I thought I would take an issue from recent headlines to use for my Bible Study. The controversy that erupted over the inclusion of the ordination of women as a grave crime against the church, by the Vatican.
The issues being is there guidance in the Bible that excludes women from being ordained as a minister/priest?
I also have a question. Is the breaking of church doctrine, such as ordaining a women is for the Catholic church, a sin against God? I understand that if you break church doctrine you should expect to be expelled/excommunicated. However my basic understand of what constitutes a sin comes from the Ten Commandments. I am not clear on whether breaking church doctrine is in itself a sin.
a. From a July 16th article in the Christian Science Monitor.
“Vatican officials today said the attempt to ordain women in the Roman Catholic Church is not an equal crime to priestly pedophilia – even as critics point out that in practice, the ordination of women is dealt with more harshly inside the church than are charges of priests abusing children.
The Vatican clarification came on the heels of uproar in and out of the church after issuing new rules that made it easier to discipline priests. The rules lengthened the church’s statue of limitations on investigating victims from 10 to 20 years – and included women’s ordination among a list of grave crimes.”
“Leading Jesuits, such as the late Karl Rahner, once thought to be a candidate for pope, argued in the 1970s that women should be ordained, and pointed to the prominent position of females in the early church. He pointed out in his writings that the first person Jesus met after the resurrection was a woman.
Catholic theologian Karl Joseph Kuschel, a reformer at the University of Tubingen, argues that in the orthodox position that the pope represents, “the bottom line is that the priest acts as the person of Christ. Dating back to the church fathers, and before them the apostles and the person of Jesus, it was all ‘himselves’…. the position is not a sexist one, but a literalist one – Jesus was a man.”
b. From the General Decree of Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the delict attempted sacred ordination of a women:
“In order to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty given by the supreme authority of the Church (cf. can.30.Code of Canon Law) in the Ordinary Session of 19 December 2007, has decreed:
Without prejudice to the prescript of can.1378 of the Code of Canan Law, both the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, incur an excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
If, in fact, the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, or the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, is one of Christ’s faithful subject to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, that person, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1443 of the same Code, is to be punished with a major excommunication, the remission of which is also reserved to the Apostolic See (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches).
c. From my research on the Net I see that 1 Corinations 14:33-35, and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 are the most often used to support the argument that women can’t be ordained:
1 Corinthians 14:33 -35 (New International Version)
33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
1 Timothy 2:11-15 (New International Version)
11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
However we do now have women (Nuns) teaching church doctrine, and clearly women are no longer expected to give full submission to men.
I can understand that churches that rely on the literal interpretation of the words in the Bible would likely not ordain women. I can also see where more liberal churches see this exclusion as being base more on cultural bias, the culture that existed 2,000 years ago, not a purely Biblical one.
What is you opinion?