Limited view of priesthood not based on scripture
"The Vatican (and representatives of the institutional church) is the gift that keeps on giving," says woman bishop, Bridget Mary Meehan.
In his recent op-ed, as a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Tom Shaughnessy validates her statement. As a woman priest who celebrates weekly Mass in Lexington, be assured there will be more folks at our inclusive liturgy because of what he has written.
Jesus was a revolutionary. The Last Supper was not an ordination. Jesus never ordained anyone. He calls us to a community of equals, with mutuality: a circle, not a hierarchy. He challenged the religious and civil authorities of his time to empower the marginalized, including women.
We're doing the same. Shaughnessy's straight-line Vatican theology is absurd and the church — the people of God — knows that.
In 1976, the Vatican requested its Pontifical Biblical Commission of 20 biblical scholars to explore the issue of women priests. They found no biblical obstacles to women's ordination. Scriptural and archaeological research give evidence of women's leadership in the early church as deacons, priests and even bishops.
The Christ within each of us is beyond gender. Women's rights are human rights. We are claiming the right to stand "in persona Christi" — in the person of Christ — as equals to men.
Who are Shaughnessy and his brother priests at the Vatican to say that God calls only men? Such thinking and behavior is a sin against women and our loving God.
Priest, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Official apology due
News of the untimely death of Wangari Maathai came on the same day the Herald-Leader published Tom Shaughnessy's op-ed in defense of the Roman Catholic Church's ban on women priests.
Maathai's spirited leadership in the cause of social justice and a sustainable environment in Africa earned her a Nobel Peace Prize. She represents just one more example of the huge loss the Roman Catholic Church suffers by rejecting women from priesthood and leadership.
Within the last century, the Catholic Church apologized for its murderous Inquisition, for condemning Galileo's observations that the Earth revolves around the sun and for its long practice of anti-semitism — all justified at one time by theology as flawed as that in the Shaughnessy op-ed.
Hopefully, we will not have to wait centuries for both change and apology in the case of the Roman Catholic Church's blatant sexism.
In his Sept. 26 op-ed, Catholic diocesan spokesman Thomas Shaughnessy argued against the ordination of women on the grounds that Jesus did not include them among the apostles.
Jesus spoke nary a word against slavery. Does his silence imply that it's permissible today to buy and sell some members of the human species? On the contrary, the church condemned slavery in the 19th century, when it began to organize its social teachings around the principle of the equal dignity of every human person.
Today, the church proclaims the equal dignity of women, and has abandoned earlier arguments against the ordination of women that were based on the notion that women are somehow defective.
Instead it promotes the "nuptial image" argument to which Shaughnessy alludes: that the clergy must be all-male in order to symbolically represent Christ in marital union with his bride, the church.
But then I wonder: Where do I fit into the picture? If a woman can't represent Christ, how can a man represent Christ's bride? Are we fellows messing up the imagery by attending Mass?
Recognize that argument for what is: a fig-leaf to cover up the hypocrisy of the church's refusal to ordain women. Will we have to wait as long for women's ordination as we had to wait for the church to come around on the issue of slavery?
For the sake of what authority the church retains in the modern world, I certainly hope not.