|I wish seriously that Catholicism would just drop this 'bride of Christ' imagery as it leads to all kinds of mental gender bending.|
When I read an article like the one I have excerpted below, I really wonder if priests like Dominican Fr Giertych expect any thinking lay person to take him seriously. What makes this treatise more disturbing is that Fr Geirtych is the official theologian of the Papal household. The following is the last half of the article dealing with women's ordination. The original article was posted on Catholic News Service. It was written by Francis X Rocca.
Why not women priests? The papal theologian explains
Francis X Rocca - Catholic News Service - 1/31/2013
.......Reflecting on differences between the sexes, Father Giertych suggested other reasons that men are especially suited to the priesthood.
Men are more likely to think of God in terms of philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms, he said, a quality valuable for fulfilling a priest's duty to transmit church teaching.
Although the social and administrative aspects of church life are hardly off-limits to women, Father Giertych said priests love the church in a characteristically "male way" when they show concern "about structures, about the buildings of the church, about the roof of the church which is leaking, about the bishops' conference, about the concordat between the church and the state."
Father Giertych acknowledged that a Catholic woman might sincerely believe she is called to the priesthood, but said such a "subjective" belief does not indicate the objective existence of a vocation. (Hmm, she might 'feel' she was called, rather than 'think' she was called in a manly philosophical way.)
None of which means that women hold an inferior place in the church, he said. (but never the less a marginal place in teaching and governance. Can't have feelings and subjective stuff interfering with the manly logical and philosophical ponderings about leaky roofs and concordats with right wing dictators.)
"Every baptized person, both male and female, participates in the priesthood of Christ through the sacrament of baptism, drawing the fruits of the paschal mystery to one's own soul," he said. "And maybe in some sense we could say that, in this, women are more apt to draw from the mystery of Christ, by the quality of their prayer life, by the quality of their faith."
Women are better able than men to perceive the "proximity of God" and enter into a relationship with him, Father Giertych said, pointing to the privileged role played by women in the New Testament.
"Women have a special access to the heart of Jesus," he said, "in a very vivid way of approaching him, of touching him, of praying with him, of pouring ointment on his head, of kissing his feet."
"The mission of the woman in the church is to convince the male that power is not most important in the church, not even sacramental power," he said. "What is most important is the encounter with the living God through faith and charity." (Is he saying women are supposed to push men to get out of their heads and into their subjective hearts? To feel and experience God?)
"So women don't need the priesthood," he said, "because their mission is so beautiful in the church anyway." (Which includes having male babies and manipulating some of them into being priests.)
This special relationship, the theologian said, is essentially related to Jesus' maleness. (Guess where this thought is going....)
"I remember once a contemplative nun told me, 'oh, wouldn't it be horrible if Jesus were a woman?' And it dawned on me that, for a woman, the access to Jesus in prayer is easier than for us men, because he's male," Father Giertych said. "The relationship of love, of attachment, the spousal relationship to Christ is easier for the woman." (And of course by this reasoning, also for gay men, but in the end is actually a reason for women's ordination.)
Well, I am edified if somewhat confused. If women have an easier time relating to Jesus in a spousal role why wouldn't that be an asset for ordination in representing the entire Church as the Bride of Christ? It would certainly seem to be an asset for a gay priest. Hmmmmm is that why we have so many gay priests? Given this kind of theology, and the fact the Holy Spirit is precluded from calling women priests, is this why He calls forth so many gay priests? Is that why the Roman Catholic Church frequently comes across as homoerotic because we are all trying to squeeze ourselves into some sort of erotic relationship with Jesus? What's wrong with Buddy Jesus?
I can't seriously imagine that Fr Giertych actually believes this stuff. Unless he really is so naive he can't see the logical end conclusion of his thinking, and this would by definition imply he is cogitating in an unmanly illogical way. Perhaps he should stick to pondering the maintenance issues in the papal household and stay out of theological issues. Or maybe we need to throw out all this 'spousal thinking' when it comes to the theology of the priesthood.
I do however agree that women do tend to be far better at the spiritual stuff than men. Why that isn't seen as a positive trait for sacramental leadership is beyond me. The logic of banning women from the priesthood while admitting they have a better grasp of the spiritual is apparently beyond this poor female brain to figure out.
