Friday, 30 May 2008

Vatican to excommunicate women priests

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests on Thursday, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication.

The best way to promote something is via word of mouth, so why does it concern the church so much that women are being ordained as priests? Women as much as men can communicate successfully and what is more important, the gender of the informer or getting the message out there.
The Church says it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles. Church law states that only a baptized male can be made a priest.

If following the laws of the church is so important and the above statement is true, then wouldn't it be more morally correct to listen to the written laws of the church than those of women who want to step into a male dominated area? The reason I ask is that I am not Catholic and have no understanding of the church laws and am really inquiring as to what readers, if any are Catholic, consider to be the rules/laws to adhere to.

20 comments:

Ginro said...

Seems to be a case of people putting tradition above everything else which is something the RC Church has a history of doing. To the best of my knowledge Jesus treated men and women as equals. This was in breach of societies rules at the time, which did not see them as equals and would have regarded womens testimony as unreliable, hence the apparent preeminence of men as the leading apostles.

jams o donnell said...

It's as sensible as saying Catholics should not eat chicken McNuggets because they are not mentioned in the New Testament.

Nunyaa said...

Yes I can't quite work it out that these women priests would be highly religious and know the laws of the church then they would also know that the Vatican does not support women priests, therefore going against the church. So are they following the church laws or societies ideas?

Ginro said...

"So are they following the church laws or societies ideas?"

I think they are just trying to follow what Jesus taught. Things used to come to mind when I was younger about certain situations where it would have been impossible to have a male presence, and therefore women would not have been able to receive communion or anything, such as the Japanese concentration camps in the Far East. Would women not have been allowed by God to celebrate communion or any prayer services simply because they were women? Ridiculous.
The Anglo-Saxons treated men and women as equals, and the same held true of the Church in England at that time, until the rules of the Church in Rome began to dominate.

Nunyaa said...

I'm not religious myself but if I was, I don't think I would have a problem with women priests. You must think I'm not with it,lol, just trying to get a clear picture. Are you saying then the problem would lie with the Vatican?

Harry Haddock said...

The Anglo-Saxons treated men and women as equals, and the same held true of the Church in England at that time

Historically, that can't be true at all. Before the UK became Catholic, it was just one of the Christian nations of the 'united' world church, before the schism between what we now call the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

I can't speak for Catholics, but Orthodox Christians could never accept women a priests because of the Litergy, during which, the priest plays the part of Jesus entering into heaven (or somesuch). To them, it has nothing to do with equality or 'moving with the times'.

Mind you, I don't believe in this nonsense at all, so you might as well have a rabbit taking the service for all I care. :-) But I do think it is important to understand why people object rather than applying our own principles and assuming it is sexism or conservatism.

Nunyaa said...

That is why I was asking, I don't know and am looking to see what others think.

Ginro said...

"Historically, that can't be true at all."

Did you try to teach your grandma how to suck eggs by any chance? lol.

Let me give a few brief examples:

The Anglo Saxon for person or human being was mann. People were menn. There was nothing gender-based about the word...at that time.
Charters and documents from the period show that women had the same rights of ownership as any man.
Anglo Saxon kings/queens were not decided on the basis of right of birth, but on the ability to do the job, and it was possible for a woman to be elected by the Witan just as much as a man if she was the most capable. This sort of thing tended not to happen in Europe as the English have always been different. But then England is no more European than Japan is Chinese.
Norman historians were quite surprised at how much women were able to achieve in A-S society.
Many of the religious communities between 600 to 700 AD were composed of men and women living and worshipping side by side. In addition, many of these communities were run by women with everyone answerable to the abbess, not the abbot. (Fell, C. Women in Anglo Saxon England, 1984)
There is much more that can be said about this, but would really need a long post of its own, lol, so I'll stop here.

Nunyaa said...

Keep going, I am reading.

Crushed said...

The idea is generally considered anethema to most Catholics.

But I should add, that we don't even allow married priests.

Even I- and I'm quite liberal- find it hard NOT to feel uncomfortable about a priest being married- it just doesn't FEEL right.

The original injunction is from St Paul 'I will not suffer a woman to preach'. So the prohibition DOES have scriptural basis.

To be honest, I can't see the Church ever allowing it.

It would prove too divisive. Vatican II caused enough of a divide within the church.

Ginro said...

This A-S behaviour was in the early years of the church in England. By the tenth century it was all changing with church reform, as was the church in Rome, which was demanding more control over the church in England, and was one of the things that helped lead to the Norman invasion. William promised the Pope that if he supported his claim to the throne and declared a holy war against the English, then William would allow the Pope the authority and influence that he wanted in England. But that too is a long story.

Under A-S law women had the right to walk out of a marriage if they wanted to, and if a marriage ended with the women having custody of any children then she automatically received half the property.

