November 08, 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that this is related to the womanpriests, but my question of the day: Did Mary know she was Immaculate? This came up in a discussion on humility. . .

9:39 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

I would say she experienced being Immaculate without knowing it.

God sent the angel Gabriel to her, calling her kecharitomene— a Greek expression meaning:
“all graced”…
“entirely graced”…
or “full of grace”.

That title cannot be reconciled with anyone stained by sin. “Immaculate” means “stainless”.

Upon hearing God’s messenger give her that title, Mary was troubled. As a Jewish person, Mary would have understood such a title as belonging to God alone. The Gospel does not indicate that she ever understood its import as regards herself.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Smith said...

It's a bit of a stretch to expect historical accuracy from feminist historians. These are the same people who revived the Pope Joan nonsense and cling to the notion of a world-wide organized goddess religion.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Thanks for the info- I have been curious about this.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

"Lies"? How about conjecture? Same as the side-splitter in the next blog "I would say she experienced being Immaculate without knowing it."

5:51 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Yes, what I wrote is conjecture.

What the RCW posted is lies, not conjecture. Lies.

The Book of Genesis begins with the words, "In the beginning". In that book, the first Woman has no name until after sin. She like the first Man was created Immaculate.

The Gospel of John also begins with the words, "In the beginning". In that Gospel, the mother of Jesus is never named. Jesus simply calls her "Woman" pure and simple. No sin. Immaculate.

7:36 AM  
Blogger onionboy said...

Fr. S, thank for this interesting post. I looked in at the site and found this Dan Brown style of claim about what is true and what is myth:

"MYTH: Roman Catholic women have not been ordained deacons or priests
in the modern era.
[Here the names of ten women and the place and date of their ordination is given]"

However, those who did the ordaining would, by my understanding, have effectively removed themselves from the Roman Catholic Church and so not only did the Roman Catholic Church not ordain these women but the ordinates and those doing the ordaining would no longer be in communion with Rome.

Right or wrong?

5:53 PM  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

I wrote my term paper for metaphysics this semester on the "Metaphysics of Holy Orders" providing a defense of the male-exclusive priesthood from metaphysics. I was looking at some of the "womenpriests" statements online to get some perspective on the matter. Really, they don't stand a chance against metaphysics. ;-)

I admit I couldn't stop laughing at the absolute and total absurdity of this statement I read at :

"We love our family, the Catholic Church. We fully accept the authority of the Pope. We respect his personal integrity as an outstanding spiritual leader. But we are convinced that the Pope and his advisors in Rome are making a serious mistake by dismissing women as priests. We feel obliged in conscience to make our carefully considered reasons known."

Once I stopped laughing I realized that perhaps I should have been weeping instead so I prayed for them.

Lord have mercy.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Years ago someone angrily told me that the Catholic Church ridiculously ordained only penises-- and that's all there is to the hierarchy's position.

While I disagree with the attitude of that argument, there is a grain of truth to it.

Women conceive life inside their bodies, and nurture (breastfeed) children from their bodies.

Men conceive life outside their bodies, and feed their children not with breastmilk from their bodies but with other living things, plants and animals that they have killed.

Women-- in harmony with the nature of their bodies-- hold the charism of nurturing life inside the Church, and spirtually feeding the life of the Church with the spiritual "milk" of their own praying souls.

Men-- in harmony with the nature of their bodies-- are the ones who are sent, "apostoloi", outside the Church to nurture life by preaching the Gospel. Furthermore, from "outside" the merely human aspect of the Church, men "obtain" the death (and resurrection) of the Son of God, and feed that food in the Eucharist to the children of the Church.

If the natural and supernatural charism of women to nurture life insided the Church is not respected, then the Church is malnourished, and men will never be empowered to carry out their own natural and supernatural charisms for the Church.

The natural and supernatural distinctions of male and female do not disrupt the life of the Church. Rather, they make it possible. Even in the merely natural world, the distinction between male and female makes the generation and nurture of life possible.

