Originally Posted by mammal_mama
athansor -- you make a great point when you ask whether it's better for people who disagree to leave -- or to stay and help work a change from within.
Well again, I think it helps to apply this to other religions, as well, to get some perspective. What about Jews who come to accept Christ? Do you support them continuing to go to Temple and trying to bring other Jews to Christ? There is a group that does that, Jews for Jesus, and they aren't very popular with the Jewish mothers on this board from what I've seen. It seems like it's easy for people to see why it's totally inappropriate and disrespectful when it happens in non-Christian religions. I don't understand the discrepancy.
Celibate priesthood is a small "t" tradition. It could be changed and it's okay for a Catholic to to support married priesthood without placing themselves outside the Church. Female priesthood, however is dogmatic and big "T" Tradition, and so one can not actively support it without placing themselves outside of the Church. The Church takes that one so seriously that any woman who becomes "ordained" is automatically excommunicated.
|If we go this route, however, then wouldn't we have to accept that the Church is never wrong?
Absolutely not. As I said, the Church is made up of mortal men and women who sin and are wrong. There have been Popes that were not terribly moral men. But they were still Vicars of Christ, and their sin doesn't discount their ability to speak authoritatively on doctrinal matters. I don't have time to go over everything you mentioned, but regarding slavery, since at least the 1500s (and probably earlier) the Church has spoken out against slavery. And she was not popular for it! It was very common, "every one" was doing it, and she was effectively told to "get with the times!" Thank God she didn't!
|The question is, where do things like female priests and homosexuality fall in this division of issues? Are they issues that are essential to being a Catholic, or are they something that might evolve over time?
I touched on this above, but I wanted to come back to eat. As cagnew pointed out, Catholics are bound to fasting on Fridays during Lent, and are also supposed to perform some act of sacrifice on all Fridays throughout the year. A lot of Catholics don't realize that, though
Anyway, female priesthood and homosexuality are not at all the same as priestly celibacy. The first two are unchangeable dogma (and have been declared such by the Church) while clerical celibacy is a disciplinary rule, NOT a dogma. And it is flexible- there are some married priests (this generally only happens if he were already married and a priest in a denomination such as Lutheranism, and then converted).
There's a lot of theology behind why those are totally different issues, but I'm supposed to be leaving in like half an hour and I'm not even dressed
Real quick regarding secular laws and Church teaching, one can't actively support anything forbidden by the Church. But, if it's already legal, we aren't required or expected to change it (thought we aren't forbidden from trying!) So the difference between gay marriage and divorce at the moment is that divorce is already legal. Gay marriage isn't. Plus I'd point out that the Church does not recognize secular divorce. You can get one but you're still considered married in the eyes of God and the Church unless it's been annulled, and are expected to act accordingly (ie no dating or remarriage).