Monday, March 29, 2010

Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida Decrees: No Women May Have Feet Washed at Liturgy of Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday

According to a reliable source Bishop Frank Dewane sent letters to all of the pastors in the diocese,
saying that NO WOMEN may have their feet washed at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
If so, this is an example of gender discrimination.
Women are created in God's image and are members of the Body of Christ.
Women of the Church in Florida, it is time to call for a boycott.
Stop giving money and talent to the Catholic Church in Florida, until the bishop acknowleges you as equal members, worthy to have your feet washed.

If Catholics stop giving, the bishop(s) will start listening!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP


The Catholic Apologist said...


Bridget Mary, this is not discrimination, this is doing what the people have a right to expect: That the Mass people attend is the Mass of the Church.

That is something you don't seem to understand Bridget Mary: The Mass and the Rites of the Church are not the bishop's personal property. He cannot do with them as he likes. It is the bishop's job to hand on what the Church has given him, and the people have a right to the Mass as the Church has given it to them, not the Mass as Bridget Mary thinks it ought to be.

If you want to wash the feet of women in your religion, go right a ahead and do so. But you do impose your religion on the Catholic Church.

Ravensbarque said...

Apologist --

Please document exactly what Bridget Mary has said or done at her Masses that is not acceptable by the RCC? I have never been to a Mass presided over by Bridget Mary but I have seen some of the liturgies. Where is the error?

What is required for a Mass to be valid? Interesting questions, wouldn't you agree? So, Apologist, identify the REQUIREMENTS and then document how anything Bridget Mary has said or done deviates from the requirements.

Bernie said...

For years I thought the last supper included thirteen people - Jesus and his twelve apostles. Finally, someone asked me: "Who cooked the meal? Who cleaned up afterwards?" Mind-opening questions for me. Obviously, the women did.

Then in a more perceptive reading of the gospel I finally noticed that the evangelists did not restrict the last supper to Jesus and the twelve. It was attended by the disciples among whom were many women.

Site Administrator said...

Thank you for the great insight, Bernie! With that in mind, maybe Bridget Mary and other members of her woman-priest movement can start to cook instead of sacrilegiously simulating sacraments.

Ravensbarque said...

It couldn't have been a Passover meal if women were not present. Then as now it is a woman who begins the Passover meal by asking the question.

Then as now no women, no Passover meal.

Don't take my word for it. Ask your Jewish friends.

The Catholic Apologist said...


I have responsed to your comments on my blog in an older post-becasue Briget Mary tried to argue the same thing.

In short- it is not about WHO was at the Last Supper, but rather WHO CELEBRATED the Last Supper.

To read the whole article, you need to go back through the February postings.

As for the document-the Sacramentary is the source for only men having their feet washed.
Paschale Solemnitatis also says the same thing.

For a fuller treatment of this issue go to ""

Site administrator-LOL! Way to use their own logic against them! That was clever- unfortunately cleverness is not one of my strongpoints, so I would have never thought of it!

Ravensbarque said...

Apologist --

I take it that it is outside your realm of possibility that YOU could be wrong. You are trying to mold events to fit your paradigm -- instead of constructing a paradigm based on facts.

I will go back and see what you said in February.

That "upper room" was certainly large enough to hold quite a gathering. Next time you are in Jerusalem, check it out! Probably all kinds of disciples and their families were there and they were all CELEBRATING Passover! Why else would anyone gather for Passover except to CELEBRATE it? Note that Jews say HAPPY PASSOVER. If they weren't CELEBRATING, they wouldn't be saying HAPPY.

Read what the scholars -- both Christian and Jewish -- have to say. And ask your Jewish friends. Or call a Rabbi.

I hope you remembered to send a Passover email to all your Jewish friends last night.

The Catholic Apologist said...


You misunderstood me. Jesus was at the head of the celebration, Jesus was the one leading it, JESUS was the one offering the sacrifice which is at the core of what a priest DOES.

Certainly in a sense everyone participates in Mass, and everyone "celebrates" Mass, but this "celebration" is secondary to that of the priest. It is the priest who leads, directs, and guides the worship of the Church, and the Priest who makes the atonement offering. Without the priest, there is no Mass.

So yes, by all means- I am sure plenty of people were at the Last Supper. (Though I grant that only for the sake of argument.) The point is not WHO was there, but WHO OFFERED the Sacrifice.

