Phyllis Fox Plum
Women On The Altar?
The church structure is a building. It gathers the People of God together as the "Church." The Catholic Church was established by Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the Good Shepherd, the Savior. During His lifetime, He arranged to never leave us. How? By instituting the Holy Eucharist AND by sending His Holy Spirit to led, teach, comfort, guide, protect and empower us according to God's Plan and our needs.
Throughout history we have upheld Sacred Scripture, Church Tradition, and protect the liturgy from changes. Catholics honor the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist as the center of Faith. Holding the bread and wine at the Last Supper, Jesus focused on the Cross: This is my Body, this is my Blood, to be given up for you for the forgiveness of sins. It was the new and everlasting Covenant of Grace, "For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink" (John 6:55).
"Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins on Thee were laid;
By almighty love anointed,
Thou hast full atonement made;
All Thy people are forgiven,
Through the virtue of Thy blood;
Opened is the gate of heaven;
Peace is made 'twixt man and God.
Saviour, hail! enthroned in glory,
There forever to abide;
All the heavenly hosts adore Thee
Seated at Thy Father's side;
Worship, honour, power, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give."
(John Bakewell, 1721-1819)
Only the Apostles were present at the Last Supper at which time they were ordained by Christ as priests. Likewise, today only Catholic priests, ordained by a bishop, have the power to bring Jesus' Body and Blood into the bread and wine on the altar, "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22: 12-14). In God's design, only the Son of God (fully human and fully Divine), was sent as the Savior into time to take away the sins of Mankind. The question of whether women can become priests, is settled. God did not have an only begotten daughter.
Catholic dogma will always conflict with the ways of the "world" that favors preferences, free reign, and no limits. The observance of tolerance, inclusion, diversity and gender blending opens a door to inclinations instead of orthodoxy to the Will of God, i.e., fashioning women to become priests will clash with the Plan of God. A woman cannot represent a "son."
Beginning with Adam's role to groom the Garden and name the animals, with Eve alongside to be his spouse, his joy and support, so continues the foundation of our civilization according to our differences and attributes, but this model is rejected today. It was Abraham who became the Father of our Faith. Noah was called to build the Arc. Moses led the Israelites into their Promised Land. Our soldiers on the battle field enter combat like Christ fought at the Cross, shedding blood for Freedom. Effective within natural law and equally important are women supporting their men who groom the garden by the sweat of their brow (Genesis 3), feed the family, and bear the wounds of war, shedding blood. Mothers shed their blood giving birth, They are blessed with the privilege of bearing the Children of God with their husbands. The roles of men and women are different but equally indispensable.
Not one women, not even Jesus' Mother, attended the Last Supper to be ordained to concentrate the Eucharist or to forgive sins. "So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be to you; just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. if you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained'” (John 20: 20-23). Throughout history, ordained priests "embody" the presence of Jesus.
Scripture reveals how Jesus held women in high regard during His ministry. Furthermore, He would spare women of representatively being ridiculed, beaten, spit upon, stripped and scourged, carrying the heavy cross, and be crucified on Calvary Hill -- the Sacrifice of the Mass includes all this as the work of Salvation.
No greater attribute is given women than that in William Ross Wallace's poem, "For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." Let us teach our daughters the power they hold as women of God. Let mothers become beloved in their role, celebrated and honored. Are we doing that today? Let us teach our young the intricate parts of God's designs.
Any woman interested in Church ministries is welcomed, and given many choices as pastoral leaders, catechists, counselors, hospital/patient support, spiritual directors, canon lawyers, hospice-spiritual advocates, diocesan administrative directors in colleges and seminaries, and religious educators. Encyclicals are written to honor, uphold and protect women, i.e. "The Dignity of Women."
Holy Mother Church holds to Her dogmas, shuns movements, and avoids every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4: 14), deceptions, secularism, contentious trends, etc. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are led to a joyful faith into the mysteries of the God's Word, His Will and Way. We need the Eucharist (John 6: 63, 69). Let us beware of any confusion that causes turmoil, and separates the Church membership.
"Be good, and you will be lonesome" (Mark Twain, 1897). Our steadfast discernment and obedience can become wearisome. Be faithful. Our determinations can cause disagreements among friends, yet there are some Church traditions and principles that will not change. God's plan alone are perfect. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1"14).