Yesterday, as I have done for the last six years, I attended another ordination, an ordination that as the others has been two thousand years in the making. It was historic, it was Catholic; it was the new face of in persona Christi, the true ideal of Imago Dei. It was also a retrieval of our roots, of the other side of God. These ordinations make and bring God and Christ into integrated authentic wholeness and, therefore true holiness.
Yes, it was the ordination of two more women to the Catholic priesthood. This movement is real and has been going on now since 2003. The changing face of God and Christ is in women, their determination in their discernment as a ‘priestly’ people in living out the Gospel messages with which we are all too familiar and need to be ‘lived’ to make them real and felt in our Church.
I just read a comment in Commonweal that the hierarchy in the Vatican is/has become irrelevant. So much for infallibility! As women, how do we reconcile being cut out of where we are called and listening to our hearts in the name of a Christ who would not recognize the debates and issues that face the Church today, or may he would and perhaps this is all in how we move toward a new heaven and a new earth to wipe away all tears. Women are part of our Church, we always have been, but we now want the part of participation on an equal playing field theologically and philosophically that has been denied to us because to do otherwise is not Christlike or Godlike.
Women are part of the ever-expanding meaning of God and how grace acts in our lives. If God is incomprehensible in the Thomist sense, then who are BXVI and the rest of the male hierarchy to say we are wrong and do not understand. No, we get it!! They do not! That is the sadness in all of this. It makes me sad to see the clinging to a past that cannot be retrieved no matter how it is grasped and thrown in the faces of those who have been the faithful – clergy, religious and lay alike. We are all in this together and yet, we have a hierarchy that is squeezing so tight that they are strangling the very life out of our Church and she is crying for relief, for freedom, for justice in ways that should be understood and exhorted in every corner of our global ecclesia, but it is not because of fear and a myopic vision that is retrograde.
Adding women in prophetic disobedience will not ‘fix’ the Church, but in the crisis of faith, it can add another dimension where one is fed a new and different spiritual food that can satisfy and make for a healthier and more authentically transparent and universal ecclesia that takes our Imago Dei seriously and on a level of evenness that has been off kilter for far too long. The bar is raised here and there is no going back, no apologies for knowing in the heart that this is the right way to go because it is being led by a power of Spirit that is stronger and truer than any imbalanced male-exclusiveness that is passé and out-dated in its misogynistic attempts at silencing what cannot and no longer can be silenced because to do so cuts off one-third of the Trinity!!
Janice Poss is a Ph.D. student at Claremont Graduate University in Religion and Women’s Studies, holds MA.Th. from Loyola Marymount University and BA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, sits on the parish council at her church and whose interests are in theological, philosophical and spiritual aspects of religion as they are expressed aesthetically in the visual arts.