modern? If so, I have a very nice example of a most beautiful church building:
    null

    For those who want to paste image, use the tag: <img src=""
    between the quotations signs you should put the address of the graphic, and then close it with a slash and a sharp bracket, like the begin of the tag.

    Like

  143. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Sr, I agree about the superficiality of rock concerts, exciting as they are.

    On Mother Teresa; her letters over 50 years just published, edited I think by a priest, show that she did not believe in God. This loss of belief began shortly after she started her work in Calcutta.

    This of course is unacceptable to most, but nevertheless can be seen from her own words.

    Like

  144. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Teresa, please show your example!

    Like

  145. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, already pasted above. It is a church in Neu-Ulm, Germany, designed by the architect and Catholic Dominikus Böhm, I am thinking doing a post on his church buildings.

    Like

  146. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Oops sorry T, I’ve just seen it appear.

    I don’t like it myself, but I am concerned that this interesting issue becomes a hatefest against anything new(ish), modern(ish). As some people get older they become anti anything they’re not used to, unfortunately.

    I have seen some wonderful examples of modern church architecture on Google but I don’t know how to show them.

    I read that Beethoven was booed for some of his work, Stravinsky certainly was, for his marvellous ‘Rite of Spring’ and I think that Gaudi was panned for the Sagrada Familia and so on.

    Like

  147. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Teresa, you might like to look at Roger Scruton on architecture. He is very interesting, thorough and professional on this subject, even if I personally find his personal views on other issues unpleasant. Which matters nothing.

    Like

  148. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Yes, “personally/personal”. Hmmm.

    Like

  149. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, that was my fault as I didn’t paste it properly and only edited it later to show the image (the privilege of an author of this blog), I just add a link to html codes on our Help page, so if one of you want to do more than just writing in your comments you can have a look at the html codes.

    I read the article by Jerry on his blog and it was about a book on post-Vat.II architecture. I didn’t know the book but I am just asking whether it is just a coincidence that the post VatII decades just coincided with the architecturally most prosaic era. The New Liturgical Movement does show many pictures of newly built modern churches of recent date. But for my taste these church buildings appraised by the NLM blog are too nostalgic for me! Why can’t we just appreciate modern art? I don’t think we have to imitate the by-gone styles like the Renaissance and use nothing new! I do think Dominikus Böhm’s buildings are good examples which show that modern art can be beautiful as well. I read first about him in a magazine for the conservation of art monuments (Monumenta), and I was very impressed by his works. He had initially also some problem with some prelates in the church but he was later accepted and appreciated. I shall write something about him I think.

    Like

  150. Srdc says:

    Wall,

    I have a book of writings by Mother Theresa. She most certainly believed in God. The media just never understood what she was trying to say. She was going through a desert experience, where you do not feel the presence of God, because God for some reason decides to pull away.

    This is done to test the person. Even Jesus was tested in the desert.

    This is documented in “The Dark Night of The Soul” By John of the Cross.

    The secular media is off course not going to get this.

    Like

  151. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, just saw the other comments of you, thanks for the recommendation of Roger Scruton, I shall have a go at his works as soon as I get time for it.
    Btw. this one by Dominikus Böhm might be a better example:

    or this one:

    Like

  152. Srdc says:

    Teresa,

    I was reading an interesting article on Luther and Ockham’s razor. The nominalism that got rid of the transcendental elements in Western art and culture.

    This is seen itself in two ways. Excessive materialism that points to nothing else, and excessive spiritualism that refuses to see the links between the two.

    Like

  153. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    T, I see from your pic that Boehm (sorry no umlaut) refers closely to the Gothic which is a fine connection with the most productive, most beautiful and inspired times in Church architectural history. Tho’ the previous Romanesque in its simplicity is very pleasing to me.

    When I enter Chartres, I believe that nothing could ever surpass the beauty there – until I go to Vezelay. One is dark and powerful, the other is full of blazing light and energy. Each overwhelms me, when I am sensitive to their moods. It depends on where I am spiritually/emotionally of course, for these wonderful works never change.

