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Thread: Can a hermaphrodite be ordained into the priesthood?

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    Politics.ie Member Andrew49's Avatar
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    Exclamation Can a hermaphrodite be ordained into the priesthood?

    Santa Clara University theology professor says Church had long history of ordaining women that ended because of “virulent misogyny”. Gary Macy, a professor of theology at Jesuit-run Santa Clara University, told attendees at a Monday night lecture at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, there is little room for historical doubt that women were ordained in the Catholic Church until about the end of the 12th century.

    According to Macy, until about the mid-12th century, women were ordained as deaconesses, served as bishops, distributed Communion and even heard confessions. “Women were considered to be as ordained as any man… they were considered clergy,” he said.

    By the middle of the 12th century a profound change occurred in the Church’s understanding of the concept of ordination, largely as a consequence of political considerations as the Church sought to protect its property from feudal lords by inventing “a separate clerical class.” Theologians came to view women as “metaphysically different from other people,” so that, by the mere fact of being female, women were considered incapable of being ordained. Canonists adopted the position, “Women were never ordained, are not ordained now, and can never be ordained,” said Macy. ..... he change in Church thinking on women’s ordination poses a dilemma for theologians, said Macy, because, if the ordinations of women during the first 1200 years of the Church were “not real,” then “the men weren’t ordained either.” .... He said the shift in thinking on the question occurred as the consequence of a “virulent misogyny” influenced by Aristotle, who held that “all women are mistakes.”

    California Catholic Daily

    The borderline case of hermaphrodites:
    “As to a hermaphrodite, if he has a beard and always wants to engage in manly activities and not in those of women, and if he always seeks the company of men and not of women, it is a sign that the masculine sex predominates in him and then he can be a witness where a woman is not allowed, namely with regard to a last will and testament, and he also can be ordained a priest. If he however lacks a beard and always wants to be with women and be involved in feminine works, the judgment is that the feminine sex predominates in him and then he should not be admitted to giving any witness wherever women are not admitted, namely at a last will and testament, neither can he be ordained then because a woman cannot receive holy orders. ” - On Causa 27, quaestio 1, chapter 23, ad v. Women Priests

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    I'm not so sure that Aristotle said that all women are mistakes, to the best of my knowledge (and I stand open to correction) he said that women were malformed men. However, in fairness to him, he was trying to explain things based on his observations and very limited biology. And no, I don't think that he would in general have had a positive view of women.

    Aquinas, however, who was primarily responsible for synthesizing Aristotle into Christianity, did assert that the souls of women were equal to that of men, and that after this life that men and women would stand before God as equals.

    From the (early) Christian point of view women were inferior to men as a consequence of original sin. (Read Geneses) In the kingdom of God the original and innocent condition of humanity would be restored and the sexes would be equal again.

    As to the hermaphrodite claim, I don't know, but I would guess not.

    By the way the Catholic Church will not ordain physically handicapped people either. One must be a celibate, baptized male, but one must also be whole in body, to be considered for ordination.
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson (yeah, I'm aware of the irony)

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    I have just checked with a friend of mine who is a priest and he said no, they cannot be ordained. Ruled out by the whole-man thing refereed to above.
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson (yeah, I'm aware of the irony)

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    women were not ordained pre 1200 . just sayin dont make it so .

    and no , there was no Pope Joan

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    Politics.ie Member Andrew49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    women were not ordained pre 1200 . just sayin dont make it so .

    and no , there was no Pope Joan
    The original study on women deacons, requested by Pope Paul VI, was suppressed. While that document remains unpublished, an article published in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974 by then-commission member Cipriano Vagaggini concluded that the ordination of women deacons in the early church was sacramental. What the church had done in the past, he suggested, the church may do again. Other scholars, before and after Vagaggini, have reached similar conclusions, but the current document only refers to the debate and strenuously avoids concluding that women ever received the sacrament of holy orders.

    What is unfortunately clear is that the new document is both carefully nuanced and fundamentally flawed by a need to prove its unstated point: that women never were ordained and never can be ordained. The study omits a large body of historical-theological evidence that women were sacramentally ordained. It also tries to argue that the diaconate’s participation in the sacrament of holy orders eliminates women, latching on to language that implies that the deacon, like the priest, is so configured to Christ that women are eliminated.

    Catholic Women Deacons

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew49 View Post
    The original study on women deacons, requested by Pope Paul VI, was suppressed. While that document remains unpublished, an article published in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974 by then-commission member Cipriano Vagaggini concluded that the ordination of women deacons in the early church was sacramental. What the church had done in the past, he suggested, the church may do again. Other scholars, before and after Vagaggini, have reached similar conclusions, but the current document only refers to the debate and strenuously avoids concluding that women ever received the sacrament of holy orders.

    What is unfortunately clear is that the new document is both carefully nuanced and fundamentally flawed by a need to prove its unstated point: that women never were ordained and never can be ordained. The study omits a large body of historical-theological evidence that women were sacramentally ordained. It also tries to argue that the diaconate’s participation in the sacrament of holy orders eliminates women, latching on to language that implies that the deacon, like the priest, is so configured to Christ that women are eliminated.

    Catholic Women Deacons
    Re the original document being unpublished .... presumably that's hidden/locked away somewhere in the Vatican then? .... a trawl of the Vatican Website re Archives hardly will bear any fruit even as to its existence methinks

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    The 19th canon of Nicea specifiacally identifies deaconesses as not having recieved the laying on of hands . In the same council it lists mothers, sisters and aunts as being only acceptable to live with priests. No mention of uncles, brothers or fathers.

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    Susannah Cornwall, a postdoctoral research associate at the Lincoln Theological Institute of the University of Manchester, argues that a dichotomous model of sex and gender is not adequate to deal with this theological problem - male only priesthood. Ergo, we need female priests. Cornwall supports her argument by vetting the possibility that Jesus, born of a virgin, could have been of ambiguous sex. Cornwall says there is a middle ground: intersex individuals whose gender is ambiguous. And Jesus could have been one of them! As she notes:

    But in actual fact, it is not possible to assert with any degree of certainty that Jesus was male as we now define maleness. There is no way of knowing for sure that Jesus did not have one of the intersex conditions which would give him a body which appeared externally to be unremarkably male, but which might nonetheless have had some “hidden” female physical features. He might have had ovarian as well as testicular tissue in his body. He might, in common with many people who are unaware of the fact, have had a mixture of XX and XY cells. Indeed, as several scholars have pointed out with their tongues both in and out of their cheeks, if the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is taken as scientific fact, then Jesus certainly had no male human element to introduce a Y chromosome into his DNA, and all his genetic material would have been identical with that of his mother (that is, female) (). There is simply no way of telling at this juncture whether Jesus was an unremarkably male human being, or someone with an intersex condition who had a male morphology as far as the eye could see but may or may not also have had XX chromosomes or some female internal anatomy. The fact that, as far as we know, Jesus never married, fathered children or engaged in sexual intercourse, of course, makes his “undisputable” maleness even less certain.
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    I watched with glee, while your kings and queens, fought for ten decades for the gods they made.

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    AFAIK gay men are now banned from becoming seminarians!

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    Well Pope Joan was.
    Fair and Balanced

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