Women and the Eucharist
Online Congress January -
concerning the Dignity and Vocation of Women,
Encyclical Letter by Pope John
Paul II (30 September 1988)
Against the broad background of the "great mystery" expressed in the spousal relationship between Christ and the church, it is possible to understand adequately the calling of the "Twelve." In calling only men as his apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner.
Here one finds an explanation for the calling of the "Twelve." They are with Christ at the Last Supper. They alone receive the sacramental charge, "Do this in remembrance of me," (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:240 which is joined to the institution of the Eucharist. On Easter Sunday night they receive the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20:23) (Mulieris Dignitatem § 26)
We just print some excerpts here. It is worth reading the whole text.
Paragraphs in Mulieris Dignitatem
Since Christ in instituting the Eucharist linked it in such an explicit way to the priestly service of the apostles, it is legitimate to conclude that he thereby wished to express the relationship between man and woman, between what is "feminine" and what is "masculine." It is a relationship willed by God both in the mystery of creation and in the mystery of redemption. It is the Eucharist above all that expresses the redemptive act of Christ, the bridegroom, toward the church, the bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental ministry of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts in persona Christi, is performed by a man.
This explanation confirms the teaching of the declaration Inter Insigniores, published at the behest of Paul VI in response to the question concerning the admission of women to the ministerial priesthood. (Mulieris Dignitatem § 26)
blasphemy and God-with-us
every time again
confused spirals of thought
my fantasy and my
feeling of wounded self-respect created an image
in creative freedom
I picture to myself from biblical texts
© Tina van Lieshout
Excerpts of Hans Urs von Balthasar on whose theology Pope John Paul II relied:
* "(Balthasar's reflections are) male daydreaming that comes closer to ecclesiastical soft porn than to a theological treatise on the Church". (Hedwig Meyer-Wilmes, 'Vater Gott und Mutter Kirche', in Marie-Therese Wacker (ed.), Theologie feministisch, Düsseldorf 1988, p. 150. )
* "The 'what else ... but' (v.B. quote 2) implies that it is nothing else. This is the eucharist understood not primarily as Christ's identification with the universal human tragedy of death, but rather as the identification of Christ's death with the uniquely male experience of penile ejaculation . . . The justification given (in the encyclical) for the essentialisation of the male priesthood has reduced the symbolic richness of the Mass so that it is indeed nothing but a cosmic male orgasm, as von Balthasar suggests. The female body, lacking the 'limited organ' which allows for this experience, cannot represent Christ in the eucharist. Ultimately this means that women have become bystanders in the metaphysical consummation of homosexual love, a marriage between men and God in which the male body is both the masculine bridegroom and the feminine bride, the masculine God and the feminine creature, the masculine Christ and the feminine church. This makes Catholic theology more explicitly phallocentric than has been the case in the past, since the phallus has become the defining symbol of Christ's giving of self in the Mass." (Tina Beattie, God's Mother, Eve's Advocate. A Gynocentric Refiguration of Marian Symbolism in Engagement with Luce Irigaray, Bristol 1999, p. 65.)
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