Women's ordination ideology disrespects, even hates, and then discounts what is natural. In that sense it is a Gnostic ideology and strangely also Calvinist. However, women's ordination ideologues will not honestly admit that this is the final sum of their self-blinding and nature-negating ideology.

Christ did not let his society hold him back in anything. In fact, he died because he defied his society. If he wanted women to be his apostles, he would have made women his apostles. He did not. The argument that it was not socially practical for him to do so is nonsense. When did Jesus EVER let society tell him what not to do? Never.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous tara said...

When the creator of our universe, God, intelligently created Himself in human form, Jesus, He created Himself in the form of a man.

Do women think this makes them less important? I would remind them that God also created Mary, without original sin, as the new ark of the covenant, to carry Himself. God sent an angel from Heaven to "ask" permission of a young girl to be the one to bring Himself to the world. Wow! God trusted Himself to a woman.

Our intelligent creator, makes the world to work in harmony, the wind the water, the earth all different, all have a differnt function, but they work in balance with the other.

Women want to be priests? Does the water want to be earth? Women priests upsets the balance that God created--who is their god?--themselves.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

This is a good post for me, someone who works with women who think it's terrible women can't be Catholic priests.

I never really quite know how to explain to them that 1) women weren't suddenly shoved aside by an egotistical patriarchy (nor was the Bible altered to "hide" women), 2) serve an equally important - albeit different - role than men, 3) I am not brainwashed into thinking I'm less than a man because I believe God is my Father and because I have no problems following the faith of the Church as led by male priests and the Pope.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Meyer said...

Good work, Father.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Labguy said...

First of all, the word "woman" has many meanings and tones. It can be and has been used to refer to a person of the female gender as inferior or as aggravating, as easily as it has been to refer to a woman as being without sin. In fact its usual meaning is not the one you put forth at all: It usually means someone of the female gender, period. It's a bit of a stretch to say that you know exactly what way it was being used.

Second, what you say may be true, but wouldn't it be nice if women WERE allowed to be Pope. It would be nice to see a little even-handedness about such things.

Third, I wish DilexitPrior would explain his/her words so that he/she does not sound entirely like a sexist who dismisses women as inferior.

Fourth, speculating on why Jesus supposedly did not have any apostles (I always thought of Mary Magdalene as one) is surely a loose conjecture.

Fifth, I think it is a gross misunderstanding to think that because someone is supposed to operate from "within" a system, they are not supposed to hold positions within it or help spread it. That is absolutely absurd, and I would like you to try to explain that to any CEO, PR representative, sales associate, therapist, social worker, or even priests themselves. Your logic is flawed and self-serving (or serving the already established position of the Church); it would be easier to simply explain that the Church wished power to be in the men's hands and considered women "unclean" because of their menstrual cycle and birthing -- which could not be more ridiculous to me, I might add (birth and women's cycles ought be considered sacred rather than unclean, and I should say we should be rather glad they exist and leave behind this anti-logic that so confused the Cathars).

I apologize to anyone this offends, clearly this blog is only to be read by current Catholics since that is who all the comments are from, but it is public and I was led to it from Blogger's front page and was quite unhappy with what I found. Have a good day and thank you for the opportunity to comment.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Am I the only one who finds it interesting that the biblical account of Man's fall is due to the woman being dissatisfied with her role?

This exercise in vanity really does need our prayers to save souls.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...


There is no need to apologize for offending anyone with your remarks. To apologize in that way implies you do not have a right to make your remarks. Conversely, I have the right to make my remarks, even if they are offensive. Parents who raise their children lovingly, responsibly and well must at times make remarks that their children will deem offensive. Reality doesn't work otherwise.

Actually Catholicism respects the bodily reality of women. The "opposite" opinion (Roman Catholic Women Priests) says bodily reality (distinct genders) matters nothing in terms of the priesthood. Catholicism values the natural difference and the role that this natural difference plays even in supernatural matters. After all, God made the difference.