    Well they do actually, because some stonecleaning work in Chartres recently has revealed a beauty which had been obscured.

    Like

  154. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Standing in the centre of the labyrinth of Chartres, I had, about two years ago, an experience which as has been said, “passes all understanding”.

    Like

  155. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, Böhm certainly uses Gothic and Romanesque elements, without imitating them in details, and only borrowing their abstract forms. The latter two pictures I pasted are churches which were built in the Gothic era but later damaged and thus reconstructed and enlarged by Dominikus Böhm, so perhaps that is the reason why they are more pleasing to you than the first one.

    I like Gothic and Romanesque church buildings also very much, the Gothic vaults transmit the feeling of the transcendent and mystical. I was never in Chartres, but I was in Reims once, and the Cathedral is really very impressing. The Gothic used to be my most favourite architecture style but now I love the Baroque and feel quite at home in a Baroque church.

    Btw. as for light and energy you mentioned (though in regard of Vezelay as a Romanesque church) I remember reading a book on architecture and the author says that in Late Medieval Era the Transcendent and Mystic gave way to light and life, here is a church which you might find beautiful:

    Like

  156. teresa says:

    Srdc, I am not so sure about Luther and Occam, it is said that a certain Gabriel Biel, professor at the University of Tübingen, introduced Occamism to Germany and thus influenced Luther. But I am not so sure about it. Occamism is again very different from Occam himself. The Nominalism is such a vague concept and philosophically seen, nominalism is in the first space directed against the realism of Duns Scotus and his school, which posits real entities for abstract concepts, for example there is a human nature corresponding the concept “humaness”, whilst Occam only holds individuals (and qualities, like being red) to be ontologically relevant. I don’t see too much implication for theology and culture or art. Indeed the most exciting eras of art history are still ahead: the Late Medieval Time, the Renaissance, the Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, historicism etc.

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  157. Srdc says:

    I think this is a good excerpt that can sum up many of our discussions here.

    “It is the Pagan who charges her with excessive Holiness.

    “You Catholics,” he tells us, “are far too hard on sin and not nearly indulgent enough towards poor human nature. Let me take as an instance the sins of the flesh. Now here is a set of desires implanted by God or Nature (as you choose to name the Power behind life) for wise and indeed essential purposes. These desires are probably the very fiercest known to man and certainly the most alluring; and human nature is, as we know, an extraordinarily inconsistent and vacillating thing. Now I am aware that the abuse of these passions leads to disaster and that Nature has her inexorable laws and penalties; but you Catholics add a new horror to life by an absurd and irrational insistence on the offence that this abuse causes before God. For not only do you fiercely denounce the “acts of sin,” as you name them, but you presume to go deeper still to the very desire itself, as it would seem. You are unpractical and cruel enough to say that the very thought of sin deliberately entertained can cut off the soul that indulges in it from the favour of God.

    “Or, to go further, consider the impossible ideals which you hold up with regard to matrimony. These ideals have a certain beauty of their own to persons who can embrace them; they may perhaps be, to use a Catholic phrase, Counsels of Perfection; but it is merely ludicrous to insist upon them as rules of conduct for all mankind. Human Nature is human nature. You cannot bind the many by the dreams of the few.

    “Or, to take a wider view altogether, consider the general standards you hold up to us in the lives of your saints. These saints appear to the ordinary commonplace man as simply not admirable at all. It does not seem to us admirable that St. Aloysius should scarcely lift his eyes from the ground, or that St. Teresa should shut herself up in a cell, or that St. Francis should scourge himself with briers for fear of committing sin. That kind of attitude is too fantastically fastidious altogether. You Catholics seem to aim at a standard that is simply not desirable; both your ends and your methods are equally inhuman and equally unsuitable for the world we have to live in. True religion is surely something far more sensible than this; true religion should not strain and strive after the impossible, should not seek to improve human nature by a process of mutilation. You have excellent aims in some respects and excellent methods in others, but in supreme demands you go beyond the mark altogether. We Pagans neither agree with your morality nor admire those whom you claim as your successes. If you were less holy and more natural, less idealistic and more practical, you would be of a greater service to the world which you desire to help. Religion should be a sturdy, virile growth; not the delicate hothouse blossom which you make it.”

