Category: Mary Priest

María llevando vestimentas sacerdotales

María llevando vestimentas sacerdotales

María llevando vestimentas sacerdotales

Galería de Imágenes #2

Después del Siglo XI, María era representada frecuentemente llevando vestiduras litúrgicas usadas por obispos o sacerdotes mientras celebraban la Eucaristía.

Esta forma de representación esta, posiblemente, relacionada al Salmo 45, versículos 10 al 17, que se aplicaban frecuentemente a María en la liturgia. “La hija del rey, vestida de brocados, a real aposento es conducida,” (Biblia Latinoamericana, Salmo 45, v. 14); “En el interior está la principal gloria o lucimiento de la hija del rey; ella está cubierta de un vestido con varios adornos,” (Biblia La Vulgata, Salmo 44, v. 14). El texto fue interpretado como refiriéndose a las vestimentas sacerdotales de María. Como ejemplo, lea a Francesco Pepe.

Las imágenes se presentan en orden cronológico.

Painting from Gengenbach, Germany

1. Página iluminada del Evangelario de Gengenbach/Baden (Landesbibliothek, Stutgart), Alemania, circa 1150 DC

El Ángel Gabriel aparece a María, quien viste ropas sacerdotales. En la tradición, los teólogos destacan que la respuesta de María: “Hágase en mí según tu palabra” (Lucas 1:38), causó que ocurriera la Encarnación y que, por sus palabras, Cristo se hiciera presente, al igual que las palabras de consagración de un sacerdote hacen presente a Cristo en la Eucaristía. Lea a San Antonio de Florencia, OP, a J. Duvergier de Hauranne y al obispo J. Nazlian.

Crédito. Para ver la imagen más grande (200kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Click here to enlarge!

2. Ilustración de la Biblia de Frowinus, Siglo XII

Al Abad Frowinus (fallecido en 1178 DC) le fue comisionada una copia ilustrada de la Biblia. En la página titular o de portada (cubierta), vemos al abad arrodillado frente a la Virgen María, para dedicarle el manuscrito a ella. Note que María lleva una casulla cubierta con cruces (como la que usa el abad) y la mitra de obispo que ella lleva sobre su cabeza.

Un detalle interesante, sólo visible en la versión agrandada de la imagen, es que el Niño Jesús, que María lleva en sus brazos, lleva una rama florecida. Claramente, la ilustración se refiere aquí a que María es llamada Vara de Aarón por los Padres de la Iglesia. La rama de Aarón floreció para probar su estatus sacerdotal (Números 17:16-26).

Crédito: La imagen original está en Bibles du monastère, Engelberg, cod. 4. Bible de Frowinus en 3 volumes. Esta reproducción puede encontrarse en Le Triomphe de la Vierge-Église por Marie-Louise Thérel, Centro Nacional de la Investigación Científica, París, 1984. Para ver la imagen más grande (120kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Mosaic in Barcelona, Spain

3. Ábside sobre el altar de la Iglesia de Santa María de Táhull, Barcelona, España, Siglo XIII

María, vistiendo una casulla, está sentada en su trono, en la misma forma en que un obispo lo haría en el suyo en el ábside. En su falda lleva a Jesús, el centro de la Eucaristía.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en Romanesque Painting por Juan Armand, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Nueva York, 1963, pág. 113. Imagen original del Museo de Arte Catalano. Para ver la imagen más grande (230kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Mary as priest, Amiens, France

4. Pintura “La sacerdoce de la Vierge (acercamiento), principios del Siglo XV, Escuela de Amiens, Francia

Nuestra Señora, vistiendo una clásica casulla y estola, está de pie frente al altar, presumiblemente lista para distribuir la santa comunión. Ella aparenta llevar en su mano derecha una patena; con la izquierda toma la mano del Niño Jesús. El Papa está arrodillado frente a ella; un ángel a su derecha lleva la tiara en sus manos.

Crédito: La reproducción es de Le Livre de la Vierge, ed. Bertrand Juegan, Arts et Métiers Graphiques, París, 1961, pág. 35. El original está en el Museo de Louvre, en París. Tenemos dos acercamientos para su estudio:
a) Acercamiento de la misma imagen (250kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.
b) Copia de la pintura completa, mostrando la iglesia en donde María forma el centro (262kb). Apriete aquí.


Mary, Virgin Priest

5. Imagen tradicional, presumiblemente de “María Sacerdote”. El artista y su origen me son desconocidos. (¿Puede ayudarme a identificarla?)

Expresión de agradecimiento y solicitud

Quisiera agradecer a las siguientes personas por su ayuda: a la comunidad de las Clarisas Pobres en Harwarden, Gales, Gran Bretaña; la asistencia pastoral de Colette Joyce en la Parroquia de Fulham, Londres; Dr. PME Hogervorst-van Kampen, de Noordwijk, Países Bajos; y los doctores A. Wijngaards y Arnhem, de Países Bajos.

Solicito humildemente que quien conozca de imágens de Nuestra Señora vistiendo ropas sacerdotales o ilustraciones de María la Virgen Sacerdote, que me haga saber dónde puedo obtenerlas. Si fuera posible, rastree las imágenes a color y envíelas por Internet como “attachment”. Incluya información detallada sobre la reproducción y publicación de la imagen, de manera que pueda dar el crédito correspondiente y obtener permiso para mostrarla en Internet, en caso de ser necesario. ¡Gracias!

Texto: John Wijngaards
Traducción: Ivelisse Colón-Nevárez

Vaya a la Galería de Imágenes #1

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María – ¿por qué un sacerdote? Teólogos y escritores Galería de imágenes María y el Sacramento del Orden María como sacerdote sacrificatorio María, modelo para los sacerdotes


the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

John Wijngaards Catholic Research

since 11 Jan 2014 . . .

John Wijngaards Catholic Research

Sírvase mencionar este documento como publicado por www.womenpriests.org!

María llevando puesto el palio episcopal

María llevando puesto el palio episcopal

María llevando puesto el palio episcopal

Galería de imágenes #1

Desde el Siglo VI, encontramos en muchas iglesias representaciones de María llevando el palio episcopal.

El palio era, originalmente, un accesorio de vestir griego llamado omophorion, el cual también fue introducido en Roma, y probablemente usado para denotar estatus. Sin embargo, adquirió un nuevo significado como vestimenta eclesial. En su particular apariencia cristiana y decorado con cruces, se convirtió en el signo distintivo de la autoridad papal y episcopal.

pallium

El palio, como le conocemos hoy día, es una banda circular que se lleva sobre los hombros, con dos apéndices, una colgando al frente y otra atrás. El palio es hecho de lana blanca de cordero. Sus pendientes suelen tener tres mechones (¿?). Cruces cuadradas de color negro decoran el palio en varios lugares. Originalmente, la parte superior era un manto corto, puesto en su sitio con alfileres, de manera que el apéndice colgara al frente. Antes, los apéndices eran largos. Más tarde, se hicieron más cortos.

¿Qué significa el palio?

Es muy importante destacar el hecho de que en tiempos antiguos, María fuera representada llevando el palio, por las siguientes razones:

  • El palio era el símbolo del estatus ministerial sacerdotal más elevado. Sólo podía ser usado por el Papa o por un obispo que recibiera dicho privilegio del Santo Padre.
  • El palio era sólo usado cuando el obispo ejercía sus funciones sacerdotales supremas, como en la Eucaristía y otras actividades religiosas solemnes.

La prueba de estos detalles está en cartas escritas por el Papa Gregorio El Grande (540-604 DC). Desde el Siglo IX, el palio sólo es dado a los Arzobispos.

Para más información sobre el palio y su historia, apriete aquí.

María llevando el palio

Click for enlargement!

1.Mosaico en el Oratorio de San Vicenzo, cerca de la Baptistería Laterana en Roma, Siglo VI aprox.

