That's not quite what I said. First, I said long ago to GiC that an Orthodox Christian should not declare himself in favor of female priests (for reasons obvious below). This is quite important for us all to consider. Second, I said that I personally do not think the canonical Orthodox Church will have or should have female priests. The reasons I hold these two positions are as follows:
And as I submitted before, I again submit that it woule be no more inappropriate for me to support the Ordination of Women than for me to oppose the same. For logic dictates that in the absence of a proof, either positive or negative, the logically appropriate posistion is neutral, neither affirming nor denying the proposistion in the absence of a positive or negative proof. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Any affirmation or denial is a deviation from the logical posistion of neutrality.
1) My Bishop says so.
2) Many, many, many other Bishops, priests
This is merely their private opinion until it is proclaimed in an authorative synod.
and holy elders have said so.
Should I go into the other kooky things the 'holy elders' have said as well? I'd stick to arguing from the private opinions of bishops.
Really, these two reasons should be more than enough for any Orthodox Christian to refrain from calling for or supporting female priests, especially in public. Unless one has talked to one's Bishop and to one's Synod about the matter and received their blessing, one should never publicly argue for a complete novelty in liturgy, practice, morals or doctrine. To do otherwise is insubordinate, and it misrepresents Orthodoxy's historical and present-day consensus. Now, calling for or supporting discussion and examination of what, exactly, is the theological motivation behind the Church's practice is another matter.
It's not insubordinate unless there is an authoritive decree explicitly condemning it. The Episcopacy may be, when together in Synod, the authorative and ruling body of the Church, and as a whole honour is due to them on this account, but they are not Popes and their Private Opinions are not Infallible Decrees on Faith and Morals...nor even authorative apart from their synod. For as the 34th Apostolic Canons states:
'It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.'
Thus, it would be uncanonical for a bishop to pontificate such a doctrinal decree independent from his Synod. Furthermore, even the rulings of Synods, while authorative, are not infallible...as witnessed by the large number that have been overruled by later synods.
3) Scripture, the Fathers and the canons do not speak or approve of female priests (argument ex traditione), except when detailing the calumny of heretics and pagans.
Which, again, places us in a posistion of logical neutrality on the issue.
4) While the canons do not FORBID female priests, they also don't forbid standing on one's head and squawking like a chicken. The absence of a clear, Ecumenically-authored canonical prohibition does not give license for innovation.
What it does do is leave the decision to individual bishops, to do whatever they think is best on the matter with the consent of their synod.
5) Furthermore, the canons DO contain many requirements for the priesthood, all of which speak only of men. Thus, the canons do not tell us what would be the process, requirements or specific impediments for female ordinands (Would they have to be of an age even older than the deaconesses of yore? Would they have to be celibate like deaconesses?). In other words, we have no canonical, liturgical or historical method for determining which woman should be ordained or how the process should take place. While all this could be theoretically developed in a major Synod, the complete absence of such tradition shows the extremity of the innovation and the lack of historical precedent.
Of course these canons are pastoral in issue, dealing with the pastoral demands and requirements of a given culture, society, and time. They are applied where still appropriate and economia is used where they are not. For example, the Canons say none should be ordained a priest under 30, yet under the guidelines given out by Archbishop Iakovos, 21 was the minimum age. Do you really believe we enforce the canon that forbids anyone who has ever committed fornication after baptism from being ordained? The fact that these are pastoral canons and applied accordingly today should make the use of masculine pronouns (which is the norm for refering to both genders in Greek anyway) irrelevant. I propose using the same standards for men and women, with one simple statement the problem could be solved.
Thus, my argument is first and foremost argumentum ad verecundiam, which I consider valid within the context of the Church, because (a) I am deferring to the "the competent ecclesiastical authority," to wax canon law-like, (b) the aforementioned authority is charismatic and Apostolic and (c) I have willing submitted myself to the aforementioned authority. It is also an argumentum ex traditione, which I also consider quite valid in the context of the Church, especially when determining if one should SUPPORT this or that novelty (versus examine the theology that underpins established practice).
Ultimately we're all 'deferring to the "competent ecclesiastical authority"' since none of us can actually ordain anyone, male or female. What we can do is act in the role of a theologian, offering our arguments in favour of or in opposistion to the issue, so that if and when it does come before a synod to be decided, the issue will have been discussed, the opinion of the people can be weighed, and the opponents and proponents can present their case...thus allowing the Synod to make an informed decision. What you propose is that we treat the argument as though it has already been decided, looking not for the truth but for excuses to maintain the status quo
, which I will not do because I believe the status quo
to be wrong. Now, contrary to popular opinion, I am not infallible and may infact be incorrect on this issue, but until the Synod of the Great Church of Christ so rules it is within my rights to maintain and present this posistion; in the absence of such a ruling the faithful are not compelled by ecclesiastical law to take one posistion or the other.
Of course, on the flip side, if the Synod of the Great Church of Christ rules in favour of or allows the ordination of women, as the Synod under Patriarch Meletios of Most Blessed Memory did on the Calendar issue to the surprise of many, then it would be those who continue to oppose the Ordination of Women, and thus defy the Synod, who would be professing a faith contrary to that of the Orthodox and subject to canonical penalties.
Oh, and one last reason!
6) Because GiC supports it.
That's as good a reason as any other I've heard.