Today’s post marks a full year that I have been running this series. I’ve enjoyed it, and will continue it for the foreseeable future. As for today’s post, the selection is heavily influenced by this post over at Elsepth’s blog. In the comments of that post a discussion emerged over why the priesthood was a vocation only for men (a Catholic approach), or otherwise universally stated, why women aren’t supposed to lead the church or preach. There are several passages from Scripture that touch on this. Here are two:
34 the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36 What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?
(1 Corinthians 14:34-36)
11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. 12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.
(1 Timothy 2: 11-15)
One matter that was disputed was whether female proclivity to self-deception is a factor in this. While I cannot be certain (it isn’t laid out clearly in scripture, and I am still unlearned enough to know what Tradition has to say), I do think it must be considered. St. Paul didn’t include mention of Eve’s deception for the heck of it. Given their proximity, a female weakness with regards to deception is a logical reason to separate women from that particular duty. Also, women think differently than men, and it stands to reason that this difference might be enough to render them unsuited for the role of leadership in the Church.
St. Paul also mentions this vulnerability to deception in his Second Letter to Timothy:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, 7 who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:1-7)
I should also mention that women, just as men, can fight and resist their sinful tendencies. But just because women can resist this proclivity, doesn’t meant that they will necessarily do so. God, in His wisdom, deigned to keep the priesthood male, and we should trust Him that He did so for good reason. And I would argue that we can learn from this fact, and draw wisdom from it ourselves, to understand more about men and women.
For those who disagree, and/or have a different view of the matter, feel free to voice you opinion in the comments. This blog could use a good debate at the moment.