John said...

To all women of the Church (whether in Florida, Nebraska, or Timbuktu):

Could we PLEASE just follow the blasted rules the Church has laid out?
I don't necessarily enjoy ALL of them all the time either, but many of you have proven to me that you could care less about genuine equality.
Too many of you have demonstrated repeatedly that you know all too little about what the Church teaches, how the Church practices, or why. Too many of you seem to operate with this notion that Catholic faith consists primarily of rules that a mob of dried up old men wrote to harass you.

If you really want equality in every way, how about praying a Rosary a few more times? I'm overweary of your hyperactivism.

Crusader said...

Wow John,
Such a nice way to introduce yourself !
Your statement of """"""Too many of you seem to operate with this notion that Catholic faith consists primarily of rules that a mob of dried up old men wrote to harass you."""""""" does demonstrate that you do not have the slightest informed insight to recent discussions. It also asserts that you being a Man (I am assuming with the name John) have no clue as to discrimination and its HUMANKIND beginnings created through the organizational leadership of Men. Women have for the most part been the second class in EVERY RELIGION - not just Catholic or broad based christianity.

Since you do not have your own blog, and you are a secret identity, do ya think anyone is really going to take you seriously ?

What the Church teaches is not always what Christ taught.

We are here to stay, we are not going away. We are the Catholic Church !

Crusader said...

Apologist and anyone else who is having difficulty with "Foot washing equality",

Every once in a while the foot washing woman vs Men debate comes up.
You will find that it also states that according to local custom in procedures for foot qualifications. If the local custom ...being the US, Canada, and the UK or anywhere else for that matter have a local custom then it may be used, except when the Bishop (with the Big Feet - : ) ) expressly communicates that is what HE wants !

Really most churches have both. Most churches have been using their new RCIA members to be the washed feet line ! Men, women and beautiful !

Another humankind rule - that was just assumed to be a Men only thing.

The persons who cause the trouble with this are the conservative and newly appointed Bishops who want to keep the power --yes the power of only Men foot washing ! How self centering and just shameful that whole little puff puff argument is !

Our God, Our Lord, Our Jesus is a loving and powerful leader. He loves us all, even when we enter into "whose feet are the REAL feel that should be washed arguments" !

I can't wait to go to heaven and have some of the Bishops that have been such blind abusers and power prophets give me a foot washing AND a pedicure !

Surely Jesus expects us all to have the same "foot washing eligibility" ?

We have such a greater mission as Catholics then to preserve what someone thought along time ago was the correct thing to do.

Look how many persons have become Saints years after the church disowned them ?

Perhaps I should drop everything I do and educate the Catholic faith about "The washing of the feet" and the inclusivity of all human beings fro the rest of my life ? Then maybe I could become the patron saint of the arguments of foot washing on down the line !

You know Our Lord is laughing about all of this because it is very silly !

I know my post is relaxed with humor, but I just can not resist laughing at my Catholic Family. And YES we are the Catholic Church !

Big Foot Linda

The Catholic Apologist said...


As I said, for a fuller discussion on the topic go to the website ""

Even granting what you said, the local ordinary is the pastor of the Diocese. He has the right to set the norm in his diocese for the celebration of the public worship of the Church. People don't have to agree with him, they have to follow his leadership however.

Seconldy I believe Rome sent a clarification on the very subject of whether women's feet could be washed. That is why I refer you to Rockintraddy becasue he treats that subject.

It is clear that Bridget Mary is outraged- but given that she is not Catholic her outrage is rather difficult to understand. No one is trying to tell her she can't wash the feet of women in her religious ceremonies.

Ravensbarque said...

John --

You made this disparaging remark to the women readers: "If you really want equality in every way, how about praying a Rosary a few more times?"

While there is nothing wrong with praying the rosary, telling the women to go pray a few is really rather nasty.

Besides being nasty, the comment also shows a lack of Catholic knowledge. The rosary is NOT an article of faith and absolutely no one is required to pray even one rosary -- let alone a few more, as you suggest.

John said...

Whoops! Pardon me!
I forgot that I'd mentioned my home state last night, not my home city.

My bad. If you're interested, I live in Omaha.

John said...

