Monday, October 25, 2010

Men and Women (Part 2)

You have to read this article: Eight Reasons Why Men Only Should Serve at Mass by Michael P. Foley

It's not a comprehensive list by any means but I found reasons 3, 4 and 5 to be excellent:

4.  The sexes' differing relations to the sacred is connected to the innate typology of the Mass. For if men are the custodians of the sacred and women the embodiment, we should find this in the Church's supreme act of worship.
And we do. Since every Mass is a mini-Incarnation, a re-actualization of the great event that took place when the "yes" of the Blessed Virgin Mary ratified the divine initiative and made God really present in her womb, the sanctuary in which the Mass takes place is effectively a womb. This is why the traditional configuration of a church sanctuary is uterine. With its demarcating border of altar rail or iconostasis, it is an "enclosed garden" (Sg 4:15), a traditional image of maidenhood. And whereas the sanctuary is feminine, her ministers, as representatives of the sanctuary's divine Husband, are masculine.
Women are the embodiment of the sacred, and men are the protectors and keepers of the sacred. How awesome is that!!? That is why I believe a woman should be veiled (along with so many other reasons), and why men must take leadership roles in the Church. I also found the imagery of the womb profound. I'll have to think more on this.

5. Male custodianship of the sacred is also linked to sacrifice. Although offering oneself as a sacrifice is equally incumbent on both sexes (Rom 12:1), men are the only ones in the Bible who offer physical immolations. Scripture doesn't say why, but we may hazard a guess. Men after the Fall are the violent sex, more likely to have recourse to bloodshed as a means of obtaining what it wants. While this does not deny that women can also be violent, it does explain the causes of war, the population of our prisons, and the consumer demographic of video-game players.
God's strategy appears to have been to channel the postlapsarian male's propensity for violence away from murder toward animal sacrifice as a way of helping him recognize his devious impulses and repent. "God in his seeming bloodthirstiness," Patrick Downey writes in his superb Desperately Wicked, "is actually more concerned with curing us of our own." This strategy culminates in the New Covenant, when its High Priest, rather than committing violence, allows Himself to be victimized by it. God's final solution to the problem of man's deicidal heart is to give him exactly what he wants.
But the cross is a true sacrifice, as is the sacrifice of the altar which re-presents it. Thus, it remains linked not only to the darkness of the human heart but to the specific problem of male violence. Serving on the altar is actually a healthy form of humiliation for men and boys, for it constitutes a confession of their wicked hearts; God's restriction of sacrifice to males in the Tabernacle, Temple, and beyond is a back-handed compliment.
I've never heard this reasoning before, but it makes sense. I have many comments, but I really would just rather discuss them. When talking about a subject such as this, it seems to be easy to reverse roles, so to speak, and put down men while raising up women. I don't wish to do this. In fact, even though the article makes good points, it seems to overplay women and underplay (even almost insulting) men. In most sermons and quotes (from very holy people, nonetheless) it seems this is a favorite strategy. I'm not really a fan of it. Both men and women have strengths and weaknesses which ultimately are used best the way God has set up his brilliant Church and universe.

What are your thoughts?

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