María lleva el palio sobre una casulla negra.

María es representada como “Sumo Sacerdote”, intercediendo entre Dios y su pueblo, una de las tareas dadas a los sumos sacerdotes, según menciona San Pablo en Hechos 5:1. Intercesión y mediación son algunas de las funciones ministeriales atribuidas a María por los Padres de la Iglesia.

Crédito : La imagen puede encontrarse en The Madonna por Adolfo Venturi, Burns & Oates, Londres, 1902, pág. 4. Para ver la imagen más grande (153kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Mosaic in Parenzo, Croatia

2.Mosaico en el Oratorio de San Venancio, en Lateran, fechado en 642 DC.

El mosaico fue hecho bajo los papados de Juan IV y Teodoro, ambos griegos de nacimiento (640-649 DC), y el mismo muestra alguna influencia griega. María lleva el palio blanco sobre la casulla, pero la parte superior del mismo está cubierto por su velo maphorion, el cual también lleva una cruz en el lugar correspondiente a la que lleva el palio en el mismo lugar.

Nuevamente, María es representada como “Sumo Sacerdote”, intercediendo entre Dios y su pueblo, una de las tareas dadas a los sumos sacerdotes, según menciona San Pablo en Hechos 5:1. Intercesión y mediación son algunas de las funciones ministeriales atribuidas a María por los Padres de la Iglesia.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en Legends of the Madonna por Anna Brownell-Jameson, Hutchinson & Co., Londres (sin fecha), pág. 85. Para ver la imagen más grande (130kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Mosaic in Parenzo, Croatia

3.Mosaico en la Basílica de Parenzo, Croacia, fechado en 540 DC

Tanto María como Isabel llevan un palio bajo la casulla. Los Padres de la Iglesia daban gran importancia al hecho de que ambas mujeres pertenecieran a familias sacerdotales. Frecuentemente, alababan el hecho de que María era de descendencia sacerdotal. Note que también se creía que María bautizó y confirmó a Juan el Bautista en el vientre de Isabel en la ocasión de su visita: ella estaba, por tanto, ejerciendo su ministerio sacerdotal.

Crédito: La fotografía fue tomada por el Dr. PME Hogervorst-van Kampen, en la propia Basílica en Croacia, en agosto de 1997. Para ver la imagen más grande (240kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Click here to enlarge!

4.Escultura en bajo relieve en Santa-María-in-Porto, Ravenna, Siglos VI ó VII

Esta escultura es una mezcla de influencias occidentales y orientales. La inscripción sobre la misma es una abreviación de la frase griegaMeter Theu, Madre de Dios. La representación está influenciada por la tradición griega de la llamada Virgen Platytera – la Virgen que ora. En el oriente, usualmente se muestra la imagen de Cristo en una ventana sobre su pecho. El manto superior es obviamente el maphorion de María, el equivalente griego del palio romano. Hay cruces por todo su vestido, adorno derivado del palio eclesial.

De nuevo, María es representada como Sumo Sacerdote, intercediendo entre Dios y su pueblo, una de las tareas dadas a los sumos sacerdotes, según menciona San Pablo en Hechos 5:1. Intercesión y mediación son algunas de las funciones ministeriales atribuidas a María por los Padres de la Iglesia.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en Legends of the Madonna por Anna Brownell-Jameson, Hutchinson & Co., Londres (sin fecha), pág. 85. Para ver la imagen más grande (130kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña. Otra imagen similar a ésta puede verse aquí Proviene de Sub Matris Tutela por Christa Belting-Ihm, Carl Winter, Heidelberg, 1976, placa XVIa.


Click for enlargement!

5.Mosaico en la Capilla del Arzobispo, Ravenna, Siglo XI (¿?)
Esta imagen cuelga sobre el altar de la Capilla Arzobispal de Ravenna. El mosaico era, originalmente, del ábside de la Basílica Ursiana. Nuevamente, vemos el palio blanco sobre una casulla de color obscuro.

María es representada como “Sumo Sacerdote”, intercediendo entre Dios y su pueblo, una de las tareas dadas a los sumos sacerdotes, según menciona San Pablo en Hechos 5:1. Intercesión y mediación son algunas de las funciones ministeriales atribuidas a María por los Padres de la Iglesia.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en Sub Matris Tutela por Christa Belting-Ihm, Carl Winter, Heidelberg, 1976, placa XVIb. Para ver la imagen más grande (190kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Click here to enlarge!

6. Mosaico en el domo de la Basílica de Torcello, Siglo XII

María lleva sobre su brazo izquierdo al Niño Jesús. Está obviamente influenciada por el tradicional ícono griego de la Madonna Hodegetria. Sin embargo, hay dos importantes diferencias. Hay cruces sobre la casulla y el velo – en el equivalente griego, en el maphorion de María, suele haber normalmente estrellas. El palio blanco, con su cruz, se ve justo debajo de su mano izquierda.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en The Madonna por Adolfo Venturi, Burns & Oates, Londres, 1902, pág. 9. Para ver la imagen más grande (195kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Painting from Italy

7. Pintura de la Iglesia de la Madonna del Serbo Campagnano, Siglo XIII

María está sentada sobre lo que aparenta ser el trono de un obispo. Lleva al Niño Jesús en su brazo izquierdo y lo señala con el dedo de su mano derecha. Un palio blanco y decorado se extiende hacia abajo, bajo su casulla.

Otra interpretación de esta pintura, hecha por otros autores, es que María lleva en lugar de casulla la dalmática de un diácono; esto se debe a la forma que tiene la casulla. Los Padres de la Iglesia alababan a María también como diácono, algo muy significativo, dado que en ese tiempo, las mujeres diáconos servían en la Iglesia como ministros válidamente ordenados. En la tradición tardía, María era considerada en ocasiones como diácono (vea e.g. M.J: Scheeben). Sin embargo, el que María esté sentada sobre el trono de un obispo y el que lleve un palio argumentan contra esa interpretación.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en Romanesque Painting por Juan Armand, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Nueva York, 1963, pág. 46. Para ver la imagen más grande (220kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña.


Click here to enlarge!

8. Fresco en Santa María Antica, Roma, Siglo XIV (¿?)

María está sentada en lo que aparenta ser un trono episcopal, con el Niño Jesús descansando sobre sus piernas. Ella viste una elaborada casulla, decorada con gemas. El palio es visible justo debajo de su mano derecha.

El fresco está muy dañado y es difícil determinar su edad.

Crédito: La imagen puede encontrarse en Le Triomphe de la Vierge-Église por Marie Louise Thérel, Centro Nacional de Investigación Científica, Paria, 1984, pág. 96. Para ver la imagen más grande (185kb), apriete aquí o en la imagen pequeña. Otra imagen similar in contexto extenso aquí

Expresión de agradecimiento y solicitud

Quisiera agradecer a las siguientes personas por su ayuda: a la comunidad de las Clarisas Pobres en Harwarden, Gales, Gran Bretaña; la asistencia pastoral de Colette Joyce en la Parroquia de Fulham, Londres; Dr. PME Hogervorst-van Kampen, de Noordwijk, Países Bajos; y los doctores A. Wijngaards y Arnhem, de Países Bajos.

Solicito humildemente que quien conozca de imágens de Nuestra Señora vistiendo ropas sacerdotales o ilustraciones de María la Virgen Sacerdote, que me haga saber dónde puedo obtenerlas. Si fuera posible, rastree las imágenes a color y envíelas por Internet como “attachment”. Incluya información detallada sobre la reproducción y publicación de la imagen, de manera que pueda dar el crédito correspondiente y obtener permiso para mostrarla en Internet, en caso de ser necesario. ¡Gracias!

