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Can you reconcile Christianity with feminism? - Page 3

post #41 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
Not yet, anyway.
They never will. End of story.
The Church has said that she does not have the power to ordain women. It will NEVER happen.
post #42 of 195
I meant to add this earlier...

Just like men are capable of nurturing and even breastfeeding (though it is not as inherent as with women- the BFing that is) women are capable of stepping into the a male role. Really even those who believe in gender roles have a bit of what is perceived as the other role within their own role. Again with the yin and the yang. Mom is still in a leadership role in the home and by the Spirit, she still does manual labor, and so on and so on. There is no purely male or purely female role. I think that's a misconception and even a myth.
post #43 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
They never will. End of story.
The Church has said that she does not have the power to ordain women. It will NEVER happen.
Hey, if that's what makes you happy you go right ahead and keep clinging to that belief. But beware of NEVER. We're a lot closer than you may realize.
post #44 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
They never will. End of story.
The Church has said that she does not have the power to ordain women. It will NEVER happen.
Hmm -I disagree that it will never happen.
As you probably know there is a groundswell of support for female priests with women (and men) working both within the confines of the Catholic Church and outside its bounds where women have already been ordained and are following their calling to practice as Catholic priests. After the Second Vatican Council thousands of priests and nuns and priests left the church in protest. Catholic theological organizations around most of the western world either support the ordination or have left the question of female priests "open".
A number of Catholic scholars are calling into question the validity of the churches interpretation of the doctrine and tradition and whether Pope John Paul's decree is binding on future popes.
Given that there is evidence that up to 40% of parishes have no priests, from a practical standpoint, as well as one based on the will of God's people I can see the church reconsidering it's interpretation of the scripture and the need to be bound by tradtion.
It wouldn't likely be pretty - but I don't discount the chance that it may happen.

Karen
post #45 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
But what about those who do see a need to (be a priest)? or want to? or believe they are called to?
For me it isn't that a woman has worth because she is able to do the same job as a man. It's that because she has inherent worth that she can (and should if she chooses) be able to do that job. Her worth isn't defined by her gender or her equality with men, it's defined by her ability and her choices. If someone else makes those choices for her, they define her.
Especially since the dichotomy given was women are mothers men are priests...and not all women are able/want to be mothers. What role are women to have outside family life?
post #46 of 195
There are many Christian denominations where women can be ordained.

It does not make any sense that God would prescribe specific gender roles, instead of having every person use their gifts and abilities in the best way possible for them.
post #47 of 195
In Catholicism(s), what does ordination mean in terms of spiritual elevation over others, authority, access to knowledge/information/resources, access to communication with god, etc, etc, etc? I guess what I mean to ask is: does ordination mean having access to a status, or knowledge that can elevate one to a status, higher than that which can be achieved through other means, in this life or -- especially -- the next?
post #48 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
In Catholicism(s), what does ordination mean in terms of spiritual elevation over others, authority, access to knowledge/information/resources, access to communication with god, etc, etc, etc? I guess what I mean to ask is: does ordination mean having access to a status, or knowledge that can elevate one to a status, higher than that which can be achieved through other means, in this life or -- especially -- the next?
A seminarian will basically get his bachelor's degree in Theology and pre-seminary classes (Church history, Catechism, etc) and then will go on to Seminary in which he will learn more about the Faith, how to minister, etc...

Nothing that the ordained learn is unattanable by the lay members of the Church. These men just happen to have been called by God to be a Spiritual Father to many different people.
post #49 of 195
Those interested in deeper study of the Catholic view on maleness and femaleness might find Christopher West's books and John Paul II's book "Theology of the Body" to be interesting reads.
post #50 of 195
Quote:
What Christian denomination are these women?
All types. Mennonite, presbyterian, lutheran, methodist...
It really depends on the individual church.
post #51 of 195
You know, it kind of seems like these posts are dancing around the idea of the male priesthood a bit, in answering the question of why women cannot be ordained priests.

It seems to me that perhaps there is a lack of understanding of what a priest is? It is NOT the same as a minister, at all, so comparing what happens with a priest with a ministers job is not really the issue.

In the RC and the Orthodox church, women can do admin work, council people, distribute the sacrament, give sermons, teach, and lots of other things. That is not what being a priest is about, though priests do those things.

Being a priest means that the person has received the sacrament of ordination and been changed by it, and can now officiate at the sacrament of the mass. That is about it. So when they say women can't be priests, that is what they mean - you could go through the motions, but the ordination wouldn't "take" and the mass would not happen.

To say that it does not make sense for God to give men and women different roles, to me, sounds the same as saying it doesn't make sense for him to give them different bodies. Maybe it seems strange and pointless, but we DO have different bodies. And we COULD have different roles, there is no logical argument to say that it is impossible.

