Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A female's defense of male ordination

One of the great things about getting a master’s in theology is the opportunity it presents in witnessing to my faith. The dialogue usually goes something like this...

“So...you’re going to school?”


“What are you getting your degree in?”

“I’m working on my master’s in theological studies.”

“So what are you going to do with that? Are you going to be a minister?”

“No, I’m Catholic.”

Then it goes one of two ways...


a) “Well you know you can’t be a priest. The Catholic Church forbids that.”


b) “Why can’t you be a priest? I’ve heard of women being ordained.”

So here are my responses to both statements. (Perhaps I will just refer people to my blog anytime this issue comes up.)

The Church does not forbid the ordination of women. It doesn’t have the authority to ordain them. If Christ had wanted women priests, don’t you think that his own mother would have been the top candidate for female ordination? We follow Christ’s lead in this matter. Furthermore, the old argument that Christ was bound to the cultural limitations of His time doesn’t fly with me. He broke all kinds of social rules...remember the big stink that was raised about his disciples not fasting? Remember the encounter with the sinners and the tax collectors, the prostitutes and the lepers? If Jesus would have wanted women to serve His Church in this capacity, He would have made it happen.

Secondly, I am perfectly fine with not being a priest. I’ve seen their job, and don’t particularly want it, and I’m abundantly thankful that there are men who are willing to answer the incredibly demanding call to serve the Church in the person of Christ. People who look at this vocation as just another career path are completely missing the boat. God is the one who calls. It’s not up for a power grab.

Finally, women are not being ordained as priests. Even if they do go through the motions of an ordination ceremony, they are still not ordained. The Holy Spirit doesn’t show up for fake sacraments.

So I guess my stock answer still stands. I love being Catholic, and I don’t want to be a priest because it’s pretty clear to me that God is not calling women (any women) to that particular vocation. It doesn’t make me less of a person. It doesn’t decrease my capability of growing in holiness. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, read Lumen gentium. It is the cure for many modern misunderstandings about the Church.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Excuses, excuses

I've got some ideas floating around in my head for future posts, but I haven't had more than 15 minutes to sit down and think about them.

Well, that's not completely true, but I have been incredibly busy during the day and into the evening. The first week of May we celebrated a Confirmation, a First Communion and Mother's Day. We've participated in two May crownings...Yay, Mary!...and I've finished up my second year of classes.

After returning from my classes on Sunday night, I slid right into a crazy week of school activities, work and babysitting children for a friend of mine who just gave birth to my new Godson. He's so yummy!

I am going to be Godmother to this gorgeous new little boy!
 With so many wonderful things happening this month, it's no wonder that my writing has taken a back seat, but I have to admit that I could have squeezed in some more posts here and there, but enjoying a few DVDs after the kids are in bed has been my guilty pleasure for the past few nights. That down time has been like taking a drink of water after being thirsty for weeks.

So here's looking forward to the summer...looser schedules, no homework hanging over my head, and a stack of books that's been waiting for me to devour. I might still be able to find excuses not to keep up with my blogging, but they probably won't be as noble.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

IPT still accepting applicants for the Janesville site

The Institute for Pastoral Theology, the master's program in which I am currently enrolled, is accepting applicants for the fall semester. The nearest location and the one that I attend is in Janesville, WI, but there are other sites throughout the country. It is a three-year program designed for working adults who have either finished their bachelor's degree or have a total of 90 college credits. The master's degree earned is an MTS, master's in the theological studies.

Many people have asked me, "So what are you going to DO with this degree once you are finished?" That question always makes me chuckle because one of the foudational Thomistic principles that is introduced in the first semester is "operatio sequitur esse" (translation: "action follows upon being"). Action flows from being, and not the other way around. We don't act ourselves into being. This is a counter-cultural notion, and it is one of the primary themes our Holy Father Pope Benedict XI has been stressing. "Modern scientific thought has increasingly shut us up in the prison of positivism, thus condemning us to pragmatism," (Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today). In other words, "doing" is valued, while what should be the primary focus of cultivating "being" is ignored, or worse, condemned as laziness and impracticality.