I have been talking about "woman" as a human being of the female gender all along, so I honestly am not clear what is the point you are making there.

Your Second Point. Even-handedness? I am simply pointing out the claims of the the pertinent website are dishonest in openly contradicting the documented historical facts of that mosaic and what it represents.

DilexitPrior is a woman, and she does not believe women are inferior. Rather she believes that the women's ordination movement demeans women by demanding that women function in the same way that men do. She has a blog. You can visit it. She is studying the formal theology of the Church. She doesn't find herself demeaned by the Church, but authentically ennobled by it.

Your Fourth. I am answering the speculation offered by the other side-- their speculation that Jesus did not have a woman as one of the twelve apostles because socially it would not have been acceptable.

Your Fifth Point. I never said, as you write, that women in the "system" of the Church "are not supposed to hold positions within it or help spread it." My point is that there is a distinctively female way and distintively female means (roles or positions in the Church) by which females make it possible for the Church to spread.

This blog is to be read by anyone.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous tara said...


No!!! it would not be nice if women were allowed to be Pope.
The Holy Catholic Church has the Holy Spirit to lead it to ALL truth. Truth is the same yesterday, today, and tommorow. We don't change the truth just because in one cultural period of time some people think it would be nice to make a woman a Pope.

I live in Utah, and my neighbors are Mormons. Mormons used to believe that black people were not allowed to hold their priesthood positions, until they went to Heaven and became "delightsomely white." This was a "revelation" supposedly from God. Then, surprisingly, God, who is perfect and unchangeable, changed His mind--imagine, God, who knows all in each generation, saying oh, sorry, I was wrong, I guess we can let the black people hold the priesthood now.

The point I am trying to make is, that God knows what He is about. He gave the Holy Catholic Church All truth, it is unchangeable, men are priests--not women. Even though you may think it sounds nice that women should be priests--your not God.

Of course, you can protest God's truth and join the women who are invailidly ordaining themselves as priests--hmmm, God's truth or yours?

4:24 PM  
Blogger DimBulb said...

Hi Father,

Some time back, on one of my "minor blogs," I posted an article on the biblical arguements used by "womenpriests". Like the "arguements" from the painting they seemed to rely heavily on assumptions and ignorance.

Also, you could have pointed out that St Pascah is wearing priestly garments whereas, as far as I can tell, none of the women are; a rather telling point.

5:07 PM  
Blogger DimBulb said...

The Image of Pope Paschal holding the parish church in his hands reminds me of a stained glass window in St Joseph's Shrine on the grounds of my parish church. The window depicts our church building, named in honor of St Joseph, sitting in the bark (boat) of St Peter on a stormy sea with the hand of God hovering above it; an awesome image.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Miguel Garcia said...


I thought the same thing when I saw the picture of Pope Pascal - To me (from the small part I can see), it almost looks like he is wearing either a Stole or perhaps a Pallium (it looks like a big Pallium, like the ones Pope Benedict favors)

9:47 PM  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

Third, I wish DilexitPrior would explain his/her words so that he/she does not sound entirely like a sexist who dismisses women as inferior.

Fr.Stephanos, OSB, already responded before I even saw the comment:

DilexitPrior is a woman, and she does not believe women are inferior. Rather she believes that the women's ordination movement demeans women by demanding that women function in the same way that men do. She has a blog. You can visit it. She is studying the formal theology of the Church. She doesn't find herself demeaned by the Church, but authentically ennobled by it.

First of all, I'd like to affirm Fr. Stephanos' comment. I do not believe women are inferior and yes I believe that the women's ordination movement demeans women by placing the question of gender on the level of "functional equality" rather than affirming the profound complimentarity which exists between men and women. And yes, I feel that in and through the Church I have discovered the true beauty of my feminity. Rather than being oppressed by the Church I have found that the Catholic Church has led me to a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a woman.