Hmm. That's odd. The 'net gave my last bit, but not the paragraphs in which I defended my point of view from last night.

Well, rather than write it all out again, I'll simply say this:
I don't object to a priest washing a woman's feet, so long as it's done within the context of what the Church intends.
I DO object to people going berserk when the local ordinary doesn't grant them their perceived "rights".
Considering the degree of nonsense about "sexism" I've heard over the past 20 years, I have little regard for most claims about "discrimination".

Please learn what the Church actually teaches, especially about the valid ordination of priests.

Ravensbarque said...

Apologist --

You say that Bridget Mary is not Catholic. That is not your call to make. She was baptized Catholic and she maintains she is Catholic. Therefore, she is Catholic.

Even if she were excommunicated (which I do not believe for a minute that she is), that would NOT make her NOT Catholic.

Excommunication does NOT kick someone out of the church. It puts restrictions on what the person is and is not allowed to do but it does NOT kick the person out.

Even Fidel Castro, whose excommunication was one of the most notorious in recent history, is still considered to be a Catholic.

Heresy and schism do not kick a person out either. Ceasing to be Catholic comes from within and not from without. Actually, no one can kick anyone out of the church.

John said...

That's an interesting take on Bridget Mary's status in the Church and on excommunication in general. There're just enough fragments of Truth to be..false.

Don't forget, excommunication doesn't require a bishop's formal declaration. I forget the latin term, but but if Bridget Mary declares herself to be an ordained Catholic priestess, I suspect her "ordination" would've sufficed to excommunicate her automatically.

As far as "kicking someone out of the Church" goes, the only people I've heard using that language...are determined to believe that the Church's teachings are not authoritative, so you don't need to follow them if you don't wish it.

Formally declaring someone to be an excommunicant is relatively rare; it's only used as a final effort to bring someone to their senses and challenge them to repent from heresy, schism, or other open breech with the Church.

I could wish that a few bishops would exercise this authority with various politicians, if only to make the Church's teachings more clear to one and all.

For whatever reason, they haven't decided on that route.

Ravensbarque said...

The point I was trying to make was simply that being excommunicated does NOT mean a person is no longer Catholic.

Excommunication also does not necessarily even imply sin.

John said...

Um...OK, again, very interesting take on excommunication. One that's lacking in a ways, I think.

Keeping it very brief, your statement would seem to declare that excommunication means nothing.

If we believe the Church teaches the whole of Truth and virtue, then an excommunication inherently means that someone has taken on some idea that is NOT Truthful, or has committed some act that is NOT viruous.

In such a case, an excommunication, as the term itself suggests, would mean that a person is no longer in communion with the Church; they are no longer Catholic.

It also inherently means that one has intentionally chosen something that inherently lacks virtue. It is thus, by definition, sinful.

That's what excommunication IS.

Ravensbarque said...

No. That is not what excommunication is. I strongly suggest you talk to a few priests. Ask them if excommunication means the person is no longer Catholic. You will be set straight.

You can also ask if excommunication necessarily means sin. You will be set straight on that one too.

While you are fiddling around with that, look at some of the great saints who were excommunicated. Joan of Arc comes to mind. So does Thomas Aquinas. And the new Australian saint, Mary McCallop (sp?).

You really need to go back to Theology 101.

John said...

OK, so reading Pp 1463 of the Catechism and splitting legal hairs, you might manage to force your argument to hold. I don't recommend it though. Your immortal soul is on pretty precarious ground if you're arguing for someone's "Catholicity" primarily on the basis of loopholes.

You might ask four SSPX bishops how well that might go.

As far as Joan of Arc and Thomas Aquinas go, I don't know what you intend to prove. Neither was ever subject to an honest excommunication order. She suffered condemnation by a corrupt bishop, he suffered another bishop's misunderstanding.

I do not see Bridget Mary demonstrating much interest in the Church's actual teachings.
Therefore, I assume she must be much like many politicians: Catholic in name only.

John said...

By the way:
I've heard from too many who're too interested in telling the Pope and the bishops how they may run the Church. Too many of those who comment on the internet or elsewhere see too little interested in simply living the faith as it's been handed down.

Y'all don't appear to be canon lawyers or theologians. You don't appear to have any particular need to be directing people in the faith.

Why not learn your faith ever more fully and struggle to practice it ever more fully from your given state in life?