It had been quite common for A-S priests to be married, and they saw nothing wrong with this. After all, St Peter was married, so were a number of the other apostles. There is even the possibility that Paul was also married. The trouble is, the RC church hold tradition as important as the teachings. Look at just a few examples of how many times Jesus held women with high regard and respect:

Mt 9:22, 15:21-28, 26:6-13; Mk 5:34; Lk 7:50, 8:36-50, 10:38-42, 13:10-13; Jn 4:4-27, 8:1-11

Paul proclaimed that there was no such thing as male/female, Greek/Jew, slave/freeman, but that all were equal in the sight of God.
Read the first two chapters of the book of Acts, and see the women's involvement.

And yet, in the RC church, women are clearly seen as somehow inferior, aren't they? Why? Because their traditions demand it be so. It might be tradition, but it doesn't make it right.

Another problem that people have is that they forget the Christian documents are two thousand years old and need to be read in context, in light of the time they were written. Once you begin to understand the culture and customs of the people and the period within which they were written, those documents suddenly make a whole lot more sense.

jmb said...

Ugh, my comment disappeared again!
There are no women priests as yet and this is sabre rattling and threatening to keep the troops in line.
Like Crushed, I am Catholic and I can hardly wait for their to be married priests. Of course there already are and I have met one or two. They were Protestant ministers who converted and they can become priests and remain married. So why can't every priest be married, as they were in the early days of the Church.

I don't really know what to think about women priests, although seriously why not? There are many good women ministers out there too.

CherryPie said...

I am finding this thread really interesting :-)

Another problem that people have is that they forget the Christian documents are two thousand years old and need to be read in context, in light of the time they were written. Once you begin to understand the culture and customs of the people and the period within which they were written, those documents suddenly make a whole lot more sense.

This statement makes an awful lot of sense to me it fits with my way of thinking about these documents.

Nunyaa said...

I thank you all for the comments. It makes it easier for me to understand as you would know some religious posts go into areas and the writers use all those H U G E words and if I don't know the meaning, I get lost..well least I'm honest at the risk of looking dumb. :-)

Ginro said...

Nunyaa, as you might have guessed some people use HUGE words all the time as they like people to think they're clever, lol.

Nunyaa said...

Yes lol , I agree.

Crushed said...

The actual history of MARRIED priests is somewhat complex.

Originally, celibacy, in its sense of meaning unmarried, did not apply to any clergy. CHASTITY (And therefore dy definition, celibacy) always applied to monks and nuns.

Gregory VII introduced celibacy (meaning a bar on marriage) for the secular clergy, but made clear that he had no issues with priests keeping 'concubines'. What he felt were that the full marriage vows were incompatible with the vows a priest makes on ordination.

This actually means we often view history in a skewed sense. We look at several popes and the fact that they had 'illegitimate offspring' as being 'a scandal', as something they 'got away with', but it wasn't. The concept of concubinage as a kind of secondary marriage level lasted long in to the high middle ages, and although less common in Northerh Europe, was practised by several Holy Roman emperors and almost all of the Byzantine Emperors. It lasted longest as an acceptable social insituation amongst the clergy.

Thus, we look at Alexander VI making his son a Cardinal and his daughters endless marriages and wonder how he could be so open about his children. But he hadn't breached canon law.

It was the new moral setting of the religous divide of the sixteenth century and the Council of Trent finaally ended the celibacy but not chastity practices of the secular clergy.

Nunyaa said...

In laymans terms and I am not belittling what you say Crushed, a concubine being a bit on the side?

Harry Haddock said...

Did you try to teach your grandma how to suck eggs by any chance? lol.

Not at all, I was making no comment about the status of women in AS society, simply about priests in the Church at the time. There were no women priests in the church before the schism, because of the reasons I stated.

Regarding Crushed's points about priests and marriage ~ this is a RC thing, as before the schism priests could and often were married, a tradition that continues in Orthodox Christianity today.

Crushed said...

No, a concubine being kind of a cross betwen a mistress and a morganatic marriage.

Several German princes had morganatic marriages up to the 18th Century. The offspring of these didn't count in terms of succession rights, but were otherwise classed as legitimate. In other words, they practised polygamy, but with their 'Wife' holding a higher status.

This was common amongst the princes of ther middle ages. Charlemagne kept several concubines. the offspring were considered legitimate in law, but couldn't inhrit his domains- only the offspring he fathered with his Empress could do that.

Most Byzantine rulers had almost a harem- this in a highly Christian country. Concubinage, as a secondary form of marriage was the norm.

It was only the primary form that the Church banned its priests from- the death of the secondary form meant that celibacy ALSO meant chastity, but that wasn't the original idea.