    The second charge comes from the Puritan. “Catholicism is not holy enough to be the Church of Jesus Christ; for see how terribly easy she is to those who outrage and crucify Him afresh! Perhaps it may not be true after all, as we used to think, that the Catholic priest actually gives leave to his penitents to commit sin; but the extraordinary ease with which absolution is given comes very nearly to the same thing. So far from this Church having elevated the human race, she has actually lowered its standards by her attitude towards those of her children who disobey God’s Laws.

    “And consider what some of these children of hers have been! Are there any criminals in history so monumental as Catholic criminals? Have any men ever fallen so low as, let us say, the Borgia family of the Middie Ages, as Gilles de Rais and a score of others, as men and women who were perhaps in their faith `good Catholics’ enough, yet in their lives a mere disgrace to humanity? Look at the Latin countries with their passionate records of crime, at the sexual immorality of France or Spain; the turbulence and thriftlessness of Ireland, the ignorant brutality of Catholic England. Are there any other denominations of Christendom that exhibit such deplorable specimens as the runaway nuns, the apostate priests, the vicious Popes of Catholicism? How is it that tales are told of the iniquities of Catholicism such as are told of no other of the sects of Christendom? Allow for all the exaggeration you like, all the prejudice of historians, all the spitefulness of enemies, yet there surely remains sufficient Catholic criminality to show that at the best the Church is no better than any other religious body, and at the worst, infinitely worse. The Catholic Church, then, is not holy enough to be the Church of Jesus Christ.”

    II. When we turn to the Gospels we find that these two charges are, as a matter of fact, precisely among those which were brought against our Divine Lord.

    First, undoubtedly, He was hated for His Holiness. Who can doubt that the terrific standard of morality which He preached — the Catholic preaching of which also is one of the charges of the Pagan — was a principal cause of His rejection. For it was He, after all, who first proclaimed that the laws of God bind not only action but thought; it was He who first pronounced that man to be a murderer and an adulterer who in his heart willed these sins; it was He who summed up the standard of Christianity as a standard of perfection, Be you perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect; who bade men aspire to be as good as God!

    It was His Holiness, then, that first drew on Him the hostility of the world — that radiant white-hot sanctity in which His Sacred Humanity went clothed. Which of you convinceth me of sin? . . . Let him that is without sin amongst you cast the first stone at her! These were words that pierced the smooth formalism of the Scribe and the Pharisee and awoke an undying hatred. It was this, surely, that led up irresistibly to the final rejection of Him at the bar of Pilate and the choice of Barabbas in His place. “Not this man! not this piece of stainless Perfection! Not this Sanctity that reveals all hearts, but Barabbas, that comfortable sinner so like ourselves! This robber in whose company we feel at ease! This murderer whose life, at any rate, is in no reproachful contrast to our own!” Jesus Christ was found too holy for the world.

    But He was found, too, not holy enough. And it is this explicit charge that is brought against Him again and again. It was dreadful to those keepers of the Law that this Preacher of Righteousness should sit with publicans and sinners; that this Prophet should allow such a woman as Magdalen to touch Him. If this man were indeed a Prophet, He could not bear the contact of sinners; if He were indeed zealous for God’s Kingdom, He could not suffer the presence of so many who were its enemies. Yet He sits there at Zacchaeus’ table, silent and smiling, instead of crying on the roof to fall in; He calls Matthew from the tax-office instead of blasting him and it together; He handles the leper whom God’s own Law pronounces unclean.

    III. These, then, are the charges brought against the disciples of Christ, as against the Master, and it is undeniable that there is truth in them both.

