There has been much talk recently of Pope Francis perhaps being the Pope who will allow women to become priests. The standard arguments against this idea, put forth by traditional Catholics for decades, can easily be dismissed by the proponents of this much disputed change. After all, those pushing this change have also had decades to develop their side of the debate.
Equality: Women should be allowed to minister and shepherd, as they do in other Christian denominations. The Church is holding women back and discriminating against them. (Not true – the Church considers the role of women to be different than that of men. )
Progress: The Church “must” update their “rules” according to modern culture. Christ was born into a time when women were not considered as equals, but we do, so the fact that He chose only men as Apostles, is irrelevant. (Not irrelevant – Of all cultures throughout history, God chose that time & place of His Incarnation, and did break many taboos considering women during His life on earth.)
Tradition – Shmadition: The Catechism of the Catholic Church can be changed as the Pope deems it so. (Not true. The Pope cannot make this change.)
And so the argument continues. May I offer another point of view?
God is omnipotent and all powerful. Can we truly wrap our heads around that? Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth as man in a place and time of God’s choosing. Yes, it was a patriarchal society. He, God, personally chose those 12 men to be apostles. Even Judas was called to his vital role in the redemption. Priests, religious brothers & nuns are also called to their vocation by God. God chooses them to their calling and they accept it of their own free will, sometimes after years of refusal. Not all people who attempt religious vocations take their final vows. For some, God has chosen a different path. But what kind of Catholics were these people before they entered religious life?
Did they go to Mass and confession regularly? Did they seek a deeper relationship with the God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? Did they serve their community through parish outreach? Did they participate in the liturgy as Eucharistic ministers or as ushers, or in the music ministry? They certainly must have a personal relationship with God if they choose to make their life’s work in service to Him. They accepted God’s plan for them. Once you really accept Christ’s death and resurrection and relinquish control of your life to your heavenly Father, your eyes are opened. If you give yourself to God, if you accept that all you have, and are, and ever will be is a gift from Him. You want to follow His Church, because He built it. You accept the Pope as your shepherd and accept the constraints the Church puts forth, through Faith in Him. You trust that God’s Will will be done. And you accept God’s plan for you. I don’t think any Catholic who puts their trust in God this fervently, is a lobbyist for drastic changes.
So the question remains…who is calling for female priests? Well, if we’ve eliminated those who trust in the teachings of the Church…then, what is left are those who…don’t. And those who don’t have that trust, are not invested in their faith. If you believe that the Church should bow to the culture, I challenge you to get more involved in your Faith. “Catholic” isn’t just a box where you mark the “x”, it’s a way of everyday life. As author and Catholic convert Karen Edmiston once put it, we should be viewing life through our Catholic goggles. It should shade everything. It’s going to Mass and going to confession regularly. It’s being active in the parish and giving of your time and talent. It’s participating in the liturgy and teaching Catholic education for youth or adults or teaching baptism classes or marriage prep classes. It’s making sandwiches for the truck that goes out daily to give food to the homeless or riding on that truck. It’s attending Bible study or the numerous faith-based seminars, where we can learn more about the Sacraments, the very Early Church & saints.
If you aren’t yearning to learn more about the Faith, your faith is stagnant. You should want to learn more about Catholicism. Fr. Robert Barron draws the correlation to a famous athlete: When he was young, Michael Jordan practiced basketball. He did drills, and he conditioned his mind and body for a high level of athleticism. He sacrificed other activities to play and to practice basketball. He was dedicated. We all know how that worked out for him. To become a better Catholic or a dedicated disciple of Christ, you must practice and strive to be better. When you give yourself to God and trust that He is really in charge, little by little, your eyes will be opened.