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Why are women not allowed to become priests?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by ChirpChirp, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    Yeah!

    I remember the RC church I went to as a kid being dominated by women. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but there is something inherently unequal about seeing nine people distributing the Body and Blood and the only male is the priest, yet we're being taught that the man is the head of household :doh:
    Like I said before, women already run the parish.

    We have a winner! :thumbsup:

    As the survivor of the divorce wars of one's parents I came to the realization many years ago that a healthy male needs his father (luckily for my brother and I we took matters into our own hands and insured that we were with our father! ;)). One of my close friends on this base married a few months before boot camp at the tender age of nineteen. He and I were talking one day about families and came to the realization that as boys grow up they need their fathers more and more; the same thing with girls, but to a lesser extent. That being said, there is something to be said, in my opinion, about having a stable male to look to in times of spiritual trouble, such as one's priest.
    Personally, I think part of it is because when you go to your priest for confession or counseling or whathaveyou and you're an emotional wreck and spilling your guts to the Lord in front of this guy it would probably not help to have them enter your emotional wreck with you like women tend to do in similar situations (no offense ladies, just an observation after twenty-three years of being alive :))

    Probably the simplest reason I've read so far :thumbsup:


    It must be noted the effects of women ordination into the priesthood. Think of how many Lutherans and Anglicans have become Orthodox because of it. Consider also, the near complete lack of a demand for a female priesthood within the Orthodox Church, not from men, but from women. I think that in terms of East vs. West the fact that women have almost always been fairly equal to men in the East (note the differences in Orthodox wedding vs. Western European weddings in which the bride is handed from one male to another like property) may help explain for why women in the East typically don't have the same demand for a female priesthood as women in the West do.

    Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to setup my defenses before the rocks are thrown :p
     
  2. katherine2001

    katherine2001 Veteran

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    Name even one woman priest among the Jews in OT times. If there were women priests in the other ancient faiths, those were pagan faiths that God was not involved in.
     
  3. katherine2001

    katherine2001 Veteran

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    All children need fathers. Boys may need fathers a little more than girls, but girls need a father also. I heard a psychologist say that if a girl doesn't get attention from her father then she will get male attention in other places, usually not in good places either. Fathers are important whether its boys or girls. Fathers are important for both.
     
  4. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    Agreed and that came up in our conversation later, but in the context of this thread I wasn't sure if it was necessary.

    So, to shed a little light:
    The reason why I say "to a lesser extent" is 1) Ignorance. I'm not female and didn't grow up with sisters or close female friends, so I'm a bit ignorant on how females view fathers when growing up. Forgive me. 2) When girls are growing up into women there are, I would imagine, some things that they can learn only from their mothers just like there are some things males can learn only from our fathers.

    I don't disagree on the importance of present mothers and fathers when a kid is growing up into an adults (nor neglect the effects of not having both around), but when I was typing the last post it didn't seem necessary to go too much into detail lest I make a post too long :)
     
  5. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    You're right, but I think the references to technology, including tampons, misses the point and plays entirely into the hands of people seeking excuses to say that Tradition may now be abandoned, as technology has "solved the problem".
    So trying to tackle purely "practical reasons" is counterproductive and doesn't deal with the ontological mystery. I think it really comes down to "We don't know why God tells us to think of Him as our Father and not "our Mother", why Christ incarnated as a man" (or even why WE incarnated as male or female), and so on.
    The vital thing is humility and obedience. Being able to accept that we can't know everything, we can't be everything, we do NOT know better than the consensus of the Church... in short, we are not God. God, through His Church has said, and it is ours to accept or reject the Church, and consequently, Christ.
     
  6. RKO

    RKO Member

    +1,361
    Catholic
    I read the Lewis essay. My point remains that denying the priesthood to a person because of her gender is nomdifferent than denying it because of her shoesize. And since you are going to continue to imply that I am not worthy of your time and intellect, Rus, I may as well bail out of this discussion. But I found the Lewis essay to be "irrelevant and unessential." The argument against women priests always boils down to the same old tired lines. Either "God says so," or "That's the way they did it in the good old days." Honestly, I'm not terribly passionate about these issues. I think a male only priesthood limits the church, but as a member and not a pope or patriarch, I get to takemit or leave it as I find it. But if you ask me whether its the Holy Spirit or men who keep these things the way the are, you would have another opportunity to imply that I don't know what im talking about because we would most certainly disagree.
     
  7. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Very true, but we're also told that being a mother isn't a big deal a lot of the time.
     