    It is true that the Catholic Church preaches a morality that is utterly beyond the reach of human nature left to itself; that her standards are standards of perfection, and that she prefers even the lowest rung of the supernatural ladder to the highest rung of the natural.

    And it is also true, without doubt, that the fallen or the unfaithful Catholic is an infinitely more degraded member of humanity than the fallen Pagan or Protestant; that the monumental criminals of history are Catholic criminals, and that the monsters of the world -Henry VIII for example, sacrilegious, murderer, and adulterer; Martin Luther, whose printed table-talk is unfit for any respectable house; Queen Elizabeth, perjurer, tyrant, and unchaste — were persons who had had all that the Catholic Church could give them: the standards of her teaching, the guidance of her discipline, and the grace of her sacraments. What, then, is the reconciliation of this Paradox?

    (i) First the Catholic Church is Divine. She dwells, that is to say, in heavenly places; she looks always upon the Face of God; she holds enshrined in her heart the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ and the stainless perfection of that Immaculate Mother from whom that Humanity was drawn. How is it conceivable, then, that she should be content with any standard short of perfection? If she were a Society evolved from below — a merely human Society that is to say — she could never advance beyond those standards to which in the past her noblest children have climbed. But since there dwells in her the Supernatural – – since Mary was endowed from on high with a gift to which no human being could ascend, since the Sun of Justice Himself came down from the heavens to lead a human life under human terms — how can she ever again be content with anything short of that height from which these came?

    (2) But she is also human, dwelling herself in the midst of humanity, placed here in the world for the express object of gathering into herself and of sanctifying by her graces that very world which has fallen from God. These outcasts and these sinners are the very material on which she has to work; these waste products of human life, these marred types and specimens of humanity have no hope at all except in her.

    For, first, she desires if she can — and she has often been able -actually to raise these, first to sanctity and then to her own altars; it is for her and her only to raise the poor from the dunghill and to set them with the princes. She sets before the Magdalen and the thief, then, nothing less but her own standard of perfection.

    Yet though in one sense she is satisfied with nothing lower than this, in another sense she is satisfied with almost infinitely nothing. If she can but bring the sinner within the very edge of grace; if she can but draw from the dying murderer one cry of contrition; if she can but turn his eyes with one look of love to the crucifix, her labours are a thousand times repaid; for, if she has not brought him to the head of sanctity, she has at least brought him to its foot and set him there beneath that ladder of the supernatural which reaches from hell to heaven.

    For she alone has this power. She alone is so utterly confident in the presence of the sinner because she alone has the secret of his cure. There in her confessional is the Blood of Christ that can make his soul clean again, and in her Tabernacle the Body of Christ that will be his food of eternal life. She alone dares be his friend because she alone can be his Saviour. If, then, her saints are one sign of her identity, no less are her sinners another.

    For not only is she the Majesty of God dwelling on earth, she is also His Love; and therefore its limitations, and they only, are hers. That Sun of mercy that shines and that Rain of charity that streams, on just and unjust alike, are the very Sun and Rain that give her life. If I go up to Heaven she is there, enthroned in Christ, on the Right Hand of God; if I go down to Hell she is there also, drawing back souls from the brink from which she alone can rescue them. For she is that very ladder which Jacob saw so long ago, that staircase planted here in the blood and the slime of earth, rising there into the stainless Light of the Lamb. Holiness and unholiness are both alike hers and she is ashamed of neither — the holiness of her own Divinity which is Christ’s and the unholiness of those outcast members of her Humanity to whom she ministers.

    By her power, then, which again is Christ’s, the Magdalen becomes the Penitent; the thief the first of the redeemed; and Peter, the yielding sand of humanity, the Rock on which Herself is built.”

    http://archives.nd.edu/episodes/visitors/rhb/benson03.htm

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  158. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Good comment T.

    As for baroque, I feel that when I see Spanish Baroque (perhaps not the type you mean) that I am in Disneyland or Blackpool. For me it’s too over the top, frothy, asserting too much – and also reflecting the spoils of empire with all that gold look, which the church should have been above and beyond, but wasn’t . I wonder also if I were around to have seen Archbishop (?) Suger’s opulent Parisian churches in the middle ages, what would I have thought? (see Umberto Eco’s book on this). All academic of course for many many reasons.

