The Role of Women in the Church
Sister Katherine Maria
The "role of women in the church" issue, in its demanding spirit of equality, is simply wrong! The concept of a struggle between men and women in their capacity to serve God is generated because we have confused the standards of the world – which is a natural existence, with the standards of the Church – which is a supernatural institution. The two spheres are diametrically opposed! Our Lord Himself illustrated this many times in Scripture. Over and over again Christ rebuked His disciples who were always yielding to natural ambition rather than supernatural. "Do you want to be first?" He asked, "Then be last. Do you want to rule?...then serve." What is the role of women in the Church? What is the role of men in the Church? Is it to gain position, power, or a chance to display their natural ability? Father Frederick Faber summed up the answer to these questions by saying, "Holiness is the thing." Holiness is the role par excellence of a true follower of Christ, man or woman. It is the one thing lacking in the Church today on a grand scale. Where are our holy leaders and our saintly examples especially in these troubled times? If women (or men for that matter) desire a position in the structure of the Church more than personal holiness, then they miss the whole point of the Church. The Church is not a modem or an outlet for self-gratification, it is rather the living safeguard of Christ's teaching. It is not an end in itself but a means to our true end in eternity. To reduce the divine institution of the Catholic Church and its mission to a bureaucratic structure filled with worldly achievements is to return to the days of the Pharisees. There was no mincing of words when Jesus spoke to the multitudes and His disciples concerning the Pharisees. He admonished His followers not to imitate their ambition and denounced divers "woes" against them for their hypocrisy and blindness. "All their works they do to be seen by men...and they love the first places at feasts and the first chairs in the synagogues and salutations in the market place." How can anyone who intends to follow Christ betray these same ambitions, quibbling for his role in the Church? Should we not rather imitate Christ if we desire to serve Him? How is this possible if we disregard His words which we should imprint upon our hearts as a rule of life? He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matt 9:23.11) Then Jesus added to this list of qualifications, the absolute fundamental insistence that: "If any man (or woman) will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For he (or she) that shall save his life shall lose it: and he (or she) that shall lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what does it profit a man (or woman) if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (Matt 16:24) Is it not obvious that promoting the role of the Church in society through self-abasement and personal holiness is the role Christ intended for His true followers? The frustrated women headlining current media reviews with their demands for ordination are basically devoid of inner peace which is so essential to holiness. They hide their lust for notoriety behind a cry for equality, their desire for power is called liberation and their sense of pride – "to be like unto God"- is called education. They are sadly unaware or have forgotten that a vocation is a life-affair of service compelled by a desire to imitate our Crucified Savior. They have lost all sense of what the priesthood means, or they would be ashamed of their demands. It is not a job or an ecclesiastical promotion- its attainment is not achieved by a "success-drive." In previous years women responded to the call of a vocation by serving the sick in hospitals, teaching in schools, and mothering the...
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