Page 7, 4th March 1977

4th March 1977
Page 7
Page 7, 4th March 1977 — Women priests: rights and rules

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Locations: Surrey, Glasgow


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Women priests: rights and rules

No one fully knows the mind of Christ, but I think that it is a reasonable assumption that one reason he did not choose women to he apostles is that the position of women in society of his day (us indeed in some Eastern lands today) quite precluded them from taking so public a part as an apostle.

Our Lord used local language, customs and imagery to get his message across.

Without appearing to criticise the Episcopalian or Lutheran Churches, so far as the Catholic Church is concerned we could not accept that a married priestess could bring up a family and perform her priestly mission at the same time.

Anything can happen in these times, but I believe that at present. there are very few women in the Catholic Church who could see the Priesthood as their vocation.

B. M. Fuller Weston-super-Mare, Avon.

I believe that the Church has made an error of judgment in formally declaring its rejection of "The Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood," Any form of discrimination today is abhorrent, and I regret it on these grounds.

It has always puzzled me that all religious — whether priests, nuns or brothers = were not recognised as members of the Ministerial Priesthood, To me, they seemed the same kind of people — holy, and totally dedicated to Christ's Church different only in that the priest celebrated the Eucharist.

Today especially, it seems unreasonable, when there is a shortage of priestly vocations, to reject not only the women but to neglect the vast numbers of priests who have married but would like to exercise a ministry in the Church.

The Pope has been quoted as saying that he is confident that they (the women) "will continue to provide their incomparable and indispensable collaboration." I have my doubts. Rejection and collaboration rarely go hand in hand.

The battle against discrimination both in the religious and secular world has persisted for many years, and even a powerful thrust like the one lately received cannot deter not for long at any rate. I trust that organisations like St Joan's International Alliance, of which I am a member, will continue their policy of prayer and investigation.

Helen Stewart Kenley,


In my view, P. J. Robins makes a number of dramatic but vacuous statements in his letter of February 25.

I "Almost none of the Apostles would qualify for ordination today." How does he know? They qualified for Christ two thousand years ago, and that's what mattered.

"To shock us still further it also appears that some of the Twelve were even married at the time they were chosen". I don't see the point of the word "even". nor do I see why anyone should suffer shock, given that Christ knew well they were married and chose them all the same.

3 "The Founder of Christianity was not nearly as aware of the essentials of the priestly calling as are our more enlightened authorities today". This means that men are more aware of the essentials relating to the Christian priesthood than the First Priest, the High Priest. Jesus Christ, who happened to be God, 4 "What a good thing it is that these unfortunate and elementary mistakes of Christ have been corrected." Who does P. J. Robins think he is to accuse Christ of "unfortunate and elementary mistakes"?

5 "If this were not so (one shudders at the thought) we might still have the Church and the priesthood as he founded it". The only thought that makes me shudder is that views such as this should find serious treatment in the Catholic Herald. As far as I'm aware, we still have the Church and priesthood as founded, in their essentials, by Christ.

If this were not so then I have laboured under a strange illusion for many years. All this makes me wonder which church P. J. Robins really does belong to, since he obviously has little time for Christ. and which priesthood he believes in ... maybe his letter was just a joke after all.

(Fr) Frank McCullagh St Mary's Presbytery,

Glasgow Road, Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.

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