26 January 2015

Women priests .... again? ... groan groan ... er ....

A while ago, Fr Zed, at the end of the Rome meeting the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy, seemed to hint that a big debate was on the way about women priests. Oh dear! Are we really going to have relive those dreary decades in the Church of England when that dreary subject just wouldn't go away? And it is a useless subject to discuss, because those who demand women priests are simply not prepared to listen to arguments. Do you hear me? They never listen. You are wasting your time. Believe me, the male supporters of this demand, who are so over-anxious to prove and flaunt their feminist credentials, are far worse and far more shrill than the women. Just you wait.

Being in Full Communion since 2011 has given me a wonderful respite from all that. And I have no intention of ever returning to the subject. When invited to go anywhere in the world to give talks or take part in conferences or give retreats, or just to sing the glories of the Ordinariate or simply to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, I willingly (diary and health permitting and as long as my expenses can be met) accept the invitation. But, very definitively, not on this subject. Never, never, never. Not now; not ever; not anywhere; not for anyone. And this is not a joke. Since 2011 I have, as they say, got a life. And I like it.

I will, instead, simply commend some reading. I expect you know of Manfred Hauke's book (Women in the Priesthood? Ignatius Press 1988). I commend also the Rochester Report (Women Bishops in the Church of England?, CHP, 2004), put together in the Church of England when the question of women bishops became pressing. It is an official document, written by a committee comprehending different viewpoints, which summarises, basically fairly, the arguments on each side. It is probably a better read than something which only gives one point of view, because you need to know what the Other Side really thinks. Archbishop Rowan Williams anticipated that it would initiate a Great Theological Debate on the subject in the Church of England. But it failed in this, because the ideologues were not prepared to discuss anything. They demanded Action Now. Instead of jaw jaw, they ruthlessly and efficiently organised their Anschluss. Few people even opened the volume. The clamour went on and on and drowned all dialogue.

I would also suggest a volume which, at the same time, I was myself involved in producing, Consecrated Women? (Edited by Jonathan Baker, Canterbury Press, 2004.) Fr Aidan Nichols also had a hand in it (his suggested title for it was The Voice of the Bridegroom, which I rather liked). It is, I like to believe, a scholarly production. It, also, was totally ignored.

In addition, you will find a Bibliography on the January 25 post at the blog Just Genesis. It is compiled by a former Anglican woman priest, who came to a fuller understanding of the question, and enables you to access on the Internet both her writings, and essays by C S Lewis; the great Anglo-Catholic dogmatic theologian Professor Eric Mascall; and a well-know American Orthodox writer Fr Patrick Reardon.

There is only one limited area on which I have anything new to say, and I will say it very briefly on this blog in a post soon. It is not about the Ordination of Women in itself; it is about the Magisterial and historical significance of the significant paragraph in Ordinatio sacerdotalis.

Oh dear. It is truly terrible to think that the Catholic Church may be condemned to the same decades of misery as the Church of England. This tedious subject displaces other much more exciting or useful theological endeavours. It leads endlessly to dissension and bad feeling and accusations of bad faith*. It turns friend against friend.

You have been warned. Ohne mich.
*In the Church of England, the laboriously stitched-together recent terms of peace between those who favour, and those who oppose, the ordination of women bishops, Archbishop Welby's great triumph, are already under violent attack from the feminists, who are consumed with paroxysms of wrath that the first 'orthodox' bishop to be consecrated since peace broke out will only be consecrated by bishops who have not also consecrated a woman. The miserable lot can't even content themselves with massive rejoicings for the consecration, today, of their first woman bishop. (Explore consecration philip north on Google.)


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Ha-ha. LOVED reading this and love your position and, no, those intent on imposing imposing their ideology will not listen, but, they will find many effete epicene ecclesiastics open to applying mercyand compassion in this ideological instance also.

W.C. Fields once noted wryly - That woman drove me to drink: I forgot to thank her

Patrick Sheridan said...

Have anyone else noticed that all these women priests, college chaplains and RE teachers look exactly alike? They all have this homely, grotesque look about them; the same cropped hair, the same grin (grimaces of hatred and triumph), the same clothes (trousers, naturally), etc. I am not convinced of theological arguments against the ordination of women; I don't see how the ontological character of a woman puts her at a disadvantage in that respect. However, in one humorous respect, I would argue against the ordination of women on the valid grounds that it seems to attract some of the most hideous harpies imaginable.

Anonymous said...

The blessing of homosexual couples should be introduced first, thereafter the ordination of women, which has as many evidence in scripture and tradition as the latter one. And, yeap, it should be shown that Jesus as well as all the apostles actually were women and not men. Last, not least, the ordination of male priests should be forbidden for the next 2000 years as compensation for the discrimination of womens in the church over this long period.

Anonymous said...

I take my stand on the simple view that if Our Lord had wanted women as priests He would have chosen women Himself. He had women disciples, certainly, and He didn't let the political correctness of the time deter Him when He wanted to make a point, so...

Myself, I think that women have a vital rĂ´le to play in the Church and always have done. They are the ones who keep the candles burning; right back to the time when the chosen Apostles stayed in hiding, it was the women who came out and visited the tomb. You can't get much more vital than that.

After which statement of position, I myself will take cover.

Athelstane said...

The miserable lot can't even content themselves with massive rejoicings for the consecration, today, of their first woman bishop.

Of course they can't. And the experience of the Anglican churches in the U.S. and Canada, who reached this mile marker some years before, could have told us all that. Progressives, once they gain any measure of power, too often become every bit as intolerant of difference on principles that matter to them as, say, the Seven Bishops of 1688 (a comparison which, I concede, is not entirely fair to the latter). The Revolution never rests.

Fr. Neuhaus put it more pithily: ""Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed." The fix is in for Bishop North's flock, I'm afraid.

John F. Kennedy said...

Not to be obtuse, Fr. Hunwicke, but must you use "women priests?" Do you also say female waiters or female Princes, or other such idiocy. We speak English and as you well know we have words for such things. I have long argued that the term “women priests” is used to wedge in acceptance amongst the unlearned (or too educated). EVERYONE would know at first hearing that a Priestess is NOT part Christianity.

Bob said...

The Just Genesis link is hard to find: