james kottor, Editor, Church Citizens' Voice
This is an editorial note on NCR article on whether the Women’s ordination issue is shut or open. The moot question here is: What is the core of women’s ordination issue? Is it theological, philosophical, sacramental, hierarchical or just administrative? To many it seems to be none of these, but just sentimental attachment to an age-old male domination of the female in Church and society. Why? No one seems to have given a rational basis for their objections to equal treatment. All preach equality and practice inequality between men and women in the Catholic Church.
Theologically and scripturally who is better equipped to project Jesus, the living good news, to the whole world? Ab esse ad posse valet illasio, (the fact something has already been done, is the unassailable proof that it can be done again) is the Latin saying and compelling reasoning.
Jesus was brought into the world first through the family path (you may dispute virginal conception ad nauseam, but none dispute he was born of a woman) by a woman, Mary. His resurrection, the birth-taking, perplexing, dazzling unbelievable good news, central to Catholic belief, was announced for the first time also by a lady, Mary of Magdela. In doing that she, a lady, became the first to evangelize those who today claim themselves to be the evangelizers par-excellence, headed by Peter (Pope) of course, that is, today’s hierarchical class.
Added to all these there are various other considerations: Many research scholars today deny that Jesus instituted a priesthood at all; the author of the future of the church, in an interview recently said: “Even St. Augustine never believed in transubstantiation”; scripture speaks of elders, not priests nor of any imposing of hand to create them. Francis himself is clear when he quotes previous Popes, as though to please his predecessors, “the door is shut” but not equally clear when he waxes eloquent, without mincing words, in condemning inequality in the Church as the worst sin.
Paul fought against Peter to put an end to inequality practiced between Jews and gentiles. Is a similar fight in the making to burry all objections to women’s ordination and establish their inbuilt equality and competence to every ministry in the Church? In spite of all this, think of the fact that not a single woman in this Synod is allowed to vote. If so what is all the great talk of empowering them? How are they going to be better than “Cheer girls” in an Indian Kricket match?
In spite of all the great admiration this scribe has for the present unparalleled Pope in history, one thing that always got stuck in his throat from the very beginning of his pontificate is his vacillation on the question of women’s ordination, even his hesitation to allow open discussion in public. Is there anything under the sun, which cannot be discussed in public in the Catholic Church?
How can that be reconciled with his counter to the Atheist Editor, that person’s conscience and conviction is the voice of (the unknown) God speaking to him, that the world would have been far better if everybody acted according to his/her conscience, that there were great men of excellence among unbelievers, that the name of his God is not 'Catholic' etc.
Or is Francis waiting for a long drawn study and development of a theology of the role of women in the Church to give his final view on Priesthood for Women? He has been speaking often about developing such a theology. We may have to wait till this synod is concluded, to see how this question is going to be settled to everybody’s or nobody’s satisfaction.