Why the endless demand for changing things?
Isn't the faith difficult enough to live as it is?

Ravensbarque said...

John --

I think it would be an excellent idea if you did some serious research into the history of excomomunication. You clearly do not have an understanding of how and why it developed or how it came to be what we know it as today.

While you are studying excommunication, be sure to take careful note of how closely church and state were intertwined and what excommunication meant on the societal level.

BTW -- I am very familiar with the two major classes of excommunication. I am also familiar with different levels of censure connected with excommunication.

You state (with a bit of sarcasm) that no one seems to be a canon lawyer or a theologian. I do not know if there are any canon lawyers here. But, I need to ask you: How would you define a theologian???? Serious question.

John said...

Good evening,
I'm curious, Ravensbarque, as to why you believe I need to learn more about excommunication?

Do you wish for me to declare that Bridget Mary is Catholic, however poor?

When someone portrays herself as Catholic, then as a Catholic priestess, I'm not going to refer to her as a faith-filled Catholic, regardless of the technicalities of excommunication.
Dissident Catholic perhaps, but not a faithful, practicing Catholic.

BTW, how is it that you know as much about excommunication in the first place? You've already declared that you aren't a canon lawyer. Are you then claiming to be a theologian?

Speaking of which, my definition of a theologian:
One who investigates, studies, discusses, and contemplates some aspect of faith in God, while maintaining continuity with all that the Catholic Church has taught.

But again: What reason do you have for me to learn more about excommunication?

John said...

Um, just to clarify something, Ravensbarque:
If my comments regarding excommunication have demonstrated some unacceptable degree of imprecision to you, then don't worry about excommunication itself. That's really not the point anyway.

The point is, you had commented that Bridget Mary is Catholic because she was baptized Catholic and declares herself still to be so.
Sounds like another way of saying that a person IS Catholic until that person declares themselves NOT Catholic, and no person, including a bishop, may make any valid declaration otherwise.

I don't know what all the technicalities might be, but that sounds fishy at very best.

Perhaps it's not excommunication, but simply declaring that someone doesn't follow the Church's teachings and should not refer to themselves as Catholic.

Whatever the means might be, I'm almost positive that a person can cease to be recognized by the Church if their actions or ideals depart from the Church's teaching flagrantly enough.

Ravensbarque said...

John, you really are in serious need of solid theological training. Look at your last sentence there. You say, "I am almost positive...." If you knew the basics here, you would know that you are incorrect. A person cannot cease to be recognized by the Church based on their actions or ideals. Even Fidel Castro is still considered to be a Catholic -- albeit not one in good standing.

Ravensbarque said...

John --

You said: "I'm curious, Ravensbarque, as to why you believe I need to learn more about excommunication?"

Me: You need to learn more about it because clearly you do not have a good understanding of its development, its meaning, or its implications (on all of the various levels).

John: Do you wish for me to declare that Bridget Mary is Catholic, however poor?

Me: It wouldn't hurt -- but it might be asking a bit much from someone like you whose foundation is so superficial.

John: When someone portrays herself as Catholic, then as a Catholic priestess, I'm not going to refer to her as a faith-filled Catholic, regardless of the technicalities of excommunication.
Dissident Catholic perhaps, but not a faithful, practicing Catholic.

Me: Don't add modifiers. Just acknowledge that she is a Catholic. And, the word is PRIEST (not priestess).

John: BTW, how is it that you know as much about excommunication in the first place?

Me: I study many things. I know a great deal about quite a few topics. I am never satisfied with the simple explanations. I need to know why and how. I use multiple sources to research topics.

John: You've already declared that you aren't a canon lawyer.

Me: That is correct. I have studied some canon law but I am not a canon lawyer. Nor am I a secular lawyer, although I have taken courses in that field. Also, when I was an undergraduate, an aptitude test showed that I should go into law. Law has always fascinated me.

John: Are you then claiming to be a theologian?

Me: I would claim to be a low level theologian. Certainly not a great one. But, I do meet your requirements as listed below.

John: Speaking of which, my definition of a theologian:
One who investigates, studies, discusses, and contemplates some aspect of faith in God, while maintaining continuity with all that the Catholic Church has taught.

Me: I would agree with everything up to the word WHILE. Theology is not limited to Catholicism. There are many fine theologians in Protestant faith traditions. And, you cannot argue with the theologians of past and present Judaism.

