Tuesday, 11 September 2007

New churches and Women's ordination Story pt 10

We began attending the new church with my husband. We were made very welcome and I did not get the usual anti-Catholic remarks. There was a vibrant Sunday School and a strong sense of community here. We made friends and felt quite comfortable.

Meanwhile I had another baby and grieved the death of my mother-in-law. The end of this pregnancy proved very difficult and I spent over a month in hospital. The doctor had seen the cord around my daughter's neck and were worried she might die if I went into labour without supervision. I was having medium contractions every half hour so I had to stay in hospt.

My husband asked my parish priest to visit me and bring me Communion, explaining the difficult situation I was in-and he refused.

But we received plenty of support from my husband's church.

After other similar events I began to think Christ was there-rather than at the Catholic church.

At last I thought I had found the general idea of Christianity. It was in the goodness and kindness of the people of my husband's church, where there was friendship and where we helped each other. Surely this was more like the Church Jesus established, I thought, than the big impersonal Catholic church where the priest wont speak to you if you aren't pushing money into his hand.

So I went to Confession for what I decided was the last time and told the priest there I was intending to leave and I'd be attending my husband's church.

He asked if someone could come and see me and talk to me first. I agreed.

A few weeks later an older lady kindly came to visit me. She had no more understanding of the Catholic church than I did and could not answer any of my questions. She must have felt awful-but I was touched that she had been willing to try and help.

We continued to attend the Catholic church while I continued to struggle with questions.

We moved house and I found a Catholic church very close to our new home. As my work commitments changed I was able to attend Mass during the week on occasions. We continued to attend Mass at our normal parish for a while though because we were used to it.

However my new parish priest made the effort to meet me and even came to visit me to make us welcome! I was very impressed with this.

Evangelisation is often just about treating people as though they matter-with the love of Christ.

Daily Mass became very important to me-balm for my battered soul. Given a choice I could just sit there in the quiet church in front of the Tabernacle all day. But I had children and work commitments.LOL.

We began attending this church on Sunday's as well. We had to walk past it to go to my husband's church and as much as I liked it there, I began to feel a strong pull every time we had to walk past my church. I wanted to go to Mass more than I wanted to sit through a service.

Why can't women be priests?

I was a great supporter of the idea that women should be ordained. It was only fair, I thought. Women could be just as good at pastoral work, caring for others, and why did it need to be a man to offer the Sacraments?

When the argument hit the mainstream with the Anglican communion deciding to ordain women I was all for it. BUT I still really wanted to understand WHY women were not allowed to be ordained.

Unfortunately I did not see anyone from the Anglican side of things make a sensible and well thought out statement to explain the all male priesthood. Terms like 'persona Christie' were banded about, but without any background explanation.

We went to Greenbelt as always and the argument raged there too-but of course it was all pro-women's ordination.

In the book tent was what I thought would be the answer; Lavinia Byrne, apparently a Catholic had written a book called Women at the Altar.
This book goes into great detail about how there were women priests and even bishops in the early Church. Those of you who know history will know what a lot of nonsense this is - but I did not know much history at that point and although there were one or two moments when I thought things did not add up-I was hoping she was right, so I did not follow up too much.
So having spent the whole of her book explaining the reasons from a feminist construct that women should be ordained-and in fact had been ordained until the patriarchal power grabbing men got to cover it up-she put the document by John Paul II at the back of her book. It was there as an afterthought, as a proof text of how this authoritarian pope was laying down the law.

I read ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS at the back of this book.
The words that jumped out at me were " declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women..." (my bolding)
Here was the pope saying he simply did not have the authority to change Church teaching on this; he was constrained and was not able to simply do whatever he liked, or whatever others might like him to do.
I was shocked.
It wasn't the Church's fault women could not be ordained-it was God's!

I was not all that willing to give up being right yet. I had to find out more.


Philip Andrews said...

I am really beginning to feel frustrated - like an episode of Columbo that ends: "To be continued". I can't wait for your next post! ;-)

gemoftheocean said...

Keep it coming - I'm enthralled. And not only Columbo but the old Batman series et al. You know they'll work their way out of the cliffhanger somehow - but how?