Godly Women Who Would Be and Should Be Priests
Women priests in the Roman Catholic Church – Why Are We Still Waiting?
Patriarchy – Old Testament Thinking
We all know deep in our hearts that the true reason the Roman Catholic Church does not allow the ordination of women is that the patriarchal hierarchy is holding outdated beliefs passed down through centuries of false and regressive teaching.
This false doctrine is the polar opposite of the Gospel of Christ in which He demonstrated from conception to death and throughout His earthly ministry that women were equally important to God in all ways as men.
Let Me Back My Statement Up With Some Biblical Proofs
Mary the First Apostle
Jesus came to show that women were equal heirs to the Kingdom. Mary His mother was the First Apostle/Disciple. She initiated His first miracle when upon her urging, He changed the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. Mary was there at His conception, His birth, her urgings prompted the beginning of His ministry, she was there during His ministry, present at the foot of the cross, checked out the empty tomb, prayed with all her might in the Upper Room, received the Holy Spirit with all the others present at Pentecost, she was there when Jesus was taken up into Heaven and she is still with Him today.
Things We Know for Sure
1. Jesus came into the world in human form through the body of a woman, but before that even happened He asked for her permission, which she gave. So this teaches that God respects women and honours their choices. Current Roman Catholic Church teaching does not. Saying ‘women can’t be priests’ is a misinterpretation of biblical teaching. Let me further explain.
2. During the earthly ministry of Christ, Jesus surrounded Himself with women supporters who provided financially for his ministry. Jesus spoke to women and taught them about scripture directly, which at that time in the Jewish Synagogue was not permitted. In those days women had to stand at the back of the Synagogue behind a wall and ask their husbands for information when they got home. (See picture posted at the top of article.) We can see by Christ’s actions that women have never been incidental to God. Yet this appears not to be the case when looking at the treatment or mistreatment of women by church leaders down through the centuries.
3. We have already noted that the first person to say “Yes” to Jesus was His mother Mary, and if we are familiar with the Gospels we will also know that the first person Jesus revealed Himself to as the Messiah was the ‘Woman at the Well’. A fallen woman who became an amazing witness to His gifts, His heart, His ministry and His teachings. Jesus did nothing by accident.
4. We are aware that the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection from the dead was also a woman, Mary Magdalene. We know that those who persevered and stayed with Him as He was crucified were women. Those who came to prepare His body after death were women. Those gathered in the Upper Room praying included many women.
5. We know that the women who received the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost became teachers and preachers of the Gospel. The Gospel of Christ includes women. Women who received healing and then witnessed, women who lovingly share their stories with others, no matter the gender.
Body Parts or Person’s Heart?
Focusing on a person’s body parts and saying they don’t conform to our human (bodily) image of Christ, is a shallow and naïve interpretation of scripture. (Just because a Pope says it does not make it so.) In fact it is so shallow and obviously ridiculous that one wonders how these so-called ‘theologians’ have gotten away with it for so long. Perhaps if a lie is repeated often enough people begin to think it is truth.
We know that on earth we have gender, it is part of our humanity, we are to procreate and keep the species alive and growing, as we grow in love and maturity and wisdom, we impart our wisdom, knowledge and gifts with others. Christ Himself told us that in Heaven there is no marriage because we will be living like the angels. Pure and undefiled. We will have no need of gender because there will be no procreation. (No gender, just loving beings caring for one another.)
Jesus Christ doesn’t look at a person and see their physical body parts; He looks into their hearts. Do they have a heart to follow Him? Are they willing to surrender all for Him? Does He have first place in their lives? If the answer to these questions is yes, then He will call them according to His good purposes.
Don’t Despair – We Are Equal Heirs!
When Jesus came He brought the ‘good news’, we are all equally heirs to the Gospel, as the Apostle Paul states in Galatians 3:28
28 ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’
Consequences of False Teachings
Only Jesus Christ and the person whose heart He has placed His calling in are able to truly discern the nature of that call. When the authority of the Church proclaims in any way that women are ‘less than’ men they are giving tacit approval to acts which deny women equality all over the world. Such as violence against women by men who live in cultures where they believe women are ‘possessions as we witnessed in India by the gang rape and murder of a young women coming home from a movie with a young male friend. Also the rape of Catholic nuns in Africa by priests which was covered up by the Vatican who tried to sweep it under the rug as so many acts of violence against women have been through the centuries, which shows that males are reverenced by church authorities and females are still thought of as ‘property.’ This is an ongoing struggle for women worldwide as various backwards cultures try to keep women from growing and becoming all that God has called them to be.
