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Featured Women Priests.

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by sparow, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. Jay Sea

    Jay Sea ................ Ke ĉiuj vivu

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    How do we know how God stands on any issue if not through what are works of man? How do we separate the wheat from the chaff since we rely on what has been transmitted by others as witnesses. Can we not judge by the content and spirit of what is said in good faith and correct or affirm as necessary.

    In Love
    Jay Sea
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 3:29 PM
  2. Jay Sea

    Jay Sea ................ Ke ĉiuj vivu

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  3. Jay Sea

    Jay Sea ................ Ke ĉiuj vivu

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    From my education in Catholic school we were taught that there were only two infallible statements and both were about Mary the mother of God. For example in the catholic news papers of the time of Vatican 2, some bishops stated that "Humane Vite." was not an infallible doctrine it was just another encyclical to be weight by examination by reading the views of the theologians etc. and act on as ones conscience dictated.
    God is in ones educated and prayerful heart

    In Love
    Jay Sea
     
  4. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Not necessarily. Consider the charge against the early church that they were cannibals because they ate flesh and drank blood; it was a wrong perception, and the church was right to persist in celebrating communion despite it. This seems similar. Some people think priests are something we are not ("extra holy" or whatever); that does not mean we should cease to get on with being the best priests we can be.

    Gosh, we have descriptive language to talk about our liturgies. How terrible. I might just as easily talk about "sung" vs. "said" services, but that doesn't mean I think sung is superior to said, either.

    You are placing a value judgement on those liturgies and saying one is better than another. I'm not.

    There can be an imbalance in particular situations. But if it created an imbalance in any priest-laity relationship, for example, it would mean I couldn't engage in marriage as an equal with my husband. Or have a personal friendship with any lay person. And I assure you that's just not the case.

    Look, any random person can assure another of forgiveness. But if someone wants formal confession, with someone who acts on behalf of the church in that process, that's what confession with the priest is for. It goes beyond the opinion of just anybody and is a statement in which the church places its confidence.

    Yes, it was a joke, but it was a joke with a grain of truth. If I share things with my friends, I have no assurance of their confidentiality and no recourse if they break it. If my priest breaks my confidentiality, they can be held accountable.

    Have you seen some of the things people claim "on the authority of Scripture"? Having been genuinely harmed by well-meaning but not very wise people and their statements before, I wouldn't trust just anyone's take, especially if I genuinely considered my salvation in peril.
     
  5. Fervent

    Fervent Active Member

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    There's a difference in perceiving wordly, mundane obligations of the church as distinct from sacred institutions that are the exclusive domain of the church. Restricting priests from secular, ordinary matters while giving them exclusive rights in sacred realms isn't anywhere near something as cut and dry as spiritually eating the flesh and blood of Christ is not the same as literally eating human flesh and blood, so your argument is a complete straw man. In one there is a hint of truth in the perception, in the other its a complete misunderstanding.


    No, designating services according to ordinances marks one as a standard. The services are "separate but equal."


    In your marital relationship I hope you're not acting as a priest. Anyone you serve as their priest there is a power imbalance, especially with regards to spiritual matters. Just as a college professor is always in an imbalanced relationship with their students whether they are in class or outside.


    If the church has a position on what forgiveness entails, why would it not put its confidence in a statement based on the criteria and not the individual pronouncing forgiveness? Unless the priest is the one mediating the absolution there is no need for a priest to be offering confession.


    Maybe not legal recourse, but there are ways to hold people accountable for breaking confidences without them having to hold an official position.


    Another straw man. I never said just anyone, but specified someone who is learned on Scripture because ultimately God has vested His authority in the Scriptures. It seems to me whether someone is forgiven of their sins isn't a complex topic, especially if they are repentant enough to confess them and placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Unless you are saying the priest becomes a judge, declaring them forgiven authoritatively rather than proceduraly. Are Anglican priests mediators of absolution, judges of the brethren?
     
  6. sparow

    sparow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It depends on what you see as the problem; men with that disposition should not be there and the whole church is at fault. A proper run church would not have false doctrine or false priests.
     
  7. sparow

    sparow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do not know any of those men; it is likely they would not know the body of Christ if they fell over it. They maybe introducing heresies into something else.
     
  8. Gregorikos

    Gregorikos Ordinary Mystic

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    You're being dishonest here. I say this because you and I have had many debates on this topic, and you know full well that I don't downplay doctrine and Scripture.
     
