Blog Template Theology of the Body: The Priestess Strikes Again

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Priestess Strikes Again

"... I heard that the Church of England was being advised to declare women capable of Priest's Orders... (though) I am indeed informed that such a proposal is very unlikely to be seriously considered by the authorities. To take such a revolutionary step at the present moment, to cut ourselves off from the Christian past and to widen the divisions between ourselves and other churches by establishing an order of priestesses in our midst, would be an almost wanton degree of imprudence. And the Church of England will be torn to shreds in the operation.

My concern with the proposal is of a more theoretical kind. The question involves something even deeper than a revolution in order...I have every respect for women who wish to be priestesses... indeed in a way they are too sensible. I am tempted to say that the proposed arrangement would make us much more rational, but not near so much like a Church. ... it is surely the case that is all these supposals were ever carried into effect we should be embarked on a different religion...many religions have had priestesses. But they are religions quite different in character from Christianity.

The factory and the political party are artificial creations. In them we are not dealing with human beings in their concrete entirety, but only with hands or voters. ... because they are our artifices we are free to shuffle, scrap and experiment as we please. We cannot suffle or tamper so much. With the Church, we are farther in; for we are dealing with male and female not merely as facts of nature but as the live and awful shadows of realities utterly beyond our control and largely beyond our direct knowledge. Or rather, we are not dealing with them but (as we shall soon learn if we meddle) they are dealing with us."

- From C. S. Lewis, Undeceptions, 1948.

What Anglicanism and its Episcopalians are facing on point: here and here.

What the Church has said, here:

Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God. Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God's call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.