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Mother Pelican
Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature

Luis T. Gutiérrez
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Meditation Seeking Understanding ~ Church


These pages are meditations on the mysteries of the creation, the incarnation, and the redemption. They explore the Christian understanding that all men and women are consubstantial in one and the same human nature, and are consubstantial with Jesus Christ as to his humanity. The meditations are based on a layman's reading of the Sacred Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Theology of the Body as they pertain to the egalitarian complementarity of man and woman, which transcends the patriarchal binary of mutually exclusive male-female opposites. This understanding of the complementary equality of man and woman applies to all the sacraments, sheds light on the great nuptial mystery of Christ and the Church, and would seem to support the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood and the episcopate.


Apostolic Consubstantiality of Man and Woman

Mary of Nazareth & Ascension of the Lord


Working Draft - 8 May 2016

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Happy Mother's Day!


PRAELUDIUM 1 ~ Natural Consubstantiality

The natural consubstantiality and natural complementarity of man and woman is revealed in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 1 and 2, and insightfully explained in the Theology of the Body, especially in Chapters 8 and 9.

The man and the woman are created of the same substance (same "flesh") for mutual complementarity and interpersonal communion. One human nature, male and female. Each and every human being is a body but not just a body. Each and every human person is a body-soul, a personal subject, a living being with a conscience, an image of God. Each and every family of bodily male or female or intersex persons living in communion is an image of God, an image of the Trinity (multiple Persons, one God).

PRAELUDIUM 2 ~ Sacramental Consubstantiality

The sacramental consubstantiality and sacramental complementarity of man and woman follows from their natural consubstantiality and natural complementarity.

UNLESS, men and women are seen as SEX OBJECTS, male or female, rather than PERSONAL SUBJECTS. But is this what the SACRAMENTALITY OF THE BODY is all about?

PRAELUDIUM 3 ~ Apostolic Consubstantiality

The apostolic consubstantiality and apostolic complementarity of man and woman follow from their sacramental consubstantiality and sacramental complementarity.

UNLESS, men and women are seen as SEX OBJECTS, male or female, rather than PERSONAL SUBJECTS who can be called to be APOSTOLIC SUBJECTS. But is this what the SACRAMENTALITY OF THE BODY is all about?

CONSUBSTANTIALITY & COMPLEMENTARITY ~ CREATION

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One human nature in two incarnations, male and female, fully homogeneous body-persons, of the same flesh, made for each other and interpersonal communion (communio personarum) in the image of the Triune God.

CONSUBSTANTIALITY & COMPLEMENTARITY ~ INCARNATION

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Eve came out of Adam, consubstantial with him. The New Adam was born of the New Eve, consubstantial with her as to his humanity. In both cases, two incarnations, male and female. Complementarity in one and the same flesh: the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary. In Mary, the patriarchal sex/gender binary is turned upside down and inside out. The "Son of God," who was not a male before the incarnation, never saw in Mary a sex object but, rather, a personal subject with a body from which blood and water could flow as in the natural birth of any baby; and thus the Word became flesh.

CONSUBSTANTIALITY & COMPLEMENTARITY ~ REDEMPTION

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Eve came out of Adam, the New Adam was born of the New Eve, the Church was born from the New Adam. How can Mary as a member of the Church, and as Mother of God and Mother the Church, be born from her eternally begotten Son incarnated via her own flesh? Complementarity, but surely a complementarity
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CONSUBSTANTIAL COMPLEMENTARITY
that cannot be reduced to the conjugal act, because there was none. Complementarity cannot be reduced to the biology of reproduction either, in humanity or in the Trinity. There is more to the language of the body than just the biophysics of the conjugal act. Even the best analogies become absurdities when carried to the extreme. The Son "proceeds" from the Father but the Son is eternally begotten so it cannot possibly be that the Father first produced divine sperm that eventually fertilized a divine egg in a celestial uterus. Likewise, there is more to male-female complementarity than the body dynamics of the conjugal act and the biophysics of human reproduction. As the Theology of the Body repeatedly cautions (see, e.g., TOB 33:3), analogies are helpful as long as they are not confused with reality. "God the Father" is not exclusively male!

CONSUBSTANTIALITY & COMPLEMENTARITY ~ NUPTIAL COVENANT

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Should we reduce the mystery of Christ-Church to a MALE HEAD and a FEMALE BODY? Or should we reduce it to a MALE HOMOSEXUAL HEAD and a FEMALE HETEROSEXUAL BODY? Is this all there is to the MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST?

No, the GREAT MYSTERY (mysterium magnum) is about God and humanity becoming one in a communion of love and life where each member is served, and serves the others, on the basis of MYSTICAL GIFTS, not just bodily sex. The body is a sacrament of the entire person but is NOT the entire person.

CONSUBSTANTIALITY & COMPLEMENTARITY ~ SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY

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The body is a sacrament of the entire person but is NOT the entire person. For the redemption, and the sacramental economy, the masculinity of Jesus is as incidental as the color of his eyes. ALL CHURCH MINISTRIES, ordained and unordained, should be GIFT-BASED, not gender-based. Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive (if not an abortifacient) of female vocations to ordained ministry.

This canon is heritage from PATRIARCHAL GENDER THEORY, not natural law or divine law. At a time when we can understand that the body makes visible the entire person, but is NOT the entire person, we should stop the systematic suppression of female priestly vocations. At a time when we can understand that pastoral needs cannot be met with only male priests and bishops, we should discern what the Lord wants for the Church today (quality, not quantity).

All it takes is to replace "baptized male" by "baptized person" in Canon 1024. What a difference a word can make!

It is not just about women. The MEN of the Church will benefit the most from MOTHERS in sacramental ministry!

COLLOQUIUM 1 ~ Human Nature, Male and Female

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension, 2016 AD, it is opportune to let go of false patriarchal presuppositions, such as:

  • The masculinity of Jesus is essential for the redemption. What is not assumed is not redeemed. What is essential is that God assumed human nature, not that the eternal Word became incarnate as a male. The masculinity of Jesus is as incidental as the color of his eyes, plain and simple. Else, women have not been redeemed and could not be baptized.
  • The head of the pilgrim Church must be male because Christ is male. This is utter absurdity, induced by a rigid patriarchal interpretation of the Christ-Church nuptial covenant. The head of the pilgrim Church must a baptized and ordained human, not necessarily a male. The Church is "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic," not essentially patriarchal.
  • Women cannot be priests because the Blessed Virgin Mary was a not a priest. Ordination is not contingent on holiness. Mary's unique and unrepeatable ministerial vocation preceded the 12 apostles and all apostolic vocations as well as the entire sacramental economy gained for us by the Redeemer.

The patriarchal culture is passing away. Families are already evolving from sole male (father) headship to male-female (father-mother) headship. This cultural evolution is a "sign of the times," not a passing fad. Would Jesus, in today's world, choose 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel?

COLLOQUIUM 2 ~ Sacramental Economy, Male and Female

Celibacy is a separate issue. Christ expressed admiration for those who choose celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom. There are many issues of human sexuality that remain ill defined, and the Church cannot resolve them all at the same time. My take is that celibate women, especially religious sisters and nuns willing to serve in sacramental ministry, should be ordained first.

COLLOQUIUM 3 ~ Pastoral Needs, Male and Female

It is not just numbers that matter. Quality is more important than quality. In today's world, quality in the Church hierarchy cannot possibly be reduced to exclusively masculine gifts. Feminine gifts are much needed for an integrally human Church hierarchy, male and female. An integral clergy, male and female, is indispensable for the new evangelization.


Mary, Mother of the Church, ora pro nobis


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