Womenpriests, and Vatican Horror.

The Vatican has issued new guidelines on dealing with sexual abuse (which in principle is to be welcomed), and included in those guidelines a declaration that the “attempted” ordination of women is to be classed among the  “delicta graviore“.

That women’s ordination is to be linked with paedophilia is so ludicrous that I will not even attempt to discuss the stupidity. Likewise, I will not discuss the abuse guidelines until I have properly scrutinized the original document. However, the Vatican horror at women’s ordination is highly topical in the light of events elsewhere, and worth some consideration. Before coming to the Vatican statement though, let us take a quick refresher in recent history, in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and in women’s ordination in other denominations.

Did you realise that women priests have been around for over two centuries?  As early as  the late eighteenth century in England, John Wesley allowed for female office-bearers and preachers.

Here are just a few notable dates over that period: Read the rest of this entry »

Do it Yourself Catholicism

Three posts I have seen online in the past couple of days have had in common observations about people of faith moving ahead without on religious matters without ecclesiastical sanction – Christians doing it themselves. At Open Tabernacle, Obie Holmen wrote about the expanding womenpriests movement in “Roman Catholic female ordination“. At Gay Mystic, Jayden Cameron cross-posted two pieces on the parishioners of St Mary’s Brisbane, who say they have been “Liberated with Joy from a Failing institution“, and on the Home Eucharist movement. Before we condemn these out of hand, it is worth giving some thought to history: to the early history of the Church, and also to some lessons from twentieth century secular history.

Some Prominent Women in the Early Church

In the very early Church, there was no distinct, set-apart clerical elite. Even as there emerged distinct roles for deacons and bishops, their roles were markedly different to those we know today. “Deacon” took their title from the Greek for “to serve”, while bishops were “overseers”, leading small local teams – with the emphasis on team work and leading. Worship was in small congregations, led by its own members, who were not professional clergy. Read the rest of this entry »