A Professor's Views on the PriesthoodProf. Charles...


July 12, 1992

A Professor's Views on the Priesthood

Prof. Charles Bobertz's letter of July 3 is an excellent example of the crisis in theology that confronts the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

As with many neo-Modernist theologians, Mr. Bobertz is all too ready to hurl the charge of hypocrisy at the bishops; he even throws in a charge of heresy for good measure.

Yet a careful examination of the good professor's letter reveals that he has grossly misrepresented the church's teaching regarding the priesthood, and he comes dangerously close to committing the sin of apostasy.

Professor Bobertz is correct in stating that the church views Jesus Christ as the model for the priesthood, and certainly the gender of Christ is an integral part of this model. One important aspect of this teaching that the professor does not mention is that Jesus Christ as head of the Church chose only males for the priesthood.

This was not done out of mere social convention. Throughout the time of his public ministry, Jesus had ignored many of the social prohibitions of his day.

If he ignored such serious taboos as associating with Samaritans and prostitutes, what was to keep him from ordaining women to the priesthood?

In fact, one could further speculate that as the church spread throughout the Mediterranean world, and came into contact with the concept of a female priesthood in many of the pagan religions, this precedent could have greatly influenced the development of the priesthood toward admitting women into its ranks.

Yet this did not occur. One compelling reason is the fact that the practice of ordaining only males to the priesthood was established by Christ, and this fact compelled the apostles to obey the precedent established by Christ.

If one views the priesthood as just one more occupation, there is a tendency to view the exclusion of women in terms of sexual discrimination, a situation to be cured through the institution of affirmative-action ordinations.

The church teaches that the priesthood is a divine call, a vocation instituted by Christ to call men to live in a more perfect imitation of Him. To reject any part of this teaching is to reject the divine nature under which the priesthood has been instituted.

Furthermore, to strike at the divine nature of the priesthood is to call into question the divinity of the one who established it. It is Professor Bobertz who flirts with heresy, not the bishops.

Finally, Professor Bobertz seems to strongly imply that the resurrection was a triumph by Christ over "gender limitations." While the professor may get a high grade for his creativeness, the fact is that all orthodox Christian teaching holds that the resurrection was the triumph of Christ over sin and death, a far more complete victory that Mr. Bobertz's "gender limitations."

As Christians we share in this victory because Jesus Christ shared in our humanity, and suffered in our place. To re-make Christ into some sort of androgynous activist for the feminist agenda is to deny the faith as taught to us by the apostles.

If we hold to this view, we become apostates who wish to fashion Son of Man into our image rather than conforming our lives to an imitation of Him.

John F. Devanny Jr.


Slowing Progress

Is it not time for the legislators of America to get out of interfering with the telecommunications business? Whatever happened to the free market economy?

Since 1984, the regional Bell operating telephone companies have been handicapped by constraints of antiquated regulations. Let the full potential and capability of the Baby Bells into the market place.

Our national economy would be strengthened by the additional growth of supply and support vendors.

Business would be able to function more efficiently through more user-friendly terminal equipment. That equipment would be linked or networked more effectively nationwide.

The goal of the regional Bells is not to absorb the entire telecommunications marketplace but to dramatically and positively facilitate enhancements to it.

America has endured the delay of technological development in this industry for far too long. Other nations are considerably more advanced in network utilization than our country.

I, for one, do not understand how this country can sit back and let the world pass us by.

ernard O'Neill

Mount Airy

Thanks, Sun

As time draws close for putting the finishing touches on the purchase of the Seattle Mariners by the Baseball Club of Seattle, I want to acknowledge your editorial interest in the subject.

I was pleased to learn The Sun supported our offer to purchase the Mariners. I also found significance in your comparison of interests between Seattle and Baltimore. As you wrote, "Sports fans around here have good reason to sympathize with their compatriots in Seattle . . ."

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