Monday, November 7, 2016

"It's Not a Complement", (Pope Francis' Comment on Women's Ordination) Natalia Imperatori-Lee, America


America Magazine
When asked about women's ordination, the pope recalled St. John Paul II's assertion that women could never be considered for the priesthood as a ...
..."Two things to note of theological import here. First, Jesus’ mother is not the only woman in the New Testament. Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary, and others were also in Jesus’ circle of disciples, listening to him and, in Martha’s case, ministering to him. Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the resurrection in the Gospels. The women in the early church cannot all be subsumed into the Virgin Mary; the church should say their names and know their stories, because even these early narratives reveal that not all women express femininity in the same way (see Martha and Mary for a shining example of this fact).
Second, casting the church in a feminine role and assigning obedience (as in Mary’s fiat) and receptivity to only the feminine aspect of the church, as opposed to the Petrine and clerical aspect, means that the role of the laity is obedience and receptivity. Does this fit with the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, which says in “Lumen Gentium” that the whole people of God are called to minister in the church? If leadership is only Petrine, and Petrine only means clergy, then some men in the church image the masculine aspect of the church while other men (in the laity) image the feminine. But the reverse is impossible: Women, because they cannot be ordained, can only ever image the feminine. This rules out women’s leadership in a church that celebrates Teresa of Avila, Sor Juana InĂ©s de la Cruz and Catherine of Siena as models of faith.
Pope Francis may or may not have ruled out the possibility of seeing women priests in the Catholic Church on the plane from Sweden this week. But in reaffirming the Marian and Petrine construct of the church, he (intentionally or not) sent a message about the people of God that truncates our imaginations and limits our possibilities for full human flourishing. And that’s a bigger issue than who stands at the foot of the altar."
Natalia Imperatori-Lee is associate professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, New York.

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