CATHOLIC CHURCH VIEWS OF ORDAINING WOMEN Sexism in the Catholic Church In partial fulfillment of the requirement for REL201 Professor Date May 2007 Abstract The purpose of this brief is to provide you with an overview of how the Catholic Church view women being ordained in the church. The views are based on the traditional and doctrinal references that the Catholic religion is based on. The views are from various resources such as the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican, Pope John Paul II, and the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI.
The views described in this brief are based on the traditions of old and their refusal to change the traditions to fit for the twentieth century. SEXISM IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH Sexism in the Catholic Church can be described in various ways. Sexism in the Catholic Church can be described as favoritism toward gender, Slavery, Ethnicity, even age. The dictionary term for sexism is defined as “discrimination against people on the basis of sex; discrimination against, and prejudice stereotyping of women. (Webster New World Dictionary, 1988) The focus of this paper will deal with the issue of women in the Catholic Church not being able to have a ministerial role in the church. The catholic doctrine belief is based on the fact Jesus Christ only chose men to be his disciples and apostles. Being that the catholic beliefs are doctrine and tradition this is the base for their reason to keep women from becoming ordain ministers as well as priest. The Roman Catholic Church and the Pope refuses to ordain women based on these facts.
The Church always followed this example of Christ, both in the apostolic times and even now in the twentieth century. A whole ideology was evolved very early in the European history to justify the suppression of women. Christianity was germinated in parts of Europe were some men had already evolved theories of women. Patriarch wrote: “ woman is a real devil, an enemy of the peace, a source of provocation”. The hatred and slander of women continued over this period of time. Women were considered to be unclean, created by defect, only to service men, witches, and whores.
They were not allowed in the sanctuaries because they were considered unclean especially during there monthly cycle. Even today women receive less pay for jobs that are not suited for their skills, they are not always the first choice in any areas of political or social positions. The bases of keeping women out of the ministry in most religions are more or less tradition. A Bible scripture such as (Mat. 10:2) as Jesus was searching for His disciples he only chose men. Even when he had to replace them, He only chose men.
In most of the passages in the bible, Jesus never chose a woman nor did He address the public by speaking to the woman specifically. Some would believe that Jesus was a sexist, but during the times it was only tradition for a man to be the head of everything and the role of a woman during the biblical times were to listen to the man, nurture her family and husband. During the biblical times when Jesus walked this earth, Christianity was a very warous event. People were not accepting of the Christ therefore it leads to wars and battles. (Mat. 24: 6). During those days women did not do battle.
As of today the tradition still holds and it plays a significant part in our everyday lives as well as our religious worship. We accept many things that women do in our society today because they are not left with many choices, such as doing jobs that are more fitting for men. But a role as a Priest, Pope, Bishop or any other ministerial role in the catholic church will not be one that will no time soon or maybe even never accepted in the catholic society. The role of a nun in the Catholic Church is the only role that women have mastered and will forever have.
In many religions, the role is called by many names such as Mother of the church, 1St Lady, and Usher, but its overall meanings are the same. Only one-woman basic role in the church is to pretty much be as a servant to her church in charitable ways. She is to basically nurture the church in a motherly way. Only one woman in the church was seen as pure, perfect in a way based on Mary being chose as the mother of Jesus. (Luke 1:27) A woman’s role in the church involves her caring for the sick, children, and make sure that the men have his domestic needs met in order for him to preach the word of God without the bothers of these ay-to-day functions. For Non Catholic, you hear a lot of infuses on the Virgin Mary in the Catholic belief. The Virgin Mary was to be the only clean woman to ever be a part of the church as seen today. This is a somewhat debatable subject in the Christianity religion, based on the bible scripture (Luke 1:27-60) because Mary was not married to Joseph before she was pregnant with Jesus. Of course tradition in those times forbid women to have children out of wedlock. During the European times she was consider clean and pure but the fact still remained, she was a woman.
Until recently, the Roman Catholic teaching was that women were defective human beings inferior to and subject to men. There are various types of nuns with various types of daily functions. The origin and history of Nuns where women who devoted themselves in various religious orders to the practice of a life of perfection, dates from the first ages of the church, and women may claim with a certain pride that they were the first to embrace the religious state for its own sake, without regard to missionary work and ecclesiastical functions proper to men.
In general as a whole, the institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various religious orders to the practice of a life of perfection. St. Paul speaks of widows, who were called to certain kinds of church work (1 Tim. 9), and of virgins (1 Cor. 7), whom he praises for their continence and their devotion to the things of the Lord. The virgins were remarkable for their perfect and perpetual chastity, which the Catholic Apologists have extolled as a contrast to pagan corruption. Many also practiced poverty.
