Something in Vatican DNA reacts negatively towards women.
But it was not always so……..
When it comes to the Vatican’s current attitude toward women in the church, I think of George Orwell’s famous line from Animal Farm that “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.
(1) The Vatican is preparing to update the 2001 norms that deal with priestly sex abuse of minors, in effect codifying practices that have been in place for several years. At the same time, it will include the “attempted ordination of women” among the list of most serious crimes against church law, or “delicta graviora,” sources said.
(2) Vatican opposition to women’s ordination is reprehensible and absolute theological nonsense.
(3) The old men at the Vatican (well young men at the Vatican as well!) need some serious in-service updating about women in Christian history.
What we know……………………..
Women in the ministry of Jesus: Jesus broke established religious and cultural taboes about women.
- In stark contrast to the rabbis of his day, Jesus often used women as illustrations in his teaching.
- He dared walk out to and speak to the Samaritan woman at the well in the heat of the day. He offered her living water. She talked to her neighbors and many of them believed in Jesus “because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:28-29, 39).
- Most Jewish and Greek men had negative views of women, but Jesus treated women with dignity and respect.
- He healed various women, cast demons out of them, and raised their children from the dead.
- The rabbis said that women should not be taught Scripture, but Mary (criticized by older sister Martha) rejects the typically female role, becomes a disciple learning at the feet of Rabbi Jesus. His response: “Mary has chosen what is better.”
- He protected the woman about to be stoned to death.
- Women were the first witnesses to the Resurrection.
Women in ministry in the early Christian community
- Following the example set by Jesus, women were acknowledged and respected as leaders in early Christian communities.
- Euodia and Syntyche are called Paul’s fellow-workers in proclaiming the Gospel.
- Priscilla (Prisca), Junia, Julia, and Nereus’ sister are all key leaders in the Christian community.
- Paul praises Junia (or Junias) as “prominent among the apostles.”
- For Paul and the early church: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Ordination and Eucharist in the early church
- Ordination as we know it did not exist in the early Christian church.
- The “Twelve” were not ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper.
- (Parenthetical remark: I find it comical and sadly stupid the way even some “informed” people posit events at the Last Supper based on what they see in the 15th century mural painting in Milan created by Leonardo da Vinci.)
- The person who presided at Eucharist in early Christian communities was the head of the household or the leader recognized by the community.
- Even when important visitors, like Paul, came to visit and address the community – an early form of “apostolic visitation” – the person who presided at Eucharist was the community leader.
- We know of course that women were heads of households and the acknowledged leaders in early Christian communities.
Women and ordination in later church history
- There is now abundant historic evidence that right up into the late Middle Ages women in the church were ordained to diaconal, presbyteral and episcopal ministry. (See for instance The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination by Gary Macy)
- In a great number of Christian communities today women are ministering as ordained ministers.
- And of course there is an ever-increasing number of Roman Catholic women who are now ministering very effectively as women priests.
There is no valid excuse
Vatican patriarchy, misogyny and opposition to women’s ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.