Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

Knitting, stitching, reading, gardening, cooking--I have no time for any of it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A rant

About "The DaVinci crap Code." Someone started a thread on one of the message boards I frequent, asking if we thought the Catholic Church had really suppressed "The Divine Feminine", as per Mr. Brown's allegations in TDVCC. Excuse me while I vomit.

I am really, really tired of all the neo-PC handwringing about how "organized religion" generally, and the Catholic church in particular, oppresses women. Now, as you all know, I'm not Catholic, I'm Orthodox. But since we don't have women priests either (nor do we allow women to be ordained at all), we are open to the same accusation, and I take the same affront at it. Quite frankly, I think it is ridiculous that so many people look at the one (ONE!) avenue that is not presently open to women in the church and fail to see all the myriad ways in which the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox church) respects, honors, and values women.

Hey, all you protestant churches with your female ministers, what about the Virgin Mary? Both the Orthodox and Catholic churches teach that Mary--a woman, mind you--is the most perfect human that ever lived, the one human being who perfectly did the will of God. Without her, and the generations that made her, and her obedience to God, Christ could not have become incarnate. It is not the case, as some of my Protestant friends have asserted, that God could have just picked another nice Jewish girl off the street. The Orthodox and Catholic traditions are alone in recognizing Mary's unique place in history. (I'm not going to get into Mary's sinlessness and the Immaculate Conception [referring to Mary's birth, not Jesus'] here. Suffice to say that the IC is a Catholic, not Orthodox, doctrine). Did you know that, liturgically speaking, the Orthodox church year begins with Mary's birth in September, and ends with her dormition (falling asleep) in August? Hmmm.

And how about female saints? You know, like the ones we recognize as "equal to the Apostles" because of how clear it was to all concerned that these women were chosen by God to be his messengers? Were they being "oppressed" because they weren't priests? What do you think they would say if we asked them? How many Protestant churches devote numerous Sundays during the year--several of them during Lent--to honoring the example and contributions of particular women? In particular, we celebrate St. Mary of Egypt during Lent, and the Myrrhbearing women (you know, the ones who stuck with Jesus when all the (male) disciples took to the hills. Those women.). And then there's Macrina the Younger (my name saint) who is known for many things, among which is the fact that she opened up a can of whup-ass on her brother (St. Gregory of Nyssa) when he started spouting heresy. (Well, you know--very genteel whup-ass. In a letter. But the principle is the same.)

Don't anybody dare tell me that my church oppresses me because it doesn't allow me to be a priest. To say this is to deeply misunderstand the role of a priest and the role of the laity in the church. The priest administers the sacraments and ministers to the laity, it is true. But he does this so that the laity can minister to the world. A priest serves the laity so that the laity can function as the body of Christ--feeding the hungry, protecting the fatherless and the widow, etc. It's called the priesthood of the believer, and every single Christian is called to that life. And in every church I've ever been to, the priesthood of the believer is carried out primarily by women. Our hands sort the donations of clothing; our hands cook the food; our hands do the messy work. If you are a woman, and if you are a Christian, you *are* a priest in the truly important sense. And I will note that most of the saints I have run across in my brief time as an Orthodox Christian are not priests--they are monastics (a vocation open equally to men and women) or (gasp!) lay people.

And don't whine about how you can't have a "leadership" role in the church. Hogwash. Being a leader isn't about standing in the front on Sunday. It's about seeing a need and making sure it gets filled. The last time I checked, that didn't require ordination.

Okay, rant off. I'll go back to blathering about knitting tomorrow.


  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Not me said…

    Here, here. Not all Catholics want women to be priests. I'm one Catholic that doesn't. I also don't want my priest to be married.

    As far as the DaVinci Code goes - I really liked it - I thought it was an entertaining piece of fiction. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • At 6:17 PM, Anonymous SilverDust said…

    Amen, sister! ;) Very well said Kirsten. Why is it that you can mention any other woman of the bible, but if you bring up Mary to many Protestants they go ballistic? I don't get it.

    I liked the book too, as Susan did. Plus it sparked my interest in looking into Opus Dei, etc...

    By the way, it's nice to "see" you.


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