  9. sparow

    sparow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am not sure what you are getting at; Jesus is our teacher, not men; it is not our place to do God's work like separating wheat from chaff but we do have a responsibility to maintain the faith once given and people who do not fit need to be moved on.

    I believe Isaiah said "in the last days there will be many forms of righteousness (forms of Law)". God defines His righteousness. all other forms of righteousness are dirty rages.
     
  10. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    I see your argument as a complete straw man. You are arguing that we shouldn't have priests because priests are x (a separate class, extra holy, whatever), and the premise is simply not true.

    Not at all. As I pointed out, for most of Anglican history, the "standard" services were morning and evening prayer (or matins and evensong), none of which involved communion. It's only in the last 60 years or so that having communion every week in most parishes has become common.

    Only according to you, not according to the people who actually participate in them.

    My husband is in my congregation; I'm more his priest than anyone else is. That's pretty normal for clergy couples. But that's my point. There's a power imbalance in particular situations, pastoral conversations, that sort of thing; but that power imbalance does not carry over into every other situation. And power also has many dimensions. One can be a parish priest yet have people in the congregation who have other sorts of power, also in the parish. The parish priest is not always the most powerful person in the room, by default.

    That is exactly what happens. One is not forgiven because a priest says it; one is forgiven because the criteria for being confident of God's forgiveness are met. The priest is simply the person who is trusted to articulate that.

    You could make an argument that there's no need for private confession. Many people find it helpful, however, and given that, I think it is a good thing that it is very tightly controlled, given the potential for it to be mishandled in a profoundly damaging way.

    Not many that allow much confidence in the process.

    So the church then designates an appropriate person entrusted with this task. How is this a problem?
     
  11. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    That's not fair. God calls people into leadership in most cases. Most leaders are following a call on their lives. Many of them don't feel personally confident to carry it out and need to depend completely on God.
     
  12. Fervent

    Fervent Active Member

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    A straw man is a distorted form of an argument that is forwarded that is easily discarded. What distortions of your arguments have I made?



    When one service is defined by what it lacks, it marks the other off as a standard. When you say it is "non-x" you are making x the default, marking the other as deficient. And frequency has nothing to do with sacredness, in fact reserving things to special occasions marks them off as more sacred. The distinction in the OT was common vs holy, and that distinction remains in the perception of many.


    Then why is one defined in terms of the other?


    Another strawman, I never said the priest was the most powerful. There is an inherent unequalness in every spiritual relationship between priest and parishoner, other forms of power dynamics don't negate inherent authority and unequal relationships.


    Except when such confessions and pronouncements are reserved to a person it is not about criteria, it is placing the priest either as mediator of the forgiveness or worse yet judge.


    Except formal private confession is a part of Anglican theology, reserved exclusively as the domain of the priest. In such an institution, reserving it to the priest, the question becomes on what basis the pronouncement made. Is it because the priest is allowed to judge the confessing, or because the priest acts as mediator between those confessing and God? I'm asking you to articulate the basis, yet you keep retreating to trying to discard confession as if it doesn't exist. If it is criteria-based, why wouldn't it be more appropriate for the criteria to be made clear and leave it to those confessing to judge for themselves whether they meet those criteria?


    Risk is a part of any genuine relationship. Usually in such situations there's a mutual assurance because each is the others confessor.


    There are all sorts of problems to it. The power of unilateral secret keeping, the theological issues regarding what role the priest plays in the confessional act as mediator or judge, etc.

    Certainly from the sounds of it the institution is less problematic than in something like the Catholic or Orthodox church, and even some other protestant sects, but it still appears to me to be upside down to the Biblical position of elder/overseer from my studies appears as a secular administrator with teaching being a partial responsibility through being dedicated to study since the exclusive privileges are holy rites.

    It's not as simple as tasks being reserved to those who have been trained to carry them out properly, since overseeing the Eucharist could be taught to anyone and if it were about that specific task the reservation would be to a task-specific training. Instead it is to those who the church has decided are of the appropriate holiness to allow them to be ordained in dedication to church service.
     
  13. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    That's not the right definition of a straw man. Try again.
     
  14. Fervent

    Fervent Active Member

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    Yeah, it is. As can be seen here:

    Straw Man Fallacy - Excelsior College OWL
    A straw man fallacy occurs when someone takes another person’s argument or point, distorts it or exaggerates it in some kind of extreme way, and then attacks the extreme distortion, as if that is really the claim the first person is making.

