Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Male-only Priesthood (Recap)

Several weeks ago I began a series of posts on the topic of the male-only priesthood. I hope to continue with that theme, but as it has been some time since my last post in that series, I thought I would  recap what I had previously written and link to those posts here. With that in mind, below you will find a brief description of each of the four previous posts in this series...

Part 1 - a brief explanation of why I chose this topic, especially with regard to the term "Father" as applied to Catholic priests.

Part 2 - not only does the priest represent "fatherhood" for the Church (with the Church being our "mother"), but he also stands "in the person of Christ." This dual reality of fatherhood and Christ as models of the priesthood point a male priesthood - since only men can be fathers, and Christ the High Priest is obviously a man.

Part 3 - the Sacrament of Holy Orders brings about a real change in the person receiving the Sacrament. Just as the Eucharist requires the right "stuff" (bread and wine) for a Sacrament to take place, so too does Holy Orders require the right "stuff"(a man) to bring about the the change that brings about priesthood. The priesthood brings about a real change in the being of a man to conform him to Christ's priesthood.

Part 4 - some would argue that male-ness and female-ness do not matter for Christian priesthood, that the office is spiritual and as such does not point to a gender-specific reality. But the Church insists that as humans our physical bodies and our souls are inseparable. There is such a thing as male versus female spirituality. Marriage points to this difference in the sexes, and marriage is specifically used in Scripture to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church. A priest, standing in the person of Christ is standing in the male role as modeled by the marriage analogy.

So, with this summary we can continue next week with further reflection.

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