I must admit a certain level of astonishment at GiC's posts. As I recall during my terror, uh, excuse me, tenure at HCHC, I listened to GiC vociferously defend a diametrically opposed position. Although it is possible I could be misremembering as I did try to block much of my experience out. Is this true, GiC? Have you changed positions? Or am I remembering falsely? Now that I think about it, I do seem to recall occasions where you admitted in deepest secrecy your propensity to support women's ordination. But I also seem to recall occasions sitting in the lounge with a certain other student, who unabashedly opposed so much as the mere discussion of the issue, and you defending him. Or perhaps, seeing as this other person had a great affinity for Bishop Kallistos, he has changed his opinion, since Bishop Kallistos has at the very least, softened his.
Regardless, as keeping my mouth shut has never been one of my greater talents, I feel I have to put in my 2 drachma worth, so I must ask forgiveness for contributing so lately to the discussion, particularly if I repeat arguments already made..
Much of what GiC says is true, I believe. The Church has never taken a explicit hard and fast stand on the issue, and I do believe the issue merits and requires serious discussion. But we must also remember that the Church has taken a stand on the issue. If it isn't an explicit stand, it is surely an unambiguous implicit stand.
Two arguments sway me on this issue, although I must further admit to having no strong feelings on this particular issue. Being male and having absolutely NO desire for the priesthood (BLECH!!!) It doesn't impact me much. However, I do believe there are theological issues at stake here. Whether they are "compelling" or not is another debate. The first argument is Scripture which says that women should not have authority over a man. (1 Timothy 2:12) I admit this is not the strongest possible argument, since the biblical model of authority is one of servanthood, in which one precisely does not have authority "over", so one might argue that having authority "over" a man is not the model of priestly authority in the first place, so it doesn't apply to this argument. However, the claim in the same passage that Paul doesn't allow a woman to teach, seems more relevant. As for GiC's claim that this is merely the result of cultural circumstances in which women weren't granted equality, one should note that the very same passage does present a theological argument as to why women are to submit to men. As to the claim that women's inequality was prior to the Incarnation, after which all people should be equal, I would argue that rather than removing the condition according to which women should submit to men, the Incarnation added the condition that we are all supposed to submit to each other. This is called humility. So, far from making it the condition that we can all do whatever we want, e.g. become priests in we're a woman, Scripture reveals precisely that we are NOT equal, but are to regard everyone else as superior to ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) One of the main reasons I oppose women's ordination more because it usually arises from the view "I can do whatever I want. You're no better than I am," which I believe to be patently unChristian and contrary to biblical teaching.
The second argument that I find compelling is the "icon of Christ" argument, which was brought up by Sarah at the beginning of this discussion. GiC's response was, "Christ was a Jew too, does that mean only Jews can be priests?" As a matter of fact, I would argue, yes it does. Given the New Testament teaching on what it means to be a Jew, one could quite easily argue that all priests are, in fact, Jews. As the New Testament, and Church Teaching via other sources, makes clear, being Israel, i.e. a Jew, is not a function of genetics. Rather, it is a function of spirituality or faith. One is truly a Jew when one shares that faith of Abraham. One who rejects Christ, regardless of his ethnicity, is not a Jew. He is not a descendant of Israel. This is found in Romans: "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." It is also in Galatians, and even in Revelation (Revelation 2:9; 3:9 in reference to those who claim to be Jews but are not). Scripture and Church Teaching (for those who don't accept Scripture AS Church teaching) is clear on this issue. The Church is Israel, and that makes all its members Jews.
For better or worse, for reasons I can't fathom, God chose to reveal Himself through masculine images. Christ calls Him "Father", not mother. Christ Himself was born a man. Christ is the Groom and the Church is the Bride. Throughout Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, God, who is in Himself genderless, reveals Himself as Father. Cultural prejudice is not enough to dismiss this fact, in my opinion. Further, this cultural bias, according to Paul, has in itself theological significance. Centuries of practice cannot be dismissed merely as the result of cultural bias. The basis for this cultural bias needs to be examined in itself.
One last argument, if there are no compelling theological arguments prohibiting the ordination of women, what are the compelling theological arguments for it? There ought to be at least some compelling theological argument before one changes centuries of belief and practice in the Church that do have a theological basis, even if it isn't a "compelling" one.
Ok, that's my argument, for what it's worth. The issue merits and requires discussion if for no other reason so that we can be clear on what it is our Church teaches and believes. It is not enough to say, "Well, they did it in the past." We must have reasons for what we do and believe, especially if we're going to insist that others do and believe the same things, which we are, in this case.