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[RD] Ask a Theologian V

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    IIRC, you devote at least a bit of your book (History of Christian Thought) to him. Now I will have to go re-read that. :)
     
  2. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    I'm sure he crops up there! It was so long ago I wrote that though - I've learned a great deal since then...
     
  3. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    up yours.
    Time for a $econd edition, I think, then.

    Edit (to save you the expense of joining two posts): what is the biblical explanation offered by the Catholic Church (and many others) for women not being allowed the priesthood, if any?
     
  4. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Well that was mooted a while back, but I just don't have the time or energy! I have written better things since then though, which deal with Cyril and his ilk a little more judiciously.

    Well, those who want to offer a biblical reason can just point to 1 Timothy 2:12:

    But of course that doesn't way why. A more Catholic explanation would point to the fact that Jesus chose only male apostles, and the church wouldn't want to deviate from his example irrespective of the rationale behind it. This alone is thought to be enough to warrant not changing on this matter. The idea is that priesthood is something that the church ordains because Christ instructs it to; it's not something that the church has any control over of its own. So the fact that Christ does not instruct the ordination of women, by either command or example, means that the church has no reason to think it is given any authority to do that.

    The theological rationale behind this appeals to the fact that Jesus himself was male, which sanctifies masculinity in a special sort of way (don't worry, Mary sanctifies femininity in a different way, so all is well). In particular, because the priest represents Christ in his sacramental functions, he has to be man because Christ was a man. I have never understood, though, why he has to share only this property with Christ and not others.

    Pope Paul VI set out these arguments in his encyclical Inter Insigniores in 1976, and John Paul II rehearsed them more briefly in his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  5. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    up yours.
    So it was mooted and then became a moot point. ;)

    I wonder how on earth I'll get my hands on such literature.
    Hmmm… I've checked a modern (Church-sanctioned) translation of the passages you quoted into Spanish. It specifically says ‘marido’, i.e. husband. The passage isabout married women subjecting themselves to their husbands' authority, motherhood being every woman's calling, etc.
    The official commentary at the bottom of the page suggests that this is the result of societal pressure on the nascent Church to stop liberalising so much.

    That's not the divine word per se, and if we've already ditched the precepts about women having to cover themselves up when attending Mass (prescribed by Thomas Aquinas IIRC) then I think we can ditch that as well. When Jesus institutes the priesthood there's no requirement of gender for those to whom it would be transferred later (I don't remember the flowery (mis-)translations of the KJV though).
     
  6. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    The Greek matters more than the Spanish or English. In Greek the terms are ἀνήρ and γυνή. Those terms are sometimes used to refer to husband and wife, but literally just mean male and female adults.
     
  7. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    up yours.
    Except that if you're preaching in one of those languages you use the translated version, and it is the Church's official version.
     
  8. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    What priesthood did Jesus institute? Jesus was the final priest offering up the final offering. That we are social creatures and we join together in groups did not change that, and each individual is responsible for their own actions relating to that act of sacrifice.

    The point about man taking over the responsibility (of others) and setting up a hierarchy is a human undertaking not a divine one.

    So no one really has the authority to tell others how to live their life. We just practice that, because we figure some humans are not capable.
     
  9. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Is Star Wars good theology or bad theology?
     
  10. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    He can't possibly give a good answer without having read the EU.
     
  11. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Well, as MagisterCultuum says, the word right there is gunaiki, which simply means "a woman". And it comes in the context of instructions about how to worship. So it certainly looks like it's forbidding women from presiding in a liturgical context. Whether that is the correct interpretation or not I don't know, because I am not a biblical scholar. But it's a simple fact that those who oppose the ordination of women from a biblically-minded perspective today (evangelicals etc.) appeal to this verse in support of that position.

    You say that the translation you've got is church-sanctioned, but which church? As I said, the Catholic Church bases its argument against women's ordination primarily on other reasons, not this verse, so its teaching doesn't really stand or fall with it.

