Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More on women's ordination

I'm not mad at the Anglicans!

Here's the whole thread. FW Ken writes:
Women’s ordination doesn’t impress secular feminists … and it drives out religious people.
I think you could say the same thing about the gays, more or less. The feminists are in it for the (perceived) power, prestige, and, face it, pastor of a small parish an easy gig for second career women and religious hobbyists. The gays, above all, want social approval and a place to show off their “normality”. The problem is that neither group is very large, and neither cares enough about the core meaning of church to stick with it. And, as noted, they drive out the actual Christians.
Well put. The few Catholic women who push women’s ordination aren’t doing it out of love for all the teachings of the church (they often don’t really believe in the Mass) but for the reasons you named.

I’ve been told that Episcopal and Continuing priests have about the same church workload as Catholic deacons, and that Continuing priests have about the same education on average as Catholic deacons.

By the way, permanent deacons are in no-man’s-land in Catholic culture. An innovation after Vatican II, I don’t think there are many and Catholics don’t know what to make of or do with them. They are clergy, in holy orders, but priests sort of resent them, and bishops don’t want them to be mistaken for priests. On the face of it, I’m fine with them, as I am with married priests (celibacy’s a rule and our culture, not our doctrine), and as I would be with having real subdeacons and men in minor orders in parish life, like the Orthodox.

I think that Protestant deaconesses (Lutheran and Anglican), in the 1800s, were copied from Catholic active religious orders of "sisters" (the ones teaching and running hospitals, not real nuns, who are women monks). They even wore similar habits (like postulants in traditional Catholic orders or modern nuns). Florence Nightingale got some of her idea for modern nursing from what Catholic sisters were doing.

Not to be confused with Anglican nuns and sisters - yes, there are Episcopal monks and nuns, very few. These originally were 1800s Anglo-Catholic emulations of Catholic ones. Some sound ones are now Catholic, such as the fully habited All Saints' Sisters of the Poor in America - in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, not the ordinariate.

By the way, I first learned of women’s ordination almost 35 years ago (1981 or ’82), not 30 (time flies when you're getting old); the first uncanonical women Episcopal priests were in ’74.

Saepius Officio was the Church of England trying to sound Catholic, answering Leo XIII. Well, at least alternative Catholic, non-papal Catholic, a notion that’s a perennial will o’the wisp attracting priest wannabes, such as the latest vagantes, “Roman Catholic Womenpriests.” I know there are also principled churchmen who are non-papal Catholics and who have real ministries; I respect but disagree with their position that the papal claims are Modernism's cousin, an innovation. The Pope can't invent or change doctrine.

True too about homosexuals. A number of gay men have always loved high church for its artistry (so Anglo-Catholicism was the gay church, besides Anglicanism generally having a strong gay element for some reason – the boys at prep school, etc.) but many are anti-religious or New Age.

Orthodoxy’s not heretical (they’re estranged Catholics) but theologically weak, which is why some people say “first Anglicanism; Orthodoxy’s next” regarding women’s ordination. But one thing (the only thing, besides the Holy Spirit?) keeping women’s ordination from happening there is their ethnic cultures’ conservatism. As in the mainstream Catholic Church there is no strong push among them for that. I can’t imagine Russians having women priests, for example. What will their few remaining third, fourth, etc. generation Americans do? (Lots of them leave as they assimilate.) They aren’t really of those cultures anymore, and the converts’ kids and grandkids never were.

They might fall for it out of spite to show how un-Roman they are; the cool mystalicious church not being “legalistic” like “the Romans” about “gender,” non-threatening to our liberal overlords in society and government. I can see the liberal St. Vladimir’s Seminary types, the “sons” of Schmemann, eventually Episcopalianizing that way. You’d end up with Byzantine Old Catholics, a rump sect. Schmemann, by the way, was sound on that: I think he said it meant the death of Anglican/Orthodox union talks.

And it'd be almost business as usual in Orthodoxy, a communion so loose that its churches often hate each other (Moscow vs. Constantinople, almost excommunicating each other, for example). Liberals like that would be kicked out at least almost by consensus, but the point stands. Here it could happen.

"What about Catholic liberals?" They took over locally in the '70s but they're dying out.


  1. There's quite a bit of regional variation about permanent deacons. Quite a few of them here in Denver. Rare is the parish that doesn't have at least one. (Here there are also plenty of new vocations to the priesthood.) Deacons tend to work baptisms and marriages - especially the preparatory classes for those sacraments - as well as prison ministries and hospital chaplaincies.

    Ordaining women is impossible. Ordaining flagrantly unrepentant sinners is insane, whether the sin is sexual depravity or something less popular.

    1. Thanks for the field report. Good news. As I am a traditionalist I rarely see them. Regarding your second paragraph, exactly.

  2. I must disagree re permanent deacons, from my own admittedly limited anecdotal experience. For a stretched-thin priest, a deacon is a godsend. Our priest has a parish and a mission 30 minutes apart -- one in the inner city (historically black parish, now predominantly Hispanic) and the other in rural redneckville (about half Hispanic). Five Masses every weekend (English and Spanish); one priest. Without our deacon to help out with baptisms, marriages, hospital / nursing home visits, and administrative stuff, our priest would be falling over with exhaustion. He's pretty exhausted as it is! :D


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