    What do you think a straw man is?
     
  15. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    I would say you're attacking a distorted version of ordained ministry. You are claiming that ministry is something that it's not.

    But those services are not defined by what they lack. They can be contrasted with other forms of service in that way, but what makes morning prayer (for example) morning prayer is not that it is not a Eucharist, but that it has the requisite contents to be morning prayer.

    It isn't.

    In confession I function as neither mediator nor judge.

    No, it is neither of those things. The pronouncement is made based on the church's confidence that sincere repentance is always met with God's forgiveness.

    This may not be something you personally have experienced, but many people find it helpful to hear such assurance from others.

    Sure. But we need to minimise the risks involved in people's vulnerability as a part of our care. Again, putting proper accountability in place - such as having someone exercise this ministry within the boundaries the church sets out - is important for everyone's psychological and spiritual safety.

    Do you have that problem with doctors, or counsellors, or any other relationship of professional confidentiality? If it's not wrong that my doctor keeps my medical consultations confidential (and I am not privy to hers), then why is it wrong that someone's spiritual consultations (as it were) be confidential?

    Setting aside that, again, you seem to me to be completely misunderstanding confession, these issues do not seem to be an issue for the people who actually avail themselves of confession. Given that it is entirely voluntary, is it really something you need to worry about, if you don't make use of it?

    From what I've seen, I'd agree. I chose carefully and was very sensitive to issues of power and control, and the tendency to become abusive.

    We have very little concrete information on the day-to-day work and lives of Biblical elders. I would argue that priesthood as it exists today, although it has inevitably developed over the millennia, is a legitimate expression of early church eldership.

    I would say you're attacking a distorted version of ordained ministry. You are claiming that ministry is something that it's not.

    But those services are not defined by what they lack. They can be contrasted with other forms of service in that way, but what makes morning prayer (for example) morning prayer is not that it is not a Eucharist, but that it has the requisite contents to be morning prayer.

    It isn't.

    In confession I function as neither mediator nor judge.

    No, it is neither of those things. The pronouncement is made based on the church's confidence that sincere repentance is always met with God's forgiveness.

    This may not be something you personally have experienced, but many people find it helpful to hear such assurance from others.

    Sure. But we need to minimise the risks involved in people's vulnerability as a part of our care. Again, putting proper accountability in place - such as having someone exercise this ministry within the boundaries the church sets out - is important for everyone's psychological and spiritual safety.

    Do you have that problem with doctors, or counsellors, or any other relationship of professional confidentiality? If it's not wrong that my doctor keeps my medical consultations confidential (and I am not privy to hers), then why is it wrong that someone's spiritual consultations (as it were) be confidential?

    Setting aside that, again, you seem to me to be completely misunderstanding confession, these issues do not seem to be an issue for the people who actually avail themselves of confession. Given that it is entirely voluntary, is it really something you need to worry about, if you don't make use of it?

    From what I've seen, I'd agree. I chose carefully and was very sensitive to issues of power and control, and the tendency to become abusive.

    No. Again this is incorrect. It is not about "appropriate holiness." Assessing whether one should be ordained is about vocation; is God calling this person to this role? That is the key question, not where they are on some sort of imagined holiness scale.
     
  16. Fervent

    Fervent Active Member

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    I'm attacking the institution of priesthood where sacraments of the church are operated at the discretion of a professional clergy. Now, in some sense it's clear many of the criticisms I'm levying do not seem to apply in your setting but the institutional aspects remain.



    You're the one who divided them into non-Eucharistic and Eucharistic. While there may be variance within those two classes giving each service its own definition, separating them out in such a manner marks one as the standard and defines the other in terms of that standard.



    So then what is the exclusivity? If it's a matter of church policy, how does anyone who knows that policy not have equal authority to make the declaration?



    Does the priest declare the confessing absolved? If so, how are they not either judging the sincerity of the repentance or mediating access to the treasures of absolution?



    No, it's quite helpful to get reassurance from others at times. But I don't see that reassurance aided by adhering to an exclusive privilege.



    I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but this sounds like you're saying these people are not capable of making decisions about who they make themselves vulnerable to on their own through confession. If anything, a professional confessor invites a sort of cordiality may increase the risk of abuse because natural defenses are lowered on account of office and church screening hasn't historically been the greatest, as can be seen with the abuse scandals.


