A Catholic Renewal

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"Se, jag gör allting nytt..." (Upp 21:5)

onsdag, juni 18, 2008
Women priests - different views - possible coexistence?
I read an interesting blog post today by Pamela Dolan, about women priests - from yet another angle.

Here's an excerpt:

"My grandmother died last month. She was one of those matriarchs whose passing can shake a family to its foundation. When I was little I called her my “double mother” because she was more like a parent to me than a grandparent. It was in large part because I didn’t want to risk my relationship with her that I spent more than a decade “soul searching” before I left the Roman Catholic Church and began exploring a vocation to ordained ministry. She was of the generation that sincerely considered it a sin just to set foot in a Protestant church. The disruption in our relationship caused by my choice to become an Episcopalian was a longstanding source of guilt, even anguish.

Her death inevitably reopened many of the wounds I thought I had moved past. My sense of vocation is strong, and has been confirmed a number of times by people and processes I trust. (I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I’m a postulant to the priesthood.) Nonetheless, when I learned that my grandmother had died, my grief was complicated by anxiety; questions such as “will I be allowed to receive communion at her funeral Mass?” haunted me."

Read the whole posting here.



I got the following thoughts which I now invite you all to discuss here.

I wonder what the Church would look like if we could set aside all that prevents Christ from shining through fully. The Christ that doesn't make a difference between women and men when he calls, but who calls the person.

I guess the whole beauty would suddenly be seen, and attract the world...

I've written quite a lot about the subject in my blog through the years.

And somehow come to a conclusion that should work if we see the question as what it really is - not one of faith, as it's often mistaken for - but one of practice (like married priests), which makes it possible to change it back to how it in fact used to be - when women were also allowed to serve in Church ministry - during over 1000 years.

Wouldn't it be possible to have different practices within the same Church also regarding women priests?

Like we already have with the Eastern tradition of married priests - and protestant married priests converting and becoming Roman Catholic priests.

So that those (I among them) who long for Catholic women to be welcomed as priests - and those who don't - could agree on disagreeing - but allow both views and practices to coexist under the same roof.

It could even be a separate rite within the Church - perhaps called "the ancient rite" since it's the oldest tradition we have - but coexisting with later developments.

I may be naïve, but think we'd learn a whole lot from that. And that the Church would blossom in a new and fruitful way....

It's interesting to compare it with the question about reopening the deaconate for women - which is seen as a matter of practice which isn't "finally" decided about yet.

How could there be such a huge difference between two steps of ordination?

That's theologically illogical.


Welcome to comment (in English or Swedish)!

Etiketter: , , , ,

postat av Unknown @ 11:32  
8 Kommentar/-er:
  • 18 juni, 2008 14:41 sa Anonymous Mary Ann

    As a woman who has been an ordained priest for almost five years now, I think that it does open out understandings for those who can accept what is for some a very radical concept. I have had people come up to me after Mass and express astonishment that I "knew how" to celebrate Mass! And others (most touchingly) have told me that the Mass became more "real" for them as they worshipped with a woman as presider.

    It will take a lot of time - and patience - but things are very slowly changing.


  • 23 juni, 2008 10:10 sa Anonymous Erik Å

    I think the view that two views on the ordination of women can coexist on the same footing in one church is quite naive. Besides, it is empirically disproven by denominations which have tried it. Look at the Anglican communion, which is de facto already torn apart; or the Church of Sweden.

    If two people cannot go to communion together, they are already separated, whether you admit it or not. Hence, within one church there cannot be two views legitimately coexisting on equal footing regarding the validity of women ordinations; not because it's good per se with discipline, but because the church cannot remain one with undecisiveness from church leadership regarding this question.

    PS. This, of course, doesn't argue against validity of ordination of women to priesthood, but only against the view that two views can be realised in one church on this matter. DS.

  • 23 juni, 2008 12:11 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for your comment.

    I see it as a way of coexisting in respect of other views than ones own.

