Thursday, May 19, 2016
Without Precedent. . .
Churches in search of a program for gender equality look in vain for support in Scripture, the catholic tradition, and the catholic practice of the ages. But you would not know it by reading those who advocate the ordination of women. They are hopelessly optimistic when it comes to searching for any hint of support they can use to justify a deviation from the norm to support the ordination of women (including downright deception!).
About the best you can come up with is what Bishop Michael Adie claimed: [the ordination of women] is a reasoned development, consonant with Scripture, required by tradition. The first part is entirely true to the modern mindset -- the ordination of women is reasonable and reasonable justice to a world in love with egalitarian ideals. Unfortunately, however, Scripture and tradition are the problem children in a search for an argument to support the ordination of women.
So Geoffrey Kirk begins His conclusion to Without Precedent -- a volume which does not argue against the ordination of women but dismantles the ordinary arguments typically used to justify and support this practice. Too many believe that if the exact question is not framed in the exact same way in Scripture or tradition, the the best we can say is that Scripture and tradition are silent on the matter or inconclusive. Strangely enough, those churches who would strongly insist that doctrine and faith are not established by democratic vote appeal to the weight of a democratic vote to establish and give approval to the ordination of women.
How are the ordination of women and the ordination of GLBT folks related? It is not that the practices are tied together but the rationale for one becomes the fertile ground to establish another practice in conflict with Scripture and the catholic tradition. In other words, if a church has already devalued the clear and implied voice of Scripture and the severe lack of precedent in history, then what is to prevent this methodology from being used for other causes for which Scripture is either clearly or implicitly opposed to or on which tradition has not declared itself clearly.