When we were at school, we used a particular expression called the missing link (referring to apes in view of human beings). We are all the time pushing for a married priesthood. Yet maybe we are missing a good link. How can the Catholic Church allow its priests to get married when there is a low appreciation of women? The fact that some women marry a priest and are still regarded as those who tempted the priest to abandon the altar (table where mass is celebrated), may speak volumes! Why are all important decisions taken by men in the church?
The recent decision by the Pope to allow studies to investigate (it’s still a study, please don’t jump into conclusions), the case of women deacons, may finally help our cause. What’s a deacon? Well the deacon is one who celebrates all the sacraments (except mass and the sacrament of reconciliation), and could deliver a homily (explanation of the readings) during mass. But if you want a more detailed and a biblical explanation, go for this link. In any case, together with the married apostles, there is the hidden figures of their wives. What did they do? Surely as married couples, they were aware of Jesus’ call.
Let’s not forget about the Holy mother of God, Mary. She carried baby Jesus in her womb for nine whole months. Now by general criteria of priesthood, she would classify as a priestess: she gave Jesus to the world; She had great intimacy with her son; She suffered and practically took part in the sacrifice on the cross. In many saintly books, she is portrayed as the one who leads to Jesus (priests’ work). How can such a glaring example go unnoticed?
Mary Magdalene was the first person who saw the risen Christ, before the apostles according to the gospel. Does not this give a special message to women’s active participation in the church?
In today’s world, it’s still the woman in many cases who nurtures and keeps a close contact with children. She is the one to pass or not to pass on faith. She is the one who attends most frequently church activities (in some areas, statistics prove this). Lay women and lay men are the ones who share the priest’s vision for their parish. In most priestless parishes, they are the ones who are guarding our treasures. Whether we like it or not, this is going to be the future. Priests are much less and in the Western world they are going to be in such a small number, that they would be completely outnumbered by lay people. Shall we live in denial and still press for celibate priests?
On another level, one main argument which is being unfortunately discarded is that of the signs of the times. God is not enclosed in a book. God can speak to anybody in any time. If all the corporations, companies, schools and the general public, there is rising awareness of the importance of females, how can the church put its head in the sand by ignoring women? How can God speak to the general public in one way and then speak differently to the church?
In David Rice’s book, (Shattered Vows, Exodus from the priesthood), there is ample proof that the priests’ wives have increased the spirituality and enthusiasm of the priest to work for others whether in a sacramental form or another. Instead of writing negative comments about the church, maybe we need to be more positive and write about the miracles which take place in today’s church, through the active participation of women. Let’s hear from our readers, how they sanctify priests!