Showing posts with label Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Church. Show all posts

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Same-Sex "Marriage" And Proposition 8

With the activist judge Walker’s overruling of Prop. 8 in California, the debate over the definition of “marriage” once again rages on. Yet, the same reason that women cannot be priests is the reason why same sex couples cannot be married. St. Paul touches on this in Ephesians 5 when he discusses the roles of a husband and wife in relation to each other. He concludes by quoting Genesis 2:24:
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."  
He then adds:
“This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
So how does what St. Paul says here in Ephesians 5 exclude women from the priesthood and same sex couples from marriage? Because St. Paul informs us that the mystery of marriage refers to Christ and the Church. This means that the imagery of Christ in relation to the Church is not modeled on the human institution of marriage, but vice versa! From all eternity it was in the will of God that Christ, the Bridegroom, should be united to His Bride, the Church. From all eternity there was intended a complementarity of the masculine with the feminine. This eternal nuptial between Christ and His Bride is what marriage is modeled upon. Therefore, any talk of marriage being between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is nonsense. There is no complementarity between two of the same sex, so no matter what one wishes to call it, it will never be a marriage.
But how does Ephesians 5 exclude women from the priesthood? Precisely because a priest acts in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. Christ as a person on earth was/is a man. And as Christ is married to His Bride, the Church, so too, a man who is ordained as a priest has the Church for His Bride (consequently, this is also an argument for the celibate priesthood, since Christ was not a polygamist, neither should a priest be by having two wives; earthly and heavenly). Now if a woman were to be a priest, there would be two feminine elements instead of the complementarity of masculine and feminine. As explained above, this cannot happen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Faith Is Necessary For Biblical Exegesis

“The chief gain among the Christian exegetes has been the general acknowledgement not merely of the legitimacy but of the necessity of faith in anyone who approaches the Bible with the hope of receiving what it has to offer. They recognize now that coldly scientific—in the sense of rationalistic—objectivity is quite incapable of even perceiving, let alone exploiting, the religious values of Scripture. There must be first the commitment, the recognition by faith the divine origin and authority of the book; then the believer can properly and profitably apply all the most conscientious techniques of the subordinate sciences, without in the least infringing their due autonomy or being disloyal to the scientific ideal…The chief problem that still remains unsolved for them—and I would say it is insoluble as long as they do not recognize the living authority of the Church—is that of authority: What guarantees the Bible’s claim on our acceptance, and, in the last analysis, what guarantees a given interpretation of it? What criterion is to be used for distinguishing the less perfect from the more perfect? What about ‘demythologizing’? It is perfectly true that eternal truths must be disengaged and drawn clear of their presentation in terms of a particular language, culture, psychology, and so forth. But it is no good immediately reinvolving them, as Bultmann does, in the pseudo-scientific mythology of the twentieth century. The criterion for their ‘pure’ statement must be the living spirit of faith, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and that means, ultimately, the authority of the Church.”

-Fr. Roderick Mckenzie, S.J., "The Concept of Biblical Theology" in Studies in Salvation History.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

If Luther Was Right...

Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King. If indeed Christ is a king, and he is, then he necessarily has a kingdom. That kingdom is the Church, His own Body. When He established His kingdom, He did so based on the model of the Old Testament Kingdom of David. The Kingdom of David had a visible dimension with a hierarchy as well as an invisible spiritual dimension. Likewise, Christ’s Kingdom, the Church, has a visible dimension with a hierarchy as well as an invisible spiritual dimension.

One of the aspects of the Davidic Kingdom was the office of the Prime Minister. This office was one of succession, meaning that when one prime minister left the office it did not remain empty, but another took his place. We see this in Isaiah 22: 15-25. Also in Isaiah, we see that the Davidic Prime Minister possessed the keys to the kingdom as a sign of his authority. The Prime Minister had the highest authority in the kingdom, second only to the King. It was the Prime Minister who ruled when the king was away. Isaiah also tells us that the Prime Minister “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”

Christ the King establishes Peter as the Prime Minister of the restored Davidic Kingdom, the Church, in Matthew 16: 18-19. In doing so, He quotes directly from Isaiah 22. Christ gives Peter the keys to His Kingdom, so that Peter can rule when He is away. The office of Christ’s Prime Minister is also one of succession. It doesn’t end with Peter. Linus takes over after the death of Peter and then Clement, and so on down to the current successor of Peter, Benedict XVI. Just as the Old Testament Davidic Prime Minister was a father to his people, so is Christ’s Prime Minister. In fact, the word “Pope” (or in Latin “Papa”) means “father.” The Pope is the principle of unity for Christ’s Kingdom while He is away at the right hand of the Father and the Pope is running the Kingdom until Christ the King comes back in glory at the end of time.

To reject the King is to reject the Kingdom. We see this in Scripture with the Israelites who were to be a kingdom of priests with God as their King. The Israelites wanted to be like the other nations and have an earthly king to rule them. They rejected God as their King and thus rejected the Kingdom.

In the New Testament the Jewish leaders also reject their King. They cry, “We have no king but Caesar” and send the true King to the Cross. In rejecting the King, they reject the Kingdom.

Christ only established One Kingdom, One Church. It is an historical fact that the Church He established is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ, His Kingdom. For a thousand years there was only one type of Christian—the Catholic Christian. Then the Eastern Orthodox broke away from the One Church established by Christ. About 500 years later, the Protestants also left this Church.

Christ the King is intimately connected to His Kingdom, which is His Body, the Church. Thus, not only does it hold true that if you reject the King, you reject the Kingdom, but also if you reject the Kingdom, you reject the King. I would argue that the Eastern Orthodox did not so much reject the Kingdom, for they kept all the Sacraments, as reject the authority of Christ’s Prime Minister. The Protestants led by Luther, however, rejected the Kingdom entirely. They claimed that the Catholic Church was overcome by Satan and that the Pope was the antichrist.

Let’s return back to Matthew 16, the point where Christ sets up the office of Prime Minister in His Kingdom. Not only did He establish Peter as the first Prime Minister, but He added a promise—the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church, His Kingdom. But if Luther is right, if the Church has gone astray, then that means that the gates of Hell HAVE overcome His Church and it makes Christ out to be a liar! Certainly, no Protestant would be willing to say that, but that is precisely the logical consequence of saying that the Church that Christ established has gone astray and is now taken over by Satan.

If Christ is our King, then we should believe His words. If He says that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church and that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth, then it is so. Thus, to reject His Church, His Kingdom, is to reject Him, the King.

Listen to the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lecture 18.26:

“But since the word Ecclesia is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly [Acts 19:14]), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to you now the Article, And in one Holy Catholic Church; that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it [Ephesians 5:25], and all the rest,) and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all [Galatians 4:26]; which before was barren, but now has many children.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ask A Father

Q: St. Ambrose, how do we know which is the True Church?
A: Where Peter is, there is the Church.