"priests love the church in a characteristically "male way" when they show concern "about structures, about the buildings of the church, about the roof of the church which is leaking"... of course this includes renovating and furnishing the rectory, interior decorating, choosing paint colors and fabrics, hanging drapes, choosing floral arrangements for the holidays, etc. They could star on a new reality TV program showcasing "Gothic to Contemporary: Catholic Church Maintenance - the real Vocation" on Homo and Garden.ReplyDelete
Sorry for the sarcasm, but Giertych's "theology" is just so laughable.
Homo and Garden: Frank, if you do not yet have a blog, there's your title!ReplyDelete
I'd give you many rec's - just for that one phrase!
Vatican Logic. Now, the Idiocy all flows from the top. So there's no consideration of real logic, here. The CONCLUSION is where we start from. Building any "argument" follows (backwards!) from there. So if priests MUST be males and the church (people of God, mind you...) is the bride of Christ... And if the Church IS Christ (don't forget that was said recently by some Cardinal or maybe the pope...ReplyDelete
Mind you, there will be NO discussion of Christ being married to himself (Church = Christ) or having A harem (Church = people of God, married to Christ), NOR Christ being bi-sexual (people of God, being both male and female & all married to Christ). No, no... any indications of ALL the idiocy (alluded to) here would be heretical or something...
Throw in priests must be male... and by now the neurons are tied into such knots that all thinking simply freezes up.
As for me, lately I've been thinking how Christ is one (of/with) the Trinity. So the whole idea of male (or even female) is out the window - because if Christ is "wedded" (melded?) to anything, it's the Father and the Holy Spirit. And it's not a marriage! (The pope and the Vatican and the CDF notwithstanding.)
Now where did this idea of "marriage" to a group of people come from? Why, the Old Testament! Where the people of Israel are described as like a spouse whom Yahweh has wooed, but who time and time again has been wayward and unfaithful. It is this image, I submit, that has led to the strange theology about Christ married to a bride, the Church. As well as to the twisted concepts of sex, which the church got via misunderstanding the metaphor of God's "intimacy" with his People.
Metaphor, for Rome, has been reified. Having mistaken the map for the territory, they seem to have lost the Spirit!
I know Frank, it is really laughable. I had to really stop my fingers from wallowing in too many sarcastic comments. I love Homo and Garden. Could I do an article on Feng Shui in the sacristy?ReplyDelete
They most certainly have mistaken the map for the territory. Great analogy even if you are female.ReplyDelete
I still don't know what's wrong with Buddy Jesus.
John's Gospel would concur. Where Jesus tells us we are now "friends" of his. Which is so similar to the Old Testament view that in every generation God enters into holy souls and makes them "friends of God". Friends - Buddies. Male and Female!ReplyDelete
Just...WOW! Reading that was a bizarre experience.ReplyDelete
Just a petty observation on my part: If men are all in to fixing leaking roofs, building buildings, etc., etc., and women aren't, then who takes care of all of this in a convent setting. A convent is comprised of 100% women. They seem to keep a roof over their heads quite well without men putting their two kopecks in.
I love the thought of "Homo and Garden!"ReplyDelete
"Homo and Garden"ReplyDelete
LOL! or "Grotto and Garden" if you want to stir in some holy apparitions!
Love the idea of an extreme cathedral makeover show -- that would suit Cardinal Mahony. He and his Serpents of the Paraclete posse could also get their looks (or mug shots) updated.
"Men are more likely to think of God in terms of philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms, he said, a quality valuable for fulfilling a priest's duty to transmit church teaching."ReplyDelete
## That is a late Greek development: there are no "philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms" in the Bible - not even in the preaching of Jesus, or the letters & sermons of His NT followers. Babylonian thought is Semitic, & picturesque - it is not made of "philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms". Nor is the Koran. Yet many Semites were men.
Christianity began by telling a story. When it switched from preaching by story-telling, to teaching & apologetic by "philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms" (as it did early on), something was lost. How the Gospel is told, influences the appeal it has. That it is Semitic in origin & tone & spirit, & expressed by narratives, is important to its message. It has been altered, subtly but really, by being turned into a body of ideas. And the addition of the dogmatic principle has not helped. Semitic religion was not dogmatic. Nor was the early Gospel. To complicate matters, the Church lost its awareness of apocalyptic; it began as an apocalyptic sect within Judaism, & the NT is incomprehensible & misleading if read as not apocalyptic.
