Archbishop misses on CBC


The  Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Collins was finally corralled by Michael Enright for a long interview on CBC last sunday.Enright had been trying to interview Collins for a long time and he finally got his wish.Enright is a good “generalists” and he did a fair job of grilling the Archbishop but in the end what was needed was somebody with a deeper theological acumen to challenge  Collin’s weak responses.

I choose one here.

Collins used the hoary chestnut of “Jesus only chose males” or actually “ordained” males and that is why we can’t have female priests.One simply does not know where to start here.

Maybe(and most obviously) would be the historically conditioned era of the first century, a rigidly patriarchal time.Still it is  beyond doubt that Jesus was a feminist for his time.The Archbishop stated that Jesus did not ordain  any women–true, but he did not ordain anybody else either.The only priest in the NT is Jesus himself. The  word “hiereus” is never used except in reference to Jesus. Jesus is a liberal Jew, a layman  engaged in the renovation of a stagnant Judaism. To eternalize the anti-female historically conditioned attitudes of the time as valid for eternity is ridiculous. It leaves no room for an evolving tradition, a deeper anthropological understanding. What Collins was defending was Traditionalism not tradition.The genius of the Catholic church is that it actually does change.

In mid Council (1863) Pope John XXlll released Pacem In Terris, a pacific love letter to the world—not just the Church. The roly poly Vatican legate had been living in the world for decades. He was hip to what was happening.So in this 1963 encyclical he pointed out the obvious

“Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument they (women) are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons.”

John was in synch with Betty Friedan! Feminism was and is a gift to the church. Women were finally demanding absolute equality, the whole megillah of seven sacraments including Holy Orders. So John was hinting that  Rome better get with it. Women by virtue of their dignity as humans and full baptized members of the church should be able to assume any position open to males—including pope.

Now we are fifty years on and  the Roman church still defending the indefensible, still championing the narrow worldview of the first century, still making women second-class citizens,

This openness to the feminine was merely one of “the signs of the times” the Church was beginning to pay attention to. There is more truth to be broken open! History is not stagnant, New insights are brought forward by the Spirit. Pay attention to what God is saying. The total equality of women with men is accepted today—in enlightened jurisdictions but  not yet in the Catholic church and in rigidly authoritarian and largely Muslim countries.

Our great fenmale prophet Sr. Joan Chitrtister has written:

The patriarchal society is essentially a violent thing in which man, the males of the system, own, administer, shape, or control all the major facets of the culture-is a stifling thing.

Indeed it iis stifling and downright embarrassing for Catholics to watch the all male religious institutional leadership continue to resist the call of the Spirit.

Chittister further writes:

Patriarchy is theologically incongruent. The image of God has become totally male though God in scripture  said it was otherwise….It rests on four interlocking principles: dualism,hierarchy, domination and essential inequality. It takes biological differences, imposes hierarchy on them, gives hierarchy dominative power and justifies all of it on the theory of intrinsic inequality. But none of it stands to be justified by the life and teachings of Jesus.

Exactly so.and to have an Archbishop to continue to justify an all male priesthood is very sad indeed.

More on this next time.



  1. 1
    wmgrace Says:

    There is no justification – theological or otherwise – for denying to women in the Church, a role equal to that of male priests. Nor is there any justification for denying to married men, a similar status in the Catholic Church. Our civilization has progressed too far and our understanding of human nature has come too far, to allow Archbishop Collins’ dysfunctional clerical thinking on this point, to go unchallenged. The church’s position with respect to the ordination of women and married men is wrong and damaging to the Church. Everyone seems to know that except for Archbishop Collins and the rest of the celibate male hierarchy.

    The hierarchy and Archbishop Collins can wrap it up in all the Catholic theology and Jesus talk in the world, but essentially it is still wrong and repugnant to discriminate against women. Women have been fighting systemic inequality for centuries, in the same way that Afro-Americans and other groups have been doing. Only recently have major advances been made to end this kind of inequality. Those in the Catholic hierarchy have devised their own pseudo-Christian rationale to keep it all going. Shame on them.

  2. 2

    I can’t believe anyone would try to use “Jesus” as an excuse to not ordain woman.

    The story of Jesus visiting the home of sisters: Mary & Martha comes to mind. Martha is running about ‘taking care of’ all the men – making food, providing water, etc. while Mary sits at Jesus feet amongst the men (unheard of in that time for a woman). Martha has enough of her sisters “unacceptable” behavior and compalins to Jesus to which He replies:

    “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NIV

  3. 3

    If Jesus was a victim of culture, if he was not able to rise above current beliefs that were wrong, then obviously he isn’t “divine” in any sense of the word. He’s merely one human being alongside others. So if Jesus is a victim of the patriarchy of the time, then find another religion. Why would you worship this outdated, 2000 year old human being who couldn’t see past the prejudices of 1st century Palestine?

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