The Spousal Meaning of the Body:|
Saint Mary Magdalene, Apostola Apostolorum
Working Draft - 22 July 2016
PRAELUDIUM 1 - The Theology of the Body and the New Creation
"From now on we regard no one according to the flesh;|
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer."
The TOB explains the why of Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae in terms of human personhood, i.e., human beings are personal subjects because they are body-souls, not just corporal objects, let alone sexual objects.
PRAELUDIUM 2 - Is Something Wrong with the New Creation?
"So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:|
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come."
Why is it that many good Catholics do not understand/accept/try to practice the wise guidance of Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae? Lack of awareness about the new creation in Christ?
PRAELUDIUM 3 - Apostolic Body Language in the New Creation
"Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,|
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her."
Why is it that the beautiful bridegroom-bride analogy (as in Ephesians 5:21-33) is becoming increasingly rare as an scripture reading chosen by young couples for Catholic weddings?
THE ACTING PERSON
The body is a sacrament of the entire person, but is not the entire person. Human persons are body-souls, i.e., personal subjects, not just corporal objects (let alone sexual objects). The soul transcends sex and gender. The human body is male *or* female (*or* intersex) but every human person is masculine *and* feminine because there is woman in man (anima) and there is man in woman (animus). Each human person is unique and unrepeatable as a body-soul. The body enables the person to act, and bodily sex influences gender, but the human person is much more than a biophysical object, and an acting person is much more than just a body in motion. The spousal meaning of the body is about the mutual self-giving of persons from within, not just about the conjugal act. It is about complementarity in unity, not complementarity in disunity. It is because of their alikeness (i.e., the homogeneity of the whole being of both) that man and woman can cherish their uniqueness.
THE ACTING CHRIST
The eternally begotten Word was not a male before the incarnation. For the redemption, and the sacramental economy, the masculinity of Jesus is as incidental as the color of his eyes. What matters is the spousal meaning of God's self-giving in the flesh, not the biophysical constitution of Jesus. After our Lord's resurrection, what matters is the absolute and eternal spousal meaning of his glorified body, not his temporally incarnated masculinity. When the priest acts in persona Christi, it is Christ who acts. Acting in persona Christi means acting in the person of a divine personal subject, not just a human being with a male body.
THE ACTING CHURCH
The acting Christ is not the problem. The acting Church is the problem. In the sacramental life of the Church, the exclusively male priesthood effectively reduces personal subjects (human and divine) to sexual objects, thereby distorting the spousal meaning of the body in the entire body of Christ. Our faith is that the Church is "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic," but NOT NECESSARILY PATRIARCHAL and ALWAYS IN NEED OF REFORM!
CIC 1024: "A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly."
Note: CCC 1577 is a literalist, physicalist rationalization of the patriarchal (exclusively male) priesthood of the Old Law.
CCC 1598: "The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."
Note: The first sentence is a choice, the second sentence is who can make the choice and act accordingly.
The reign of God is a communion, not a patriarchate. Lamentably, the Church is perpetuating an exclusively male priesthood that is heritage from the Old Law and patriarchal gender theory. Women are personal subjects with female bodies, not "improper matter" for the sacrament of Holy Orders. Condescending protestations about "equal dignity and complementary roles" are no longer credible. The 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was a tragic mistake comparable to the "holy" crusades, the "holy" inquisition, and the pedophilia sexual abuse cover-up.
COLLOQUIUM 1 - Priesthood of the Old Law and the New Law
The patriarchal (exclusively male) priesthood:
- Enforces a physicalist and sexist (rather than natural, integral, personalist, objective-subjective) resemblance to Christ
- Reduces Christ, a divine personal subject, to a sexual object
- Distorts the spousal meaning of the body by reducing it to the physical sexual meaning
- Reduces all men and women from personal subjects to sexual objects
- Is an obstacle to reconstructing the original "unity in complementarity" of man and woman
- Ignores that all ministerial vocations are gift-based, not gender-based
- Degrades the reign of God from communion to patriarchy
COLLOQUIUM 2 - Canon 1024 and the New Creation
All ministerial vocations are gift-based, not gender-based. Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive (if not an abortifacient!) of female vocations to the ministerial priesthood.
