Following the recent spat between Culture Minister Josepha Madigan and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin a few points are worth reflecting on.
The heat in this altercation, I believe, is more about the views expressed by Minister Madigan on female ordination and other issues of Church practice.
Of course, God in his essence is neither male or female, neither essentially masculine or feminine. However, God, in his relation to his creation, does have a masculine aspect.
This is clear in the way God has revealed himself, and is fundamental to the Church’s understanding of priesthood.
The priest represents God who reveals himself as “father” (scripture never uses a female pronoun to refer to God).
The priest acts in the person of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, who became human as a man. The priest is made permanently into a living symbol of God. Thus, who he is matters.
While those who favour women priests often speak in terms of equality and fairness, we see, especially in the Catholic context, that those who agitate for female ordinations often have further agenda items.
Very often proponents of female ordination discuss the issue not only in terms like equality, but also “representation”, in a political sense, that women need to be represented in “decision-making”.
Dig deeper, and you will find that they want women to become clergy in order to change other teachings.
Female ordination advocates also routinely promote abortion, contraception, same-sex relationships, and any other of a number of the “usual suspects” of dissenters.
One irony jumps out.
Proponents of female clergy often vociferously denounce clericalism, yet their position implies that the clergy are the “real Christians”, or the important ones, that one cannot participate meaningfully in the Church unless one is ordained.
A cursory look at other religious denominations who have gone down this path will demonstrate the even quicker decline in their numbers than the Catholic Church.