Orlando, Jun 14, 2007 (CNA).- To say that a woman cannot be a priest in no way detracts from her human dignity and her equality with men, says Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando.
The bishop addressed the ongoing debate on the status of women in the Church in a letter to the faithful yesterday.
“Too often, proponents of a ‘feminist narrative’ allege that Church teachings harbor an anti-woman bias,” he wrote, referring to the proposal that the all-male ordained priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church is the result of such a bias.
The bishop argued that Catholicism is far from being anti-woman and has “raised the dignity of women wherever it took root.”
He noted that pagans mocked Christians “precisely because women were treated as equals to men.”
“Pagan societies were hardly ‘pro-women’ – and this was true of civilizations of high culture like that of the Greeks and Romans as well,” he said. “Where the Gospel took root, however, the status of women improved.”
“That the Church only ordains men to the priesthood is not a comment on the status or state of women but a statement on the nature of the priesthood as instituted by Jesus Christ,” he stated, citing Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
Heyyy.. good to see my Bishop in the news defending Catholic teaching. About time I saw him talking about something other than immigration reform or the Iraq War..
I found an uplifting view of women’s role in the Church while leafing through a book detailing the revelations of Maria Valtorta, then found I couldn’t share them because that was a banned book. Oops. What is it doing in a chapel, then?
Seems there was some controversy: Pius X11 recommended the book, then it was banned, then the banned book list no longer needed to be followed, but we were supposed to consider it morally, and on and on.
Too bad with regard to that bit on women. But John Paul II wrote very clearly and compassionately on te subject.
I wonder if we might get more milage if we emphasized two points in the “no priestesses” rationale:
1) Women’s dignity does stem from being masculine or doing masculine things
2) No one’s dignity stems from doing, or being able to do, things in the first place
Not only would it counter the feminist motivation but the utilitarian one as well, which makes it more than an academic argument for men who only feel validated by their jobs, for eugenists, and maybe a few other groups with lousy modern philosophies.
I presume you meant “doesn’t” in the first point.
Ed Pie’s two points could win a tournament if applied!
Sky presumes correctly. I don’t know why I stopped typing there.
So tell me, then… What are “masculine things”? I understand the essential nature of the priesthood argument, and do not argue in favor of women’s ordination, but to invoke “masculine things” begs a couple of questions. Do “masculine things” have to do primarily with biology” At any rate, what things are considered inherently masculine or inherently feminine have changed over time…
Other than that, I agree with Ed Pie’s comment wholeheartedly!
Oops, sorry for the slow response.
I meant by “masculine things” whatever it is that jealous feminists are angry at being discouraged from doing. I had the priesthood and being aggressively promiscuous and unkempt in mind, but I didn’t want to limit myself only to misandristic ideas that have already gotten some air time.
I’m sure there are other traditionally, if not essentially, male behaviors that they think people want to make them feel bad about when they do them (i.e. “oppress”), but I wasn’t eager to look for more distasteful or lame examples.
A lot of things that many may think of as being more “manly work” shouldn’t be, but my point was that “women should get to do what men do” is a bad argument when (a) it’s about the priesthood or (b) men shouldn’t be doing them either or (c) they’re trying to use job descriptions as the primary metric for dignity. There are less awkward ways to argue about civil rights.
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