A Comment on the Trinity: from Archpriest Patrick Reardon

In a former Touchstone article (now reprinted and online at Novae Militiae), rather pedestrianly entitled, “Women Priests – History and Theology,” Fr. Reardon explores the historical, linguistic, iconographic and liturgical history of women’s ordination. Caution: meaty thought ahead. But rather than deal specifically with women’s ordination–since I’m likely to alienate almost everyone who reads these pages (oops! forgot. I’ve already done that.), I wanted to touch on God-talk, under the impetus of what’s going on in some of the comments on Laura’s Magdalen News.

I excerpt from the Reardon article the following:

Prior to becoming a male in the human race, the eternal Word was already God’s Son, not just his offspring. The fatherhood and the sonship in the Holy Trinity are not simply cultural names. Even if there were no such things as men and women, God could still be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Male headship in the Church and in the Christian family, then, is not an arbitrary arrangement. It has to do with the very being of the God of Christians. Change it and you start to alter that most patriarchal of dogmas: the doctrine of the Trinity.

I hasten to add that sex may not be read back into the Being of God as Father. I simply want to insist that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not something else. If it is erroneous to read sex back into God, then it is at least as wrong to read androgyny or gender-neutrality back into God . . . . The theology . . . goes out of its way to portray an androgynous divinity by concentrated and intentional recourse to gender-neutral, feminine, and even animist metaphors with a view to “balancing” the biblical names “Father and Son,” while these latter are only sparsely employed. [These] are shocking examples of a modem reluctance to voice the two proclamations given us by the Holy Spirit: “Abba, Father” and “Jesus is Lord.”