    And of course the austere churches I like were not so austere 1000 years ago, being highly painted in rich colours. A narrative for the illiterate, as were the tympans.

    So for reflection I must return to a popular philosophical book I have on the question of ‘Taste’. It’s difficult and elusive I think; taste I mean. And if I were asked to define good taste I couldnt do it.

    There are many modern buildings which I love for their modernity, but the field is too wide to come up with a coherent opinion. I don’t like for example the Guggenheim building in Bilbao. But again, unless I can coherently say why, this is of no importance: like saying I like raspberry rather than vanilla.

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  159. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    And yes T , that pic is indeed of a cathedral/church which pleases my taste. The mediaeval builders knew how to lift the spirit by means of stone and design. I salute them.

    If you come to Chartres from the north you see the cathedral rise from the plain there, and I must say it is in the same sense that one sees the space shuttle before launch, standing in the flatlands there. The intention can be the same – carrying the hopes, prayers and dreams of a culture up and beyond this earth.

    I must say though, that the Blue Mosque in Istanbul or the Taj Mahal in India have an uplifting effect too, but not for the same reasons as say Chartres or Vezelay. Yet the best (what’s the best?) Muslim architecture is very powerful, it has to be said.

    I find that Westminster Cath in London to be more political than spiritual in feeling, yet Canterbury is entirely spiritual. But I must stop this subjective comment.

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  160. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, thanks for your very interesting comments. Baroque is really too much theatre, and too frivolous, But I’ve developed a liking to it, perhaps it is because I go almost every week for the Mass in a Baroque church and thus feel home with the Baroque. Here is an example of baroque which might illustrates your point quite well, it is built by Balthasar Neumann:

    The Cathedral of Chartres must be a gem, I’ve heard it is the proto-type of High Gothic architecture.

    I love modern architecture too, though I, like you, can’t tell exactly why I like a particular building etc..

    Like

  161. JabbaPapa says:

    JP

    You link the words “bizarre” and “sexual intercourse”.

    Want to shed a little more light on this pairing?

    It must needs take a rather forced reading of my comments to imagine anything of the sort.

    Like

  162. JabbaPapa says:

    “We know that the Communion of the Saints is real, but we haven’t the faintest idea even what
    substance or essence they partake of, nor anything else of any kind of tangible nature — except that Christ Himself returned in the flesh.
    There have been a great many speculations about the nature of Christ’s Flesh after the Resurrection, which basically amount to sheer guesswork.”

    Admits Jabba, metaphorically, if not literally, scratching his bonce.
    Then why do many of us persevere with this hopelessly unproductive line of thought? Why don’t we all just wait until we die, and then see what happens?

    While having as much fun as possible in the meantime?

    Who said that the contemplation of this Mystery, as a Mystery that is, was “unproductive” ?

    In this context too, there are 2 ways of “wait[ing] until we die, and then see what happens : 1) with Faith 2) without.

    Now obviously this broadens and deepens the question that you are asking ; but there is no dividing line between the Faith that we have during our lives and our Faith in the afterlife, nor our Faith in Christ. The central locus of this is our Faith in the Resurrection of the Christ.

    As to “having as much fun as possible in the meantime”, this would be an error of morals, ethics, and religion ; it is a philosophically and politically and religiously indefensible proposal. But I’m guessing that you already knew that.

    Like

  163. JabbaPapa says:

    On Mother Teresa; her letters over 50 years just published, edited I think by a priest, show that she did not believe in God. This loss of belief began shortly after she started her work in Calcutta.

    This of course is unacceptable to most, but nevertheless can be seen from her own words.

    There are some very false interpretations of Mother Teresa’s writings in circulation.

    She wrote that she *doubted* the existence of God.

