Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gender Complimentarity Or Gender Confusion?

I had a tough time visualising JPII as the major player in this role, even though he truly believed this was a good metaphor for the relationship of the Church with Jesus.  Notice I haven't mentioned cappa magna.

Latley there has been lots of discussion of JPII's Theology of the Body.  Enough that I went back and tried to muddle my way through the original Wednesday talks this signature writing of JPII is taken from.  I have to admit I just couldn't get through it.  I don't know if it's a function of translation or what, but JPII seems to have engaged in an unbelievable amount of convoluted and dense thinking.  In the end I couldn't help think most of it was covering the fact he was essentially making the same points over and over again.

What struck me most forcefully about this exercise is that JPII seemed to expend a lot of verbiage justifying traditional marriage as a legitimate metaphor for the Church as the bride of Christ.  Quite frankly I have never ever bought that metaphor.  Maybe it's because I'm a mother and a woman and don't see how males quite fit the bridal/mother image, and since clerical males are the most important representatives of the Church, they carry the burden of this representation.  That's quite a yoke.  Actually I was tempted to write another word that rhymes with yoke.

But, if we give credence to this image of the bridal role of the Church, then I guess it could be a fair assumption to take the image even further and state that the polarization evident with in the Church is equivalent to divorce.  An ugly divorce in which abuse and exploitation plays a critical role and the children of this divorce have to decide which parent they will support or whether they will break off from both parents.
Trouble with this divorce is the so called 'brides' are the only party being heard from and they are dictating to the children what daddy wants of them.  It seems the Catholic family can only stay in tact if the 'brides' get their way.  This is quite the role reversal--not traditional at all.  I suppose this is why I get so confused with all the babble about orientation and gender roles. Is the pope a father or the most important representation of the bride?

The bottom line for me with the Theology of the Body is whether an opus based on the second creation story in Genesis is even credible, since Genesis itself is not credible as a literal creation description.  Seems to me that JPII read back into it a great deal of subsequent abstract theology which incidentally ignored a great deal of historical development which didn't fit his noble concept's of complementarity--things like women being considered a class of property for most of the last two millenia.  And as to his understanding of female sexual response, well, let's just say women are equipped to enjoy sex in ways that don't involve male reproductive deposits.  A fact JPII seemed to ignore for one reason or another.

It seems I will be able to keep posting sporadically, but it will be sporadic for the next couple of weeks. I will make a serious effort to do so if only because the comment section gets way too long.  Speaking of which, there are some serious issues being debated and I hope that continues.  It's such a pleasure to read debate over issues and understandings without the salient features of the kind of debates that happen on other sites.


  1. " if we give credence to this image of the bridal role of the Church, then I guess it could be a fair assumption to take the image even further and state that the polarization evident with in the Church is equivalent to divorce."

    This is how I see this playing out with the men vs the women in the RCC. It is being playing out by the hierarchy towards the women religious. The women are not being heard and are told to put up and shut up. It is a big divorce of the men from the women!!

  2. "And as to his understanding of female sexual response, well, let's just say women are equipped to enjoy sex in ways that don't involve male reproductive deposits. A fact JPII seemed to ignore for one reason or another."

    The "one reason or another" "JPII seemed to ignore" the ways women are equipped to enjoy sex "that don't involve male reproductive deposits" is because of his ignorance of women in general. That is the only reason that I can think of for his total lack of understanding of women.

    I too have never been able to accept the confusion of JPII's theology of the body, as well the idea of the Church as the Bride of Christ.

    I cannot consider myself the "bride of Christ" and I am a part of the Church, the body of Christ. The "bride of Christ" seems to be a concept which replaces the idea of the "body of Christ" as the Church.

    It is my understanding from the gospels that we faithful to Jesus are brothers and sisters in Christ, not married to Him.

  3. Let me make this easy for you, Colleen & for your readers:


    'Theology of the Body" is the work of Opus Dei from start to finish. Anyone who claims to the contrary needs to have their oil changed.

