Hello Fr. Bloom,
I really enjoyed your article (Women Priests?) and found it very thought-provoking. You raised a lot of points that I had not considered before. As a young woman in the process of discernment, I do in a way envy priests since they can, via consecration, the sacrament of reconcilation, and baptism help others achieve greatest unity with our Lord. But then, as you point out, women carry children, something men can never do. While priesthood strikes me as a very rewarding twenty four hour job that anyone would be lucky to be called to do (despite the low pay, as you say), the Lord must have His reasons for choosing only men and we need to respect that.
Women who are seriously drawn to ministry must then take the time to see what God has intended for them to do in carrying out His work. There are many other low paying, 24 hour a day jobs for women as nuns and many different orders. One is bound to find one that suits her. Even though a woman cannot reconcile man (should I say persons?) with God via the sacrament of reconciliation, she can still provide a great deal of comfort by ministering to the sick and counseling those estranged from God and preparing them for the scarament of reconcilation. I think if more people were aware of all these great opportunities for women in the church, they'd be less apt to cry "injustice" simply because for reasons unknown to us, God has chosen men for his principal (in the sense that it is the most public) work. Just because one doesn't see a nun on the altar saying mass doesn't mean that women do not have opportunities in the Catholic Church.
I really like the following quote:
Here we must be extremely careful of arguing that Jesus in choosing only men was limited by his culture. First, the Incarnation means that from all eternity He knew he would be born a first century Paletinian Jew. He chose that culture. But second, and this is most to the point, he often went against the norms of his culture. The Gospel is one of the great counter-cultural documents, not just for us twenty centuries later, but at the very time and place the words were spoken and written. Jesus had a lot of smart and zealous women disciples (some of them pretty good contributors to boot). However he selected only men for the Twelve on which he would found the new Israel, his Church. That choice cannot have been an accident that Jesus would have easily revised if he had forseen our American Republic and its civil rights laws.
That's true, God had to have known what cultural conditions He was sending Jesus into and there are certain things, the essence of the church, that transcend culture.
I like the KFC/McDonalds comparison. Food is one thing and can easily be substituted, but religion cannot and should not be given up so easily, simply because one does not like some of the church's standings. One should try to understand why things are so and then evaluate his/her faith.
Thank you for your time,
Papal Quotes re Women
Women and the Priesthood What Early Christian Writers Say
Vocations to Priesthood and Religious Life
From Karen: An argument for women priests and an American Catholic Church
Letter from Jennie
Letter from Donald