Focusing on Gender Alone is Insulting to God
When Church teachings focus on gender it is an insult to God and it is an insult to humanity in general. We are physical but before that we are spiritual, when our physical bodies die our spiritual bodies are released to live throughout eternity. We are born free, and should be allowed to live free to grow as God calls us to grow.
We can choose to be eunuchs (celibates) for the Kingdom of God but all that really matters is where our heart truly is. For example a man or a woman can become celibate as a priest or a nun and offer that sacrifice to God, however if that person is constantly resentful of that choice then that man or that woman is not honouring the sacrifice because it is not lived with love it is lived begrudgingly. No benefit or reward can be bestowed by God for sacrifices made with lingering resentment.
Only a person filled with special graces from God can live this celibate life with true joy. Without God’s grace in all areas of life it is impossible to experience true and lasting joy.
Lonely Life of Liturgical Calling
A woman who feels called by God to the liturgical priesthood has a lonely, heavy and uphill battle ahead of her. Church teaching presently states that a woman can be excommunicated for speaking out in favour of a female presence in the priesthood. I myself believe it is better to be obedient to God than to man-made rules. Jesus told us that the church leaders in His day twisted God’s words to put their own rules above the commands of God. Nowadays we can make the same assertions.
John Paul ll Was Wrong, Wrong, Wrong
Pope John Paul ll wrongly asserted that women who are seeking to become priests are seeking power for themselves. This statement is a misinterpretation of gospel values and even what the church itself states the duties and calling to the priesthood entails.
Powerless and yet Obedient
A priest is not called to seek power in any form. A priest is called by God to serve God and to serve humanity.The life of the priest is a life called to service.
Priests are called to follow God and give up everything they own and to live in poverty and obedience to their local Bishop. They are called to live a life of selflessness, prayer and humility. Presently they are not allowed to marry or have their own families. They spend a great deal of their days visiting the sick, at home or in hospitals. Their days are spent in celebrating spiritual services, attending meetings, travelling to the various parishes they have charge over.
Sometimes, priests celebrate weddings and in the summer months perhaps as many as four a day on weekends. Because of our aging population, there are frequent funerals. Priests also have to be present for baptisms and such ceremonies as the celebration of First Communion, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick etc., Priests also meet parishioners for individual counselling and they hear confessions. Usually priests go home to empty homes and have to prepare their own meals, quickly because there are always meetings of various committees in the evenings.
Priests are given one day off a week and it is almost always Monday and on that day they have to run around and take care of their own needs. Pay bills and then buy groceries. Do their laundry and clean their dwelling places. Maybe they have to schedule doctor’s appointments and dentist’s appointments. Perhaps their schedule was so overbooked they have to see parishioners or attend meetings on that day too.
Of course somewhere in their overbooked and extremely hectic schedule they have to find time to pray and just be alone with God, because if they don’t they can quickly become overwhelmed by the constant demands on their physical, mental and emotional beings. Spending time with God is where they receive refreshment and grace to help them carry on. Without prayer time they can become resentful of their huge workloads and the lack of a spouse to help support and encourage them in their ministry.
This is a small insight into the day-to-day life of the priests that I have observed in my life and experiences as a Catholic. I don’t understand how church leaders can say with any credibility, that women who want to become priests are seeking power. I’ve never met a powerful priest. I’ve met exhausted ones, humble ones, holy ones, gentle ones, committed ones and I have to admit even arrogant ones, but never have I ever met one that had any real power.
It is not possible to become a powerful priest and that is because of the power structure of the clergy. Priests have to swear a vow of obedience to their bishop so how can a person have power when he voluntary swears it away at his ordination? Why do we call Jesus the Servant Priest if those who follow him are really power seekers?
To become a priest is to divest oneself of all power. It is a separation of desire from power, control, and financial gain. It is to become poor for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Power seekers or God-seekers?
It is a misnomer to say women who are called to the priesthood are seeking power, when they are actually seeking to be obedient to the call that God Himself has placed in their hearts.
