Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"The Hidden History of Women's Ordination" by Gary Macy

(Start of Presentation: 9:02)
("Rite of Ordination for a Deaconess": 13:52)
("Rite of Ordination for an Abbess": 15:59)
(Understanding of "Ordination": 17:47)
(Roles of "ordained" women: 29:05)
(Abbesses as "Bishops": 42:17)
(Ordination of a woman "bishop:" 43:57)
("Last Female Bishop" [1874] - Las Huelgas, Spain: 46:12)
(Conclusion: 50:08)

Some notes:
Pope and bishops referred to women as ordained. 
Pope Gelasius in the fifth century spoke out against bishops who were ordaining women as priests.
Bishop reprimanded Celtic priests who were assisted by women, probably their wives, at celebration of Eucharist. 
In mid-eight century, women were ministering at the altar. 
Perhaps as deacons and priests. Councils criticized bishops for allowing women to distribute communion. 
Liturgical Rites for ordination of women and men were the same.
Ordination Rites for abbess. (received both mitre and staff)
Whole set of liturgical books that have the Rites for ordination of deaconesses and abbesses. 
The understanding of definition of ordination changed.
A community would pick a person to do a certain job, an "ordo" The ceremony to install person in  new job/service was called an ordination. You would be picked for a job/ministry by your community to serve your community. (deaconess, priest, abbess.) It was not about the power to consecrate bread and wine. It was not about an indelible character to consecrate bread and wine as was the later medieval understanding.
Early Christianity ordained nuns, abbess and deaconess being a leader in the community including liturgical leadership. 
Women abbesses, for example, heard confession, celebrated liturgy, and were leaders in the church. 
One of main jobs of abbess was to hear confession of nuns and surrounding neighbors. (all those who worked for monastery)
Abbesses were ordinary ministers of Penance/Reconciliation.
Bishop Theodora, mother of Paschal 1. St. Praxedis Church in Rome
Brigit of Ireland, (bishop intoxicated by grace of God, did not recognize what he was saying, and he consecrated Brigit a bishop, a fiery column descended to affirm her ordination.
Mechtilda is referred to as a metropolitan which means "archbishop" on her tomb.
Abbesses as bishops, Las Huelgas, Spain: (up to 1863)  They appointed parish priests , open churches, approved confessors, conferred licenses to celebrate Mass, pope could not investigate their monasteries, called local church councils.
conclusion: There were different definitions of ordination. What definition of ordination fits us today is a theological question?

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