Texto: John Wijngaards
Traducción: Ivelisse Colón-Nevárez

Vaya a la Galería de Imágenes #2

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Tradición

María – ¿por qué un sacerdote? Teólogos y escritores Galería de imágenes María y el Sacramento del Orden María como sacerdote sacrificatorio María, modelo para los sacerdotes


the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

John Wijngaards Catholic Research

since 11 Jan 2014 . . .

John Wijngaards Catholic Research

Sírvase mencionar este documento como publicado por www.womenpriests.org!

Marie et le sacerdoce universel des fidèles

Marie et le sacerdoce universel des fidèles

Marie et le sacerdoce universel des fidèles

Tous les baptisés, y compris les femmes, partagent le sacerdoce universel du Christ

Tous les fidèles partagent le sacerdoce du Christ..

Le Christ Seigneur, Pontife pris d'entre les hommes  (cf. Heb 5,1-5), fit du nouveau peuple "un royaume de prêtres pour Dieu son Père" (Apoc. 1,6; 5, 9-10). En effet, par la régénération et l'onction de l'Esprit-Saint, les baptisés sont consacrés pour être une maison spirituelle et un sacerdoce saint.

Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, n° 10.

Le Christ a aboli l'Ancien Testament qui reposait sur l'aspect sacré (= sainteté présumée) des temps, des endroits, des objets du culte et de la descendance sacerdotale.  Le Christ a institué un sacerdoce dont tous les baptisés partagent la dignité fondamentale. Le "nouveau sacerdoce" du Christ s'étend à tous les fidèles.

Le fait que les fidèles partagent ce sacerdoce universel en Christ entraîne nécessairement qu'ils peuvent, par l'intermédiaire du sacrement de l'Ordre, partager également le sacerdoce ministériel du Christ. Ceci s'applique aussi bien aux hommes qu'aux femmes puisque les uns comme les autres participent au sacerdoce du Christ par le baptême.

L'Évangile de Luc présente Marie comme un "nouveau prêtre" dans le Christ

La capacité à recevoir le sacerdoce ministériel est comprise implicitement dans le sacerdoce universel des fidèles. Ce principe s'applique de manière toute particulière à Marie. Et bien que Marie n'ait jamais exercé le ministère eucharistique, comme  Rome le souligne sans arrêt, Marie possède à un degré éminent cette participation au sacerdoce universel du Christ qui aurait dû faire d'elle naturellement un ministre sacerdotal.

Ceci est mis particulièrement en relief dans l'Évangile de saint Luc. Luc souligne le rôle joué par les femmes dans l'Église primitive. Il est évident qu'il envisage pour les femmes un rôle actif dans l'apostolat. Dans ce contexte, Luc présente Marie comme un exemple de "nouveau prêtre" dans le Christ.

La Tradition confirme que le sacerdoce universel des fidèles en Marie implique une ouverture au sacerdoce universel plénier.

La Tradition a considéré Marie comme un vrai prêtre, qui a reçu les grâces comme les pouvoirs attachés au sacerdoce ministériel. Quand elle est confrontée à l'interdiction de l'ordination des femmes, la Tradition formule la solution en disant que Marie possède le sacerdoce ministériel plénier "de manière équivalente et de manière éminente".

Selon mon interprétation, cette Tradition confirme ce qui a été dit plus haut, à savoir que le sacerdoce universel des fidèles implique nécessairement une ouverture au sacrement de l'Ordre, et cela pour les hommes comme pour les femmes.

Nous avons besoin de nouvelles images libératricese de Marie et du sacerdoce.

Un obstacle considérable à une bonne interprétation à la fois du "sacerdoce" chrétien et du rôle exemplaire que Marie y joue, vient de peurs profondes de nature culturelle. Ceci est très bien expliqué par Tina Beattiedans Marie, la Vierge Prêtre ?

Les descriptions traditionneles de Marie mettent en relief son obéissance soumise. C'est un héritage de saint Augustin dont l'argument est que si la femme la plus pure au monde est obéissante à un mari de moindre vertu alors la qualité de la soumission de la femme est l'indicateur de sa chasteté. Nous devons recourir à des images de Marie plus exactes comme Kim Power en montre dans Re-imaginer Marie à Noël.

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since 11 Jan 2014 . . .

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La devozione a maria sacerdote

La devozione a maria sacerdote

La devozione a Maria Sacerdote è una tradizione “latente” che lascia capire che le donne potrebbero essere ordinate

La Tradizione implicita

Attraverso i secoli, i fedeli hanno avuto una devozione verso Maria Sacerdote. Essi hanno percepito intuitivamente,col loro 'senso cattolico',che Maria prendeva parte al sacerdozio di Gesù più di ogni altro uomo.Implicitamente la loro devozione era fondata sulla convinzione forte ma abitualmente inespressa che Maria, benchè donna, avrebbe potuto essere ordinata come qualunque altro uomo. Alcune volte questa convinzione venne espressa esplicitamente.

La Chiesa ha sempre creduto che la sua vera Tradizione non è totalmente espressa solo attraverso le dichiarazioni o le pratiche.La Tradizione ingloba anche "il vangelo che nostro Signore non ha scritto ma che ha insegnato con la parola e che ha impresso nel cuore della gente, e che gli evangelisti non hanno trascritto più tardi che una parte, mentre un'altra parte è rimasta confinata nel cuore dei fedeli ” (Joseph Ratzinger, “L'interpretazione del decreto tridentino sulla Tradizione”), in Rivelazione e Tradizione, di K. Rahner e J. Ratzinger, Burns & Oates, Londra 1966, pp. 50-68. Questa Tradizione è conosciuta con il nome di "Vangelo del cuore".

Io sono convinto che, nel corso dei secoli, i Cattolici hanno saputo, nel profondo del loro cuore, che le donne e gli uomini sono eguali davanti a Dio e che di conseguenza non può esserci nessun impedimento fondamentale all'ordinazione delle donne al sacerdozio. Questa intima convinzione è il sensus fidelium”, il senso cristiano della fede, o anche lo spirito della Chiesa : Ecclesiae Catholicae sensus, o anche consensus Ecclesiae, ricordando che in quest'ultima espressione 'Chiesa' significa assemblea dei fedeli.

Leggete come il cardinale Newman et P. Yves Congar hanno descritto questa tradizione latente .

Allorquando passiamo in rassegna la storia della Chiesa-la storia della comunità che crede in Cristo-scopriamo ,dietro l'opposizione culturale contro le donne sacerdote ,una coscienza permanente che è in contrasto con le idee culturali e sociali ufficialmente accettate. Una maniera attraverso la quale il “sensus fidelium”esprime la sua convinzione è l'accettazione, nel corso del tempo, di Maria come il più eminente tra i sacerdoti.

La devozione a Maria Sacerdote

La devozione a Maria come sacerdote può essere sostenuta da molti fattori.

1.- La convinzione profonda che Maria è pienamente sacerdote .

La Tradizione ci fornisce quattro argomenti principali : Maria appartiene ad una famiglia sacerdotale;Maria ha esercitato le funzioni sacerdotali;Maria ci ha dato l'Eucarestia ; Maria procura il perdono dei peccati.

2.- La Tradizione ha sottolineato particolarmente il ruolo di Maria come sacerdote che offre il sacrificio

Il ruolo di Maria come sacerdote che offre il sacrificio viene visto specialmente durante l' offerta di Gesù nella Presentazione al Tempio e durante la Crocifissione al Calvario.

3.- La devozione a Maria Sacerdote è molto diffusa tra i ministri ordinati.

Maria sembra avere una relazione speciale con i sacerdoti,specialmente durante la celebrazione dell'Eucarestia .

4.- La devozione a Maria Sacerdote è stata costantemente presente nel corso della storia.

Leggete la testimonianza dei teologi e degli autori spirituali,con numerosi riferimenti.

5.- La devozione a Maria Sacerdote è espressa nell'arte religiosa .