    This is by no means the same thing as “not believing” ; and we all of us Christians need to struggle with this existence of doubt within the very heart of our individual Christian faiths.

    Only some very tiny numbers of Christians receive any direct revelation during their lives as to the truthfulness of Christianity ; but even these must necessarily face their own doubts and second thoughts.

    That these writings of Mother Teresa, illustrating very faithfully that doubt, even radical doubt, exists in the heart of a Christian faith, have been interpreted as meaning that “she didn’t believe in God” simply shows how drastically superficial this atheistic notion is concerning the nature of Faith itself.

    The atheists believe that it is some sort of simplistic binary yes/no on/off belief/disbelief switch of some kind.

    … but to the contrary, Mother Teresa’s dogged persistence in the Faith, and in the face of these profound feelings of doubt, is exemplary of the highest expression of a belief that Christians are capable of.

    Saint Thomas, as I myself did, needed a direct proof of the truthfulness of the Faith. Christ rebuked him for this, and provided him with that proof anyway. But this is not something to be admired on Thomas’ part (nor my own), and it is a simple act of pity, and charity, and mercy on God’s part if He should choose to show Himself to those truthfully open-minded who are nevertheless spiritually incapable of making that extra step that most of the faithful will take.

    Being in that situation, my response to you is that Mother Teresa’s Faith is far, far stronger than my own could ever be, precisely because of my relative absence of doubt. There is a certain type of meditation and prayer which is extremely valuable and fertile, and virtually impossible for those whose doubts have been done away with.

    It is a matter of shame, not triumph, to have been in need of proofs, and to have needed the direct and personal pity and intervention of God before becoming capable of being a Christian.

    That interpretation you have repeated of Mother Teresa’s writings on the subject of doubt is therefore as far from accurate as it is possible to be.

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  164. Toadspittle says:

    .
    “As to “having as much fun as possible in the meantime”, this would be an error of morals, ethics, and religion ; it is a philosophically and politically and religiously indefensible proposal. But I’m guessing that you already knew that.”

    Indeed Toad did, Jabba. And as Torquemada was fond of saying, “It all depends on your idea of fun.”
    Toad’s is rather more Gothic than Baroque, he suspects.

    Like

  165. JabbaPapa says:

    I prefer either Gothic or Renaissance myself ; though when the Baroque is done *properly*, it’s outstandingly marvellous 🙂

    Like

  166. JabbaPapa says:

    Meanwhile, there’s good old Rowan Williams supporting women bishops because : “In arguing for and working for the full inclusion of women in the ordained ministry of the church, what we’re after is not simply justice, though that’s not exactly insignificant, but we are after the humanising of the ordained ministry”, whatever that’s supposed to mean ; though it’s clearly political not spiritual “justice” he’s talking about, and that this “humanising” is of the modernist variety, given that it is very very unclear that he’s demonstrated in any way whatsoever that an exclusively male clergy isn’t a “humanised” one too…

    His suggestions in the same interview that an all-male clergy provides all-male readings of Scripture are strange and untenable IMHO…

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  167. Toadspittle says:

    .
    We can see what Jabba is getting at here – an exclusively male clergy is still comprised of “humans”, more or less.
    Toad thinks Rowan Willams (Isn’t he “Mr. Bean”?) has a point as well: It’s not that men and women see things differently – it’s that we all see things differently. So to limit the input of half (more in fact) of the faithful, seems counterproductive. To Toad.
    Although, as he’s said before, it’s not his problem.
    He also thinks that, in view of the current contretemps over pedophilia, a fair case could be made for preventing men from holding holy office. Although that would be sexist and unfair.

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  168. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    JP recently compared himsef very favourably with Cardinal Newman, and later pronounced on heresy. He is a self declared expert on rhetoric. Now he opines on atheism and has his own interpretation of M. Teresa’s stated lack of faith.

    With the right headgear, JP could issue more Bulls.

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  169. JabbaPapa says:

    Well Mr Whippy, if this is the sort of rhetoric that you want to engage in when talking with me, I think it a bit odd odd if you also complain about comments that are aimed in your own general direction, don’t you think ?

