Monday, January 17, 2011

Why I Discarded My Ordination as a Woman in the Non-Denominational Church #Catholic

In light of the wonderful news from Saturday, where three Anglican bishops were ordained as Roman Catholic priests, there was the backdrop of two unhappy women staging a "protest" and demanding women to be ordained as priests. From the blog Mulier Fortis, she shares a collection of other articles and posts that reflected upon the event, and then added a photo from Facebook that showed two women holding up a banner that demands women to be ordained as priests.

A U.K. writer, Peter Stanford, shared his observations in his piece History Overturned as Anglican Bishops Are Ordained as Catholic Priests. There are a few points I disagree with, namely the old canard that the Catholic Church is somehow "anti-woman" and that this momentous occasion of Anglicans leaving for the Catholic Church is a negative thing.

From Stanford's article:
Instead, it was hard to avoid concluding that what this ceremony really signalled was an end to the search for the compromises that would reunite two distinctive churches, and its replacement by Rome's scheme to gather up so many Anglican converts that the Church of England simply withers on the vine. A takeover, not a merger.

When the Church of England decided to allow women and homosexuals to become priests, they were the one who ended any compromise that would reunite two distinctive churches. The Catholic Church has explained many times why it is impossible for women to be ordained as priests. But the Church of England didn't pay attention. So now they've reached a point of no return and some want to blame the Catholic Church over it? All these Anglicans who converted did was emphasize orthodox Christianity, not bending to the world's standards but upholding God's. As a famous person quipped, "If there is distance between you and God, guess who moved?"

Stanford also touches upon the debate about women being ordained:

It is the Vatican's negative attitude to women's ministry that formed the backdrop to the whole affair. The three recruits oppose the Church of England's plans to appoint female bishops and regard the Catholic priesthood as a safe, female-free haven.

I wrote a comment on Fr. Z's blog:

I'm coming with a different perspective regarding the ordination of women (And may just write my own post about it.). The ordination of women has become politicized as the feminist movement systematically infiltrated Protestant and non-denominational churches over the past 40 years. Since my return to the Catholic Church in 2008, I have continued to hear the same complaint: The Roman Catholic Church treats women as "second-class citizens." What amazing ignorance such accusations expose!

For one, we have our Blessed Mother, Mary -- Mother of God; who I may add, has been elevated and reverenced in the Church in a multitude of ways. If I could have a word with those women who are so unhappy with the Church, I'd ask them to please consider Our Lady, and dare them to follow her ways. She led her life in complete obedience to God and had humility, love, and compassion -- not to mention a boatload of wisdom. She has influenced everyone from popes and kings to small children. If what these women are seeking is recognition and influence, I can think of no better woman as a role model than the BVM.

And secondly, we have in the Church three women Doctors of the Faith (out of 33). And those women lived centuries before feminism reared its self-centered big head! St. Catherine of Sienna (1347-80), St. Teresa of Avila (1515-82), and St. Theresa of Lisieux (1873-97). Those saints are my role models, not Gloria Steinem.

I was ordained within my non-denominational church but over the years, I believe the Lord has shown me some (ugly) truths about the pursuit of power; and I realize we all know that this is what it's about. Power. However, what priest do you know who has that as his motivation to serve? None I can think of. To answer the call to the priesthood is to surrender to a life of sacrifice. It is a life of serving. Try explaining that to these thick-headed women. I suspect all one would receive is a blank stare.

When I think of my Catholic schooling, I think of the nuns. Granted, at the time they were being over-run by feminist ideology, but still, they were there. Some had surrendered themselves to the political tumult of the day but a few had not. Those women influenced me. I did not look upon them at the time as either "having power" or not. They were in my life and that was powerful enough. Too many women underestimate the influence they wield in the lives of others and those who continue to bang the drum for women's ordination are unfortunately blind to that fact.

They mistakenly believe that the only way a woman can make a difference is if she has a badge on her chest so everyone will notice. How wrong they are. Women make a difference every day within their parish by showing concern for someone in need, praying for them, making a meal. As Christians, we are all called to give to others, to show love and compassion, to pray, to speak kindly to one another, to love our neighbors as ourselves - all without looking for recognition. This is what exasperates me when I see women clamoring for ordination. Seeking praise from men and women will not satisfy. And whatever is achieved will never be enough because the pursuit of power is never-ending.

I'm going to use my own experiences as an example.

In 1995, I left my hometown of Cincinnati to attend a small ministry school in another state. I was part of the very first class of a brand new school, and we were all very excited. We had come to the school from all over the country and some, from other parts of the world. It was a small class, around twenty students who ranged in age from 21-55. We were drawn to the idea of pioneering a school for prophetic ministry and believed we'd make a difference someday as we ministered wherever God led.

As I entered the second year of the program, I was hired as the church secretary. I'll be honest. I wanted to do more than make copies of a newsletter and answer the phone. But I had been encouraged by many people to "trust in the Lord and wait upon Him." If He had other plans for me, He would allow them to bloom in His timing. It was during this time that I started to read about famous women evangelists and prophetesses, desiring to preach to large crowds. I admired women who had broken through "the stained glass ceiling" to finally be respected by the men for their leadership qualities and spiritual authority. I reasoned at the time that many women had traveled to distant parts of the world to plant churches because men weren't available, so why not me? Already there were seeds of discontent sown but I was oblivious. God, obviously, had His work cut out for Him.

At our church, we'd have famous prophets and prophetesses visit. They often gave "words of knowledge" to those at the service. I always hungered for these words, viewing it as confirmation that I was spiritually unique and that God had a special plan for me. Looking back now, I can see that I was yearning for the recognition of the world. I thought that if others saw me as having a certain sense of spiritual authority, I would finally be seen as someone worthy. I might even get to hang out with the "spiritual rock stars" in the prophetic world.

Was I in for a rude awakening.

To be continued...

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