John said...

Boy, what can I say to all this?

Perhaps the best I say is, you and I very clearly strongly disagree on many subjects. While I share your desire to know many things in depth, I disagree with you regarding which subjects we each need to learn about.
I think it's very telling that, while you accuse me of being superficial and lacking knowledge, you do not cite any particular resource that might correct my thinking. For someone with some amount of legal and theological training, that strikes me as a serious omission.

Speaking of theological training, I commented on consistency with Catholic faith very intentionally.
While I've heard many good things from Protestant, Jewish, and other theologians, ultimately I must remind you that I cannot view their efforts as authoritative for my faith. When you are intellectually and spiritually separated from the Catholic Church by your own choosing, you are inherently separated from the whole of revealed Truth. That's a serious error that I feel I must acknowledge. And act accordingly.

Nearing a conclusion, I understand your desire to defend Bridget Mary, but her declaration that she is Catholic does not make her so. For my purposes, her actions and statements suggest heresy or other serious departure from Catholic faith. Therefore, I cannot describe her as Catholic.

Lastly, Holy Mother Church has the final authority to declare who may and who may not be ordained a priest. Holy Mother Church has declared on numerous occasions that a woman cannot be a priest.

Whatever she may believe, Bridget Mary is not a priest.
I suspect you won't like that statement much, nor many others.

You also may not like this one: If you dislike my comments, take it up with Holy Mother Church.

By the way, Ms. Monk stated that what the Church teaches is not always what Christ taught. Unless Ms. Monk can demonstrate her valid authority to declare something that the Church has taught incorrectly, I'm required to declare that she's simply wrong.

May I suggest that some of you learn from Fr Corapi, Mother Angelique, or Fr Groeschel?

Their ideas might be quite illuminating....

Ravensbarque said...

John --

I have listed numerous topics where your knowledge is lacking. You are perfectly capable of finding your own resources to bolster your knowledge and understanding. There is plenty of material right there on your computer. If you do not know how to tell reputable from non-reputable sources and how to discern fact from fiction, then your problem is far more serious than I would have thought.

The Church says no women may be ordained. I have asked several times and neither you nor anyone else has answered. How do you define women? Really, how do you define all four words -- male, female, man, woman? And why does the Church say male only ordination and then refuse to define male?

I really don't think too much of Fr Corapi. He says some things that are not correct, though once in a while he says something decent. He does know how to play an audience -- which is good.

I have no use whatsoever for Mother Angelica, though I do give her credit for being a smart business woman. She says too many things that are doctrinally incorrect.

Fr Groeschel is a puppet.

All three of these people have legions of followers who worship the ground they walk on. All three think they are better than everyone else. I would rather talk with and listen to people who do not look down on other people's ideas.

John said...

Sorry to hear you feel that way, Ravensbarque. I haven't heard Fr. Corapi et al say anything distinctly wrong.

As for male, female, man, or woman, I don't know if the Church has a formal definition. I'm thinking that one is pretty obvious and based on biological organs.

Have a Happy Easter, Ravensbarque.

Ravensbarque said...

John --

The obvious is not at all obvious. You clearly do not know biology.

John said...

Somehow, I had a feeling you'd say something like that.

Sorry, but down is not up and up is not down. Male is not female and female is not male.

I don't know if you're genuinely confused, being silly, or something else, but you're definitely not dealing with normal reality.

I do hope God will give you the grace to understand Him more fully.

Good Luck.

Ravensbarque said...

At the molecular level there is absolutely no difference between male and female. We speak of proper matter for ordination. Matter is made of molecules. So the difference must be something other than the molecules that make up the human being.

Clearly you do not have a definition. Why not? The Church doesn't have one either. I do not think it is asking too much to ask the Church to define its terms. That is quite standard in business, academia, and just about every profession I can think of.

BTW -- identifying organs does not work for a definition.

Hope you are having a nice Easter. It is bright and sunny here.

John said...

Good Evening.
I see no reason to redefine male vs female based on molecular homogeneity. We're not solely chemical creatures, but spiritual ones as well. God created us each to know, love, and serve Him, as a male or a female, apparently as distinguished by biology and the emotional and spiritual differences that seem to accompany the organs.

