Women’s ordination, Moot question, What? Reason or Sentiment?

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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?

photoIs 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 or is giving a rational basis for their objections to equal treatment while indulging in double talk. All preach equality and practice inequality between men and women  in the Catholic Church.

Theologically, scripturally and rationally 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 and 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 lady, Mary.  His resurrection, the breath-taking, perplexing, dazzling and 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  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.  As for the opposite view, Francis himself is clear when he quotes previous Popes, as though to please his predecessors, saying “the door is shut” but not equally clear when he waxes eloquent in condemning inequality in the Church  as the worst sin without mincing words.

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 apparent contradiction, not a single woman in this Synod is allowed to vote. If so what is all the great talk of empowering them? How are their presence in this Synod, going to better than  that of “Cheer girls” in an Indian Kricket match?

In spite of  all the great admiration this scribe has for the present unparalleled humble, simple Pope in history (“miracle of humility in an era of vanity”), 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 of the issue in public. Is there anything under the sun, which cannot be discussed in public in the Catholic Church?

How can that be reconciled with  Francis’ counter to the Atheist Editor, that  a 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 and atheists, that the name of his God is not Catholic etc.

Or is Francis waiting for a long  drawn study and consequent  development of a theology of the role of women in the Church to give his final  verdict 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. 

Published in CCV, www.almayasabdam.com, Kerala, India

Zacharias Nedunkanal, Oct.6/15

The real problem facing the church, ever since the time of St. Paul, is the male domination. Though the basic document of Christian faith is the Bible and the position of women in it is very strong, the eccentric male leadership continues its hod and won’t give it up at any cost. Reason is simply shut down. The pontificate of Pope Francis will be, for all the blessed things he has uttered so far, without consequence, if he fails to gather up enough courage to declare woman as equal to man in creation, though not in history. For history is made by men for men.

The present historical moment in the Church calls for a determined and drastic change in this by recognizing women as equal partners in every level and sphere of life. In principle and according the the New Testament, priesthood is not necessary to the mission of the Church. But if there are male priesthood to manage the institution, there can and should be female priesthood, too. Any number of bishops’ synods is not going to rejuvanate the Church unless women are also called in and allowed to work freely, that is, not as helpers to the men, but themselves as leaders. The fact is that the old generation of the present college of Cardinals and office holders are miserably bound by some sort of sentiment in which the male domination is a sine qua non for the existence of the church. All the evidences, however, from the life of Jesus is to the contrary. But the present chovenistic leadership is blind to this fact. For all the innumerable qualities of the present Pope, he, too, is unfortunately subject to it. Our only hope is in his gathering sufficent courage to throw off board this devilish bondage to an ugly tradition. Zacharias Nedunkanal, asso. editor, CCV

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One Thought to “Women’s ordination, Moot question, What? Reason or Sentiment?”

  1. Vincent Bagul

    Very well said, Dr James Kotoor. I agree with your views on women ordination. However, I wish to add that mere ordination of women as priests is not enough. For two thousand years, men have dominated the Church and see where it has come. Now at least next two hundred years, there should be woman Pope. Men shouldn’t be given a chance for next two hundred years. Women shouldn’t stop short of Popehood. The laity is all for a woman Pope.

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