Joan White

If one considers the apparent sincerity of the Islamist suicide bomber, one can see that the conviction does not tie in with what is known of Godhead, either as a Muslim or as a Christian. The first I knew of the idea of female ordination was the claim that many women had heard a call, a vocation. This did not disturb me: I, myself, have heard such a calling, beginning at the age of four, to be a teacher. The idea, however, that God had called these women to serve as eucharistic priests came to me as a severe shock.

When I argued that the tradition did not allow for this, I was patiently given to understand that at the time of the Last Supper of our Lord, women were not allowed public positions and so this all had to wait. Reading Christina Rees’s article [ND September] develops this idea. There is a continuum in which women (and men) are called to extend and fulfil the work Jesus started, because he could not complete it all at that time.

To my mind, however, there is, was and ever shall be nothing which God is unable to do. God is Lord of all creation, and has no need for the kind offers to complete what he left half-done, nor has he, from his utterances, any use for acts of envy, ambition or dissatisfaction with the created roles he established for men and women at his creation.

We can ask, legitimately, why he gave his vocations to the males, and it requires female meditation to tease out the answers. The secret lies in the donation to the female of the act of creation of all the people of the earth. This is a divine sharing, which men have treated with contempt, as an excuse for their own envy. Women, resenting this attitude have rejected their privilege in favour of worldly status on a par with men.

The sacrifice of the cross, equal in creative pain to the extremity of childbirth, is a true rebirth of humanity, and once this symbol is grasped and accepted it is easy to see why women are not sacrificing priests. Women have their own elevated role in renewing the earth, and men are charged with tending the humanity whose spiritual life has been atoned-for in the priesthood of Christ.

Women priests and bishops make as much sense to God’s intentions as male pregnancy and lactation. If we honour God and his created order, it is time to reorder our ideas in obedience, respect and recognition. The current impertinence, foisted upon an unsuspecting Church by a very few misguided people, however articulate, is ungodly. There is no room in our human society for the vanity of the ordination idea, for the harvest needs labourers and quickly.