    Anytime you see a parish conducting meetings about it....its Opus Dei. Its a BIG clue that the pastor is either a clandestine member/associate/collaborator. And whoever is conducting the sessions is allied with OD.

    Knowing that....educate thyself as to 'who is loyal to what' in your parish/diocese.

    On a related issues, it is said (Mystically) that Mary is the Mother of the Church. By 'Church' is DO NOT reference the Vatican or the global RCC. But rather the true Kingdom of Heaven, which has no money, possessions, or buildings. It is composed of all who believe in Christ & try to live the Gospel. Mystically, this would be a correct assertion: that Mary is our 'spiritual mother'.

    Yet the Vatican asserts itself as the Kingdom (wrongly); further blasphemously asserting itself (and NOT the real Kingdom) as the 'Bride of Christ". So....using their misplaced logic, Mary would then be the .....grandmother of the Church?


    The Mystical naming of the Kingdom of Heaven (the community of believers) as being corporately the 'Bride of Christ' is correct & has coherence with Scriptures.

    What the Vatican asserts....does not.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  4. The more I think about the Bride of Christ, Mary Magellan seems to be a better candidate!.

    Mouse, It was the theology of Edward Schillebeeckx, I think in his Book, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter With God, that I first heard described that it was not necessary to have a Priest for consecrating the Host. This great Belgian Dominican theologian makes a great case and you might see a lot in his ideas.

    It is interesting that some of his Benedictine followers in the current Netherlands are saying the same things.

    According to these theologians it takes a group of Baptized people of God to select who would consecrate in any given service. Seems that the Priesthood of Baptism is more important than Holy Orders. I agree with this theology. dennis

  5. rdp46 -

    While I have nothing in general against Schillebeeckx, if indeed he did write that...he is simply wrong.

    Once again, use your logic. We know a priest can say private mass without a congregation. Obviously he confects Transubstantiation as a vessel for the action of the Holy Spirit. Thus the/no 'community' is needed to effect this.

    Yet most masses are public, with a congregation. Even so, Transubstantiation is effected via the action & intention of the officating priest.

    As to Schillebeeckx; just because he may be right about some things does not mean he is right about everthing. There have been more then a few brilliant thinkers in the history of the Church who have entertained fatal intellectual/spiritual errors.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  6. mouse I tend to agree with Schillebeeckx. This idea of being called from the community would have been in play in Paul's communities. Intent is everything on the spiritual level and if the intent of the community is to call forth a given celebrant why wouldn't it be a valid calling.

    The idea of a private Mass is identical to the use of a ceremonial pipe in Native tradition for personal intercession. That tradition also says that communal ceremony is more efficaceous. When two or three or more are gathered kind of thing.

    Sometimes I think Catholicism gets far too hung up on the idea of there only being one proper way to do something. That might be convenient for the central authority of the Vatican, but it doesn't mean it's spiritual truth.

    CATHOLICISM" RE THE ADMINISTRATOR'S (COLKOCH) "PERSONAL UPDATE ABOUT THIS BLOG"...Please go to the comment section under the previous story "THE EXODUS BEGINS, COME LET US GO"....from Michael Ferri

  8. Priesthood of Baptism... more important. Indeed! In the undivided church (and still in the Eastern church), Baptism (which includes of course anointing with chrism) effects an ONTOLOGICAL change - and the believer becomes PART of the royal priesthood. An integral part. Not a priest to worship alone, but as Part of the People of God. And the sacramental priesthood (I just read this, this morning in an Orthodox book by Evdokimov on love) is "functional" only - a role performed (via an anointing no different really from that which occurs in Baptism - along with the SAME WORDS "the seal of the Holy Spirit"), not an ontological change. Thus, one could surmise, that if the community "anoints" someone for that function, then the presider at the Eucharist is performing a priestly role on behalf of the whole community - in a Sacrament, which CONSTITUTES that community as the People of God, because they COMMUNE together, once again becoming the Body of Christ.

