Wednesday, December 7, 2016

People's Catholic Seminary and Holy Orders by Kathie Ryan, ARCWP

The People’s Catholic Seminary is currently offering a course on sacraments (  In our discussion on Holy Orders, Kathie Ryan, ARCWP wrote the following:

This assignment on Ordination brought up the question, once again, why be ordained? During my discerning process the "why?" kept creeping into my meditations.  After some time passed I realized asking "why" was not relevant.  The question became will I accept "the call?"

We have learned that the definition of ordination began to change with the Gregorian reforms of the 12th century.  I looked up a little more history of the time and was reminded of the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire.  The Vatican was a strong temporal power.  Bishops and Priests were married, owned property and wanted their children to inherit the land. Historically we know what happened the Pope, Bishops, and Priests, raised themselves to a level of importance that lead to very specific roles and power.

In the Busted Halo video  the moderator reminds us that "all Catholics are priest but the sacramental priesthood stands in for the person of Christ himself." This concept developed in the 12th century and continues today.  Catholic traditionalist use the developing definition of the 12th century to cite the reasons priests can not be married, and why we can not have women priests.

The definition of ordination prior to the 12th century was inclusive and focused on service. A person, man or woman, was ordained for a particular function in a specific community (Martos 248). They were designated and consecrated to serve the community as well as serve at liturgy.  Ordination was about sacred order not priestly power.

All of us are indeed ordained priests.  Priest who are servant leaders.  There is "real presence" not in the process of changing bread and wine to the body and blood but in the sharing of that bread and wine with each other.  Real Presence is in me and you as we live as servants for one another in community.  We all "stand in for the person of Christ" when we love one another.

Link below provides the History of Women's Ordination in the Church:

1 comment:

Marni Gillard said...

Thanks so much for this short and clear reflection. POWER does seem to be what messes with all humans on many levels - our work, the playground, the organizations into which we gather. Thinking 12th century.... yes, a lot was going on then. As I reread each year Virgilio Elizondo's wonderful book about the bigness of Our Lady of Guadalupe's story - coming soon in our calendar - I see the play of POWER big time. The bishop wept when he realized not only that he had doubted the appearance but for the way he had not received warmly the dignified Nahuatl man whom Mary had chosen for her message. May we all keep in mind the true power God endows us with - the power to love fully. Thanks again.