Mother Pelican
Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature

Luis T. Gutiérrez
Index Page


Meditation Seeking Understanding ~ Mercy

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.

Here and Now: Laudato Si' and the Year of Mercy

Preliminary Draft - 23 January 2016


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.

Prayer for inner peace and ministerial mercy:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

St. Francis of Assisi (13th Century CE)
Mary Ward (1585-1645)

Acronyms and Links:

Catechism of the Catholic Church
Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine
Theology of the Body


Gender Violence, the Common Root of All Violence
Genesis 2:7, 3:16, 4:8; Joshua 10:12; CCC 385, 396, 413-421; TOB 3:2, 8:1, 8:4, 9:1-5, 10:1, 70:7, 72:5
Images: Israel Museum Jerusalem, Bible Study of Nicolás, Spencer Watch

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, and the only essential difference between man and woman is genital, but the gift of sexual differentiation is absolutized, distorted, and abused by the patriarchal pseudocomplementarity of male domination and female subordination. 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 chosen to be sacrificed. Bottom line: rivalry, mimetic violence.

This "male or female" binary is a simplistic patriarchal dichotomy that is deconstructed in the TOB, where the term constitutive refers to the somatic constitution of the body. Since a human person is a body, every somatic trait is constitutive of the human person; but there is a homogeneous continuum of human psychosomatic traits, sex being the most profound, others being more superficial such as race, skin color, etc., but none being determinative of the person. What is determinative? The first human person was created, and every human person is created, by "an act of enlivening matter by the spirit" (TOB 70:7, 72:5). This "animation of the body" is what determines that a body made of dust becomes a body-person, a living soul. So the TOB explicitly recognizes that the "homogeneity of the whole being" of man and woman, made of the same flesh and fully consubstantial in human nature, precedes and transcends all psychosomatic differences, including sex and, of course, gender.


The Eucharist, Heaven on Earth, Mercy on Earth
Genesis 12:1-3, 21:10; Exodus 20:17; Leviticus 12:1-5; Numbers 3:15; Deuteronomy 21:10-13; Luke 1:38; Ephesians 2:4; CCC 145, 706, 762, 1669, 2676; TOB 29, 31
Images: Andrei Rublev - Wikipedia

"Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him." (Pope Francis). Thus Jesus is mercy in the flesh, the very embodiment of divine mercy, which includes both paternal mercy (hesed) and maternal mercy (rahamim). This is what is essential for the sacramental economy, regardless of particularities such as his bodily masculinity, or the color of his hair, or the color of his eyes. Mercy is the head of the Church, both the domestic church and the universal church. Mercy is the child of Mary and the posession of the Church. Both male and female children are counted. Both male and female children can be called to receive any of the sacraments, including Holy Orders. Under the New Law, thanks to Mary's fiat, the Eucharist is the real presence of Mercy, no further need for male animals offered only by male priests.


Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the Forgiving Victim
Genesis 12:1-3, 21:10; Exodus 20:17; Leviticus 12:1-5; Numbers 3:15; Deuteronomy 5:21, 21:10-13; John 6:53-58, 17:26; Hebrews 10:10; CCC 145, 706, 762, 1669, 2676; TOB 29, 31
Image: James Allison - Forgiving Victim

Jesus Christ is divine mercy in the flesh, the Lamb of God, the Forgiving Victim, the one and only Redeemer and High Priest. He is a human male, but is not the "divine male," because there is no such thing as a divine male. One person (divine), two natures (divine and human). An ordained priest is a human person, not a divine person. There is a profound contradiction in saying that only male persons can be ordained to act in persona Christi capitis. Canon 1024 is heritage from the patriarchal priesthood of the Old Law, radically supersided by the New Law. CCC 1577 is so ludicrous that St John Paul II had to stop further discussion of the issue, surely for the good of the Church. How long will the hiatus last? CCC 1598 plainly states that the male-only priesthood is a choice (first sentence) and who can make the choice (second sentence). By the power of the keys, the Redeemer has given the Church the power to bind and unbind. How much longer will it take before the Church lifts the canonical restriction that, in the Church hierarchy, keeps divine mercy restricted to be manifested only by males?


Mary Magdalene, Apostola Apostolorum
Genesis 12:1-3, 21:10; Exodus 20:17,; Leviticus 12:1-5; Numbers 3:15; Deuteronomy 5:21; Mark 16:9-11; John 20:17-18; Acts 15:28; Galatians 3:28; CCC 145, 706, 762, 1669, 2534, 2676; TOB 29, 31
Image: Eleanor Correa Llanes - Suore Orsoline

Tripod of Galatians 3:28. It is time to start on the third leg of the tripod. Mary Magdalene was sent to bring the good news of the resurrection to the apostles, but they were not ready. Later the apostles decided that male circumcision was no longer required, but the derivative connection between baptism and ordination was not yet visible to them, and is still invisible to many in the Church. But in our "already, but not yet" time window, the signs of the times indicate that the feminine dimension of divine mercy is ready to enter history. Humanity is ready. The ecological crisis may be a blessing is disguise to help the Church in the transition from removing the circumcision requirement to removing the masculinity requirement for priestly ordination. In the hierarchical church, it is time to get started on the third leg of the tripod. Christ have mercy!


Communio Personarum, Communionem Naturae
Genesis 12:1-3, 21:10 49:28; Exodus 20:17; Leviticus 12:1-5; Numbers 3:15; Deuteronomy 5:21, 21:10-13; Matthew 16:18-19, 18:18; Revelation 21:14; CCC 145, 706, 762, 866, 867, 868, 869, 1669, 2676; TOB 13:2, 14:3, 15:1, 23:3, 25:2, 26:6, 55:2, 97:1-5, 98:3-5, 99:2, 100:7, 101:2, 102:7, 103:1, 105:4-5, 106:1-4, 118:4
Image: Mary Southard - Ministry of the Arts

Hierarchy is not necessarily patriarchal. Hierarchy is natural. Patriarchy is not natural, so it is intrinsically inadequate. The Church is a hierarchical communion, not a patriarchal communion. The Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic but not essentially patriarchal. As the patriarchal era passes away, it is morally imperative to foster a new civilization rooted in all dimensions of divine mercy: paternal, maternal, fraternal... Evangelization is about the good news of divine mercy in the flesh and the sacramental economy, not about rules and regulations based on artificial patriarchal norms that no longer serve the glory of God and the good of souls. Solidarity is the social dimension. Sustainability is the ecological dimension. Communion in the body of Christ is the eschatological dimension.

Any sacramental theology that makes sexuality determinative (rather than just constitutive) of a person, human or divine, is erroneous and is now becoming a tragedy for the entire body of Christ. With patriarchy fading away, the men of the Church may be the ones who increasingly are the most deeply harmed by the absence of female apostolic authority. Men cannot fully develop as human beings as long as they just strive to be "manly." Toward the end of the book, a section on Imago Christi (pp. 282-285) is a treasure of guidance in the midst of current confusion, and fully responsive to the signs of the times. DeFranza's work is very important for Christ and the Church. It is also very important for the future of humanity and the planet because, as Pope Francis has said, "There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology." (Laudato Si' #118)


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.

|Back to Title|

PelicanWeb Home Page      Index of Meditations

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ...
This is a profound mystery—
but I am talking about Christ and the church..."

Ephesians 5:21-33


Write to the Author
Send email to Subscribe
Send email to Unsubscribe
Link to the Google Groups Website
Link to the PelicanWeb Home Page


Creative Commons License
ISSN 2165-9672