  8. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Chirp, you should listen to the talk on men are priests and women are prophets, and they work together in harmony. They are not supposed to the exact same. We weren't made to be. Why do women need to be priests? For what purpose? I don't understand the outcry or feeling that women need to be doing that. They teach, they nurture, they take care of the children (along with the father, for which my priest has told me more than once is the most important job in the world - being a mother), and all the possible things you can do at your local parish. They do everything except handle the sacraments and lead the congregation in prayer and worship to God. Why do women need to do that? What is wrong with men doing this? Don't they need to be more nurturing and learn to be good, gentle souls with strong faith....sometimes, they need it more than women, don't you think?

    Anyway, I think it is the current culture we live in where we think women are supposed to do exactly the same thing as men, instead of realizing they compliment each other in their differences.
     
  9. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    :sigh: That does seem very strange. :eek:
     
  10. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    Misunderstandings.
    I do NOT mean "YOU" are "unworthy of my time...". I think certain DISCUSSIONS are unworthy of the time given to me because set attitudes prevent any fruitful result.

    We don't "deny priesthood to women because they are women". I would say to try listening to Fr Tom Hopko's series on bishops and the priesthood, like I am, but if you dismiss Lewis as irrelevant, I suspect you might do the same to Fr Tom. And it is THAT attitude that makes any conversation unfruitful. You see the priesthood as a gift of power, to be granted to "the favored" and withheld from "the downtrodden". As long as that is the case, you're not likely to hear us, not even the women who are supposedly "denied".
     
  11. AureateDawn

    AureateDawn Love & Peace

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    No, I didn't read the Lewis essay (I'm sorry; I plan to though!) but I have a question.

    Along the lines of this, why is the Church seemingly no longer allowed to currently alter or define itself? It has done so over the years, and things have changed and shifted and clarified over 2,000 years, so why not now? It seems to me that suddenly, 2,000 years is the magic number since life and the world have changed so rapidly in the past 100 or so years, and now it's only tradition from the past two millennia only that matter (perhaps out of fear due to such rapid changes in the world? -mere speculation here). Where is the life of the Church if things are suddenly set in stone and may no longer shift?
     
  12. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    The reason for this is the constant barrage you hear from a deficient modern western model where philosophy and metaphysics are censured.

    First, the canons of the Church asks women to refrain from Communion when their menstruating. Secondly it is a one factor that because priests in Orthodoxy can marry that there cannot be female priests. There is a hierarchial order established by Christ himself; that Christ is the head of the Church, the husband head of the wife and the woman head of her children. It is not the proper order for a woman to be a priest only to abandon the sacerdotal order because she becomes pregnant and has a child.

    An altar is a place where sacrifice is made, its also the place where the gifts are prepared for people to partake of. The older greek word for altar is estia, where sacrifices took place. In the OT fire would come down from heaven and consume the burnt sacrifice placed on the estia.

    The word estia also means hearthen furnace and oven, where women prepared to bake the bread in outdoor furnaces, still found in most villages in the old country. Women are the priests of the home, preparing the physical nourishment for their families. The hearthen ovens would be loaded with wood, and when the wood turned to ashes the oven was heated to its proper temperature to bake bread. As the ashes were swept to the side to place the dough in, they still glowed from the heat. This is the eternal flame. Hence why it is a type of altar

    The heirarchial order is for a man to provide the spiritual nourishment, consecrating the gifts at the estia found in the Church. Women are to provide the physical nourishment, preparing the things for her family to partake of in the estia of the home.
    Christ said you cannot serve two masters. You will love the one and hate the other. It is impossible to go against this divinely instituted order.

    Although I know anthropological theology of the andros & gunaika is something thats not supposed to exist, so i apologize that I just burst the bubble of the anglicans and other western stereotypes that think its simply the perpetual battle of the sexes and the perpetual 'war of the roses', and that men and women are equal in everything.
     
  13. ChirpChirp

    ChirpChirp Newbie

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    That's not what I meant at all. I meant that the travelling, entering into dangerous territory, dragging possible children after them would not have been suited to the women.
     
  14. ChirpChirp

    ChirpChirp Newbie

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    I'm sorry but the psychiatry reference is, for lack of a better term,ridiculous. S/he was probably referring to Freud's Oedipus complex. Which used to be quite popular among psychologists but is now being more and more discredited. I didn't see my dad for three years when I was growing up, I didn't seek "male attention in other places".
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  15. RKO

    RKO Member

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    Misunderstandings. Of course you do, Rus. It's your debate tactic. And you're still using it. You have decided that the Hopko wont change my mind. In your mind I'm either too thickmor too stubborn. Trust me, I debate for a living. You're right thatmour discussion of this is fruitless, but your reasonmis shallow and, prejudiced.
     
