Examine the theological arguments for and against the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the theological arguments for and against the ordination of women to the priesthood " Women should be kept silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says .'' (Corinthians 14: 34-35.) Does St.Paul give an interpretation of the culturally conditioned views of his period, or that of Jesus Christ, the Son of God? This question emphasises the ongoing debate over women's ordination within the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox churches. 'A person ordained to act as a mediator between God and human-beings administering the sacraments and preaching' is the more simplified definition of a priest. For the purposes of this essay a far more complex understanding of the term 'priest' is required. In Catholicism the priest's ministry is associated firmly with the idea of the Mass as 'sacrifice'. As a result the Church has developed a three-fold conception of priestly ministry: bishop, priest and deacon. In the 21st century it still stands firm within Church dogma that women are not to be priests, despite nearly all other denominations having allowed women's ordination. This viewpoint has risen from theological support within the Bible and teachings from Jesus, God, St.Paul and the Tradition of the Church. Yet at the same time, semi-conclusive theological evidence has been found denoting that there is simply no reason why women should not be an intermediary between God and us. The traditional arguments that represent the view that women should not be ordained have stood since Roman times and only since human rights in the late 19th Century became apparent, counter arguments have been formulated supporting women priests. In perusing this examination of the arguments for and against the ordination of women, a final question begs to be asked: has the Church, perhaps unwittingly, developed a form of institutionalised misogyny? To theologically examine the arguments we have to understand the historical and theological Christ. ...read more.

Middle

But he chose twelve men. This is the overriding fact, which St.Paul, being centrally responsible for Christianity, appreciated, and understood Jesus was acting according to scriptural authority. This is a very fervent argument represented throughout all of St.Paul's letters, where much of the Scriptural support for either side of this issue comes from. The fundamental problem with this debate is the basic interpretation of God, Jesus' and St.Paul's words. So far we can already notice how Catholic teaching chooses to be slightly selective over what scripture it will read from and what it will ignore such as 1Peter 2:9 "the entire people of God are priestly." The empowerment given to a minister is to perform religious acts such as the permanence of the Eucharist sacrifice. These offerings may resemble Jesus' blood and body yet why does a male have to act as the mediator between this and God. Most other liberal forms of Christianity accept women can do the job just as well. The symbolism of a male priesthood has no real meaning in the wake of the true doctrine between Priests and the Ministry. For example, Mary Murray Charles relates this to incarnation: "In the incarnation the symbol is the humanity of Christ and the symbolic reality is the whole of humanity united to God through the incarnate world." Many scholars would argue that the Biblical evidence Jesus left indicated his wishes within the Church. Firstly, the choice of men as the Apostles, and during the Last Supper only to the twelve men concerning the Eucharist sacrifice did he say "Do this in remembrance of me" (1Cor 11:24) It is also believed by exegetes that Jesus' choice of men was determined by the symbolic role as "patriarchs" of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. We can see Catholic theologians seem to be careful over suitable scripture to use in their arguments. They ignore 1 Peter 2:9, which reminds us that all ministry has its exemplar in Christ, regardless of, gender. ...read more.

Conclusion

St.Bonaventure had a liturgical argument said the impossibility of women being priests is due to the nature of the priestly function i.e. natural resemblance. This is a sound case and therefore according to Pope Paul VI the church "does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination." Catholic credo still appears to be discriminatory over which material it basis its laws on. All of St.Paul's letters should be considered, but passages like "we are ambassadors for Christ" (II Corinthians 5:20) are not as important to neither Anglican nor Catholic as credible ones like Luke 22:14-20 at the Last Supper. But maybe Catholicism and Orthodox Churches are right in accepting and taking their doctrines from these 'famous' passages and taking little consideration to other verses, which are quite irrelevant within the fundamentals in Christianity. Jesus left the future of Christianity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to make decisions concerning authority. It is doubtful that he intended to express a preference regarding the gender of future Priests. Christian denominations that forbid the ordination of women do have understandable arguments: they echo how Jesus chose twelve male apostles and only these men sat with them at the significant last supper. Yet objections do arise and much dispute against certain Roman Catholic doctrines has been formulated: many believe Catholicism has a possibly sexist view that women can't naturally resemble Jesus. It is also argued that St.Paul's teachings have no definitive stance on the matter and considering God made us all equal an open mind on the matter should be cast. In our time the basic need to secure equal opportunities changed the outlook on the Anglican Church as early as 1967. It only seems that time and human progression will be the decider on the future of women's ordination within the Catholic and Orthodox churches. This only mirrors what the majority of the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded in 1976: "It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the possible accession of women to the presbyterate. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Prejudice and Discrimination section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Prejudice and Discrimination essays

  1. With reference to culture and tradition, discuss the presentation of themes and characters in ...

    between cultures, this is further proved as derogatory words are used- "Coolies, kaffirs and Hottentots" The writer

  2. But why did Jesus use parables?

    What could it feel like to belong to the Kingdom of God? To belong to the Kingdom of God means being part of something holy and important. It is like living in one country but being from another. In this case it's living in Earth but feeling that your heart and soul belong in God's Kingdom.

  1. This essay is an attempt to illustrate and analyze whether Elizabeth Cady Stanton's arguments ...

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton believes that "the second story was manipulated by some Jew, in an endeavor to give 'heavenly authority' for requiring a woman to obey the man she married" (page 18). She repeats her analysis of the true creation story in Genesis 1 and reinforces her argument by quoting St.

  2. Religion and equality

    In 1989 the community relations of London yearly meeting wrote "At the deepest level of all, members of the human race are one family" This therefore means that everybody shares the same God and are all equal. The Church of Scotland is an equal opportunities employer committed to the principal

  1. Racism - a christian perspective.

    The main reason being as I said before that I believe that all people in this world are equal in most cases. Therefore if they are equal it is only right that they should also be treated the same. I believe the Christian teachings "All humans are made in the

  2. Study of parables taken from Luke's Gospel

    was: " Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your strength, and all your mind" and "love your neighbour as yourself." Jesus agreed with the interpretation of the law. However the teacher of the law wanted to show the importance of his question by asking the question " Who is thy neighbour?"

  1. Examine the rituals and teachings which are associated with circumcision and Bar Mitzvah(20 marks) ...

    In some congregations, he will read the entire weekly torah portion, or lead part of the service or the congregation in certain important prayers. Also, his father traditionally recites a blessing thanking God for taking away the burden of him being responsible for his son's sins as the child is now old enough to be held responsible for them himself.

  2. Puritan Theology: Influences and Origins

    While living at his college during his first degree, he prepared for the work of ministry, then passing the necessary trials, which allowed him to receive a license to preach. He was sent to New York, and preached there for 8 months. Edwards was a very devoted man of religion.

  • Over 180,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.