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  170. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    JP, you have been slinging personal abuse as listed above for a while. And it was you who attributed to yourself these qualities of great ability. I think it a bit odd that you complain about even a humorous rebuke, don’t you think?

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  171. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Teresa, I look forward to anything you offer on church architecture. There has been a variety of preference expressed already on different styles.

    I still like a good modern building, yet retain a love for the mediaeval styles.They are very pleasing and satisfying. I especially like the monastic cloister.

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  172. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m confused — how does the expression of my personal opinions (strongly agreeing in a personally motivated capacity with the theology of Cardinal Newman, explaining my views on the nature and origin of heresy, discussing rhetorics that only a tiny number of people ever receive any formal training in nowadays, and you could add Vulgate Latin to the list btw, giving my views on atheism, or providing my understanding of Mother Teresa’s travails and difficulties) constitute “personal abuse” ???

    Posting strongly motivated and sometimes blunt disagreements with your or anyone else’s stated positions is to attack those positions ; no more, no less.

    If somebody posts some heretical opinions in here, it’s not impossible that I might describe those views as constituting heresies ; this does not mean that I’m attacking the person who made those statements, nor indeed that I might want them clamped in irons, nor burned at the stake, nor whatever rubbish of that ilk … but one can surely, and at the very least, point out how deeply and how strongly one might disagree with such views ? In a, y’know, Catholic blog ? 🙂

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  173. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Yes Jp, yes, yes.
    But please don’t pontificate on others in y’know, a Catholic blog.

    I realise you bear the scars from Thompson’s blog, tho’ I’d rather you put that behind you, if only for your sake. Let that go.

    The last word’s yours, if it’s reasonable.
    But do please lighten up.

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  174. JabbaPapa says:

    Toad : It’s not that men and women see things differently – it’s that we all see things differently. So to limit the input of half (more in fact) of the faithful, seems counterproductive.

    Your first point is a central point of Catholic Christianity, so that you’re probably preaching to the converted there … 🙂

    Your second point is related to some far more complex issues that have arisen in Western society generally since the end of the 19th century in general, and as a reaction against the totalitarianisms of the mid 20th century more particularly.

    Religiously, the Catholics and the Anglicans have approached the related problems in some rather different ways, I think.

    The Catholic Church has broadly opened interpretative questions to a wider range of opinion than before Vatican II ; not everyone is happy with this ; but the opinions of lay Catholics of either sex will contribute to the understanding of the Magisterium, rather than the previous one-way street of interpretation having been maintained.

    From Dr. Williams’ comments though, it seems that the Anglicans are more firmly keeping the reins of interpretation in the hands of the Synod, which one can’t feel but help continues to be an ongoing catastrophe for Anglican theology.

    Of course, theologians continue to play their essential, and irreplaceable part in the educational, theoretic, doctrinal, liturgical, comparative, and all other aspects of theology ; but Dr. Williams’ apparently implying that only clergy, but not lay Anglicans, are contributing to interpretations does not appear to be suggestive of a healthy catechetic relationship between clergy and laity in the contemporary Anglican Church.

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  175. Srdc says:

    JP,

    Interesting insights, I would agree. In many churches the only way someone can have their opinions aired is if they are part of the clergy. In the Catholic church, a theologian has more flexibility to specialize in a certain subject, because if they were clergy, their roles would be limited to the Mass and sacraments.

    In my parish, almost all ministries are run by lay Catholics.

    There is a segment of the church stuck in the 60s. They grew up a certain way when there were few options. This thinking has stayed with them, and they use it to beat other people over the head.

    They don’t have a following among younger Catholics, because they won’t find an audience they can relate to on these issues.

    I have gone from being defensive to being bored with the boomers.

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  176. Your own post, “Can the Catholic Church Ordain
    Female Deacons? |” was in fact worth writing a comment down here in the comment section!
    Really wanted to say you did a superb job.
    Thank you -Tiffiny

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