Visitate la nostra galleria dei dipinti di Maria Sacerdote

Maria ed il sacramento dell'Ordine

Gli autori antichi non ignoravano che, secondo le concezioni culturali e teologiche del tempo, le donne non potevano essere ordinate sacerdoti.Come hanno superato questo ostacolo per quanto concerne Maria ?

Essi hanno proposto l'idea che, benchè Maria non abbia ricevuto il sacramento dell'Ordine come lo ricevono i sacerdoti oggi, essa possedeva in maniera eminente un sacerdozio equivalente. In particolare, essi proponevano che :

Maria fu ordinata sacerdote attraverso un'unzione interiore ,diversa dall'unzione esteriore amministrata oggi ai sacerdoti durante la loro ordinazione. E' lo stesso Spirito Santo che ha ordinato Maria.

Altri pensano che sia stato Cristo ad amministrare l'ordinazione a Maria, facendola sacerdote. Cristo le ha trasmesso il suo sacerdozio.La ha delegata e le ha comunicato la sua dignità.

Maria porta il carattere sacerdotale di Cristo.

Benchè Maria non sia stata ordinata nella maniera sacramentale, essa possedeva la sostanza del sacerdozio al più alto grado. La grandezza del sacerdozio è in Maria.

In Maria, l'ostacolo del sesso è superato.

Per maggiori dettagli Maria ed il sacramento dell'ordine.

Leggete anche l'articolo di Tina Beattie : Maria, Vergine Sacerdote ?

Conclusione

La devozione a Maria rivela che esiste una tradizione latente secondo la quale non vi è una ragione valida per escludere le donne dall'ordinazione semplicemente perchè sono donne.

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John Wijngaards Catholic Research

since 11 Jan 2014 . . .

John Wijngaards Catholic Research

St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort. 1673 – 1716 AD.

St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort. 1673 – 1716 AD.

St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort

1673 – 1716 AD. Canonised by Pius XII in 1947

Mary sacrificed Jesus for us

“The Son of God has ennobled his independence and majesty by depending on this amiable Virgin at his conception, at birth, at his presentation in the Temple, during his thirty years of hidden life and at his death. Even at the Lord’s death Mary had to be present so that he might be united with her in one sacrifice and be immolated with her consent to the eternal Father, just as formerly Isaac was offered in sacrifice by Abraham when he accepted the will of God. It was Mary who nursed him, fed him, cared for him, reared him, and sacrificed him for us.” Traité de la vraie dévotion, Tours 1933, § 18, pp. 13-14.

More information about Grignon de Montfort’s teaching on the de Montfort website.

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Mary – why a priest? Theologians and writers Picture gallery Mary and Holy Orders Mary as sacrificial priest Mary, the model of priests
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Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars’ declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

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Historical Survey

Historical Survey

Historical Survey

We offer here a provisional list arranged in chronological order. It brings together names of saints, bishops, theologians and spiritual authors who have written about Mary’s priesthood and whose writings are, to some limited extent, documented on our web site.

Though the persons mentioned do by no means reflect the devotion to Mary Priest in any complete or exhaustive fashion, they do give an idea of the spread of this devotion and its continuity throughout the ages. The increase of testimonies in later centuries does not arise so much from growth in the devotion as from the fact that such testimonies are much more difficult to obtain from earlier times.

The tradition about Mary Priest

The tradition about Mary Priest

The tradition of Mary as Priest

Main documents Supporting Documents
General Introduction
The devotion to Mary Priest is a latent tradition that implies that women can be ordained.
‘The priesthood of Mary’
Article in the Tablet (Dec. 1999) that outlines what is at stake
Historical Survey
Chronological list of more than 90 theologians and writers whose texts are found on this web site.
Gallery of Images
Illustrations of traditional art in which Mary is presented as a priest.

Throughout the centuries the faithful have felt a devotion to Mary as priest.

They intuitively saw, with their ‘Catholic sense’, that Mary shared in Jesus’ priesthood more than anyone else.

Implicitly their devotion contained the strong but usually unspoken conviction that Mary, though a woman, could easily have been ordained a priest, as much as any man.

This conviction about Mary’s priestly status has consequences for the ordination of women. Read on!

 
Why was Mary considered a Priest?
The reasons given in tradition for hailing Mary as a priest.
Mary as a Sacrificial Priest
Mary’s participation in Jesus’ sacrifice, the main ground for acknowledging her priesthood.
Mary’s relationship to priests
Priests looked upon Mary as a model for their own ministry, especially regarding the Eucharist.

Traditional prayers to Mary Priest.

The Presentation in the Temple
The text from St. Luke’s Gospel which was the basis for much commentary on Mary offering Jesus
The Sanctuary in the Temple of Jerusalem
An explanation of its sacred objects and places.
Jesus’ sacrificial death
The satisfaction theory presupposed in many ancient theological writings
Three articles to correct mistakes in the ancient satisfaction theory:
Is God a dictator?
Did God want to see blood?
Did God demand bloody satisfaction?
Mary and Holy Orders
A description of how ancient writers solved the conflict between Mary’s priesthood and ‘the obstacle of her sex’
Mary and the priesthood of all the believers
The common priesthood of all the faithful implies openness of all to Holy Orders
Related articles:
‘Mary, the Virgin Priest’ by Dr. Tina Beattie. An excellent analysis of the tradition from a feminist perspective.
Re-imagining Mary at Christmas
by Prof. Kim Power. New images to replace distortions of the past.
Overview of documents in this section
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Tradition

Mary – why a priest? Theologians and writers Picture gallery Mary and Holy Orders Mary as sacrificial priest Mary, the model of priests
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Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars’ declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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as published by www.womenpriests.org!

Raphael V. O’Connell SJ

Raphael V. O’Connell SJ

Raphael V. O’Connell SJ

in

Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Graces, Baltimore 1926.

Note. This is just an example of the typical treatment given to Mary’s mediation by theologians and spiritual writers. The author depends heavily on Cardinal Louis Billot and J.V.Bainvel SJ (Marie, Mère de Grace).

“ But the Lamb of God, immolated on Calvary, was offered up through Mary’s hands. He did indeed offer Himself as the principal agent, even as in Holy Mass it is He who is High Priest no less than Victim. But as in the Eucharistic Sacrifice He is pleased to use as His instrument a mortal man, so too it was His will, that, as He hung upon the Cross, His .) Mother should be present at His side, that by the union of her will with His, she might cooperate with Him in His saving oblation.” (p. 56)

“ It is in view of the merits of Christ that His heavenly Father is willing to be reconciled to mankind, to forget our sins, to pour out His grace abundantly upon us. It is when He beholds the Divine Victim, that has been slain for us, and sees His wounds, and hears the voice of His Blood crying out for pardon for His brethren, that the heart of the Father is moved, that the gates of His mercy are unlocked, and that the streams of grace flow downward to bathe the earth, and render fruitful the barren hearts of men.”

“ But the Lamb of God, immolated on Calvary, was offered up through Mary’s hands. He did indeed offer Himself as the principal agent, even as in Holy Mass it is He who is High Priest no less than Victim. But as in the Eucharistic Sacrifice He is pleased to use as His instrument a mortal man, so too it was His will, that, as He hung upon the Cross, His Mother should be present at His side, that by the union of her will with His, she might cooperate with Him in His saving oblation.” (pp.110 – 111).

Overview of documents in this section
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Tradition

Mary – why a priest? Theologians and writers Picture gallery Mary and Holy Orders Mary as sacrificial priest Mary, the model of priests
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Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars’ declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.


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Towards a Priesthood for Women. Handmaids of Goddess. By Elizabeth Roddy

Towards a Priesthood for Women. Handmaids of Goddess. By Elizabeth Roddy

Towards a Priesthood for Women

Handmaids of Goddess

Elizabeth Roddy (from a B.A.S.I.C. newsletter)

This paper is dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Ignatius Loyola, whose loving friendship inspired this paper, and to St . Therese of Lisieux and Soline Vatinel whose courage in the pursuit of their priesthood gave it life.