I affirm, as a young educated Catholic women, that I fully agree that women should not be ordained to the priesthood. In fact, I recognize that the ordination of women through the Sacrament of Holy Orders is in fact impossible. I believe that Jesus Christ's masculinity was not merely accidental (such as having blue eyes or brown eyes) but rather intrinsic to who He is. He did not become Incarnate in the abstract but rather as a male human being. Therefore I believe that only men can be ordained priests since they act in the person of Christ (who is a male) in celebrating the sacraments. That's the condensed version of my understanding on the matter.

I am not a "sexist" nor do I believe women are inferior. I believe that women and men, as human persons created in the image and likeness of God, possess an equal and inherent dignity. I even believe that there is a place for feminism - a feminism that seeks to guard and protect this inherent dignity in those areas where it is threatened.

10:22 PM  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

Oh yeah, I got distracted, I think I was supposed to provide a definition of metaphysics for our confused commentator.

Metaphysics is "the study of being as being." It is the philosophy of the nature of being, existence and reality. That's a 'simple' definition that can actually be quite difficult to wrap your head around.

If you want to know more you can read Aristotle's Metaphysics. It's available online:

10:30 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Yes. Pope Paschal is wearing a yellow or gold chasuble for Mass (under which he would be wearing the stole). Over the chasuble he is wearing the pallium (the white bands) that signifies an archbishop.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Plus: none of the women in the mosaics is vested as deacon, none as a priest, none as a bishop, none as an archbishop, none as a pope.

The mosaic itself is telling the historical truth.

The website of Roman Catholic Women Priests is telling a lie about the mosaic.

I lived in Rome for three years, and visited this church and its mosaics several times.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous tara said...

The women ARE telling lies on their website. We all know that Satan is the father of all lies. We need to keep telling the truth, and "confront" Satan on his lies. God job Fr. Stephanos.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

One could also mention the fact that the Son of God, who is the LAMB of God, would absolutely have to be a male. In the temple sacrifices, God asked for an unblemished pure male lamb to sacrifice.

The Lamb of God had to be a male - and He was God's Only Son. What a Sacrifice!!!

8:01 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

To carry respect for biological nature down to the smallest detail:
only a male can represent chromosomatically the entire human race;
a male has both an X and a Y chromosome;
a female has an X and an X.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father, im so glad to have found your blog. Im in the RCIA process and will be recieving the sacrements this easter vigil. Its been a two year process. Our RCIA teacher has brought this up in class. She claims that there were woman priests long ago and if they were to "bring this back" she would definatly be interested. I was so confused, because I never hear of such a thing. She also has mentioned periodically about priest who were alowed to marry way back when.

My instinct has always been, not to agree with her. Some times this journey can get so confusing.

Again, thank you for clarifying this for me! God bless.

6:21 AM  
Blogger A Simple Sinner said...

I was going to write about this on my blog... but then I thought "Why bother?"

They are getting a whole lot more column inches and blog-time than they deserve.

NCR has been running this same story with a different set of would-be priestesses and a different similarly minded female clergywoman from liberal denominations for over two decades.

A few years ago the former first-lady of my state, Dagmar Celeste (ex-wife of two term Governer Dick C. in the 80s) went on an ordination cruise and now putzes around some strore-front and prot-church basement gatherings in the gay communitiy of the capital "doing her thing" for adoring GLB/divorcess/pro-abortion types with little notice but much fanfare - at least on the part of her groupies putting photos of of Mamma D in the GLBT papers and such...

They are just kidding themselves and succeed in building NOTHING. I work with a girl whose rock-n-roll star brother fancies himself an "orthodox priest" of the "Western rite Orthodox and Anglican Holy Catholic Church" or some such. By the end of the day, there are more words in the church name than members...

These people go nowhere, do nothing, build nothing, and leave nothing behind, except some other deluded souls who are busy patting themselves on the back for being "so progressive."

Big deal. A sucker is born every minute. A "womyn priest" is ordained every weekend somewhere.

I'd rather talk about all the great REAL ordinations of REAL Catholics going in in America

12:25 PM  

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