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You ain't no priest, Sister!

There is a woman (remember those?) who calls herself Father Anne and claims to have been ordained a priest by none other than the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, whose existence makes about as much sense as the Association of Married Bachelors.

As Peter Kreeft says:

'The church has said no to priestesses not only from Her beginning, from apostolic times, not only through nearly 2000 years of past history, but also today. It is a simple fact that the church today has spoken magisterially, officially, authoritatively, clearly and publicly, what more does anybody want? Rome has spoken, the case is closed'

Despite this, like infants, advocates of women priests stamp their feet and shake their fists and make demands.

So why can't they just be ordained? Why not give the kids the sweets to shut them up?

Because we love them (and truth) too much to capitulate.

The church cannot ordain women because it doesn't have permission from Christ, from tradition or from scripture. The Bishops and the Popes didn't just make this up. The priest is a sign of Christ as Bridegroom. The pattern can be found throughout scripture from the very beginning right through to the end. In the Old Testament God makes a covenant with Israel and remains faithful to Her. This covenant is a fruitful one, like that between a bridegroom and his bride. This metaphor of Gods relationship with man as like that of a fruitful relationship between husband and wife is everywhere in scripture. You’d have to so edit the revealed word of God in order to justify priestesses that it no longer is the word of God. This is why it can never happen.

The priest being male is not about his biology, but about his masculinity. It is nothing to do with sexism or Jesus compromising with the customs of the time. To say so is a denial of the incarnation.

Christs priests are men, because Christ is a man. And why is Christs maleness essential? Because he is the revelation of the Father, and the Fathers masculinity is essential.

We cannot understand why the priest must be male if we cannot distinguish male (biology) from masculine (a cosmic principle of all creation.) This is the mistake that Mary Daly makes when she says

'If God is male, then male is God'

In saying this she emphasises mere biology and fails to recognise the deep and significant symbolism at play.

The masculine principle (embodied in the male) creates from without, the feminine principle (embodied in the female) receives within. Our Catechism tells us that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old. When we look to the Old we find a relationship with God radically different from those that came before. Only here do we find One God who creates ex nihilo, out of nothing. Religious experience for the Jew was fundamentally response, not initiative. The bridegroom initiates, the bride responds.

When Gods relationship with Israel is described as that between bride and bridegroom, it doesn’t mean that only women lived in Israel. Men and Women alike were the bride because it signified who they were in relation to God. They remained male and female in relation to one another, but in relation to God, they – the people of Israel - were feminine; just as we - the church - are feminine before God; men and women alike.

We should understand the feminine as space, as the opening up of a space; as the question to the answer, call and response, perfect harmony – different emphasis. The AMEN is a feminine response, without the amen, without the consent, there can be no fruit, there is no life.

One wonders why people like 'Father Anne' are afraid of being feminine before God, of being the space into which God can penetrate. We need God to fill our empty hearts, to fill us up with His daily bread. We can add nothing to God, but he can add everything to us, if we allow Him to. A female priest signifies, not the bridegroom, but the bride and thus shifts Christ from the masculine to the feminine, making Christ the space, waiting to be filled. This is so wrong-headed. A bride and a bride cannot be fruitful.

Mary is the space, the ark is the space, the church is the space, into which God comes and is united with us (the church) as the bridegroom is with his bride.

Those who demand women priests don’t want to obey, they want to rule. They can’t really believe in a God who reveals, they must believe that the priests, bishops and pope make up the teachings of the church and so they want to be priests, bishops and pope so that they can make up new ones. In doing so they ignore divine revelation:

'Being the bride (the church) and thus the ‘feminine’ element becomes a symbol of all that is human, Since Christ, in instituting the Eucharist, linked it in such an explicit way to the priestly service of the Apostles, it is legitimate to conclude that he thereby wished to express the relationship between man and woman, between what is "feminine" and what is "masculine". It is a relationship willed by God both in the mystery of creation and in the mystery of Redemption. It is the Eucharist above all that expresses the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegroom towards the Church the Bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental ministry of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts "in persona Christi", is performed by a man.' Mulieris dignitatum

In a world of increasing ambiguity and lack of clarity, the male priesthood of the Catholic Church is a beacon reminding us that being female means something, and being male means something. These are not insignificant categories to be blurred and eradicated.

In the end, who best to sum it all up than Jesus himself, who says in John 15:16

‘You did not choose me, but I chose you’

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About Me

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I was raised in the Catholic faith but fell away in my early 20s when I heard convincing arguments against Gods existence.  Catholicism no longer seemed reasonable to me.  Many years later I took the time to understand the teachings of my faith, this, along with a personal encounter with Christ led me back to Holy Mother Church.


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