Keep in mind too, every business, profession, and endeavor defines terms to the degree that participants in the field deem needed, but no farther.

I see no reason for the Church to do otherwise.
Let's let the the obvious.


Ravensbarque said...

But, John, the obvious is not the obvious. You won't find any competent biologist saying that it is obvious. Anything you state as obvious can be legitimately contradicted and shown to be not obvious.

Do you really think external genitalia is a cut and dried automatic determinant as to who is male and who is female?

John said...

I'm sure that if you asked biologists, geneticists, psychologists, sociologists, or others, you'll get definitions that're quite proper to each field.

And yes, some persons have hermaphroditic or androgenous characteristics. I've heard of women trapped in men's bodies and vice versa. Heck, some even have same-sex attractions. Or claim so.

These change..nothing.
Spiritually, emotionally, and physically, the majority of men and women are quite discernable one from another.

If the Church should feel compelled to define "male" and "female", likely it'd be to declare definitively that inputs to gender from other fields may be wholly irrelevant.

Don't forget, even lawyers and mathematicians--folks who distinctly relish precise terms--must make assumptions sooner or later and that an argument can become absurd.

Therefore, rather than try to satisfy those who won't be satisfied until doctrine is changed, I suspect the Church sees no LEGITIMATE need to define male and female any further.

For the vast majority of people, the obvious will suffice.

Ravensbarque said...

John --

You said: "I'm sure that if you asked biologists, geneticists, psychologists, sociologists, or others, you'll get definitions that're quite proper to each field."

Not true at all. It bothers me that you make stataements like this -- that you are sure... -- but you don't bother looking it up. If you did some research, you would find that I am right. Not one of these groups has a "proper" definition.

I am not talking about hermaphroditism or "androgenous characteristics", a term that you are using incorrectly.

This is an extremely complicated topic.

John said...

I see. I'm almost afraid to ask: What do you consider to be a "proper" definition?

I'm thoroughly perplexed by your line of argument; to the point that I wonder: Are you serious about this at all, or are you simply playing some sort of game?

You say I'm wrong about almost everything. OK, two people can disagree. So...where are the resources that I should be reviewing that would support your line of thought?

If you have any useful background in canon law or theology--as you claim--you know that scientists, theologians, lawyers, and most professionals have some external source to back their claims.

Where are yours?

I don't see any reason at all to believe that this topic is even remotely complicated.

I think it's very simple.

Ravensbarque said...

I do not have a proper definition. But, then, neither does anyone else.

I am very serious. This is not a joke. How can the church define MALE theologically without first defining MALE biologically -- a task that not even biologists can do?

If you would like a very solid and yet easy to read book, I would recommend *Before We Are Born* by Keith L. Moore, MD. It is now available in its 7th edition. I have not seen the 7th yet but I used earlier editions extensively in both writing and teaching.

If you pick up any decent biology book (college level) and look for a definition of male or female, you won't find it. You may find things like "male-like characteristics" or "female-like characteristics" but you will not find a straight-forward definition of male or female.

Now the ball is back in your court. Please put your evidence on the table. Why do you think this topic is really very simple?

John said...

Good Evening,
OK, so I tried finding a copy of the book at Borders and at Barnes & Noble. Neither had a copy, though Borders was willing to order one for $56. The descriptive blurb was useful though.

A deeply involved discussion of embryology and related topics might tell me a great deal about prenatal development, but ultimately, I can't agree that it bears tremendous relevance to discerning male from female for the Church's purposes.

I understand some of the dilemma though. I can't tell you how many times I've attempted to talk to someone about atmospheric processes--I used to be a military weather officer--or explain why the weather community couldn't do precisely what a commander wanted. Even with all the details, research, and technical stuff I might be able to find for someone, the hard lesson I had to learn didn't matter worth a hoot.

Never forget the Church's earthly mission: Bringing souls (human beings) to heaven.

In fulfilling that mission, the Church will define specific terms when it feels it has a distinct need for doing so. Interestingly, even clergy don't seem to feel compelled to know and use every single definition the Church has ever developed. Or at least, I have yet to hear a priest talk about eschatology in a sermon/homily!

I think it quite interesting that, even with all the complex events of development through birth, the vast majority of human beings still wind up being one or the other. We're either male..or female. Period.