So maybe I should say that I am not DOING anything with my degree. Rather, I am allowing God to chisel away at my being (in order to intensely purify my understanding of the faith) right now in preparation to participate in the "doing" of God through me. How God is going to call upon me to use this great gift of intense, reflective study has yet to be fully revealed, but then again, I am already participating in His mission in my vocation as a wife and mother. So even if my ultimate task in life turns out to simply pass on a more vibrant and accurate understanding and witness of faith to my children, this time and effort will have been more than worth it.

Finally, I wish to submit that this program is centered in Christ and completely faithful to His precious Church. It does not soft-pedal truth, nor does it float inaccessibly beyond comprehension in theological speculation. This formation is pastoral, meaning that it presents a theology in action, a theology that is no less than doctrinal, no less than deep and pentrating, and no less than eminently transforming.

Look into it. I promise it is three years that will awaken your faith, refresh your soul, and prepare you to witness to the light of Christ.

Also check out some local friends who have blogged about the program:

Badger Catholic: One way to get an authentic Catholic education in Wisconsin

Making Things Visible: Dr. Douglas Bushman - Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Random stuff Mom did right - 7 QuickTakes

I borrowed stole this idea from Fear Not Little Flock:

In preparation for Mother's Day, I will attempt to undo all the snotty teenage things I ever said to my mother in a completely grateful post dedicated to my own Mama. She has born the brunt of four daughters and their critical opinions for far too long, so here goes...Seven things Mom did RIGHT.

1. She read us bible stories at bedtime. My foundational catechesis came straight from my mother. She always explained more than what the story told, and took the time to answer our questions. I am certain that this is what insulated me against the fluffy touchy-feely catechesis of the eighties, but I can still cut out one heck of a butterfly!

2. She prayed for our future husbands. I don't presume to know the inner-workings of the Holy Spirit, but let's just say that I know two things: a) my mom prayed, and b) I have an awesome husband who is dedicated to Christ and His Church, to me and our children.

3. She always went the extra mile for us. I'm talking crazy extra...like pulling all-nighters because she worked 12-hour shifts at the hospital and would come home to realize that we needed help with a school project.

4. She ran background checks on our boyfriends. Ok, not formal ones, but she did call her friends in other parishes to give her the "low down" on the guys we were dating. Nothing very interesting ever surfaced, but she was on top of it.

5. She wrote us letters. In this age of computer everything, I fondly remember my mother's handwritten notes. Sometimes she would write an "I love you" on our napkin that she placed in our sack lunches. Sometimes she wrote us a letter expressing her gratitude for having us as her daughters. I've kept many of these, and I don't know if I've ever told her that.

6. She rejected the "wisdom" of her culture. As a young Catholic mom in the early seventies, she went against the grain and followed the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church regarding family planning instead of getting caught up in the tidal wave of contraceptive propaganda. I learned from her about the effectiveness of NFP and the natural spacing that often occurs as the result of breastfeeding. These are lifelong habits of fidelity which I am looking forward to passing on to my own children.

7. She taught us to pray. Every night, we prayed as a family. Every Sunday we attended Mass together. She taught us how to say the Rosary and continues to promote a life of prayer in devotion to Our Lord through Eucharistic adoration. These are the vital tools I continue to use everyday. Prayer is the life of Christ that flows through our daily activities.

Thanks Mom, for these and all the gifts you continue to share with our family. I know we don't say it enough. We love you, we appreciate you, and we thank God for the gift of you! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"See what love the Father has given us...

...that we should be called the children of God; and so we are."

On Wednesday night, this scripture passage,1 John 3:1, kept popping into my head as I witnessed my oldest daughter receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. She is God's gift to me, a call to live my life not for myself but for Christ, and I am humbled by the blessings she continues to deliver. I don't deserve a daughter so lovely, so kind, so beautiful and patient, so full of faith and conviction. Yet God's merciful love is lavish...incomprehensible, and dare I say CRAZY?! (Pope Benedict did.)

My daughter, whose confirmation name is Therese, on the left, next to our pastor

My prayer tonight is for all of the newly confirmed young people. In the words of Bishop Callahan, they are the future of the Church. It gives me great hope to see a cathedral filled with young Catholics and their families all renewing their faith in Christ and allowing the Father to shower His gifts upon all of His beloved children.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Climb on the LIFE train!

It's contagious...It's outrageous...It's a nation of young people joyously proclaiming the message of LIFE!