    Mouse is not expounding here the faith of the early church, but a path taken in the 12th century (see link posted in last thread - my last comment there) a path which has led to countless problems for it generates a concept of the Eucharist which has no foundation in scripture. (I'm sorry, Mouse, but you don't seem to be making disciples for what you're claiming. You can hold to it, for you're propounding a view most conservatives would endorse. Or you can hold to it simply because you want to. But apparently your efforts to persuade others simply are not bearing fruit in this area.)

    I suggest we all take a deep breath. This has been a beneficial place to kick ideas around. I hope it can remain such a place.

    Peace to all.

  9. The 'ordained priesthood' has taken different forms - including different titles - over the centuries. But it has ALWAYS existed. It was not an invention of the Vatican; it pre-existed long prior to the establishment of the Vatican!

    Trying to deny that the Apostles 'ordained' Presbyters (or insert what ever term you wish) is insane. They did. The precise method by which they were chosen for this role varied; and is another matter entirely.

    If you think that the 'community does Eucharist'...well...sorry, but you are wrong. That is most certainly not how things work. This is not my opinion; it is spiritual reality. And this has nothing at all to do with supporting the Vatican, et. al.

    The excesses of Liberals are just as bad as those of Conservatives. Because they are extremes. Neither hold truth. BOTH ends of the Catholic spectrum have been and ARE manipulated by Opus Dei. If one does not wish to believe this, I suggest a reality check......

    Trying to assert that Transubstantiation is effected by communal action/intention is just as ludicrous as asserting that only priests in complete union with the Pope are valid priests in Holy Orders. Neither assertion is true in any way. Both are due to extreme points of view - no matter what 'expert' has posited them.

    There is very much such a real thing as Apostolic Succession for the spiritual correct transmission of consecration by the Holy Spirit for sacramental purposes. Yet such does exist outside the normal parameters of Rome.

    Neither Aquinas nor Schillebeeckx are correct 100%.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  10. Were I to be ordained a priest, my validity as a 'presbyter' would NOT be due to or dependent on:

    1. the whim of an overstuffed effeminate bishop
    2. the whim of the occupant of the Throne of Peter
    3. the opinion of the laity
    4. my obedience to or political veneration of the hindquarters of all of the above
    5. as I am 'called from the community'
    6. because my 'calling' was approved of by the Opus Dei drones who administer a seminary.
    7. because I wanna.

    It would only be if it were the Will of God for me. End of story.

    The discernment of this would ONLY come through prayer, which is aligning oneself with the Will of God. This would particularly include the Rosary, Eucharistic devotion & the Via Crucis.

    Such discernment does NOT come via a Retreat, the spiritual exercises of St. Frigida, pilgrimages, venerating relics, or presenting flowers to statues. Or through Fr.John Corapi (God forbid!), Benedict Groeschel, or George William Rutles.

    The 7 items listed in the first paragraph MAY come into play - by the Will of God - as He uses all for His Will. Persons or things which are imperfect (or even evil) may actually bend to His Will, as He is in control of all. Nothing happens which is not the Will of God.

    However, only His active Will is for good. He will allow evil via His Passive Will, by lifting his protective, restraining Hand.

    The very interesting question is:

    How many priests are ordained by His Active compared to those whom God has merely 'allowed' to be ordained by His Passive Will?

    Those who fall into the latter category are more then a few. And have been 'allowed' give them enough rope to hang themselves with. Some of these wear Birettas. Some wear miters. Some wear red.

    Liberal or Conservative, those who are in the latter category should be trembling in their boots. Would that they had consciences.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  11. Being a young Catholic (Millennial) and having had some training in philosophy, whenever I heard our oddly conservative priest expound on something having to do with this subject in Mass, my blood pressure would jump about everytime I would mentally call him out on something that made absolutely no sense. Listening to these dishonest rationalizations drives me crazy!

    I'm reminded of a brave, pioneering Muslim woman (I forget her name) who one day decided to challenge her mosque's conservative leadership on issues surrounding Women, Christians and Jews. She would sit in the back of the mosque and write down the offensive things said so she could later challenge them in writing. She ended up contributing to a major change in perspective within her Muslim community. Sometimes, I wish we were that fluidly disputatious.