Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More on "Spiritual Paternity"

Over at the Progressive Catholic Voice, a third reflection has been posted on Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski’s October 2008 comments accompanying the promulgation of the Vatican’s “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood.” This latest reflection is by theologian James Moudry.

Following is an excerpt:

This reflection deals with the reason why, according to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, priesthood is not open to women and to the issue of disqualification of homosexual men from priesthood.

. . . The assumptive starting point of the Cardinal’s descriptive imagery of the priesthood is that the subject in question is male. He speaks of spiritual paternity. With that in mind, there is applied quite appropriately a series of biblical and theological symbols and metaphors to describe this male person. They are powerful and enrich our understanding of the person in question who is male.

However, if the assumptive starting point were a female subject, a different set of biblical and theological symbols and metaphors could be mustered to describe her person.

But in point of fact neither paternity nor maleness or femaleness are the biblical or theological starting points for the priest. Rather it is ministry, the priest as minister of the Gospel for the sake of the community. And the Scriptures list descriptive symbols and metaphors to describe the ministry of that person which are or can be gender neutral. It is not clear why “paternity” should govern a discussion of the question.

To read James Moudry’s reflection in its entirety, click here.

Recommended Off-site Links:
“Spiritual Paternity”: Why Homosexual Men Cannot Be Ordained Catholic Priests
- Paula Ruddy (Progressive Catholic Voice, January 13, 2009).
Homosexual Priests and Spiritual Paternity
- Ed Kohler (Progressive Catholic Voice, January 26, 2009).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Homosexuality and the Priesthood
The Pope’s “Scandalous” Stance on Homosexuality
Vatican Stance on Gay Priests Signals Urgent Need for Renewal & Reform
“We Are All the Rock” - An Interview with Roman Catholic Womanpriest Judith McKloskey


PrickliestPear said...

Limiting the priesthood to heterosexual males may be preposterous, but on the bright side it is hastening the death of the priesthood (and the clericalism that comes with it). I say, let it die. We won't see meaningful reform in the Church until it does.

Terence said...

Following this series has led me back to reading the full 2008 document, which throws up several oddities. There are references to rejecting people with 'confused' sexual identities, or who have not properly dealt with 'psychological wounds'.

Do they are not see how their own disordered teaching on sexuality has contributed to this confusion and wounding?

There are also repeated references to the well known imagery of Christ as bridegroom. How is a heterosexual man to deal with this? Far easier for a gay man to relate to the image of marrying Christ!