As far as doctors sterilizing people, that is quite awful. Neither the Orthodox, RC, or most other churches would approve of that at all, so I don't see that it should be a big problem to reconcile that kind of thing. I agree that the feminist movement had a lot to do with ending this kind of thing, and that has been one of it's great achievements. Legal equality and especially the recognition of all human beings as persons (not in a legal sense) is very important. We have to remember that a legal equality though is not meant to imply actual sameness - we need it because we are likely to take advantage of our inequalities without it.
post #52 of 195
Yeah well maybe it would make sense if every man and every woman actually fit into these outdated, prescribed, socially invented gender roles.
post #53 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Being a priest means that the person has received the sacrament of ordination and been changed by it, and can now officiate at the sacrament of the mass. That is about it. So when they say women can't be priests, that is what they mean - you could go through the motions, but the ordination wouldn't "take" and the mass would not happen.
That still doesn't mean it can't/won't ever happen.

In the early centuries of the Christian church, there were no priests - but there were deacons (who btw are also ordained clergy). Biblically, there is some evidence of female deacons (Phoebe). My guess is that first we will see the diaconate opened to women, and then it's just a short leap to the priesthood from there.
post #54 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Being a priest means that the person has received the sacrament of ordination and been changed by it, and can now officiate at the sacrament of the mass. That is about it. So when they say women can't be priests, that is what they mean - you could go through the motions, but the ordination wouldn't "take" and the mass would not happen.

To say that it does not make sense for God to give men and women different roles, to me, sounds the same as saying it doesn't make sense for him to give them different bodies. Maybe it seems strange and pointless, but we DO have different bodies. And we COULD have different roles, there is no logical argument to say that it is impossible.

As far as doctors sterilizing people, that is quite awful. Neither the Orthodox, RC, or most other churches would approve of that at all, so I don't see that it should be a big problem to reconcile that kind of thing. I agree that the feminist movement had a lot to do with ending this kind of thing, and that has been one of it's great achievements. Legal equality and especially the recognition of all human beings as persons (not in a legal sense) is very important. We have to remember that a legal equality though is not meant to imply actual sameness - we need it because we are likely to take advantage of our inequalities without it.
See years ago people thought women shouldn't be able to control their own money, or medical decisions or property - based on tradition and over time people realized that women were just as intelligent and capable and worthy as men. The Catholic church does not ordain women on the basis of tradition - and on scripture which was written by men and continues to be controlled by men.

I think we are going around and around. The OP asked if you could reconcile feminism and Christianity. In some churches - probably. In churches which continue to dictate that women must play lesser roles by virtue of their gender, and base that on nothing more than the fact that it has always been this way and the male "powers that be" have decreed they won't discuss it further...no I personally couldn't.

My definition of feminism doesn't include submitting to sexism, which is how personally I would define the above scenario.
Others will make different interpretations of the situation and will therefore make other choices which is wonderful for them. I do find it interesting though that most who have responded to this thread either don't identify as feminists or don't identify as Christians. So perhaps that is a clue to the answer for the OP.

Karen
post #55 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
The Catholic church does not ordain women on the basis of tradition - and on scripture which was written by men and continues to be controlled by men.
Really, though, if someone doesn't see scripture as more than just a human document, they aren't going to be any kind of mainstream Christian. I believe the OP was Orthodox, which would not be easily compatible with that view of scripture.

Quote:
I think we are going around and around. The OP asked if you could reconcile feminism and Christianity. In some churches - probably. In churches which continue to dictate that women must play lesser roles by virtue of their gender, and base that on nothing more than the fact that it has always been this way and the male "powers that be" have decreed they won't discuss it further...no I personally couldn't.
Where do you get lesser role, you keep mentioning that and the idea that the church thinks women are not worthy in your posts, but I can't see where you get that idea from? I would never say that men are not worthy to bear children in their womb, it would just be silly. What do you mean by "lesser?"
post #56 of 195
I was thinking the exact same thing, Karen. Just just look at the responses.

OP, I'm sure that there are plenty of feminist christians in some of your more liberal Christian churches--some episcopal churches, some united church of Christs, some unofficial (I don't know the real term for these) Catholic churches that ordain women and then, of course, there's the UU church where one can be both Christian and Feminist.
post #57 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Really, though, if someone doesn't see scripture as more than just a human document, they aren't going to be any kind of mainstream Christian. I believe the OP was Orthodox, which would not be easily compatible with that view of scripture.



Where do you get lesser role, you keep mentioning that and the idea that the church thinks women are not worthy in your posts, but I can't see where you get that idea from? I would never say that men are not worthy to bear children in their womb, it would just be silly. What do you mean by "lesser?"
Hmm
My step father is a minister, originially in the United Church of Canada and then in the United Church of Christ in the US (very similar philosophies). I would consider him to be a mainstream Christian (at least in Canada), and he believes that the Bible is a document written by men, but meant to teach us about God. I don't think that view is uncommon in the United Church of Canada.

