Priestesses Would Be Unfeminist?

February 2002

There are lots of good reasons why the Catholic Church has not and will never ordain women to the priesthood. There are also some screwy reasons floating around. One of the screwiest we've ever seen showed up in Envoy magazine (vol. 5.3) in the Q&A column by Brian Wilson, a priest who belongs to the Legionaries of Christ.

According to Fr. Wilson, "When Jesus looks at a woman, what He first sees is His Spouse -- His Church -- for whom He gave up His life." Wilson adds that Jesus "also sees His Spouse in every man, but not in so 'blatant' a way. A woman is a more perfect 'icon' of the Church.... A man is a better 'icon,' in this same sense, of Christ, the Priest...."

Wilson says that Christ "came to serve" and "He still wants to serve," and He does this through priests, for "the priesthood is essentially service...." Jesus, according to Wilson, still says to His Spouse, "Sit down at the table, and I will serve you." And so in the Church, claims Wilson, "everything happens in a way contrary to what has been the norm in human society, where typically the men sit down and the women serve."

Get it? If we had women priests, women would be serving, and that's not properly feminist. Wilson manages to stand with the Church and with feminism at the same time. Clever! But too clever by half.


You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.



New Oxford Notes: February 2002

Read our posting policy Add a comment
You are nit-picking here. To say that in the heart of Christ a male is a "better" icon of the Bridegroom role of Christ in no way lessens the absolute nature of the law that only a male can be a priest. What it does attempt to do is to show that God's will in this regard is not merely arbitrary.

Certainly both men and women (even the priest celebrant)are members of the Church, which is the Bride of Christ. But women, (and most perfectly Our Lady who is the archetype of the Church)iconographically better represent the bride (unless you accept gender neutral brides which God certainly does not). Similarly both men and women represent Christ in(for example) acts of kindness to those in need) but iconagraphically to portray a woman as a bridegroom is absurd. The sacraments are inherently icongraphic. Thus it makes perfect sense that by by Divine Law only a male can act in the Person of Christ at the altar.
Posted by: legatus-a-latere
April 06, 2007 03:54 PM EDT
Add a comment


©