It seems significant to me that in the last hundred and fifty years the only two dogmas defined by the Roman Catholic church (with of course the exception of papal infallibility) have been Marian: the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the Assumption (1950). It is possible that there may soon be a third: “Mary, Co-Redemptrix-Mediator of all Graces and Advocate for the people of God.”

Many people, especially fellow Christians, find these doctrines very difficult to cope with. They feel that statements about Mary are being made with no reference to scripture and that she is being elevated to becoming the fourth person of the Trinity. I do not want to enter this part of the debate. What I do want to do in this article is to reflect on why the Pope, representing the Christian community, might be guided by the Spirit to make such pronouncements. I want then to look at the implications of Her message, particularly for the development of the female priesthood. I will be drawing only a thumbnail sketch of my vision, which is only in embryo form at present.

I think it’s very important to say at the outset that Mary was first and last a peasant girl and that she’s one of us. I was delighted to see a statue of her in Clifton cathedral where she is portrayed with breasts! But what I am seeing more and more clearly is the re-emergence of “Goddess” or the feminine aspect of God. Since I started writing about Her, I came across “Crossing to Avalon” by Jean Shinoda Bolen. I was enthralled to find that she talks in similar language about the emergence of the goddess as we begin to honour more the sacredness of our planet and the body and its wisdom. She talks of the “need to become aware of those deep and sacred moments in which a woman and goddess are one and when Earth and Mother and Goddess and Woman partake of divinity.” (1)

The pagan world was comfortable with goddesses of all kinds: Cybele, Freya, Brigit, Juno, Hekate, the Yaga and Isis, to mention only a few. I am increasingly drawn to these female deities who carried in their persons numinous attributes of queenship, mothering, birthing, darkness, death, hearth, home, earth, sexuality and fertility. The Judeo-Christian religions fought shy of anything to do with Goddess, for various reasons, which it’s not possible to explore in this paper. Christianity developed a sense of a Father God, who sent a Son to earth and who in turn sent a male Holy Spirit. However, Goddess began to emerge again, personified by Mary, defined as Theotikos at the Council of Ephesus 431. Later Dante was to describe her as symbol of the Divine Mercy:

“God’s stern judgment to her will inclines.” (2)

Now I think it is vitally important to keep the distinctions clear if we are going to move into the millennium with a faith which is life-giving, rooted and which expresses the spiritual and material needs of the people. Sometimes I am afraid we have allowed our own personal fantasies about Mary to be enshrined as theology and have come up with something which is bordering on idolatry. Let me repeat that Mary is one of us.

She described herself as the lowly handmaid in the Magnificat. (3) She was gifted by God* and assumed into Heaven but she is NOT Goddess. But she does in her giftedness help to mediate Goddess to us in a form we can grasp.

*( I will use the term Goddess when I am referring specifically to feminine aspects of God. I will use the word God when I am speaking of the masculine or more general understanding of God.)

Let’s go back to the two defined doctrines because 1 think they are the keys to the path women must follow to express the fullness of their priesthood. The Immaculate Conception’ which declares that Mary was born without sin, means for me that Mary pointed always like a sunflower towards God and made a clear “fiat”. The Assumption again in my thinking means that Mary was taken way beyond herself, the lowly handmaiden, into something mystical. As women I believe that we must follow this model of Mary, for she represents most perfectly what the female priesthood is about. We too must say “yes” without question to whatever priestly vocation God calls us and we I must be prepared to move in partnership with Him far beyond the horizons of our comfort.

My limited experience in parish has taught me that priest and people cling tenaciously and: unconsciously to old ways and behaviours. A group starts off full of fresh expectations of pastures new, but they end up appointing “father” as leader; they do the things they always did because they are safe; imaginative thinking soon produces anxiety and anger, and wildness is quickly stamped upon. As the Red Queen said to Alice:

“Now here it takes all the running you can do, to remain in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that !” (4)

As my sense of Goddess deepens I am becoming very angry at being told I cannot be a priest because I am a woman – and of course the idea of being a Jesuit priest is cloud cuckoo land! But it should be clear to anyone who has any sensitivity at all that a female ministry must develop as the feminine aspect of the Divinity manifests Hersel£

Let’s look for a moment at the priesthood of Jesus. It was one of service, mostly out of doors and often at tables. Very rarely did He appear in “church” He went round curing the sick, forgiving sinners, teaching the people, eating meals with His friends. At the Last Supper He washed their feet as an example of how He expected them to behave to one another. Most important of all He showed that His power resides not in entering in triumph to Jerusalem or being buddies with Pontius Pilate but in lying fallen, broken and bleeding in the dust and enthroned on a cross. To me this is a priesthood of humanity, combining in perfect harmony the gifts of both male and female.

As the Church developed, the masculine side of priesthood became pre-dominant, in line with both the society of the time and the “maleness” of God that I’ve described. This led in my view to excessive legalism and obsession with authority, particularly after the Council of Trent (1545-1562). Blind obedience became required and free thinking punished. Even today this is so to a certain extent. Edward Schillebeeckx points out in “Ministry” that it was important for the early Christian communities to be sure that when the last apostle died they would continue to proclaim what Jesus taught and did. But does an iron fisted chain of hands down the centuries alone guarantee that this will happen? And does the possession of male anatomy ensure it either? The iconic argument which Fr. Avery Dulles S.J. presents in “Women Priests – the Case Against” (5) takes me down a cul-de-sac which I do not wish to go. If the Word Incarnate can only be truly represented by a man then I bow out. This is the full flowering of the cultic priesthood as opposed to the priesthood of community, developed in the theology of Josse Clichtove (1472-1543) and quoted by Edward Schillebeeckx in “Ministry” (6). I leave this priesthood to play power games with its symbols. For my part I am reminded of Hosea:

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (7)

Icons are very beautiful and important but they belong on walls. Christ poor, humiliated and suffering I must seek elsewhere. I read an interesting article in the April 12 Culture section of the Sunday Times. Waldemar Januszczak questions rather scathingly the medieval cult of St. Veronica, because she does not appear in scripture.(8) I think he is missing the point in the same way as Avery Dulles. Veronica exists because her loving action of wiping the face of Jesus encapsulates in a fragmentary portrait what Christianity is all about. She lives forever in the 6th. Station of the Cross even though she is probably imaginary. But for me her gesture conveys far more of Christ and His ministry than the maleness of a priest with his Levitical like pedigree.

Jesus’s priesthood, as I have said, was one of love and service. He taught what he had practised. We need many labourers to carry on this labour of love. And how dare some members of our church deprive the Lord in this time of very great need of anyone whom He calls to His vineyard, male or female?

My founder and friend, Ignatius Loyola says in the Spiritual Exercises:

“First I will see all the different people on the face of the earth, so varied in dress and behaviour. Some are white and others black; some at peace and others at war; some weeping and others laughing; some well and others sick; some being born and others dying, etc.” (9)

And again:

“To accept and desire with all possible energy whatever Christ Our Lord has loved and embraced. ” (10)

This to me is the theatre of ministry.

