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Mother Pelican
Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature

Luis T. Gutiérrez
Index Page

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Meditation Seeking Understanding ~ Solidarity


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.


Reconstructing the Original Unity of Man and Woman

Preliminary Draft - 1 January 2016

PRAELUDIUM

In the Catholic Church, the resistance to the ordination of women is rooted in a sacramental theology that conflates the patriarchal gender binary with biblical revelation. This is a meditation on human nature, male and female, as it pertains to the sacramental priesthood of the New Law when unconstrained by the patriarchal priesthood of the Old Law. This is a visceral issue that cannot not be settled by reasoning alone. This page attempts to support prayerful discernment by stepping outside of the patriarchal box and reconsidering the issue in light of the deposit of faith and the signs of the times.

On the criticality of gender equality for social justice:

"How do we build a more equitable world?
If you want a formula from me,
I would say first: ensure there is gender equality"
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Twitter, 2012

Acronyms and Links:

CCC
CSD
TOB
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine
Theology of the Body

ORIGINAL UNITY & ORIGINAL SIN

MERCY-5.1.jpg
End of "original solitude," beginning of "original unity"
Genesis 1, 2, 3; CCC 385, 396, 413-421; TOB 2, 8
Image: Basilica of Mary Queen of the Apostles, Rome

The original communion of man and woman was corrupted by "original sin." The unity of man and woman in one and the same human nature remains, but distorted by the patriarchal pseudocomplementarity of male domination and female subordination. In Old Testament times, God is male. The father is the head of the family. Wives are the posession of their husbands. Only male children are counted. The patriarchal priesthood is transmitted from fathers to sons. Only the boys are instructed on the Law. Only the males can worship in public (synagogue, temple). Only male animals are sacrificed. In New Testament times, God is a communion of divine persons. In the family, father and mother share headship as a communion of persons. There is mutual submissio between husband and wife. All children, boys and girls, are equally treasuted, equally baptized, equally instructed in the faith. Christian men and women worship together. Why should the ministerial priesthood be reserved to men alone?

INCARNATION IN A BODY

MERCY-5.2.jpg
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Genesis 12:1-3, 21:10; Exodus 20:17; Leviticus 12:1-5; Numbers 3:15; Deuteronomy 21:10-13; CCC 145, 706, 762, 1669, 2676; TOB 29, 31
Image: Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione - Wikipedia

Except for the Virgin Mary, only males present? No other women present? In Old Testament times, God is male. The father is the head of the family. Wives are the posession of their husbands. Only male children are counted. The patriarchal priesthood is transmitted from fathers to sons. Only the boys are instructed on the Law. Only the males can worship in public (synagogue, temple). Only male animals are sacrificed. In New Testament times, God is a communion of divine persons. In the family, father and mother share headship as a communion of persons. There is mutual submissio between husband and wife. All children, boys and girls, are equally treasuted, equally baptized, equally instructed in the faith. Christian men and women worship together. Why should the ministerial priesthood be reserved to men alone?

REDEMPTION OF THE BODY

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One Flesh, One Body, Many Members
Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; CCC 145, 706, 762, 1669, 2676; TOB 29, 31
Image: Isabella DeFeo - Haiku Deck Gallery

"In essentials, unity. In nonessentials, freedom. In everything, charity" (St. Augustine). Flesh (body and blood) is essential, all other traits are not essential. In Old Testament times, God is male. The father is the head of the family. Wives are the posession of their husbands. Only male children are counted. The patriarchal priesthood is transmitted from fathers to sons. Only the boys are instructed on the Law. Only the males can worship in public (synagogue, temple). Only male animals are sacrificed. In New Testament times, God is a communion of divine persons. In the family, father and mother share headship as a communion of persons. There is mutual submissio between husband and wife. All children, boys and girls, are equally treasuted, equally baptized, equally instructed in the faith. Christian men and women worship together. Why should the ministerial priesthood be reserved to men alone? In the body politic, solidarity is essential. Mercy is the perfection of solidarity. In the Church as body of Christ, flesh (body and blood) is essential, all other traits are not essential for the common priesthood of the faithful. Why should masculinity be essential for the ministerial priesthood?

SPOUSAL MEANING OF THE BODY IN THE FAMILY

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Sexual Differentiation: The Gift of Love and the Gift of Life in the Domestic Church
Genesis 2:7, 18, 24; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Image: The Pelican Web

Human reproduction is contingent on sexual differentiation, which is a gift, but also a limitation of the human condition. Nuptial love is the primordial sacrament. The patriarchal order of things is passing away. The natural family is jointly headed by father and mother. Further advances in solidarity are contingent on reconstructiong the original unity of man and woman. Why should the family remain patriarchal?

SPOUSAL MEANING OF THE BODY IN THE CHURCH

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Chosen to Serve: The Gift of Love and the Gift of Life in the Hierarchical Church
Genesis 2:7, 18, 24; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Image: Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya & Archbishop Thabo Makgoba - All Africa

Apostolic succession is not contingent on either masculinity or femininity. Nuptial love is the primordial sacrament. The patriarchal order of things is passing away. The natural family is jointly headed by father and mother. Why should the ecclesial family be headed only by fathers? Further advances in solidarity are contingent on reconstructiong the original unity of man and woman. Why should the Church remain patriarchal?

COLLOQUIUM

This meditation does not attempt to "prove" anything. It is a personal reflection about a visceral issue that cannot be resolved by reasoning alone, and prayerful discernment of Christ's will is required. The truth is timeless, but the Church's understanding of the truth is not timeless; the faith is always the same but the Holy Spirit enables the Church to bring out of the deposit of faith what is new and what is old (cf. Matthew 13:52).

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change,
The courage to change what I should change,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Mary, Mother of the Church and Untier of Knots, pray for us.


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