    I'm not considered my doctors medical equal, the relationship between my doctor and I is inherently one of inequality with provider and recipient of provision. I am purely in her medical care, but spiritually all Christians are to be in each others care not one presiding over another.



    It's not that I misunderstand confession, it's that there is a mixed message placing confession in the hands of a single person with the authority of the church to forgive while also claiming that it is an unbiased standard and not the prerogative of the one hearing confession to absolve.



    I'm struggling to find an order that I can feel comfortable in, so I commend you for finding one.


    No, but from the standards of elders laid out in the Pastorals and Paul's address to the Ephesian elders the qualifications lend themselves to adminstrative duties rather than spiritual care. Teaching is mentioned in Acts 6-7 so it's safe to understand that there is educational duties in the eldership but what is mentioned of religious services lends to a far more chaotic assembly than the orderly preaching sessions we see in modern churches.


    This seems to be a duplicate so the only thing I want to address is the first charge again, in repeating that I don't mean to attack ordained ministry but exclusive access to sacred ordinances. Ordination is a necessary function of the church, and to some degree institutional churches are a necessary expression of faith. Yet I cannot help but feel reservations with a professional clergy overseeing liturgical matters, especially not with aspects of the liturgy that are of a higher order reserved to a single group. Within the church there are, in reality, two sacred ordinances in baptism and communion that have an air of sacredness that other church actions simply do not convey.
     
  17. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    That is not, in the slightest, how I understand how sacraments are "operated." It is the community who gathers to celebrate the sacraments, and the priest is the community's servant in that regard.

    You are reading far more into my description than I either intended or meant. You are deciding that one is the "standard," and then attacking that position, but it is not a position the church actually holds.

    The church authorises particular people to operate that ministry on its behalf in a formal capacity. (In fact, in certain circumstances - such as confessions involving child abuse - it does not even authorise most priests to do so, but reserves that to a small number of people with particular accountability).

    The priest pronounces God's forgiveness. It is not the priest's place to judge sincerity, nor is forgiveness unavailable without such personal assurance, so the priest then neither providing access nor judging.

    Not at all. Let's be clear here; if you want to confess to your friend, or an accountability partner, or any other random person, as an Anglican, you are free to do so. If you want to confess in a way which is specifically auspiced by the church, that is also available. There is no coercion about it in any direction.

    So, what? We should just let all the self-appointed saviours, loose cannons and pastoral cowboys provide whatever pastoral care in the name of the church? No thanks.

    I don't think the depth of pastoral care some people need can be adequately provided in a situation without proper boundaries. It's not appropriate for me to mix my "stuff" up with theirs.

    Have you ever experienced confession, from either side? Because having experienced it from both sides, I do not find such confusion at all.

    I would agree that the one-person-show model of services is not healthy. Participatory liturgy is a much better model. But no matter what the model, someone is required to lead. As someone pointed out to me recently, even Quakers have someone who indicates the beginning of their times of gathered silence.

    That said, it seems that Paul in particular was keen to urge order rather than chaos in the gatherings for worship. Chaos serves nobody.

    And yet baptism is something anyone may do. Baptism and communion are the two sacraments of the church, but we ought not to make the mistake of clericalising them. They belong primarily to the congregation, not the clergy.
     
  18. Fervent

    Fervent Active Member

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    At this point we've hashed and re-hashed a lot of the same territory so many times that it's clear neither of us is going to budge in our positions. I've appreciated the discourse and have learned a lot through it, so thank you for that.

    I will say some things you've enlightened me on, it seems to me that in Anglicanism, confession really is a non-issue and appears to be done in a healthy and respectful manner. From what I've gathered from our discussion I appreciate you as a minister and detect a sincere heart for both those you serve and delicate issues. You're a testament to why if we are to have priests, having female priests is a benefit to the church in ways that excluding them would not be.

    I truly appreciated the exchange and look forward to discussing other topics with you.
     
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  19. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Much appreciated. And it's good to be forced to think through these issues and be clear on them in our own minds!
     
  20. Fervent

    Fervent Active Member

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    It really is, and I can say for my part I don't think you're necessarily wrong in your perspective I simply have reservations you don't seem to which is why I didn't say "agree to disagree." It truly was a pleasant exchange on my end, I hope it was for you as well.
     
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