It is interesting that this Ignatius, who often would be seen as a man’s saint, treated Mary as a partner in his priesthood. There seemed to be no important occasion of his life where he did not involve Christ’s mother. Yes undeniably she was Mammy to the man who had never known his own mother; and yes she was his idealised woman. But she was more. Mary, I beIieve, took Ignatius to his soul, manifesting Goddess to him. He absorbed some of her wonderful qualities into himself to become a caring and wise priest. The Pope who canonised him said that he had a heart big enough to hold the universe. (11) And he himself said that Mary told him “that her own flesh was in that of her Son. ” (12)

This phrase takes me straight back to Calvary where Mary concelebrated the first Mass with her beloved son. She, more than anyone could say, as Ignatius clearly perceived:

“This is my Body, this is my Blood. ”

I’ve no problem at all with this woman being Co-Redemptrix, Co-Mediatrix and Advocate for the people of God. She is inviting us to concelebrate with her in offering the perfect sacrifice. And her suffering combined with His is symbol and icon enough for me. But there is a price. Jesus’ sacrifice was for all time; but if we participate in it fully, we will share both in His loving and His pain. We who give birth know in a special way what this means and our flesh too is in His.

I think in this highly technological age, where people have become isolated, lonely, fragmented and out of touch with soul we have to begin to think of God in a different kind of way. Lavinia Byrne in “Women before God” puts it very well:

“What if God were concerned to set up a tent in our midst and dwell among us. God the homemaker lays a different kind of table, one around which people come to talk and laugh and share, to taste and see that the Lord is good. God the homemaker puts the kettle on and draws up chairs. God the homemaker wants to hear about the real problems and questions that exercise us, about the people we love and the people we fear.” (13)

She goes on to say that different images of God generate different styles of ordained ministry. If, as I have said and believe very firmly, Goddess is re-emerging, our ministry is going to be very different from that of previous generations when patriarchy was the model. God our Mother, as Margaret Hebblethwaite lovingly calls Her (14), imaged in the peasant girl of Galilee, is in the kitchen baking the new bread. It is time for us who are being called, to put our aprons on and go to Her assistance. Later we will call our brethren to come and see what our bread is like. They’ll hesitate at first, as people do with a new flavour, but they’ll come back to ask for more. For this is the bread of partnership, of collaboration, of pooling and birthing gifts, and most of all of love. The dough has been rising through the ages, for our God is in no hurry. She knows yeast takes time to work.

For centuries the male priesthood has provided heroic, learned, selfless leadership through persecution and darkness. It has inspired many women to reach heights of holiness that they never dreamed possible. My own Ignatius is the father of countless religious women, who take his rule as their own. But he also exemplifies in his relationship with his friend and patroness, Isabel Roser how far the man/woman partnership has yet to go. He could only see her as mother; she wanted to be his daughter. Their relationship ended because Ignatius was unable to cope with Isabel’s neediness which hooked his own. And Isabel could not understand why her excessive mothering was suffocating her beloved friend. They were not able to communicate with one another in an adult manner and so enter partnership. This is essential.

Christ, the Word made flesh, entered partnership with women as well as men. At the well he talked of new life with the Samaritan woman, as He had with the Pharisee Nicodemus. He discussed the Resurrection with Martha and Mary. His first appearance after his rising was to Mary Magdalen. From Cana to the Cross His mother followed in loving cooperation.

In the third millennium I think we women must stop playing “Mummies and Daddies” with the clergy and claim our position as partners. It is very comfortable to let “father” make all our decisions as Daddy once did; but it is not adult and in today’s highly sophisticated and dangerous world it’s not going to work. The female priesthood working to complement the male, will play like an organ in perfect harmony to the God they both serve. And Mary, our model who partnered her God, shows us the way.

Mary Magdalen was the first to see the Risen Christ. I believe this was because her love for Him spilled out of control like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s soap suds. She and the other women were the only ones who trusted enough to go and render Him the last basic human services, not knowing even how they would roll away the stone. And Mary herself did not know her Lord till He called her by her name. She was then commissioned by Him as an apostle, to tell His brethren of his rising from the dead. I believe that once again we have to encounter Him as she did in the Easter Garden, and go and tell His brethren what He is really like. That for us, handmaids of Goddess, in short is the essence of our priesthood and the Marian dogmas like the town criers of old, are heralding its coming.

Footnotes

1. Jean Shonoda Bolen, “Crossing to Avalon”, p. x, Harper, 1995.

2. Dante Alighieri, “The Divine Comedy,” p. 8. Trans. Henry Carey, Everyman,1955.

3. Luke 1.46-55.

4. Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland,” p. 136, Paul Hamlyn, 1965.

5. Avery Dulles S.J., “Women Priests:The Case Against”, Studies Vol.87. No.345.

6. Edward Schillebeeckx, “Ministry”, pp.58-59, SCM Press, 1984.

7. Hosea 6.6.

8. Waldemar Januszczak, “Lifting the Veil on Veronica,” Sunday Times Culture Section, April 12,1998. 9. St Ignatius Loyola, “Spiritual Exercises,” p.69, Image, 1964.

10. Jesuit Constitutions.

11. Quoted by Mary Purcll of Gregory XIII. “The First Jesuit,” p. xi, Gill and Son, 1956.

12. St Ignatius Loyola, “Spiritual Diary,” p.78, in “St Ignatius of Loyola: Personal Writings,” Penguin, 1996.

13. Lavinia Byrne, “Women Before God,” p.49, S.P.C.K.,1988.

14. Margaret Hebblethwaite. “Motherhood and God,” Geoffrey Chapman, 1984.

Also consulted:

Lavinia Byrne, “Women at the Altar,” Mowbray, 1994.


Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars’ declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.


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Introduction. From Inheriting the Master’s Cloak by John Wijngaards,

Introduction. From Inheriting the Master’s Cloak by John Wijngaards,

Introduction

One great problem that often bothers people is the use of the word Sacrifice. We speak of the sacrifice of the Mass and of the atonement for sin. The problem for many people is that the word sacrifice brings to mind the offering of animals upon an altar and indeed in some civilizations the offering of children as a sacrifice to the Gods. The question raised in peoples minds is what sort of God demands the horrific death of His Son upon a cross. What does it say about God? In some peoples minds it can creat an image of God, not as loving Father, but as cruel tyrant who demans a bloody sacrifice. In this article John Wijngaards trys to show that this is to missunderstand what Scripture means by sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus is one of love and self giving.

Did God demand bloody satisfaction?

from Inheriting the Master’s Cloak by John Wijngaards, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame 1985, pp. 21 – 30.

Escape from the Cannibal God

The theological belief, popular in the past, that God demanded Jesus’ bloody death as satisfaction, contradicts the message of Scripture and turns the God-who-is-Love into a cruel monster.

The Old Testament recounts quite a number of atrocities. For me, one of the most horrible incidents is narrated as part of a war between Israel, Judah and Edom on the one side, and Moab on the other. The three armies had invaded Moab, had driven the Moabites back to their capital Kir Heres and were laying a siege round that city. The king of Moab was desperate. He tried to break out with the pick of his troops, but failed. Finally he made a vow to Chemosh, promising the god his eldest son in return for victory.

‘So he took his oldest son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him on the city wall as a sacrifice to the god of Moab’ (2 Kgs 3:27).

What a terrifying picture! A father killing his own child in the belief that this would please his god! A cruel god, he must have considered him, a god who would only be satisfied by blood, by the life of his own child. An ugly story, which we might want to read over in a hurry, or simply forget. But I believe it is worth a lot of reflection. And reflecting on its implications we may also discover that the so-called “ugly traits”of the Old Testament may have more meaning than we suspected.

The king of Moab sacrificed his son. That is bad enough. But far worse – I would almost say incomprehensible – is the fact that child sacrifice was a common practice among the Israelites too. When Jericho was rebuilt in 860 B.C., Hiel, its mayor, offered his eldest son, Abiram, for the laying of the foundations and his youngest son, Segub, when building the gates. Excavations at Shechem have shown the remains of small children under the city gates. Jephthah of Gilead killed his only daughter in fulfilment of a vow. Outside Jerusalem, in the valley of Hinnom, sacrificing children was done on a regular basis.