    Sure, but if you look at the pontifical arguments I linked to, they're based on following Jesus' example as closely as possible. Look at it this way: ordination is a sacrament. That means it's Very Serious Indeed. That means you need to be Very Careful about when you wield it. (This does not apply to issues like who can wear what when.) The church knows it may ordain priests, because Jesus instituted this sacrament through commissioning his apostles. But Jesus only commissioned men in this way, not even commissioning the Blessed Virgin Mary, even though she was presumably around and available. This means that the church knows that men can be ordained, but it does not know that women can be ordained. It is perhaps consistent with all of this that women can in fact be ordained. However, in the absence of dominical authority for doing so, the church has no instruction or permission to do so, so it's simply safer not to. It is better not to ordain a class of people for whom ordination is permissible than to ordain a class of people for whom it is impermissible.

    (I'm not saying that's a good argument, just that that's what the argument is, to my knowledge; if you think it's weak you'll have to take it up with the Catholics!)

    Alas, I haven't. But since there don't seem to be any divine beings involved, just a Force that can be manipulated by those with the biological ability to do so, I'd say it's more like a kind of mystical theosophy than theology at all, whether good or bad.
     
  12. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    The Catholic Church has over time been a living organisation adapting to changes in knowledge and culture.
    So why would the Church not change her view on female priests.
    The Belgian Theologican Schillebeeckx was last century active on this issue and got the Dutch Pastoraal Concilie on board in 1970.

    In the early Christianity there were apparently examples of female priests

    Is that statement of that article wrong ???

    And IF the Church changed those "bad habits" of early Christianity...
    why not change it back again ?


    EDIT
    And yes... being from protestant origin, I am (ofc) biased towards the changes that took place around 400 AD, the power consolidation phase of the now Roman Church.
    Meaning that I do believe more in the purity of the early Christianity than the "bad changes" from Roman elements.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  13. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Yes, of course there are various people within the Catholic Church who support women's ordination, and Schillebeeckx was among them, but their views on this are at variance with the church's teaching. Whether or not there were female "priests" in early Christianity is a hotly debated topic - I think much of the problem is that there wasn't really anything resembling a "priesthood" at all, male or female, so it's largely a matter of taste which people one chooses to regard as "priests". One might say that the Junia of Romans 16:7 counts as a "priest" or not equally plausibly. At any rate, the official Catholic position is that the orthodox, mainstream church has never ordained women as priests (whatever various variant groups such as the Montanists may have done), and while it's hard to find solid historical evidence for that claim, it's equally hard to find solid historical evidence against it - for the reason I mentioned, that solid evidence about "priests" at all in the first century or two doesn't really exist one way or the other.

    As for the church changing its view on female priesthood - you're right that the church has adapted in various ways to changing scientific and cultural knowledge, but I can't think of any reversal it's ever made on a a sacramental issue of this kind. It would be a bigger change than any the church has ever done and one closer to its core purpose, and the church just doesn't do that kind of thing, because it is fundamentally conservative. The whole point of the Catholic Church is that it preserves its doctrines faithfully, and while that may sometimes mean they can become more detailed or clear, it's inconsistent with ever changing them.

    The passage you quote mentions deacons - they're not the same as priests, and the church does not (yet) have an official position on female deacons. In 2002 the International Theological Commission did an exhaustive examination of the historical and theological justification (or not) for a female diaconate, which you can read here. It basically concluded that it's impossible to tell, because on the one hand there were indeed female deacons for many centuries, but on the other hand they seem not to have been equal to the male ones; and because the diaconate itself is a rather uneasy halfway house between the priesthood and the laity. Considered as part of the sacrament of Holy Orders (which it is), one would think that if women can't partake of that sacrament then they can't be deacons. But at the same time it is not a sacerdotal ministry, as the priesthood and episcopate are, which means it's not priestly in nature, in which case one might think there is no reason why women should be excluded from it. The Commission basically said that the church needs to decide one way or the other. In 2016, Pope Francis set up a new commission to do that, so it may be that a decision will be forthcoming, at least to the extent that any decision is ever "forthcoming" from the magisterium.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  14. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    Yes
    The slow conservative "kneejerk" has mostly been tightening of the doctrines and control over the flock.
    Too many examples. Celibate tightened at the First Lateran Council (1123), Confession tightened in 1215, Papal infallibility tightened ex cathedra as late as 1870, etc.