I once heard about a study, an effort at "socializing" boys and girls to be the opposite sex. I don't remember what the girls did with the GI Joe type toys, but I believe many of the boys wound up playing with their soldiers! Keep in mind, the effort aimed at seeing what children would do when they were too young to truthfully understand society's general expectations.

Even with society's trailing, the majority of the children still wound up doing what people of their respective sexes would do, regardless of the toys they received.

This is a fairly long-winded way of saying it, but I guess the ultimate point is: Severely technical definitions of every single thing may not always be important.

Definitions tend to only be crucial when someone wishes to change something, or else is thoroughly confused.

Ravensbarque said...

The section of the Moore book that I am particularly interested in for this discussion is the part where he discusses sexual development. He does an excellent job -- at least he did in the previous editions so I presume he does so in the 7th edition.

We cannot define male and female because we are all both male and female. I am not talking about hermaphrodites here. That is an entirely different story. (True hermaphrodites are quite rare in humans but pseudo-hermaphrodites are not as rare.)

We all have the same components -- it is simply a matter of degree. For instance, everyone has both testosterone and estrogen -- and it is identical in both. The only difference is the amount present.

You mentioned socialization of children. That experiment is intrinsically flawed. I could explain why but you can probably figure it out.

A more valid study is comparing spatial recognition between various cultures. In western societies we usually say that males tend to have better spatial cognition than females. However, if we compare a typical western culture with an Eskimo culture, we find that among the Eskimos there is no difference between male and female. Why? There is no sexual bias in the training of children in what is necessary for survival.

Getting back to male/female.... There are about 6 major factors involved in determining male or female. Interestingly, these factors do not always match.

As a matter of fact, about 2% of the population does not match in all areas. In other words, the internal organs may not match the external organs. Or the chromosomes may not match the typical male/female designation. Etc. (For instance, there is a rather famous singer -- you might even recognize her name -- who is actually an XY female. I have spoken to her and will be interviewing her further in connection with some research I am doing. Would you say she is male or female?)

So, what is it that defines a MALE? External genitalia? There was a case in England a few years ago. A baby was identified at birth as male, was raised male, entered a Catholic seminary, was ordained a priest. Later he became ill and was hospitalized. Careful examination revealed that he was actually a she and that what had appeared to be male genitalia were malformed female genitalia. The examination that was done would not have been possible 75 or 100 years ago. The Church admits that there was no deceit here but the ordination was invalidated and the person was literally kicked out. I have had an email correspondence with this person. Was/Is this person male or female?

I've only mentioned two problems here. I could go on and on.

You may say that problems only affect a few people. Well, the USA has about 320 million people. If we take 2% of that, we get 6,400,000 people in this country alone who do not match for one reason or another. We have states that don't have that many people!!

That 2% is quite constant. And, these people are quite normal in other respects -- normal appearance, normal intelligence, normal personalities. Let's be conservative though and pretend we have only 1%. Take a diocese with 200 priests. That means that 2 of them don't match. We have almost 500 bishops in this country. So, 5 of our bishops don't match. That would be 10 bishops if we were using the more realistic number. Now put this on a world scale.

No wonder the Vatican doesn't want to define MALE!! If the curia ever did decide to define MALE, they would no longer be able to use male only as a criterion for ordination.

John said...

Oddly enough, Ravensbarque, the statistics and information you cite seem to me to prove my point all the more clearly.

Various scientific and mathematical subjects can indeed teach us a great deal about God's creation. String theory may even eventually produce a solution that comes close to explaining some part of it and/or God Himself.

Even so, I'm routinely amazed by how people insist on declaring that some scientific or statistical fact somehow invalidates something the Church has taught.

Directly addressing your point:
Let's say that your 2% number is accurate. OK, so up to 400 people in the United States MAY be confused about their gender and/or sex. That's about 1/50th of the population. That may not even register as a blip on the proverbial statistical radar screen.

Then too, remember that most persons are called to married or non-consecrated single life. Only a few are called to be priests, nuns, monks, or other consecrated religious.
To me, that doesn't sound as though the Vatican has much to worry about with defining male or female biologically. ...Unless, of course, someone insists on making it an issue for other reasons....

May I ask why you're so determined to document the travails of persons who defy ready definition?