It is difficult to reconstruct exactly how frequently sacrifices were conducted. But from the available evidence, we may piece the parts together in the following scene. In the valley of Hinnom, hardly 15 minutes’ walk from the Temple precinct, was a sanctuary to Melek on a small hill called Topheth. We may presume that people would vow to sacrifice their children to obtain certain favors. When the time for the sacrifice came, people would gather in the open compound of the sanctuary, where they would face the statue of the god. From ancient writers we know that it must have looked like a standing bronze figure. Inside, the figure was hollow, so that it could serve as a furnace. There was probably a hole at the back of the pedestal so that a fire could be lit that would make the whole statue red hot. People would dance and sing. Then the child would be taken from its mother’s arms. Sometimes it may have been stabbed to death; at other times it may have been offered alive. In both cases the body of the child was put on the outstretched arms of the idol, arms that were red hot. Possibly there was a hole in the belly of the idol, too, so that the child would slide or roll down along the arms to disappear into the fire inside. We may well imagine hearing the screams of the child-and its mother!

This practice endured for at least four centuries. When Solomon turned to the worship of foreign gods he built the shrine to Melek at Topheth (950 B.C.). A hundred years later the deuteronomistic lawgivers complain:

‘ Do not worship the LORD your God in the way they worship their gods, for in the worship of their gods they do all the disgusting things that the Lord hates. They even sacrifice their children in the fires on their altars’ (Dt 12:31).

Again, a hundred years later, we read how King Ahaz (736-716 B.C.) also followed this practice:

‘He even sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the LORD had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced’ (2 Kgs 16:3).

Of King Manasseh (687-642 B.C.) the same is said (2 Kgs 21:6). Fifty years later the prophet Jeremiah has this to say:

‘ In Hinnom Valley they have built an altar called Topheth, so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire’ (Jer 7:31).

‘They have built altars to Baal in Hinnom Valley, to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Melech’ (Jer 32:35).

The sanctuary was destroyed by King Josiah (640-609 B.C.) in his sweeping reforms:

‘King Josiah also desecrated Topheth, the pagan place of worship in Hinnom Valley, so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter as a burnt offering to the god Melech’ (2 Kgs 23:10).

Yet 50 years later Ezekiel still speaks about it:

“You took the sons and daughters you had borne me and offered them as sacrifices to idols. Wasn’t it bad enough to be unfaithful to me, without taking my children and sacrificing them to idols?” (Ez 16:20-21).

The abominable practice at Topheth was like an incurable disease.

The Cruel God

Why? I have often asked myself. Why this unbelievable cruelty? Did parents not love their children? They did, as much as parents today love theirs. Jephthah’s heart was broken when he offered his daughter. Yet he killed her! What was stronger than his pity and his sorrow? What was it that made generation after generation go to Topheth to see their children’s flesh singe in the arms of Melek? What power did Melek, that flaming monster, hold over people?

Perhaps I saw the answer in Tirupathi in the south of India. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims go there every year to redeem vows made to Venkateshwara. They go the last miles up into the Tirumala hills on foot. They take a bath in the holy pond, then pay a visit to the idol itself. Ten feet high it stands, with its dark and ugly face, that mask of cruelty and silent anger. Looking at the idol I shuddered. I felt I stood face to face not with God, but with a parody of divinity, with the cruel, relentless, heartless avenger-god we have made of him. Outside the temple in the barbers’ hall I watched in horror and fascination as women had their beautiful hair cut off. I remembered that offering one’s hair became a substitute for human sacrifice; an improvement’ no doubt, but retaining the same cruel streak of destroying something beautiful belonging to oneself.

The child-sacrifices to Melek, the pilgrimages to Lord Venkateshwara, the worship of the goddess Kali, are like a bad dream to me. They bring out something very deep from my subconscious. How shall I give expression to it in words? I believe God is good, yet deep down inside me is an unspoken, unreasonable fear of him. The fear is this: One day or another he will extract a terrible price for his goodness. One day or another he will make me suffer, make me lose something I hold precious. He is, after all, God, and I am nothing. If I am lucky, he will not take everything; he will leave me at least part of what I treasure. That is why, if I am a woman, I may offer him my flowing tresses, so that he may allow me to keep the health of my children. If I were an Israelite, I might be prepared to sacrifice my beloved child to him to preserve the lives of the rest of the family. But if I am enjoying life and the good things he has given me, I feel an unease deep within myself, in the pit of my stomach, for I know he has not yet struck and made me pay the price.

This human fear, which I am sure every religious person has to face, was present in Israel too. With them, it was a collective fear. It was a fear that naturally arose from paternalistic authority structures and from the ancient covenant’s stress on curse and punishment. The god Melek, that cruel brass monster that stretched out its arms to grab children and swallow them in its fiery belly-what else is it but an archetype of the hardness projected onto God? And archetypes, we know from Jung, crop up in our dreams and may have a healing function.

God is not a monster. He did not want human sacrifice, as prophets and lawgivers pointed out time and again:

“Don’t sacrifice your children in the fires on your altars….The LORD your God hates people who do these disgusting things” (Dt 18:10,12).

“They have built altars for Baal in order to burn their children in the fire as sacrifices. I never commanded them to do this; it never even entered my mind” (Jer 19:5).

“If anyone gives one of his children to Melech and makes my sacred Tent unclean and disgraces my holy name, I will turn against him and will no longer consider him one of my people” (Lv 20:3).

The language is unusually emotional in all these texts. The practice is disgusting; it makes God’s sanctuary unclean; it disgraces God’s name. God hates people who act thus. The thought of wanting human sacrifice never even entered God’s mind! In other words, the practice springs from humankind itself, from confused thinking, from distorted ideas of what God wants. The practice could not be uprooted by threats and punishments-as history bears out-it could only be uprooted by a healing in people’s minds.

Bloodthirsty Redemption

Psychology tells us that dreams can heal, if they are properly understood and if their contents are faced with honesty. The monster Melek should not be suppressed in our dreams; it should be faced and confronted. Is Melek my God? Is it he I fear and worship in the hidden anxiety of my subconscious? Why does he have a hold on me? What is the cause of my fear, or my distorted vision of God? Am I projecting onto him my experiences of unexpected loss and suffering? Am I attributing to God traits of cruelty and vindictiveness I have seen in my parents or other authority figures of my childhood? What are the bits and pieces of my early experiences that have helped to build up my concept of God? Are there feelings, perhaps, that need to be adjusted in the light of my later understanding of God? If we examine these questions sincerely, they will gradually reveal aspects of our religious life we may never have been aware of. As we begin to recognize the place of Melek in our emotions and our subconscious mind, we can extricate ourselves in stages from his stranglehold.

The process of healing may also involve a better understanding of Christian theology. There have been theologians in the past who have constructed a theory of redemption which is not much better than a baptized version of Melek doctrine. Their presentation of the history of salvation could be expressed in terms such as these: Mankind had sinned. God was looking for a way to redeem us from this sin, but his strict sense of justice had to be satisfied first. In other words, God could not simply forgive sins through an act of mercy; satisfaction had to be offered to his justice. God decided to solve the problem by making his own Son assume human nature and die a violent death. Through his bloody sacrifice Christ paid the price on behalf of all. Only then could God forgive sins and receive us back as his children.

The origins of this theology lie in the Middle Ages. The word justice-used in St. Paul’s letters-was understood in legal terms, not in the sense of “making holy” intended by Paul (see Rom 3:21-26). It misunderstood the notion of vicarious suffering expressed in Deutero-Isaiah and applied to Jesus (Is 52:13 – 53:12). It gave a wrong meaning to the way in which Jesus’ death is said to be the will of the Father (Mt 26:3643) and misrepresented what Peter said about Jesus “having paid the price” (1 Pt 1:18-19). It is not difficult to see how all these texts, if not properly understood, could lead to the theory mentioned above. All the more so if the unconscious concept of God accepted by these theologians was somewhat tainted by the “Melek” syndrome!