A call to service. A call to witness love in action. A call to follow in the footsteps of the Master. A call to share the Gospel of Christ. A call to feed the poor and visit the sick. To help prisoners and other unfortunates of this big messy world that we inhabit. The life of the priest is a life called to service.
‘Follow God, give up everything you own, live in poverty, in obedience. Live a life of prayer and humility.’
Why would a person who truly sought power entertain for a second the notion of becoming a servant priest? It would be as foolish as a person walking into the hot desert sand in a swimsuit seeking a refreshing dip in the ocean.
To seek power and influence one goes to institutions where they may be found, for example large corporations, media outlets, governmental lobbies or the governments of countries themselves.
To become a priest is in fact a divestiture of power. It is a separation of desire from power, control, and financial gain. It is to become poor for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Risks of Speaking Out
For a woman nowadays to declare her interest in becoming a liturgical priest she has to risk excommunication by just mentioning the fact that she believes God has placed a call in her heart.This places the woman in jeopardy. In her heart she believes this call is from God and yet the leaders of the church disagree and will actively punish those who declare for women in the Roman Catholic priesthood.
To know that she is risking excommunication by being obedient to God and yet disobedient to current church teaching is a terrifying prospect for those of us who love the celebration of the Eucharist above all things.
To a devout and practicing Catholic the celebration and worthy reception of the Eucharist is what we live for. To be excommunicated from that celebration is likened to being spiritually starved to death. Only God has the right to say who is or isn’t fit to receive the Eucharist, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He alone is Saviour and He alone is judge.
Women have an equal right to participate in all the church celebrations, whether it is liturgy, or the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood. Since it is the Holy Spirit who performs the transformation not the actual man (priest) or woman (priest).
God’s Holy Spirit Enters into the Souls of Both Men and Women
God’s Holy Spirit enters into the souls of both men and women as directed by God Himself. Since the Holy Spirit performs the consecration and the human being (priest) is simply a vessel for the Holy Spirit, the gender of the human being is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is the faith life and the heart of the human being. Nothing less, nothing more.
God Decides Who to Use
We as created human beings have no right to tell God (our Creator), where and how He can employ the Holy Spirit. Which souls are fit to be used by the Holy Spirit is not a decision that can be made by human beings. God sends His Spirit into the souls of holy people whom He has called to act as witnesses of the truth of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” (KJV)
God Pours His Spirit on His Sons and Daughters
This scripture clearly states that God will pour His Spirit upon all flesh ‘sons and daughters’ equates to male and female. I will restate the obvious no human being has the right to tell God where and upon whom to pour out His Holy Spirit that decision belongs solely and completely only to God.
When humans try to tell God where and how He can send His Spirit we do the unthinkable. We set ourselves on an equal footing with God. We are creatures. God created us. Whether we like to think of ourselves in that way is irrelevant because it is true.
We must never assume equality with God. We must never dare tell Him what to do. He is so far above us in all ways that we cannot even conceptualize Him or His ways or His plans for us or for His church. We are creatures, created by God to find and to follow His purposes for our lives.
We must pray, we must read scripture; we must listen to the urgings placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Fasting and praising and believing that God is in control and in His perfect timing, He will set things aright.
The Last Word
Definition of a priest from 1897:
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary – Cite This Source – Share This
The Heb. kohen, Gr. hierus, Lat. sacerdos, always denote one who offers sacrifices.
At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (12:7; 13:4), Isaac (26:25), Jacob (31:54), and Job (Job 1:5). The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the qualifications of priests are given in Lev. 21:16-23. There are ordinances also regarding the priests’ dress (Ex. 28:40-43) and the manner of their consecration to the office (29:1-37). Their duties were manifold (Ex. 27:20, 21; 29:38-44; Lev. 6:12; 10:11; 24:8; Num. 10:1-10; Deut. 17:8-13; 33:10; Mal. 2:7). They represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law. In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes (1 Chr. 24:7-18). This number was retained after the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42). “The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six were cities of refuge, q.v.], which had been assigned to their use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in the country generally was left to the heads of families, until the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main source of the freedom from idolatry that became as marked a feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had been hitherto their great national sin.” The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured the great Priest who offered “one sacrifice for sins” “once for all” (Heb. 10:10, 12). There is now no human priesthood. (See Epistle to the Hebrews throughout.) The term “priest” applied to believers (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6), but in these cases it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now “kings and priests unto God.” As priests they have free access into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from day to day.
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary