Feb 182009

To the Editor:

Father Richard McBrien asks why the church seems unyielding to proposals to allow priests to marry or to ordain women as priests.

Before changing the priesthood, remember that God invented it, calling the tribe of Levi to minister to the Israelites. The Jews never had priestesses. The God of the Jews is always referred to as masculine, never as feminine. The Nicene Creed teaches us that Jesus is “one in being with the Father” and is the perfect image of our Father in heaven. The church teaches us the priest consecrates the Blessed Sacrament “in persona Christi,” in the person of Christ. Doesn’t it seem appropriate that the individual celebrating the mystery of the Eucharist in “the person of Christ” be masculine?

God created men and women as complementary — each having gifts to give to the other. In the Genesis creation account, God created our universe in steps. First the earth, then light and dark, water and sky, plants and animals and so on to man and woman. Each step of the way, God separates creation into components that work together in marvelous and glorious ways. We are taught that masculine and feminine, like sun and moon, water and sky, are more than casual social conventions that we can adopt, discard or change as we please.

They are natural principles that affect us in fundamental ways. Political equality is necessary as protection from those who would use their political authority to hurt others. We simply need to be careful before applying the equality that is necessary in our political world to our spiritual world. In our eagerness to be spiritually equal, we risk losing sight of those differences that are God-given gifts meant for the benefit of others, not to be hoarded for ourselves.

Roy Doorenbos

St. Mary Parish, Grinnell


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