Vatican: Female priesthood as sinful as child sex abuse

The Vatican today made the attempted ordination of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors. Seriously? How is allowing women to answer the divine call to become priests as sinful as molesting a child?

I have no idea what Biblical reasoning they give for this decision, but have little faith that it is a decision based on God’s will.

The ordination to the priesthood is a fuller participation in baptism’s sacrificial and prophetic gifts. Christ replaced the Old Testament priesthood based on the sacred by a priesthood based on grace; a universal priesthood shared by all the baptized. This priesthood is given through the sacrament of baptism, and baptism is the same whether for a man or a woman.

Rome alleges that the church has always prohibited women from the priesthood. The tradition of not ordaining women was built, however, on theological and cultural beliefs that have been discredited. Whether through ignorance, lies, misogyny or lack of scientific knowledge, the church thought of women as inferior, unclean and sinful creatures lesser in every way than men.

The priest is not signifying Christ’s maleness, but rather his role as mediator. Women can, just as truly, signify Christ because they are equal in Christ.

As long as I am on the subject of the church, how about discussing the abundance of biblical ignorance around the topic of homosexuality. Because even though I am not gay, it has become perhaps the most obvious example of the church’s failures to be tolerant and understanding.

Often people who love and trust God’s Word have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the Bible does or doesn’t say about homosexuality.

For example, many Christians don’t know that:
• Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior.
• The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality.
• Only six or seven of the Bible’s one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way — and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it’s understood today.

Most people who are certain they know what the Bible says about homosexuality don’t know where the verses that reference same-sex behavior can be found. They haven’t read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don’t know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven’t tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous, not only for God’s gay and lesbian children, but for the entire church. The apostle Paul says, “Test all things and hold fast to that which is good.”

The Bible is the story of God’s love for the world and the people of the world. It tells the history of God’s love at work rescuing, renewing, and empowering humankind. It was never intended to be a book about human sexuality. Certainly, you will agree. In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them!

Here are a few examples.
DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
DEUTERONOMY 22:22
If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
MARK 10:1-12
Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
LEVITICUS 18:19
The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
MARK 12:18-27
If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

I’m certain you don’t agree with these teachings from the Bible about sex. And you shouldn’t. The list goes on: The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king’s having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11–13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one’s parents nude.

Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God’s law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.

Often, the Holy Spirit uses science to teach us why those ancient words no longer apply to our modern times. During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation.

The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God’s law for us in this day.

Learn what the Bible says and doesn’t say about homosexuality from this book, where I copied the passages you have just read:
www.soulforce.org/pdf/whatthebiblesays.pdf

Learn the scriptural arguments for allowing women to become priests: www.womensordination.org/ or here:www.womenpriests.org

2 Responses to “Vatican: Female priesthood as sinful as child sex abuse”

  1. Steve, have you done any research of Church teaching yourself or are basing your beliefs completely on the opinions of others?

  2. All church teaching is by its very nature based on the opinion of others and their interpretations of the Bible. So while I am not sure what “church teaching” you are specifically referring to, I have read endless research on what the bible does and doesn’t say, as well as what open-minded modern theologians have to say on the issue homosexuality. I am aware of the church’s argument that, simply put, any sexual act outside of marital procreation is sin, but regardless of whether I agree with that teaching or not is irrelevant. Because my issue is not so much the exact dogma, but the fact that the church has laid a historical groundwork of much deeper systemic intolerance. It has fostered and outright endorsed prejudice that goes beyond what the actual dogma says. It’s that hypocrisy that bothers me – because in my eyes love and injustice are incompatible. I know without a doubt that it is wrong to discriminate against something that is not a choice. Just like someone would know innately with all their being that rape and murder are wrong even without having ever been indoctrinated in any faith. I think the real issue is that most Christians and certainly church leaders lack a fundamental understanding of homosexuality. They equate it to pedophilia or some other unnatural perversion, when it is in fact as biologically natural as heterosexuality or left-handedness. Christians should be leading the protest when homosexuals or any other minority are treated unjustly. But sadly Christians are often the worst discriminators and quickest to be intolerant and judgmental of others (not just gays). Also, since the Catholic church teaches that only the act is sinful, not the temptation, than even if someone does hold to that anti-gay belief, that still leaves no excuse for ostracization based solely on someone’s sexual alignment. More Christians need to show agape love by actively thinking about, and deciding how we act toward other people – and stop judging and alienating others based on our own personal ignorance or blind adherence to what we think our church teaches. Especially a church so steeped in centuries of discrimination and misogyny that its teaching will likely include a propagation of its own ingrained biases.
    [I of course don’t intend any of this in a personal way toward you or any readers’ faith, I am simply trying to explain my frustrations with man’s inability to truly love one another.]

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