October 31, 2008

The Priesthood- Recap

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This session was particularly well-attended. We were blessed to have several women present, each of whom contributed to our discussion of priesthood and fatherhood. The Catholic priesthood was discussed from the standpoint of both creation and redemption, all things proceeding from the One Eternal Father.

The principle of headship was proposed as being of the essence of marriage, the state, the local church (diocese), the universal Church, and the Holy Trinity. The Father is the ἀρχή (source, authority, principle of unity) of the Holy Trinity, yet Father, Son and Holy Spirit are consubstantial (΄ομοούσιον), one God, co-equal in power, knowledge, majesty (etc.). Therefore, a relationship involving authority / subordination, as implied by headship, is not necessarily a relationship involving an essential or ontological inequality. From a trinitarian perspective, lawful headship in the home and both the universal and local Church can be understood in terms of fatherhood.

We considered, in light of the Incarnation (Christ being the "express image" of the Father), the relationship between the fatherhood of the Catholic presbyter and the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This inevitably led to a discussion of Calvary, the Eucharist, and the sacramental / onotological dimension of the presbyterate, which is rightly regarded as a sacerdotal office distinct from, though not unrelated to, the priesthood of the believer. From these complementary perspectives of creation-theology (fatherhood) and redemption-theology (priesthood), the Catholic teaching that the sacramental priesthood is reserved to men alone was brought into focus.