1 February 2017

Feminine Priesthood

At Lauds tomorrow, if you use the Bugnini Rite and use it, as the Council mandated, in Latin, you will be saying a hymn confected out of three of those which the henpecked and painfully attenuated Abelard composed for the Monastery of the Paraclete. I find interesting the sacrificial language Abelard uses of our Lady. "The parents of Christ ... offer the Temple in the temple ... Offer, Blessed Mary, the weeny one (parvulum) ... offer the one by whom we are offered ... bring forward your Son with a Victim ...".

There has been intermittently a tendency to find priestly significance in our Lady; and I would be sorry if this had to be airbrushed completely out of existence just because the heretics have decided that women should be ordained to public priestly ministries. In fact, it seems to me that this is a subject which can help to bring out the inherent differences between men and women and throw light on why the latter are as incapaces of Ministerial Priesthood as the former are of Motherhood.

Mary brought Jesus in offering out of the the closed circle of the family; out of her womb; offered him from the inner recesses of her body where his Incarnate Being had been crafted and nurtured. Woman is the matrix and shrine of Life; whose whole structure is devised for that purpose. In more than one sense, sexual generation is as external to the male as it is profoundly internalised within the female. It is from within herself and from the family of which she is the heart and hearth that Mary brings her Son as her sacrifice to the threshold of the Temple. But it is after this point that, in the public forum of the people and of their cultus, the priesthood makes offering to YHWH.

Mary is the Priest of the conception, birth, and nurture of her Son, which is itself an act of offering to God; she is the one who brings Him out of the hidden places to the gates of public life and there offers Him as the ripe fruit of her womb. Israel's priesthood, standing before the Altar of YHWH, is a male priesthood because male Man stands apart from the intimacies of family so as to act for the People before their God, just as Woman is the private and interior Mystery of Life and of its continuance.

I know how risible and contemptible - even how outrageous - the implications of such distinctions are for the Zeitgeist. I am comforted by the recollection that every human society before our own has been structured in accordance with this or some similar anthropology. It is not some narrow religious archaism that we are defending, but Humanity and the nature written upon us by its Designer.

9 comments:

AndrewWS said...

To adapt the Articles of Religion, man is the outward and visible, woman the inward and spiritual.

Banshee said...

I think part of the problem is that we do not know much about what stuff Jewish women did and prayed, because that was all oral Torah for the most part, or associated with purification we don't do anymore, or with the Sabbath meal at home, the baking of the Sabbath challah bread, etc. I was reading that the wives of Cohen priests also had special stuff they did, but nobody really knows about it now. Same thing with royal women.

Similarly, Catholic and Christian women have had female devotional traditions, but they mostly have gotten dumped because of modernism, denigration by feminists, charges of latent paganism, changes in home life, etc.

So without this hole being filled, women who feel something missing will tend to chase after forbidden fruit, instead of looking into what worked for their foremothers. We have a problem with clericalism and progressivism, and we also have people pushing laywomen to have identical devotions with laymen. Stupid and annoying.

(The flipside of this is that, with women the primary teachers of devotions and with many devotion-promoting visionaries being women, some guys see all private devotions as girly, and have never been exposed to devotions which specially appeal to men. But that is another post.)

Michael LaRue said...

I think biology is an aid to your argument here. Women are designed for nurture. That is why their bodies are designed the way they are, e.g., they have breasts. Human males (men) are designed to hunt (as we are a carnivorous species) and also as protectors of the women and children. That is why men are larger, have greater upper body strength, are faster, and have better spacial perception. In "primitive' societies, as indeed in most social animals, when males hit puberty they are segregated off from the women and children lest their aggression and libido cause trouble, until they mature enough to handle themselves. In human societies that involves a process of education and socialization by older human males. Since they are better designed to fight, and their hunting led them out from the home, men are also the ones who dealt with outsiders, a show of strength and a willingness to defend their families and tribe being necessary in dealing with potentially hostile outsiders. Thus men become the external face of their families, both in society and in dealing with outsiders.

Industrialization and modern forms of urbanization, as well as the commoditization of human beings, including their labor, forced women out of the home. (I cannot understand why women see this as a good thing, except that urbanization and suburbanization broke down extended family and the natural support networks that women had among themselves.) Thus we have seen the breakdown of social barriers which are essential to healthy human sociobiology and exist precisely to protect women and children. So is it any wonder that children are under greater threat, from the moment of conception, or that crimes against women are on the increase, e.g., the increasing trouble with women being raped on college campuses. Or is it any wonder that our inner cities are terrorized by gangs of young men who were never socialized or educated by their elders.

Interestingly, aristocracies tended to preserve many aspects of more primitive societies, such as hunting and sending the boys off to school. However, this human inheritance that they preserved has been stigmatized as elitist by egalitarian democratic ideology, which feeds off precisely the alienation that it has helps to create, in a rather vicious cycle of what can only be described as a social mental illness, an illness which will ultimately destroy human society, and possibly our species, if it proceeds unchecked.

Kathleen1031 said...

Yes Fr. Hunwicke, many women today (and a number of effeminate men) will not appreciate this, but as a woman I agree this is completely true.
Today's young women, and not so young, are so influenced by feminism, which has rejected in total the more important role woman has, that of being mother, to someone! Our Lady is alone in her sublimity, to have nurtured and brought forth our Lord, but every woman who brings new life into the world has done something marvelous, something of course no man can do, and yet this is tossed aside by feminists as unimportant, and women today chase a male ideal in the lowest form in appearance,characteristics, language, and behavior. Only the lowest male behaviors are imitated, while true femininity is cast aside. Many of today's males are disconnected from the culture, they find no appreciation for their unique role, as women have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the culture that men "are stupid and we don't need them". Not "needing" men has become a valuable virtue, one notes how Mary Tyler Moore, an American actress who recently passed, was lionized because in her television program, "she wasn't married and was not interested in marriage". This happens to be false. Her character on the program was keenly interested in finding a partner, but a suitable one never showed up.
There is little more important than the raising of a happy, healthy child who grows up to be a good Catholic and a contributing member of society. Having a home in which to raise that child or children, with both parents contributing their unique role, both equally necessary, and creating that little heaven where a child can grow and thrive, is a recipe for life contentment and ultimate satisfaction that one has lived well and been productive. What many women today are living is nothing like that, as woman's major contribution to home, and her secondary contribution of bringing civility and higher expectations for male behavior, to the culture are devalued and cast aside for marching with genitalia on her head, as in the recent "march" in the states, and using the most vulgar language and behavior, in front of the very children for whom she is simply everything. Modern woman has often traded a tapestry for a Kleenex, but she simply has no idea of that reality.

Matthew Roth said...

Beautiful.

Grumpy Beggar said...

From Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen ; Life is Worth Living :

"A woman is capable of more sacrifices than a man. Man is more apt to be a hero, through some great passionate outburst of heroism. But a woman's love makes a thousand small sacrifices, sprinkling them through the days and the months; their very repetition gives them the character of the commonplace. Not only her soul, but her body, has some share in the Calvary of Redemption; furthermore, she comes closer to death than man, whenever she brings forth a child."

Liam Ronan said...

Lovely thoughts, Father.

Paul Hellyer said...

Thank you Fr. for a beautiful account of the Creators design for man and woman.

Banshee said...

Um.... It is not true that women only left the home for jobs during modern times. What is historically unusual is the high percentage of wives and mothers leaving the home for jobs, but also the low proportion of in-home businesses and people living in their businesses.

Just saying.