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Female Priests
15-04-2010, 07:51 AM,
Hi John

I am not sure I agree that women, or most men, have a vocation to the priesthood in the sense I mean. I think I have used words ambiguously. I do not mean, for instance, that they have an interest in being a priest, or think that they wish to serve God in the Church in some way, or have reflected seriously on their skills and abilities and see a fit with the priesthood.

I suppose I mean by vocation something other than a personal desire to do something. It seems to me that within Orthodoxy the vocation to the priesthood and episcopate is something which one rather shrinks from. It is more like the experience of Moses, or Jonah even. It is not, as far as I can see, a subjective desire to become a priest, rather it is almost an unwanted necessity to follow that path.

My rambling and incoherent thoughts seem to lead me to be thinking at present:

i. Some men are ordained to the priesthood inappropriately because they either do not have a vocation (by which I mean a direct call and insistent call of God), or worse because they desire the priesthood for even laudable reasons but not because they have been called to it.

ii. All those men who are ordained to the priesthood as a result of a true calling of God must still grow in the grace of the priesthood, and it is all of grace and nothing at all of human skill and ability. God could and can use anyone to organise and manage the affairs of the congregation - that is a diaconal calling (which also requires a true vocation) - organising and managing is not what the priesthood is about.

iii. Those women who believe they have a vocation to the priesthood are mistaken. Some/many do think it is a matter of organising and leadership and that they are being excluded from organising and managing. But there are men who share the same view. They are also mistaken. It seems to be the same argument for women bishops, that it is not fair otherwise. But a bishop should not be an organiser or senior manager either. It is relatively easy to find people with skills to organise something, it is much harder to find the man who will shepherd and father the spiritual flock of Christ. To INSIST that we have a vocation seems to me to show that we do not have a vocation.

iv. The difference in true vocation is found in Genesis, not in the Gospels. 'Male and female he created them', seems to me to be a very important passage. What does THAT mean. Does it only mean that there are physical gender differences? Growing up in a family with boys and girls, and being married to a wife, and having worked with men and women, I would not want to say that the differences are only to do with gender physiology. Men and women ARE different.

v. If men and women ARE different then it is still proper to ask what roles and responsibilities are open to members of either sex. It is proper for the clergy to be reflective about the experience of life in the Church, and especially in OUR Church for women. It is proper for women to be involved in the organisation and management of the Church. But, I am growing committed to the view that the priesthood is a minority male vocation - because maleness is not the same as femaleness. And just as a man who is not a priest must not sit in Church saying 'I could do that better', so a woman must not. Indeed I know from my own experience that any sense of being passed over or left out is a temptation, and is self-pity. In fact none of us deserve to be used by God for anything at all. We are all sinful, weak, passion-dominated and deserving of judgement. Therefore, it seems to me, from my own experience, that when I think I should be doing something rather than someone else, I am most clearly manifesting why I should not be doing it at all.

This isn't coherent, but I am trying to express the view that we do not only have male priests because Christ only chose male Apostles, but because there is an ontological distinction between male and female, and the priesthood is a ministry which God reserves to a few males. Just as when Adam and Eve fell there were different judgements upon both. There is a distinction in being and not only in bodily form.

That is, in a rambling manner, where my own thoughts are at present.

Father Peter

Messages In This Thread
Female Priests - trespaser5 - 11-04-2010, 05:51 PM
RE: Female Priests - Cerys Brangwyn - 24-03-2014, 09:05 AM
[] - John Charmley - 11-04-2010, 06:14 PM
[] - trespaser5 - 14-04-2010, 04:43 PM
[] - admin - 14-04-2010, 07:09 PM
[] - John Charmley - 14-04-2010, 09:24 PM
[] - admin - 15-04-2010, 07:51 AM
[] - Fr Gregory - 15-04-2010, 08:43 AM
[] - admin - 15-04-2010, 09:02 AM
[] - Fr Gregory - 15-04-2010, 10:22 AM
[] - John Charmley - 15-04-2010, 02:47 PM
female priests - kirk yacoub - 17-04-2010, 09:29 AM
[] - Antony-Paul - 17-04-2010, 03:00 PM
[] - John Charmley - 17-04-2010, 03:18 PM
[] - Antony-Paul - 17-04-2010, 03:40 PM
[] - John Charmley - 17-04-2010, 08:39 PM
[] - DanielM - 18-04-2010, 02:09 PM
[] - John Charmley - 18-04-2010, 04:46 PM
ADDENDUM - John Charmley - 03-05-2010, 09:09 PM
[] - vrc - 07-05-2010, 09:33 PM
Female priests - kirk yacoub - 08-05-2010, 09:26 AM
[] - John Charmley - 08-05-2010, 01:34 PM
[] - DanielM - 25-05-2010, 09:26 PM
[] - Fr Simon - 26-05-2010, 10:16 AM
[] - John Charmley - 29-05-2010, 11:34 AM

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