So even if Father Giertych is correct, this male quality is not an ability of much importance to what faith in Christ originally was, before it become concerned with reason & with logical demonstration.
"Although the social and administrative aspects of church life are hardly off-limits to women, Father Giertych said priests love the church in a characteristically "male way" when they show concern "about structures, about the buildings of the church, about the roof of the church which is leaking, about the bishops' conference, about the concordat between the church and the state.""
## What is male about that ? Does he seriously think women don't notice when buildings are delapidated ?
"Women are better able than men to perceive the "proximity of God" and enter into a relationship with him, Father Giertych said, pointing to the privileged role played by women in the New Testament."
## Wrong. Jews are "better able than men to perceive the "proximity of God" and enter into a relationship with Him". That conclusion,though equally false, makes better sense of the NT than his does. Srsly tho, he is talking theological rubbish; & it is endemic to a lot of Catholicism: for having a relationship with God is (1) not predicated on which sex one is, & (2) is never begun by man: it is always God Who "takes the initiative". The Church used to know this very well.
You beat me to it on "Homo and Garden" which could also be a hilarious rectory-version send-up of home decorating magazines.ReplyDelete
The possibilities for unholy snark are endless.ReplyDelete
If there was a legitimate reason to exclude women from the priesthood, we would have heard about it a long time ago--so I'm never surprised when a defense of the Vatican's position fails to convince. But this is a whole new kind of stupid. I can't help but wonder if secretly he's in favour of women's ordination and he's making fun of those who aren't by parodying their desperation theology.ReplyDelete
Bravo! Well said!ReplyDelete
One can hope so, but that brings ups a whole different problem. Too many people can't tell the difference between parody and personal belief. Given his position, if this was parody it's well covered.ReplyDelete
Wow, well said. Glad to see you here and I enjoy reading your comments on the NCR.ReplyDelete
The really sad part is how badly this essay and it's line of reasoning would be laughed out of a decent and rigorious school of theology. And THESE are the people in charge? Help, just help.ReplyDelete
“the mission of women in the church is to convince the male that power is not most important...” Same old, same old---the responsibility of women is to help men become better. No thank you. Over and out.ReplyDelete
Fr Gerty has surpassed her/himself. This is a really good laugh. Thanks so much - such cause for hilarity is rare.ReplyDelete
Dominican Fr Giertych says: “Men are more likely to think of God in terms of philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms, he said, a quality valuable for fulfilling a priest's duty to transmit church teaching.”ReplyDelete
This reminded me of an exchange from an unchanging time in the seminary years ago between a student and the professor charged with introducing students to the mystery of St. Thomas’ scholastic philosophy.
Now the student acquainted with the discoveries of modern science was arguing with the professor about the number of elements. Today the number stands at about 118 identified elements. The professor could not be swayed from his lofty perch maintaining the student was wrong and there were only four elements; earth, air, fire, and water. Of course the professor’s argument went back from St. Thomas to Aristotle’s Book of Physics. It was the only argument he needed.
One other great irony from that time; scholastic philosophy was often presented as the mother of all sciences and superior to them. It is sad but true, the church is today still anti-science especially when the behavioral sciences are involved. Fr. Giertych in his turn, trying to explain why no women priests, offers one more example of what is so lacking in the transmission of church teaching.
Your headline alone is stupendous, Colleen!ReplyDelete
The Buddha Jesus?ReplyDelete
"Father Giertych acknowledged that a Catholic woman might sincerely believe she is called to the priesthood, but said such a "subjective" belief does not indicate the objective existence of a vocation."ReplyDelete
With all due respect to the good father, he might sincerely believe that he (or any other male) was called to the priesthood, but such a "subjective" belief does not indicate the objective existence of his vocation. Since the Vocare is from the Divine (insert long segue into the 'objective existence' of the Divine) and is entirely between the Caller and the called, there is no 'objective proof' of a vocation. Conversely, there is no less objective proof for the existence of a woman being called to priesthood than a man.
As to the overall tone and conclusions that Fr. Giertych comes to, they undermine any credence or authority which any church figure (let alone anyone with a JonThomas) has to speak about sexuality, gender or issues pertaining thereunto. To my mind, the comments are indicative of stereotypes and misconceptions which underscore a profound lack of understanding which comes with direct experience and personal interaction.
