May I seek the hospitality of your columns to comment on your front page item on the possibility (or impossibility) of women priests?
The Commission is to study the role of women in society. However the scope of feminine activity seems to have been decided well in advance: "... women do not need more than baptism and confirmation in order to play their full part in the life of the Church." You know, this does not only preclude Holy Orders—but seems to downgrade matrimony.
No policy statement from a Commission which seems to be under instructions to reach certain conclusions is likely to be very useful. It would seem that educated and well-trained women will have to continue to define their own contribution, offer this to the Church and face rejections — and not only in the matter of ordination.
There is a marked lack of interest in the Church to afford full recognition to the contribution women could make if their professional activity lies outside nursing and teaching.
Referring to the end of the news item. are there any theological (as against social) grounds of excluding women from ordination?
Finally, in considering Christ's attitude (in public) towards women we have to bear in mind the social climate of the time. Any social analysis of Judaic society at that time will reveal good reasons — but social reasons — for the apostles being an "all male"team.
However, several epistles of St. Paul (not usually regarded
a; a feminist!) show that, in the early Church, women held quite high office and carried out fully the requisite duties, The Christians treated their women colleagues in a more equitable manner than either the non-Christians of that time os the Catholic Church in modern times.
Olive Trewick 6 Rutland Road, Ansdell, Lytham St, Annes.
It would seem that Mrs. Barker (May 25) is so obsessed with the question of the equality of women that she has completely missed the point about Priestesses; and she almost goes as far as to accuse the Holy Father of prejudice!
There are, of course, many factors which weigh heavily against the ordination of women. The fact that Our Lord chose 12 men as His first Priests cannot be said to have been an oversight on His part. Priestesses were very much a la mode at that time— in the Pagan Temples.
In any case, feelings run so high against the ordination of women, that the majority of people read with considerable relief the Holy Father's welcome assurance that we are not going to have Priestesses imposed on us. The Catholic Church has a responsibility towards other Christian bodies, some of whom deplore the mention of Priestesses, and look to the Catholic Church to give a lead in taking a stand against the small but vocal pressure group, who, for reasons other than Christian, wish to u see women in our Sanctaries.
Mrs. Barker would do well to read carefully, and ponder on Fr. Thomas Murray's excellent article on page 4 of the last Catholic Herald. under the heading of "Twelve Priests Enough for the World"; it might help her to get things into proportion, and to understand the true nature of the Priesthood.
NI. F. Ramsey (Mrs.) I Highgate High Street. London. N,6.