Tuesday, August 05, 2008

On Priestesses

I found it odd that a particular news article kept referring to certain defiant women (who had attempted ordination) as "priests". First, they're not ordained as has been made clear by the Vatican but even if they were, "priest" itself is a masculine word.

They would no more be "priests" having received ordination than they would be "actors" if they took up drama. In the case of the latter they'd be "actresses" and in the former, of course, they'd be "priestesses".

Notice the deliberate avoidance of the word "priestess"... Why? It is clearly because the word carries strong pagan overtones. Which in itself is fine, that is; we often avoid using words like "cult" not because the meaning is necessarily illicit but because of its negative association. Fine. But let's suppose the negative associations have something to tell us - in that case it is worth our further investigation.

"Priestess" sounds pagan because it is pagan and has been exclusively pagan not since the advent of the Catholic Church but since the advent of Judaism. This is a crucial point that is consistently overlooked by supporters of women's ordination. Both Judaism & Christianity grew up and flourished not restricting their priesthood to males only out of a cowardly submission to the cultural influences around them but in an act of counter-cultural distinction.

The Levites and their Christian heirs ordained only males to their priesthood in a world and culture which not only routinely allowed priestesses but was routinely dominated by them. Some pagan religions had exclusively female priesthoods.

This is from my comment at De Cura Animarum where a link to the article in question can also be found.

1 comment:

Walter said...

Great post and great site. keep up the good work.