Tim when I first read this I thought, 'no one is this dumb', but then maybe he is. Maybe Geirtych is a product of a junior seminary and monastic training and maybe he really has been sheltered and thinks 'mommy' when he thinks of women.ReplyDelete
I still don't know why Ingrid Stampa was more or less thrown out of Pope Benedict's family circle, but she is no longer allowed in the Vatican. Ingrid was not a dumb, submissive, or naive woman, but now that she's gone the clueless men have seemingly taken ascendancy.
Thanks Bill. I had others in mind but kept my really sarcastic fingers from taking over my brain.ReplyDelete
I have read this comment three times and just can't believe any seminary instructor would be this ill informed. My God, did he think he was teaching at Hogwarts?ReplyDelete
I know Molly. How can these men expect this of women when apparently Jesus failed and He is God.ReplyDelete
The male janitor in consultation with the assigned priest. LOLReplyDelete
Isn't a 'zinger' like "Homo and Garden" blatantly sexist? How can we hold these Church men accountable for their beliefs if we use narrow-minded turns of phrase to attack them? I am a straight man who gets loads of compliments on how I decorate my apartment, arrange & select my furniture, etc. It just happens I'm a designer by trade-- admittedly not an interior one, but the skills bleed across.ReplyDelete
And not wholly a lie, if some people's theories of Jesus travelling in the East before his public ministry are to be believed :)ReplyDelete
More thoughts on the ridiculous. Male and Female monastic also become married to their order when they take final vows. So they are not only married to same sex partners but to a group of them. Poly and gender bending. This is where the bad theology road ends.ReplyDelete
PS I have great respect for my friends who are vowed religious.
Hogwarts is apt.ReplyDelete
I experience a tremor every time I pass the old seminary place. Today I realized my undergraduate degree, in no less than scholastic philosophy, is from this institution. Today there are no seminarians there. The buildings are largely abandoned. Part of one of the buildings fell down, collapsed, a few years ago.
My memories are of the mid sixties so contemporaneous with Vatican II. This might allow for a little slack between Trent and the 20th century.
Anyhow one more war story. The rector of this seminary is on record, and I am sure there is a recording of this that I suspect may still exist. The rector gave regular weekly conferences and was always fearful of being recorded. Never underestimate the resolve of a determined student body. Here's the quote as I remember it: "What we are trying to do is to train priests who have an in depth knowledge of the Baltimore Catechism 3.”
Sad, sad, but I suspect Giertych would be very much at home in those mostly abandoned buildings. My fear is that is where pope Ratzinger wants to take the church. For me: these were my college years and they are pretty much a loss.
One of the people with those theories was once on the Pontifical Theological Commission.ReplyDelete
If the Magi story has any truth at all, it is possible Jesus used the gifts to travel East and meet his benefactors. It is amazing how many quotes and stories from the Buddha can be found in the New Testament. Enough to pretty much prove there was at least some cross cultural thinking moving along with the trade on the Eastern trade routes.
My daughter came up with an article by Martha Stewart: "Confecting The Perfect Host."ReplyDelete
Oh I definitely agree! When I started to look into Eastern religions several years back to get a better understanding of them, I was both amazed and impressed with some of the cross-pollination. We know from other fields of knowledge how they were opened up thanks to the trade routes, I don't see why religion would be any different!ReplyDelete
Back in college I remember some philosophy professor once saying that the big difference between Eastern & Western faiths is really just the different interpretations of an ambiguous phrase along the lines of "there is a path to salvation for every man [person]." Western faiths take it to mean there is one path for all people to follow to salvation, Eastern faiths take the flip meaning that every person has his/her *own* path (i.e., "a path") to salvation. He was a logic professor...
Precisely. For a theologian to use a gender-referenced stereotype (of maleness) to defend the rule against ordination for women is an insult to priests, to women and to men like yourself. The point of my unkind remark was that the "macho male" stereotype Giertych used is as ludicrous as using a "gay" stereotype - either of which might fit, but neither of which support the argument against women priests.ReplyDelete
Their cosmology becomes even more hilariously convoluted as they attempt to explain it and extract some measure of wisdom and practicality.ReplyDelete