Some of your effort sounds more like an effort to exploit someone's misery than to promote justice.
I would ask you to pray for people's peace of mind instead of revealing their oddities.

Ravensbarque said...

Your math leaves something to be desired. Would you like to borrow one of my calculators?

If you take 2% of 320 million people, you get 6,400,000 million people. Where you got 400 is beyond me!

I am saying that the 2% is constant. That means we have 2% of priests and bishops who are not clearly defined. That, by the way, is not the same as being confused about their sex or gender. (Sex and gender are two different ideas.)

All I have been saying is that if the Church is going to use a term, the Church should define the term. The term cannot be defined. Therefore the paradigm falls.

You say "ready definition" but no ready definition exists.

John said...

If you say so.

Honestly, Ravensbarque, don't you have anything better to do with your time?

Trying to declare the requirement to be male to be invalid because of 2% of the population strikes me as being, well, willfully extreme.

Judging by your responses thus far, I gather you won't let this go, but I would caution you against fussing too much over something that's not worthwhile.


Ravensbarque said...

Let me know if you want to argue any more. I'll be here.

Oh, and yes I do have plenty of other things to do. My dogs would appreciate it if I could earn enough money to buy them dog food. And my daughter would appreciate it if I had enough money to go to her wedding in June.

But, I am here! And I am certain you will be able to figure out how to find me should you wish to pick this one up.

It is unfortunate that you are not interested in dialogue; it is unfortunate that you do not wish to put your documented cards on the table.

Sorry about that!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, don't either of you (John or Ravens) have a standard dictionary? I do. Here you go.

Male: an individual that produces small usually motile gametes (as spermatozoa or spermatozoids) which fertilize the eggs of a female.

Female: an individual that bears young or produces large usually immobile gametes (as eggs) that are fertilized by small usually motile gametes of a male.

This clear language is the understanding that pretty much EVERYBODY (including children in 5th grade biology class) has of what constitutes the male and female of our species - just as God designed them.

After the Fall and sin came into the world, there are understandably, corruptions of this norm; but corruptions are not the norm and, in fact, are few and far between. Corruptions of the norm are not a reason to redefine the norm.

In the area of self-identification, an individual's idea that he or she is something other than what their gametes declare them to be, is the result of concupiscence and the sinful nature of fallen Man, and do not in actuality cause them to be anything other than what Our Lord's creation made them: male or female.

When words and definitions are twisted and parsed to squeeze God's design right out of our understanding, Satan delights in such conversations. After all, you're using words against The Word, who is Truth.

People who are confused about whether they are male or female, need to pray for clarity. Those who are tempted to sinful conduct because of such confusion, need to pray for the strength to resist temptation. All who are suffering such trials are able to turn to our loving God and, through Jesus Christ, receive His help to bear their particular cross.

To go beyond this level of definition for a supposedly theological purpose and attempt to promote the idea that the Catholic Church must make some definition of male and female beyond this basic understanding, in my opinion, shows a lack of humility, an overabundance of pride, and a need for long and prayerful reflection on God’s purpose in creating male and female who, together, join in the Lord’s creation by bringing forth another and thereby, in our lowly and imperfect human capacity, reflect the Trinity and participate in divinity.

Now, here’s my advice, Ravens – freely given, to be freely ignored at will – don’t think or write any more for a little while. Pray and then listen. Repeat daily.

God Love You.

Ravensbarque said...

You advised me not to think or write any more. VERY bad advice.

You also said: "Male: an individual that produces small usually motile gametes (as spermatozoa or spermatozoids) which fertilize the eggs of a female.

Female: an individual that bears young or produces large usually immobile gametes (as eggs) that are fertilized by small usually motile gametes of a male. "

So, males produce sperm and females produce eggs. (I presume you are talking about humans and other higher animals.)

Does that make the corralaries also true? How would you define a person who is unable to produce sperm? Would that person be female? What about a person who is unable to produce eggs?

How would you define a person who was born without testicles? Without ovaries? According to your dictionary definitions such people would be neither male nor female.

I certainly do not think that expecting the church to define its terms shows pride, lack of humility, or anything else.

We all have a right to argue for whatever we think is right.

I still do not understand how the Church can define male and female. If the church wants to define these terms in a theological way without looking at the biology, then the church is contradicting itself. On the theological plane, there is no male and no female. (Gal. 3:28).