Grace and Free Gift

The theological construction above is wrong, first of all, because the idea of human sacrifice giving God satisfaction goes contrary to what scripture teaches about God. “Such an idea never entered my mind!” we read in Jeremiah three times. How could we expect God the Father to do to his beloved Son what he abhorred in the parents of Israel? Secondly, redemption would become a deal instead of being a free act of mercy. The point of the salvation brought through Jesus is precisely that it is a free gift of God the Father, not based on wages of any sort. Thirdly, if Jesus’ death on Calvary were the price which he paid to satisfy his Father’s justice, why was his resurrection equally important for redemption? If Jesus’ death were the sacrifice that satisfied his Father’s anger, we would have been saved also without the resurrection. Yet without the resurrection, St. Paul tells us, “your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17).

Modern day Samaritans  

How then should redemption be understood? Jesus, the only-begotten Son, the Word of God, became a human being. He brought us grace and truth, because no one had ever seen God, but he had. He made the Father known. And to those who believed in him, he gave the right to become God’s children. From an analysis of John 1:1-18 it is clear that Jesus saved us by a gift of his life. He saved us by becoming man and by extending his own life to those who joined him in faith. A similar picture emerges from reading that other summary of Jesus’ salvific function in the high-priestly prayer of John 17.

making a sacrifice of a lamb

Not My Will But Yours Be Done

What then about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Jesus’ crucifixion was a crime. Jesus calls it a sin and repeatedly protests his innocence. In that sense it was not willed by God and could not be willed. But for Jesus to be true to his mission, he had to stand by his disciples to the end. He was not like the hired shepherd who runs away in the face of danger. He was ready to die for his sheep. This readiness of Jesus to die was pleasing to his Father; in that sense it was the Father’s will.

“The Father loves me because I am willing to give up my life, in order that I may receive it back again” (Jn 10:17).

Jesus’ death, which resulted from hatred and sin, became, in fact, the highest expression of his human love. The greatest love a person can show is to give up life itself for another. That is why God chose it to become the turning point in Jesus’ redemptive life. Just as the passover sacrifice marked the Exodus and the old covenant, so Jesus’ death was seen as the sacrifice marking our exodus from sin and the conclusion of the new covenant. Jesus’ resurrection inaugurated our new existence under direction of the Spirit (Jn 14:15-31).

The song of the “suffering servant,” Is 52:13 – 53:12, which was so important for Jesus and the early church in explaining his death and resurrection, confirms this interpretation. An innocent man is condemned to death. He suffers terribly. But he is a special person because he lives and prays for others. That is why God decides to use this suffering to bring forgiveness:

“It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness….
After a life of suffering he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain….
He willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil men.
He took the place of many sinners and prayed that they might be forgiven” (Is 53:10,11,12).

But Jesus’ suffering was preordained by God, you may object. Isaiah 53:10 states: “It was my will that he should suffer!” And in Gethsemane Jesus clearly accepts suffering and death only because it is his Father’s will. Thus the Father wanted Jesus to die in order to make his death the sacrifice for all.

Yes, it was the Father’s will, and yet, it wasn’t! How is this explained? It was not the Father’s will in the sense that he wanted that death itself, as something determined by his absolute will. As we have seen, he could not want it like that because it involved a sin. And God cannot contradict himself by wanting an evil thing. But when the option of death faced Jesus as a consequence of being faithful to his mission, then the Father wanted it. Because he wanted Jesus to be faithful.

Suppose a young man joins the army. He attains the rank of lieutenant. War breaks out. He hears that he may be sent to the front line in the near future. In those circumstances he writes his father this letter:

“Dear Dad: When I left home both you and Mother asked me to look after myself and not to risk my life without need. I know they will ask for volunteers from among the officers to lead the next infantry attack. I feel it may be my duty to volunteer, even though it will expose me to enemy fire. What do you want me to do? Should I die for my country?”

I imagine that the father would send this reply:

“My Dear Son: You know that your mother and I love you dearly. Every day we pray for your safe return. Nothing would shock and sadden us more than losing you. But if your duty, if the freedom of our country requires it, we want you not to be afraid. Dying with a good conscience is better than living as a coward. We want you to be faithful to your task, even if it means death.”

This is exactly what the scriptural texts are saying about the Father and Jesus. “I am the good shepherd….The Father loves me because I am willing to give up my life” (Jn 10:11,17).

I don’t want to turn this chapter into a treatise on New Testament theology. A study of Pauline theology will confirm what we have seen from the Johannine writings. Jesus saved us by his whole life. His rising to life is just as important as his dying; we share in both. Jesus’ entire life expressed his self-gift of emptying and obedience. The letter to the Hebrews explains how Jesus is our new high priest. The sacrifice he offered on our behalf was: “Here I am to do your will, O God” (Heb 10:7). The gift of himself, resulting in his death, became the supreme sacrifice of reconciliation that fulfilled and replaced all other sacrifices.

So God does away with all the old sacrifices and puts the sacrifice of Christ in their place. Because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do, we are all purified from sin by the offering that he made of his own body once for all (Heb 10:9-10).

It is obvious that, once we have the fundamental picture right, we may then speak of Jesus’ meriting redemption for us, of “paying the price with his blood,” and so on. But such expressions are only valid if they presuppose the biblical teaching that Jesus saved us through his whole life and that his death was the culmination of his gift of self. God is not a Melek!

God of Mercy and Compassion

There is good reason for us to remind ourselves of the fact. Church history provides many sorry episodes which demonstrate cruelty and hardness among Christian leaders. There have been times when thousands of so-called witches were burned at the stake – among them children of eight or nine! These killings were condoned by priests, theologians, bishops, even some popes. We know now it was all a terrible mistake, that practically all these people died innocently; and that, in any case, the penalty inflicted on them was barbarous. How could such a thing happen among Jesus’ own followers? I am convinced that one factor is a misguided concept of God. The blindness of heart and lack of mercy derive ultimately from the subconscious conviction that God has such a hard streak himself. Is he not the God who could even send his own Son to die on the cross? they would think. He may be a God of love on the surface, but underneath and in reality he is a hard God, a God who demands full payment, a God who wants to see blood! Without knowing it, they were worshipping Melek!

Animal Sacrifice being offered in the Temple

When we read the Old Testament with such dimensions in mind, it becomes extremely relevant. Our concept of God is so basic to our whole life, our faith, our service, our religious commitment, that we always need to purify and perfect it. Our concept of God will also determine the sickness or health of our Christian togetherness as a community. Even a simple-or seemingly simple-story like the one of Abraham’s sacrifice opens up far-reaching perspectives.

“Take your son,” God said, “your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show you, offer him as a sacrifice to me” (Gn 22:2).

For me here the dream takes over again. I feel in myself Abraham’s tension as he goes on his way to execute the command. He is prepared to do whatever God wants him to do-as I would like to be prepared. But he wrestles with the contradiction of a loving God, who himself promised a numerous offspring through Isaac, making this impossible demand-as I fear deep down in me that God might be like Melek, demanding a price. And then the resolution. God is not a Melek. “Don’t hurt the boy!” However God does appreciate the willingness to give what he will never demand: “You have not kept back your only son from me” (Gn 22:12). What seemed a contradiction, loving his son and loving God at the same time, proves not to be contradictory at all. What a healing in Abraham’s love; what a healing it can be for me, for my love.

When Abraham was preparing to offer Isaac, he was confused. But whatever he did was out of love. Perhaps – putting it in a very human way – God, too, was “confused” when his Son had to face death. But he was prepared to let it go through because he could make it the greatest gift of love.

‘ If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son-will he not also freely give us all things?’ (Rom 8:31-32).

This is not a cruel God demanding satisfaction. It is a loving Father who revealed to us, through the love of his Son, that he is pure love. “God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him” (l Jn 1:5).

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