Monday, March 02, 2009

That rarest of rarities . . .

The vast majority of cases in which someone changes his or her position on abortion involve a move from a pro-choice to pro-life position. But the exception proves the rule.

In the recent issue of -- you guessed it -- The National Catholic Reporter, Kate Childs Graham chronicles her moral shift in the opposite direction. You can read it here, discovering at the end, to no one's great surprise, that she "serves on the Women’s Ordination Conference board of directors and the Call to Action Next Generation Leadership Team."

The "next generation," pray God, will continue to move in the opposite direction.

Hat tip: Carl Olson: Ignatius Insight Scoop.


Kevin said...

I fully agree, a pro-choice Catholic is an oxymoron. The Roman Church has been exceedingly consistent here.
Why though do you mention that she is part of the Women's Ordination Conference? Why too is that "no great surprise"?
The belief that women should be ordained as men are ordained is not linked to abortion. The one need not flow from the other. Fine upstanding Roman Catholic women in my life, who would never consider abortion anything but the murder it is, support ordination of women. They support it for the same reason that they oppose abortion. It is for them a matter of recognizing the inherent dignity in all humans.
I belong to a denomination which ordains women. I've found every one of the women serving as priests at my parish to be excellent preachers, teachers and moral exemplars. Frankly I think the Roman Church is leaving out a wealth of good people from the clerical ranks by not ordaining women.

I'm not sure why you mentioned the groups to which she belongs. Their reference seems to detract from your point.

I look forward to your broadcast this Saturday. I'll tie in via the internet to hear how it goes. God be with you in this endeavour.
Ad Astra Per Aspera,

Mark Gordon said...


Gil includes mention of this Graham's leadership position in the Women's Ordination Conference because he understands the dynamics of dissent in the Catholic Church. Specifically, he knows that defection from the authoritative teaching of the Church in one matter, such as the ordination of women, is typically accompanied by defection in other matters, particularly when the entire complex of dissent is conditioned by the secular cultural obsession with gender, sexuality, and the assertion of "rights."

As for the ordination of women itself, it's interesting that you defined the priesthood functionally, writing: "I belong to a denomination which ordains women. I've found every one of the women serving as priests at my parish to be excellent preachers, teachers and moral exemplars." From a Catholic perspective, this is completely beside the point. The Church doesn't teach that women can't be excellent preachers or moral exemplars. But it does teach that women can't be men. The priesthood isn't about function, it's about identity: the identity of Christ and those who act in persona Christi through the very specific and limited vocation of the sacramental priesthood.

A snippet from a Catholic website explains the point of view well:

"The question why women can't be ordained priests is often confused with the issue of equality. The Holy Father has made it clear that men and women (as far as their sex is concerned) are equal before God (e.g., Mulieris Dignitatem 6). But equality isn't identity. Men and women have different though complementary functions. Priesthood is a male function, for the reason that a priest is an icon of Christ, and Christ is male. The maleness of Christ is an important sign of His relationship to the Church, His Bride. As in nearly all cultures a man takes the initiative in winning a wife, so Christ took the initiative in winning souls and establishing His Church. For this reason, marriage is a “mystery” or sacrament of the Church (Eph 5:32).

"St. Paul develops this theme in his parallel between a local church and the family. A "bishop" (or "overseer," which applied to both bishops and priests in NT times) is expected to keep his own family in order, "for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church?" (1 Tim 3:5) Male headship in the family is an axiom of both Scripture and Tradition, and if the Church is the Household of God, and Christ is Head of the Church, then His headship in the Church can be represented only by men."

Now, you may accept this teaching or not ... probably not. But that is the dividing line between Catholicism and Protestantism, isn't it? A Catholic accepts as authoritative and binding the teaching of the Church on matters faith and morals. And an appeal to conscience, such as that made by Graham, does not release a Catholic from their obligation to accede to Church teaching. Consciences can be well-formed or ill-formed, and while an individual should indeed follow her conscience, when she does so in direct opposition to the teaching of the Church, she ceases to be a Catholic in anything but name only.

Kevin said...

You are correct I do not recognize the primacy of the papacy. That may simply end this argument at this point.
Yet your reason is Men are called, Women are not; deal with it.
In my years I have learned a few things one of them is when the answer is "boys are boys and girls are girls" then you know there is no good reason but that "we've always done it that way."

As for Christ being a man. He was undoubtedly. Why though? Was it because only men could properly manifest the authority of God on earth? Or was it because he had to deal with a thoroughly fallen humanity in which every culture was paternalistically defined? In other words, did he show up as a man because he would have been ignored or slain outright had he come as a woman?

Another thing I've learned; separate is never equal.

But we can't agree on the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. So it might be best to say, take care and may God be with you.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,