From the earliest times they were called the spouses of Christ, according to St. Athanasius, the custom of the Church. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, volume XI) Nuns are respected in the Catholic Church because they are remarkable for their perfect and perpetual chastity. Nuns have their stay power due to Saint Paul’s teaching in his letters to the Corinthian Church. Premonstratensian Canonesses, Carmelites, Poor Clares, Colletitines, Redemptoristines are just a few names of Nuns for the their works of charity and foreign mission (1 Tim. 9).
The Catholic Church has had and will continue to have numerous debates on women being ordained to ministry. Women and men Catholic groups from all over the world will continue to protest and solicit support for women entry in the Catholic Church. Their argument is the traditions and doctrine has to be changed with the times. These groups also feel that it holds the body of Christ back because they feel that the women have just as much to contribute if not more spiritually than men. The National Coalition of American Nuns is just one of several groups pushing to ordain women in the church.
Another group, Women Ordination Conference says that leadership positions given to women under Pope John Paul II papacy “was only advisory in nature” (Anne Pezullo, Women’s Ordination Conference) Pope John Paul II ban to ordination of women bars women from palpates in it’s governing structure”. The newly elected Pope Benedict XVI has been know for his controversial views on women being ordained into the Catholic ministry. His radical view saying that this will never happen. “Anyone who hold that women can be ordained priests is, no longer in full communion with the Catholic Church” (statement by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 29 June 1998).
Parishioners hope that Pope Benedict XVI views will change as the issue comes up know that he has been elected as Pope. Farther John Wijngaards, is a theologian, scripture scholar and missionary with wide academic, pastoral and administrative experience. He is at present director of Housetop Centre, London. For thirteen years he taught scripture and pastoral formation in the Interdiocesan Seminary at Hyderabad (India). He resigned from his priestly ministry because he disagreed with the fundamental matter of keeping women from becoming ordination in the Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul II views on women in the ministry were also supported by the Churches doctrine and traditions. He wrote a letter, an apostolic letter, which stated that the question of the priestly ordination of women is no longer open to debate (Ordination Sacerdotalis, 22 May 1994). Before his death, Pope John Paul II had views on all of the controversial subjects in the church that needed to be addressed for the present time. Pope John Paul II famously apologized for the church’s historical failure to recognize the equality and values of women in a papal letter in 1985.
In it he wrote, “respect (for women) must first and foremost be won through an effective and intelligent campaign for the promotion of women, concentrating on all areas of women life and beginning with a universal recognition of the dignity of women. ” Pope John Paul II idea was to modernize the thoughts of the church, but women being ordained were just not one of the topics that were easily persuaded without meeting complete opposition. In conclusion women in the Catholic Church is an ongoing debate as well as many other religions. Women related issues such as abortion and contraceptives are also an issue.
Maybe someday we will have a woman as Pope or even as President but at the present time it is very, very far from reality. The debate continues with new ideas and new changes. Until them women have to just accept not necessarily agree with what the Catholic Church has published in their lives if they are to continue their service to God and their church. Apparatus None Design None Procedures None Results None Discussion None References James Barr, (1993) Biblical Faith and Natural Theology: Natural Theology accepted for the basis of the bible within the Old Testament.
Clarendon Press Oxford. Pope Benedict XVI George Brantl, (1962) Catholicism: The meaning of Catholism thru the Christian experience in religion, morals, intellectual and social values. George Braziller New York Barbara J. MacHaffle (1986) Her Story, Women in Christian Tradition: Describes the women in Christian traditional roles. Fortress Press Philadelphia. Pope John Paul II Michael S. Rose (2002) Goodbye, Good Men: How liberals brought corruption into the Catholic Church. Regnery Publishing, INC, Washington D. C. Ann Pezullo and Donna Quinn
Protest Targets Church Sexism: Posted 11:31 am CDT April 18, 2005 Jani Roberts Strange Ideas about women Theoretical Justification for Sexism: Posted 2:30 pm CDT April 25 2005. Paul David Dunn and Robert H. Schuller (1996) Bible: The New Possibility Thinkers Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Victoria Newfeldt and David B. Guralnik Webster New World Dictionary, Cleveland and New York (1988) Father John Wijngaards: (1986) Did Christ rule out women priests? The Catholic Church does not admit women to Sacred Orders.