    A convenient tightening of the Eucharist, the doctrine of transsubstantiation, in 1215 imo the opportunistic move against the Cathars.
    (Cathars, fully against transsubstantiation, would expose themselves when not attending the Mass, the sacrament seen by the Church as supreme to all other sacraments)

    BTW
    I like this part of your link (good link on topic !):
    As I see that, the deacons came/are not where intended, but where a "bottom up" more democratic culture was in place (and more emancipated female !@#$%).
    And I see that as an example how the very much top-down culture of the Roman Catholic Church struggles with "bad controllable" bottom up effects.
    Whereby noted on topic that at the very early start of Christianity, this bottom up included not only female people in the evangelisation process, but also prophets and prophetesses.
    The latter disappeared, also ofc when the position of the Church as an organisation strenghtened, and they were no longer needed. Must have been a quite a mess where so many people spoke with the voice of God (not yet so many written bible available and a nice go in between). Enough texts about false prophets in the bible to have biblical ammo for that, to get the flock in line.

    All in all The Roman Catholic Church seems to me a very pragmatical organisation: and yes the commission on expanding the role of female deacons is there.
    Whether it will only result in more formalised respect..... or allowing real stuf like consecrating the communion, taking the confession.... or just buying time... IDK.
    It is, I agree, as you said, a core point of the Church.

    Not a minor issue like vegetarianism, that was originally worth a death sentence by the Church. Starting with Constantine and again convenient to expose and kill Cathars (who were vegetarians).
    And now... also with so many Catholics being vegetarian... nobody cares to remember that.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  15. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Heard someone characterize Christianity as the "postmodern form of Judaism." Do you think that's fair? :D

    Well, this seems to indicate that that's not the case...
     
  16. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    I think it's fair to say that Kreia has a somewhat singular view on the Force.
     
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  17. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    In Psalm 51, David said, "You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it." As I understand it, this was because there was no sin offering for murder. Is that correct and are their nuances that can easily be missed?

    J
     
  18. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    up yours.
    We are discussing things from the POV of the Roman Catholic Church.
    Which church? The RCC's local branch for the Papal homeland, as a matter of fact. They are big on interpretation and providing lengthy explanations on why this or that term that has been previously translated as X should now be translated to X+1 due to language shift.

    The evangelicals… well, we can say that we are at odds with those people on religious matters.
    I do think it's weak and I do take it up with some of the other Catholics in this world, it's just that at this point it's a losing fight.

    But since it's about sacraments: ordination is not incompatible with marriage or its consummation yet they do go on about it. And married priests still do exist (outside the Latin rite, usually).

    Also, it comes to my mind… divorced/separated couples with new sexual partners are now allowed to take Communion again.
    I am afraid that some of the upper echelons of the ecclesiastical hierarchy are simply a bunch of sexist dinosaurs who have an end result first and think up justification second. Which won't stop me from attending Mass every week in any event. It does strike me as if the upper hierarchy and the priests on the ground actually facing their believers are two completely distinct and different bodies of people.
     
  19. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Well, even Obi-Wan "in my experience, there's no such thing as coincidence" Kenobi hints at it.

    How could Plotinus know? He could probably tell you all about how that Psalm was interpreted by later Christians, but I don't think anyone could actually tell you the original intent.
     
  20. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    Well, even if the Force does have a driving consciousness, it's essentially unknowable anyway.
     

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