From our readers – December 22, 2016

| December 21, 2016 | 4 Comments

Male priesthood

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read some letters defending males-only priesthood. Comments about Jesus founding the Catholic Church and directing it to have men only as priests are ludicrous. Jesus was born a Jew, lived his life as a Jew and died a Jew. Some believers claim he performed miracles. If he founded the Catholic Church and directed it to ordain men only, he performed one of his greater miracles.

Donovan R. Johnson
St. Edward, Bloomington

Regarding a letter by Carol Larsen (“Rethinking women priests,” Nov. 24), I’d like to clear things up for you. In Exodus chapter 12, it states each family was to procure a male lamb, without blemish. Remember: male lamb without blemish — not female.  They were to slaughter the lamb, take the lamb’s blood and apply it to the door post and lintel so that the Angel of Death would pass by those doors marked with the blood of the lamb. Unblemished, male lamb. Not female.

Now a couple of thousand years later, Jesus Christ is born unblemished, of a woman: Mary, the Immaculate Conception (Jn 1:29-36). As he was preaching to his followers, John the Baptist saw Jesus and said, “There goes the Lamb of God,” speaking, of course, about Jesus. Remember now, he is a male lamb, not female.

Then, on the evening of the Last Supper (the night they were to celebrate the Passover meal), Jesus and his apostles, as I understand it, did not have any lamb to celebrate the Passover meal. So, Christ took the unleavened bread and changed it into his body and blood. Remember now, this is the unblemished lamb that they needed to celebrate the Passover meal. Christ said, “Take, eat, this is my body. This is the Lamb of God … .” Saying THIS MALE LAMB, not female.

Only a male priest can raise the host and say, “Take, eat, this is my body.” Every family was to procure a male lamb, not female. No female can say, “Take, drink, this is my blood.” Blood of the lamb was of the male lamb. Every priest represents Christ, the male lamb. In your letter you mentioned John Paul II not wanting to change. Agnus Dei goes back 2,000 years, way before Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II is relaying history, standing up to the truth, rather than misleading us into new lies or false history. I hope this clarifies it better for you.

William Petermeier
St. John the Baptist, Dayton

Obligation, not ‘responsibility’

I noted you used the word “responsibility” about how each person should respond to a holy day of obligation (“News Notes,” Dec. 8, Pg. 2). You had an opportunity to instruct your readers about holy days. One of the precepts of the Church is the “obligation” of all Catholics to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. Unless they are dispensed by their pastor or are (ill, care of infants, etc.), those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin (CCC 2177, 2180, 2192).

L. Mitera
Holy Family, St. Louis Park

Category: From Readers

  • Dominic Deus

    Regarding “The Male Priesthood” and the ordination of women, I offer this in support of Carol Larsen. I can’t claim to be clearing things up as William Petermeier does because what I am addressing is far less certain than defining the many uses of sheep or lambs. What follows is a brief summary of a long discussion I had with several others elsewhere in the Catholic Spirit. Previous comments had touched on the problems of an all male clergy, so you are jumping in to the middle of a thread:

    “I do not believe it is productive for any of us to judge the male priesthood as responsible for the all the faults of the Church. The Church, after all, is not composed of the Ordained, whether they be priest or Pope, but the Baptized, which is all of us! Most likely, most of what is wrong in the Church is a reflection of what is wrong in us–all of us. That said, I believe the proper question is “How should the Church respond to women who say ‘I have heard the call to Holy Orders.'” I would recommend *extreme* forbearance to the Church ( meaning all the Baptized) in judging these women to be wrong in faith, thought, action or mistaken in their call. Catholicism is a mystical faith and to claim that any of us, even a Pope, knows how the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, blows on another is presumptuous. A call to any vocation is a life experience and we were given life in the Spirit and free will see where the two take us. It may be wise for the Church to proceed slowly and not recognize the call of women to the priesthood for now but it is foolish to ex-communicate them. If one were to root up every unrecognized sprout in the garden of life, new flowers would never bloom. Better to simple let them grow and see what they become–perhaps nothing; perhaps a new kind of rose.”

  • Dominic Deus

    Brother or sister Mitera: Let us all be mindful of the great evil loose in the world before adjudge another of “grave” sin. Here is something you may find helpful: In ancient archery, missing the target entirely is named a “sin.” Its a useful construct for our frequent but hopefully minor failures in life. They are sins because we missed our moral target. The punishment is not damnation. The sin is its own punishment. We wasted an arrow and we only get so many of those in life. Our obligation is to try gain, taking more careful aim.

    • Charles C.

      Dear Dominic,

      If damnation is not the punishment for sin (grave, unrepented, sin) what is it the punishment for? Or do you believe that there is no damnation? Or, perhaps, that damnation is not punishment but something else?

      Oh, and what do you mean by “selling” redemption? It’s probably a metaphor for something as the Church doesn’t sell redemption, or even indulgences, anymore.

      With respect,

      • Dominic Deus

        Dear Charles,

        Happy Fourth Day of Christmas! I gave my wife (aka JoAnn of Arc) a pocket flask. She will need it. We have five grandchildren for five days.

        As usual, the prose that I thought was so clear was really not. Thank you for pointing that out.

        My comment on “the business of preaching damnation and selling redemption” and “first and foremost, judging others” was directed at the distortion of Christianity disturbingly common in gigantic praise churches, tele-evangelism, and “nonaffiliated”, Bible based, Old Testament preaching emphasizing righteousness, self-righteousness, judgement of others and, of course, sending a check to cover the costs of broadcasting and a high six figure income for the charismatic preacher. (That is the longest sentence I have written in some time.)

        That our Church no longer sells redemption or even indulgences is greatly to its credit and I repeat my apology for wording that even *suggested* otherwise.

        “Let us all be mindful of the great evil loose in the world before we adjudge another of “grave” sin,” was intended to advise that venial or lesser sins are probably best viewed as missing the mark in the moral conduct to which we should aspire. This contrasts with “grave, unrepentant sin” which I see as loose in the world and worthy of very harsh judgement indeed. The only reason I don’t say the word “damnation” myself is that it seems to be a judgment only God should make.

        As you have noted, I frequently need an editor and always benefit from honest critics. Thank you again.