Loyalty to the Pope DAILY CATHOLIC for November 3
The Vicar of Christ Speaks
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vol, 8
no. 22

Gif Animation Photos of Holy Father used with permission of EWTN

INTRODUCTION: In this "Lay Person's Guide to the Pope's Encyclicals" we catch a synopsis of the Holy Father's wisdom adroitly capsulized by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas, Ph.D. In his Papal Letter "Mulieris Dignitatem", "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women", the Vicar of Christ reminds us of the Church's unyielding stance against ordaining women through the arguments of the Sacramental aspects, Traditional tenets, Christ's Will, Authoritative succession, and that the priesthood is not a right but a calling. Women, nor men for that matter, cannot demand something which they have no right to call theirs for the Church is not a democracy but rather totally obedient to the will of God, handed down through His one, true Church. But while he is emphatic that this is Christ's design he encourages more participation by women in the positive aspects of Church life. He reminds us of the importance of complementary roles of both sexes and that both need the other. He emphasizes through scriptural examples of the true role women should play, evident by the greatest of all human role models - the Blessed Virgin Mary. Rather than coming across in a chauvinistic manner, this document exudes the love and understanding of a supreme pontiff genuinely interested in the welfare and spiritual liability of all his flock. Dr. Bagiackas has made his holiness' words simple to understand and most meaningful in these times when there are so many who push for "equality" demanding their rights as women from a human point of view without considering God's point of view. The eminent prelate from New York John Cardinal O'Connor has said of Dr. Bagiackas' work: "These summations will draw the reader closer to knowing God and will encourage broader readership of the writings of this remarkable Pope." BELOW: the eleventh installment of Mulieris Dignitatem: VI. The Church as the Bride of Christ - The All Male Priesthood

The Vicar of Christ Speaks
A Lay Person's Guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Role of Women
by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas on the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem
To review, see INTRODUCTION
eleventh installment: VI. The Church as the Bride of Christ
The All Male Priesthood

   In the overall context of the discussion of Christ's masculine role as Bridegroom, it is now possible to understand why Christ appointed only males to be Apostles. "In the calling of only men as His Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner" (p.88). This means that He was not worried about the cultural attitude toward women when He established His policy of only having males as priests. Furthermore, "Since Christ, in instituting the Eucharist, linked it in such an explicit way to the priestly service of the Apostles, it is legitimate to conclude that He thereby wished to express the relationship between man and woman, between what is feminine and what is masculine. It is a relationship willed by God both in the mystery of creation and in the mystery of Redemption. It is the Eucharist that above all expresses the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegroom toward the Church the Bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental ministry of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts 'in persona Christi', is performed by a man (p. 89).

   If a woman were to consecrate the bread and wine, the effectiveness of the Eucharist would be obscured. In making this point, Pope John Paul II is confirming the teaching of Pope Paul VI on this matter in the Declaration Inter Insigniores of 1976.

   The Pope then makes some other points which are answers to questions about the all male priesthood. The Church must not be viewed as a democracy, or in another way that is against her nature. Being a priest is not like being elected to office. Neither does having women priests depend on the "vote" of Catholics. The ministerial priesthood is different from the general priesthood of all Catholics. But it is a service, not a power position. The Church has a hierarchical structure. Its leaders are not appointed by the people, but by other leaders under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But in the order of holiness, Mary, a woman, is first, not Peter or the Pope. Through the ages, many great women have arisen and given leadership in the Church in spite of society's discrimination against women.

Next week: The conclusion of Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Role of Women. To review the rest of this series, go to Archives beginning with the June 23, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 12.

November 3, 1997 volume 8, no. 22

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