    As it's not a matter of faith (cf. the question about deaconate for women) it's up to the individual whether s/he goes to communion within only one or both practices. I would go to both and not participate to a split.

    It thus doesn't split up things - if people don't decide to split it up. Which I think would be quite childish... But yes - I thought of the Swedish Church while I wrote it.

    But what says the same thing would happen in the Catholic Church?

    We have another tradition in dealing with these kind of things.

    Everything that is recognized by the hierarchy is accepted by the majority of the laity.

    While unfortunately not the contrary is similarly true - not everything is recognized by the hierarchy which is sensed as true by the majority of the laity.

    But this solution (I see it only as temporary) would be a Catholic one - since it wouldn't be exclusive but inclusive. And it would be a way not to wait too many more decades with this. The great risk is rather that the Church would be seriously split by the already existing different views. It's then better to accept both views and see the question as what it is - something that can be changed - and something one thus can have different opinions about.

    Cf. the various spiritualities within the Church.

    This question could be treated in the same way while we're waiting for a more full and true theology to maturely and officially (re-)cover the subject.


  • 24 juni, 2008 17:00 sa Anonymous Erik Å


    thank you for your answer!

    I still, however, think that a split within the church is unavoidable if you leave this question for each faithful to decide.

    You write that

    "Everything that is recognized by the hierarchy is accepted by the majority of the laity"

    and I think there you have it. The hierarchy would, then, have to recognize the women ordinations as valid.

    The hierarchy cannot recognize ordinations of women as valid, at the same time as saying that some people might think they are not and that view is on an equal footing as the other. In this matter, as I wrote, I think the whole church must be at one. It is not like different spiritualities, etc., where we enrich eachother with different views, exeperiences, emphases, etc. As Augustine wrote:

    "in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity".

    Is this, then, an essential matter? Well, it sure seems essential for the unity itself.

    Best regards,


  • 24 juni, 2008 21:06 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for further thoughts....

    Yes - the hierarchy must of course recognize it as valid.

    But if it's not wrongly seen as a matter of faith (and fed by arguments that are theologically illogical) - but is seen as what it is: a question of order - there's no problem in making it valid. It was once valid - and it can thus become valid again.

    It's just not possible theologically that one step of the ordination (deaconate) can be a matter of order - and the next step (priest) a matter of faith.

    That's not congruent with the tradition.

    We have to be very honest in regard to history, and not try to make it anachronistic to fit it into today's teachings about this - which isn't exactly the same as what originally was practiced.

    But at the same time as this is validated - the hierarchy and all others who think this is the right thing (to ordain women again) - must have patience and show charity towards those who are not there yet - and perhaps may never reach that conclusion.

    In order to keep the unity in a diversity of practice.

    In that way it can be compared with the married priest question - which is also one of order - and where we have two traditions - one more recent (demanding celibacy, with few exceptions) in the Latin rite - and one ancient in the Orthodox rite (married or celibate priests - they may chose before the ordination).

    I think this question is - at the moment - best placed here:

    "in doubtful matters, liberty".

    Liberty for both sides - as long as it's needed. Combined with charity. Before we eventually reach total unity - or agree on separate but similarly valid solutions like the married priest example.

    I think the Jews have made something similar too when they have introduced egalitarian services led by women quite recently - it happens in the same synagogues - but at different times than the services of the orthodox Jews.


  • 25 juni, 2008 16:42 sa Anonymous mac+

    It is helpful for those who feel "called" to focus on the ministry itself. Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate...simply "doing" whatever it is that God calls one to. When one does this to the exclusion of focusing on VOCATION as something that the church confers...suddenly much becomes clear.

    In a lot of ways, I think many give "church" entirely too much power...when it is the relationship with one's God and one's own response to that relationship that tells the tale.


  • 26 juni, 2008 10:43 sa Anonymous Erik Å


    thank you for your answer!

    I think we can agree to disagree.

    Thank you for our conversation!

    In Christo,


  • 26 juni, 2008 12:29 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese

    Mac+, Erik,

    Yes - thanks!


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