Maundy Thursday – the imitation of Jesus’ act of service and submission is re-created. Controversy surrounds the “disciples” – must they be all men? Are women allowed? Who steps into Jesus’ role? Men, women, or both? Why, when it comes to imitating the act of humility and priestly service (rooted in our baptismal call), does a distinction of gender need to made at all?
As I progressed towards the intersection, I looked up to witness a grand procession of men dressed in white albs with stoles that often contained subtle hints of gold, worn in a manner to distinguish their role as priests and deacons. They moved slowly down the sidewalk entering the Cathedral to begin their celebration of the Chrism Mass – a celebration of priesthood and priestly service within the Diocese where all priests and deacons gather to celebrate and re-affirm their commitment to ministry and service to the Church. It is also during this Mass that the oils used in sacramental celebrations, used by each church, are blessed by the Bishop.
As I continued to watch, I could not help but search the processional line for those with a hair color other than gray. I wanted to see how many young priests were in that processional line. What I found was no surprise – an aging group of men with the sporadic appearance of younger priests. The numbers stood as a staunch reminder that we, as a Church, may be faced with a severe shortage of priests in the future. Something already known and planned for by the Diocese in its campaign to consolidate and close parishes.
Another sad observation was put on public display – the absolute absence of women. Continue reading “Do Man-Made Laws Trump the Authority of Jesus? Reflecting on the Meaning of Humility, Priestly Service, and the Issue of Women’s Ordination by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”