  16. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    Well, sorry you feel that way.
    But if your own reasoning is not shallow or prejudiced, you could come out and say how and why you think Lewis is wrong (which, as a debate and challenge to Orthodox teaching, would be more appropriate to move to St Justin's) and if I AM misjudging you, you could prove it by listening to Hopko (the first few episodes ought to be enough) and bringing further questions and that could b both enlightening and fruitful. I know it is for me.

    We have actually heard and judged your reasoning, so prejudice can hardly be laid as a charge at our feet. The reasons have been laid out. You, on the other hand, have shown no evidence that you have heard OUR reasoning (either any clear response to Lewis or pretty much anything anyone has said on the thread, returning to the idea that "anyone can do it, so why not?" with the implications of misogyny, control and power trips) so the charge COULD be fairly brought against your position.
     
  17. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    The Church has NEVER "been allowed to define itself" in the only sense you could possibly mean. Not at any time in It has always been a definite thing for a definite purpose, with a definite mission, and it could NEVER "decide to be one thing or another". It wasn't established by men to please humans. From the very beginning it has always been "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."

    Doctrine, AKA dogmas, AKA teaching, ARE "set in stone". They do not change. Dogma ARISES to establish what has ALWAYS been true, to combat heresies that arise, that is, falsehoods that could tear the Church apart (as Lewis noted in the essay nobody seems to want to acknowledge), but it never changes the essence of the Truth. You're mistaking development of practice and teaching. We HAD deaconesses, now we don't, for specific reasons - but it was never dogma that the Church HAD to therefore have priests. We've never had pews and women generally cover their hair and some western churches now do have pews and uncovered women (and I don't think these innovations are particularly good ideas) but again, they represent Church practice, not dogma.
     
  18. RKO

    RKO Member

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    First, I'm NOT challenging Orthodoxy. I am challenging the notion that women can not or should not be priests. there is another church that agrees with you on that.

    Second, I have yet to hear an argument that convinces me that women should NOT be priests, other than the standard "God says so" or "it's always been that way."
    Lewis had no serious argument against it other than to say the argument for women priests was "irrelevant" and "unessential." Those were his words, hence my use of the words in describing the argument against. Perhaps you missed that reference, it was a little too subtle. You will undoubtedly challenge that I misunderstood the article but I look forward to your having some reasoning that is not able to be categorized in one of the 2 ways above. And, should you use those arguments, you will have to prove that God himself DID say so, or that the fact that it has always been that way is a deal killer. I understand that Holy Orthodoxy is resistant to change, and I commend that. However, we aren't discussing whether they should be allowed in Orthodoxy ONLY, we are discussing why women can not be priests. It's a much larger question.

    And again, the argument should NOT be why SHOULD women be allowed, it should be why should they NOT be allowed.

    I have yet to hear any substantial argument against it.
     
  19. RKO

    RKO Member

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    here's what it is: I don't have a huge passion for this one way or the other. It's up to the church and to a lesser extent, its members. A church promises salvation, though and that's a big motivator to "get with the program."
    That stifles critical thought. It creates a situation where its followers use their intellect to apologize for it, claiming "God's Will" all the way.
    So the idea of simply working and studying in order to find a way to agree with something, rather than to examine it critically is wasteful of the human intellect. so I ask for a reason that really makes sense to say that women can never be priests. All i have gotten so far is apologetics. despite what some may think, I am NOT anti-Church, orthodox or otherwise. I think God exists and created us and gave us this intellect to ask questions. I don't think he ever expected us to ask questions everywhere, EXCEPT where men say "this is God's Will." It's not God that I distrust, it's man.
    And with that, I am out of this discussion.
     
  20. katherine2001

    katherine2001 Veteran

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    There is not a single woman priest, either Old or New Testament. God can do whatever He wants. If He'd wanted women priests, He could have gotten one in there whether the culture accepted it or not. He even pulled off a virgin birth for the Son of God to become incarnate. To be honest, I am only interested in the priesthood in Judaism of the OT and Christianity, since they are the only faiths that God established (the others worshiped/worship a false God). It is not the male priesthood that is of men but the idea of women priests which is of men. Anybody that thinks women should be priests or ministers are free to join one of the Protestant churches that does allow this.
     
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