Mother Pelican
Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature

Luis T. Gutiérrez
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Meditation Seeking Understanding ~ Liturgy

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 "unity in complementarity" 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.

The Spousal Meaning of the Body:
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Working Draft - 15 August 2016

"Regina in caelum assumpta, ora pro nobis."

PRAELUDIUM 1 - On Canon Law and the New Creation

"The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with poles,
as Moses had ordained according to the word of the Lord."

Canon 1024 is legacy from the Old Law, not the New Law. Would Jesus, in today's Church, choose 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel?

PRAELUDIUM 2 - On the Catechism and the New Creation

"Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"

Section 1577 is legacy from the Old Law, not the New Law. Would Jesus, in today's Church, choose 12 males to sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel?

PRAELUDIUM 3 - On the Institution of the Sacramental Priesthood

"The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The dogmatic definition (Council of Trent under Pope Pius IV, Session 23) does not mention a masculinity requirement for apostolic succession.


While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
"Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed."
He replied, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."

Mary's fiat was a personal choice, a free personal act. When she went to visit Elizabeth she was acting on her own personal initiative. Her carrying the Word made flesh in her womb, and nursing her baby, were personal acts. Her body enabled her to express her whole being as a personal subject. Blessed are those who imitate Mary by using their bodies like her, choosing and doing like she did to become, as an acting person, the best icon of her Son.

For Mary, and for every human being, 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. 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 spousal meaning of the body is manifested by the acting person in all dimensions of human life, not only in the conjugal act. Except for her Son's body, flesh of her flesh, no human body has ever been, or will ever be, more espousal than the body of the holy virgin of Nazareth!


"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ,
of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority,
we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma:
that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary,
having completed the course of her earthly life,
was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."
Dogma of the Assumption

Mary is a human person, a created body-soul (spirited body); not divine, like any other human being in all things but sin. She is the prototype of the humanity, male and female, assumed by the Word at the incarnation. Freely acting as a human person in response to divine grace, by her fiat she brought heaven to earth, the Eucharist in the flesh; a unique and unrepeatable ministerial vocation that she faithfully embraced from Bethlehem to Calvary and beyond. She paved the way for the redemption and the sacramental economy, presided at Pentecost, and at the end of her eartly ministry was assumed body and soul to heaven, thereby showing us our own destiny in the resurrection of the body.

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.


"A great sign appeared in the sky,
a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars."

Mary is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. She is not an apostle but precedes the apostles in the sacramental economy and is properly symbolized as Queen of the Apostles, having been "ordained" directly by the Holy Spirit after her fiat. If a Jewish woman can be mystically "ordained" by the Holy Spirit, why is it that a baptized woman cannot be sacramentally ordained by an apostle, or a successor of the apostles? Just because, under the Old Law, only males could be priests, and only male animals could be sacrificed, due to the patriarchal culture of male "headship" in Jewish families and in the 12 tribes of Israel? Are we not a new creation under the New Law? Is the Church still a Jewish institution?

Question: Would Jesus, in today's Church, choose 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel?

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 effectively says that the exclusively priesthood is a CHOICE, the second sentence identifies WHO can make the choice and act accordingly.

Furthermore, the dogmartic definition on the institution of the sacramental priesthood of the New Law (Trent, 1563) does *not* mention a masculinity requirement for apostolic succession. In brief, the sacramental priesthood of the New Law is not dogmatically masculine:

  • The Trinity is a communion, not a patriarchate
  • The Church is a communion, not a patriarchate
  • The domestic church is a communion, not a patriarchate
  • The reign of God is a communion, not a patriarchate
  • Heaven is a communion of God and the saints, not a patriarchate
  • So why should the pilgrim Church be 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 - Patriarchal Priesthood vs. Sacramental Priesthood

    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
    • Negates that all the baptized are a new creation in Christ
    • Is an obstacle to reconstructing the original "unity in complementarity" of man and woman

    Analogies cannot be taken too literally. If the Church is the body of Christ, how can a body have a "male head" and a "female body"?

    COLLOQUIUM 2 - The Gift of Love and the Gift of Life

    Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive (if not an abortifacient!) of female vocations to the ministerial priesthood. Now that many families are evolving from sole male (father) headship to joint male-female (father-mother) headship, we NEED gender balance in the hierarchical church. Else, it is hard to visualize, in the college of bishops, the spousal meaning of the body in virginity/celibacy. In the domestic church, the exclusively male priesthood obscures the divine plan for human love, and the Catholic faithful cannot be expected to understand and accept, let alone try to follow, the pro-life teaching of Amoris Laetitia, let alone Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Laudato Si'.

    COLLOQUIUM 3 - Integrity of Spousal Body Language

    Historically, Mary's body enabled God to become visible in the flesh. Now in heaven, her body continues to make visible the maternal body language of God. The exclusively male priesthood effectively reduces divine love to biological human sexuality, and is no longer for the glory of God and the good of souls.

    Eucharistic Communicators of the Heavenly Father, Cali, Colombia
    (click on the photo to visit their website)


    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, 2:8-10

    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."

    Madonna of the Village by Marc Chagall

    For the new evangelization, we need a new "assumption" ...
    women in the episcopate!

    Para la nueva evangelización, necesitamos una nueva "asunción" ...
    mujeres en el episcopado!

    Per la nuova evangelizzazione, abbiamo bisogno di una nuova "assunzione" ...
    Le donne nell'episcopato!

    Pour la nouvelle évangélisation, nous avons besoin d'une nouvelle "assomption" ...
    les femmes dans l'épiscopat!

    Para a nova evangelização, precisamos de um novo "assunção" ...
    mulheres no episcopado!

    Für die neue Evangelisierung, brauchen wir eine neue "Annahme" ...
    Frauen im Bischofs!

    Dla nowej ewangelizacji, musimy nowy "wniebowziecia" ...
    kobiety w biskupstwie!

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    "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


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