COLLOQUIUM 3 - Spousal Witnessing for the New Evangelization
The reign of God is a communion, not a patriarchate. As long as the hierarchical Church remains exclusively male, the Catholic faithful cannot be expected to understand and accept, let alone try to follow, the pro-life teaching of Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Amoris Laetitia.
Spousal Meaning of the Body: Martha, Mary, and Lazarus
The reign of God is a communion, not a patriarchate.
All ministerial vocations are gift-based, not gender-based.
WHY SHOULD THE CHURCH REFUSE TO MEDIATE
FEMALE VOCATIONS TO SACRAMENTAL MINISTRY?
WHY SHOULD THE CHURCH BE PARALYZED
BY PASSING CULTURAL STEREOTYPES?
PATRIARCHAL GENDER THEORY IS NO LONGER CREDIBLE.
PATRIARCHAL GENDER ROLES ARE NO LONGER NORMATIVE.
MALE HEADSHIP OF THE FAMILY IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED
TO BE "THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS."
THE SACRAMENTAL PRIESTHOOD OF THE NEW LAW
IS NOT INTRINSICALLY MASCULINE.
WE NEED CELIBATE WOMEN PRIESTS & BISHOPS!
APPENDIX - On the Analogy of the Bridegroom and the Bride
The analogy of the Bridegroom and the Bride (Ephesians 5:21-33) is about a great mystery, the nuptial unity of Christ and the Church. It is also about the spousal meaning of the body. It should not be reduced to a literalist (let alone culturally patriarchal) and physicalist interpretation of sexual relations between a man and a woman.
The Theology of the Body clearly explains that analogies use similarities to communicate realities but do not exhaust those realities and do not negate real dissimilarities (TOB 33:3). The spousal meaning of the body is about mutual self-giving (from within) of entire persons (objectively and subjectively, as body-souls) to each other, not just about the physicality of the conjugal act:
Bodiliness and sexuality are not simply identical... "Flesh from flesh" signifies that, although she has different physical characteristics, the woman has the same personhood as the man has. (TOB 8:1, 4 fn 15)
The sacrament, as a visible sign, is constituted with man, inasmuch as he is a "body," through his "visible" masculinity and femininity. The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. (TOB 19:4, 96:6)
Consider Colossians 1:15-20,
Was the Word a male before the incarnation?
Are "body" and "person" identical realities?
Are "body" and "bodily sex" identical realities?
Is the "head of the body" just a human male?
Can only male bodies make Christ "visible"?
If the answer to all these questions is "NO,"
then why is it that only baptized males can be
ordained to the priesthood of the New Law?
The human body in its masculinity and femininity is oriented from within to the communion of persons (communio personarum). In this consists its spousal meaning. (TOB 130:5)
It follows that, when we see a human body, we must see a human person, not just a physical body, let alone a sexual object. In this regard, the friendship of Jesus and Mary of Magdala exemplifies the spousal meaning of the body and is an icon of the Christ-Church mystery as a most intimate friendship possible, the communion between divine and human persons, as already fully consummated in the "one flesh" body-soul communion between the eternally begotten Word and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
When Mary Magdalene goes to announce the resurrection to the apostles, it is Christ himself acting through her as a legitimate witness (unheard of in a culture where the witness of a woman was worthless!) of the good news about the resurrection of the body, i.e., the absolute and eternal spousal meaning of the glorified body in union with God:
Mary Magdalene should have been elected to replace Judas Iscariot as a member of the 12! But the apostles didn't believe her, their obtuse minds still conditioned to the idea that they were meant to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the Church today, 2000 years after Pentecost and no longer a Jewish institution, would the Risen Lord choose 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel?
Saints have a propensity to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. St. Peter was no exception (Matthew 16:16, 22). St. John Paul II was no exception either (from the Theology of the Body to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis). The Church, while venerating their holiness, must recognize (and correct!) their mistakes. In the liturgical calendar, July 22nd should be a "solemnity," not a "feast." After the resurrection, Mary Magdalene (and other women) were the first witnesses of the new creation and the new order of things in Christ.
But this is not about honoring women. This is about seeking the glory of God and the good of souls. The patriarchal era is passing away, with families evolving from sole male (father) headship to joint male-female (father-mother) headship. It is time for the Church as a family to stop rejecting female priestly vocations and accept them (after proper testing) in imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who by accepting her unique ministerial vocation to be the carnal mother of the Bridegroom also became the mother of the Bride, in "one flesh."
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