ETA: as I stated above there is much disagreement in the Catholic church about whethere there is any scriptural reason for not ordaining women. So even if you believe in the bible as a document to be interpreted literally, there isn't much of a Biblical case for the Catholic church to deny women the priesthood.

As for the lesser role idea, that is my interpretation how the Catholic church and other conservative churches treat the role of women. There are few (none?) females in leadership roles, women who feel called to become priests are denied, subjugated and/or excommunicated. I realize others see it these facts differently and interpret them through the filter of their faith. But for me, as a non-Christian and a feminist the facts are more important that the churches interpretation of them.
post #58 of 195
Quote:
As for the lesser role idea, that is my interpretation how the Catholic church and other conservative churches treat the role of women.
Is it because *they* view the roles of women as lesser, or because *you* view the roles of women as lesser?

Biblically, there is no "greater or lesser". My dh has a "leadership" role in our family but it's not greater or more important than my role as mother/manager of the home. And he doesn't get to be leader because he's better than me. Neither of us views the mother-at-home/submissive wife bit as a *lesser* position, or the leader/provider as a *greater*. They are different in order to function together. Dh would be the first to say that what I do as a wife and mom should be held in high honor.
post #59 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Is it because *they* view the roles of women as lesser, or because *you* view the roles of women as lesser?

Biblically, there is no "greater or lesser". My dh has a "leadership" role in our family but it's not greater or more important than my role as mother/manager of the home. And he doesn't get to be leader because he's better than me. Neither of us views the mother-at-home/submissive wife bit as a *lesser* position, or the leader/provider as a *greater*. They are different in order to function together. Dh would be the first to say that what I do as a wife and mom should be held in high honor.
No I don't think women are lesser, which is why I don't think men should define them, or their roles in society, in the church or in the family. Being held in high honour does not imply that a woman has equal rights or opportunities. I hold my children in high honour but that doesn't bestow equal rights on them.

As for whether there is no "greater or lesser" biblically that may be debatable.

If your marriage works for you, that is wonderful. My husband and I work as a team as well but neither of us assumes a leadership role based on our gender, nor do we define our functions in the relationship along gender lines. That wouldn't fit with our world view which is more feminist than Christian.
post #60 of 195
Quote:
Especially since the dichotomy given was women are mothers men are priests...and not all women are able/want to be mothers. What role are women to have outside family life?
I'm wondering why no one has responded to this point.

The problem I have with the Priest/Motherhood dichotomy is that it assumes that we are defined by our biology. That because we have a womb we all by nature want to make motherhood our primary role and identification.

But that simply isn't the case. It's like saying because we don't have wings God never intended us to fly, so we should never board an airplane. The defining characteristic of human beings, as I see it, is that we consistently find ways to transcend our biology to open up new choices for ourselves.

Some women desire to be mothers. That choice absolutely should be respected. Others do not, or cannot, and they should have every right to pursue any calling they feel including priesthood. In the same way, many men feel comfortable in the leadership role, while others do not. Such men should not be made to feel that they "have" to be the head of the household just because they have a penis.

The problem with gender roles is that it eliminates choice for the minority of people who don't fit them. The logical ramification of the "God designed us for different roles" worldview is that women who have chosen career over family (Condi Rice comes to mind) are really, secretly miserable and wish they were mothers instead. Which when you think about it is quite insulting.

I agree with those who say that feminism has in the past equated equality with sameness and that was a wrong path to take. But I think nowadays it is more aimed at creating choice for all -- at least that is how I define it. Choice for women and men both, which at its core means getting rid of gender roles. So that a man can be a stay at home dad without being considered "weak" or derelict in his duty to support the family, and a woman can pursue a career at the expense of motherhood without being an object of pity or judgement.

I understand the backlash against feminism from women who feel their choice to stay at home or submit to their husbands is ridiculed and disrespected by mainstream society. It is wrong what has happened to them. But returning to gender roles to validate their choices is simply replacing one potentially repressive orthodoxy for another. What I mean is, under the "women-are-the-same-as-men" orthodoxy, the Condi Rices of the word are lauded and the stay at home moms viewed with suspicion. In the "women-have-a-different-role" orthodoxy the stay at home moms are lauded and women like Condi Rice are viewed with suspicion. It seems to me that focusing on respecting individual choice, rather than setting up any sort of orthodoxy, is a much better direction to take -- in this way, everyone wins.

As for the OP, I think it is entirely possible to be Christian and a feminist. But only in a church that does not believe in rigid gender roles. There are plenty of Christian churches that do not.
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