Originally posted by Conrau K
Well, that just conflicts with how the church functions. It is a hierarchical organisation. The people who partipicate in the church do not exert any influence over the leadership of the church. The reason being is that it is the responsibility of that leadership to preserve the teachings inparted through tradition. Effectively it is irrelevant in the churc ...[text shortened]... /i] not practisedm and in the church what is to be believed is based on tradition, not election.
I understand that the church is hierarchical. I also understand about the role of tradition. The question is whether or not that tradition included reserving the hierarchy to men—or rather, whether there were good reasons for it do so at the time, and whether those reasons still hold—or whether their relevance was strictly historical. Again, of course, it is for Catholics to pose these questionsas they will—and many are—and to resolve them however.
It is not the fact that Jesus was male that is in question, or that the first apostles—at least according to the scriptural accounts—were all men. The question lies with the “whys” behind the facts. And that is not strictly a theological question. The question is not whether the early apostolic succession only included men, but why—and are the reasons still valid? (There must be some statements on this by the early fathers; suppose they reveal a simple and blatant sexism on the part of the men, in a genrally male-dominated society?) The church tradition is not something that was set in stone all at once, but that developed over time as questions were visited and revisited. It still is.
The question is not whether the church is hierarchical, but who determines the nature of the hierarchy, and—again—why. The hierarchy is all male. And it seems to me that you are using that as another “it.” “Its” decide nothing.
I am not arguing that the Roman Catholic Church, or any other, EDIT should ordain women. I would be very remiss if I did that as an outsider. But you know the question is not noncontroversial within the church, and you can’t escape the question
of repression simply by referring to “its,” such as the institution or the hierarchy or the tradition.
And I was reacting more to your statement about “gender roles.” Within or without the church (e.g., your example about women in the military). Again, if men reserve to themselves the right to determine what are appropriate gender roles, that is repression.
As for whether there were ever women apostles, I offer the following, just as a point for relevant discussion—
Junia, the Apostle
> NRS Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among [or within] the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
Junia is a woman. In the Greek, her name is Iounian
, and is feminine, accusative, singular in form.
The NIV translation says: “They are outstanding among the apostles” (as does the NAS). KJV says: “who are of note among the apostles.” NJB says: “Greetings to those outstanding apostles,...”
The text is clear: Junia is a woman apostle. An apostolos
is one sent to proclaim a message, in this case the gospel message. And, as an apostle, Junia is in the top ranks of the “ecclesial structure” as outlined by Paul—
> NRS 1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.
One could also argue that there is gospel precedent for a woman serving the “apostolic role”—in Mary Magdalen.