Peter Kreeft: Woman and the Priesthood (MP3 audio)

I commend to you: Peter Kreeft: Women and the Priesthood.

Some great “soundbyte” quotes:

“The Church did not invent the priesthood. She received it.”

“If we don’t understand the reason for some ancient tradition or rule or institution, that should be a good reason for not abolishing it until we do understand it. . . . So the only people who might have a right to change the old rule are precisely the people who don’t want to change it. And the people who don’t have a right to change it because they don’t understand it are precisely the people who do want to change it.”

“Ideology does not judge the Church, the Church judges ideologies. To be a Catholic is to believe that the Church and her traditions are more than human, that she is the body of Jesus Christ, graced with his real presence and power and promise of guidance. I have not yet once heard one advocate of priestesses face and affirm this fact, or manifest the loyal submission that all the saints had to our holy Mother. When feminists become saints, we will become their pupils.”

“What more does anybody want? ‘Rome has spoken; the case is closed.’ That formula used to evoke love and loyalty. The issue today is not whether the Church will have priestesses. She won’t. The only open issue today is whether the would-be priestess will have the Church.”

“To say ‘Yes’ to Christ, but ‘No’ to his Church is to will a spiritual decapitation.”

“God, who deliberately designed sexuality, also deliberately designed to incarnate himself as a male. Jesus Christ is still a male today. He still has his human body in heaven and it is a male body.”

“Priests of Christ, who are Christ’s mouths, through whom he speaks the words, ‘This is my Body,’ must be male because Christ is male.”

“Christ, the perfect human image of the Father is male because God the Father is masculine; ‘he’ not ‘she.'”

“Male and female are biological genders. Masculine and feminine . . . are cosmic universal principles extending to all reality.”

“I think it is incredibly provincial and even arrogant for us to assume without a shred of proof that this nearly universal human instinct is mere projection, mere illusion, mere fantasy, rather than an insight into a cosmic principle that is really there. There is abundant, ubiquitous and obvious evidence for it from the bottom of the cosmic hierarchy to the top: from the electromagnetic attraction between electrons and protons, to the circumincession of divine Persons in the Trinity. Male and female are only the biological version of cosmic masculine and feminine. God is masculine to everything from angels to prime matter. That is the ultimate reason why priests who represent God to us must be male.”

“If you can subtract the divine masculinity from Scripture when it offends you, why can’t you subtract the divine compassion when that offends you? If you read your Marxism into Scripture today, why can’t you read your Nazism into Scripture tomorrow? If you can change God’s masculinity, why not change his morality, why not his very being? If you can twist the pronoun, why not twist the noun?”

“The Church tells us that the priesthood is not a right and not a privilege. No one can claim a right to be a priest.”

“The most egregious error of all is the demand to be priestesses for empowerment. I can think of no term that more perfectly proves the speaker’s utter incomprehension of what she says than that. . . . Priests are not power brokers or managers.”

12 thoughts on “Peter Kreeft: Woman and the Priesthood (MP3 audio)

  1. I have always enjoyed and valued Kreeft’s insight. Thanks for sharing these Clif. I would also highly recommend some of the audio lectures from Fr. Hopko on Gender. Absolutely amazing. Available at St. Vlads of course.

  2. Megan:

    Though I do not think you will ever read these words:

    While I’m deeply saddened that you have chosen the occasion of my commending Kreeft’s lectures for the review and comment of my readers to publicly reject my (online) company, given our deeply disparate beliefs and convictions, I am not surprised.

    Please know that I am immensely grateful for the visits you have made here and the comments, including your kind words to me here, which you have left behind.

  3. “The Church tells us that the priesthood is not a right and not a privilege. No one can claim a right to be a priest.”

    I agree. I agree with this statement. I think that might be all I agree with, but there you go. Surprised? Doubtful.

  4. Tripp:

    For some reason, I couldn’t post my reply to your trackback ping on your site. So here it is:


    I think it would be best to listen to the talk in its entirety via the link in my post. I noted in my own post that these were soundbytes. They are not the entirety of Dr. Kreeft’s argument, though they are, I hope, at least a decent summarization of main points of it.

    It would seem an example of hospitality that one carefully considere Dr. Kreeft’s argument on its face before ascribing to him a lack of understanding of the feminist perspective.

    If, on the other hand, you are ascribing such a perspective to me, you may well be right, but I wonder where you might have gotten such a notion, since I myself did not make these comments, however sympathetic I may be to them.

    Also, for some odd reason, I can only access this post through it’s permalink and not throught the main page of your blog.

  5. From personal experience, at two ECUSA parishes in the Chicago area, priestesses are a bad idea in principle, but even worse in practice. Throw in a priestess with a background in social work or anthropology, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    One extremely liberal priestess pretty much ran me (and another conservative) out of the parish in a yuppie Chicago neighborhood, because she did not like us spouting our subversive conservative views in an EFM group. That ultimately put me on the road to Orthodoxy, although I spent six months at a very conservative parish.

    Gee, am I glad I’m Orthodox now.

    Also, Clifton, are you actually entering the catechumenate soon – with the rest of the family? I was surprised to read that a day or two ago. Or is it hopeful thinking?

  6. Theodora Elizabeth:

    Although, like you, I have had some rather unfortunate experiences with women priests, I should say that, theological matters aside, I happen to know two women who are presently pursuing the priesthood in ECUSA who very much counter the evidence of your experience and mine. They and I all take the ordination matter seriously, albeit on different sides of the matter, and I can say that these two women are godly women of character whom, could I affirm women as priests, I would not hesitate to recommend to the Eucharistic ministry. It is no doubt to their great consternation, if not at times hurt and anger, that I cannot do so of conscience.

    As to the catechumenate: I looked back over my recent posts and couldn’t find the one to which you might be referring. But to clear the matter up: unless you know something I do not, I’m not soon to enter the catechumenate–despite devoutly wishing and indeed praying to do so. For now I wait on God and temper my enthusiasm, difficult though that has been. I am convinced that when the time comes, God will accomplish it with family unity.

  7. Cliff,

    I deleted the post. I realized that I was being a knee-jerk reactive sort without listening to the full lecture. So, as I doubt I will make the time to listen to the lecture with everything else I am doing, I thought it best to delete the post entirely.

    It was not posted with charity in mind.

    The whole “be gentle in all things” ideal I am attempting to live into would have been slandered by my response.

  8. Human Anthropology, how one answers “what is man?”, is a very sensitive indicator of one’s true philosophy. If one has the mind of the Church, or rather is deeply involved in the struggle to submit one’s will and heart to God, then that person will start to see man as something more than a “rational animal” – more than a collection of genetically determined cells. Only at this point can one really begin to see the true role of gender, ecclesiastical service, etc. Until then, ones modernist philosophy just bounces off the wall of Truth. Until then, Kreeft’s words just sound so much like a rationalization of “patriarchal hierarchy”.

    This is not to say it is not truly hard to submit ones will to God (and by extension, ones philosophy of nature/man/society). It is hard, truly hard. It is utterly impossible in this world, without God’s help. Lord Have Mercy!!

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