More on top-down authority versus everyone else.
On obedience. Last week Sister Pat Farrell said what she thinks obedience is.
But the word obedience comes from the Latin root meaning to hear, to listen. And so as I have come to understand that vow, what it means to me is that we listen to what God is calling us to in the signs of our times.
This week the bishop said what he thinks of that.
My reaction is that it sounds very beautiful and appealing, and no one can argue that we have to be obedient to God and that we have to follow conscience. But on the other hand, it flies in the face of 2,000 years of the notion of religious life, that obedience means obedience to lawful superiors within the community, and it certainly means the obedience of faith to what the church believes and teaches.
Again, Catholicism understands Christianity to be a revealed religion, in which truths of faith, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are authentically taught. So St. Paul talks about the obedience of faith. So it’s not just about a kind of vague sense of obedience, but it really comes to a very specific obedience in some cases, particularly for religious women or religious men.
It’s what it is. It’s not what we’ve grown used to, in the non-theocratic parts of the world, which is adults thinking about ethics and problems and competing goods; it’s obedience and “truths of faith” and no questions.
Then there’s ordination. Women can be theologians, and that’s great, but priests, no. Why? Because penis.
But when it comes to the priesthood, and I don’t know that on a program like this we’re able to explore the theology of it, because it is a theological one; it’s not political. It’s not sociological. It’s theological. About what the sacraments are and what it means for a man to stand at the altar and act in the very person of Christ as a priest.
I mean, St. Paul talks about Christ being the groom and the church being his bride. That symbolism, theologically, is very much a part of our understanding of the Mass and the priesthood. And that’s, I think, also why Christians who maintain their faith in a priesthood – namely, the Catholics and the Orthodox – do not have a female priest.
Penis. A groom has to have a penis. The church is the bride, and the priest is supposed to fuck her. That doesn’t sound quite right, somehow – yet it’s what the bishop said.
The church doesn’t say that the ordination of women is not possible because somehow women are unfit to carry out the functions of the priest, but because on the level of sacramental signs, it’s not the choice that our Lord made when it comes to those who act in his very person, as the church’s bridegroom.
But the Lord didn’t choose Americans, either. Or Germans, or Brazilians, or Mexicans…But there are German and Brazilian and Catholic priests. The choice their Lord made doesn’t much resemble most priests today.
And you can say, well, that sounds like a lot of poetry or you know, how do we know that’s true? But, again, if you’re a Catholic, this is part of our sacraments and our practice for two millennia, and it’s not just an arbitrary decision of male oppression over women.
The conclusion doesn’t follow.
Is change possible? The world changes, we change, can religious rules change?
I think certainly the world in which we live today is vastly different than the ancient world or the medieval world, or even the world of a century ago. And so there’s always an evolution in society. But what are your first principles? What are your basic beliefs? What do you believe is something that’s revealed by God in scripture and tradition and taught authoritatively through the ages?
Those kind of things do not change. Their understanding can evolve. There can be aspects of it that evolve and change, but not the fundamental things.
The fundamental things that they claim to know because they’re revealed by God in scripture and tradition and taught authoritatively through the ages. Dogma. Dogma can’t change. Thank you for a pleasant conversation.