I guess I’ve been contributing to a lot of anti-Liberal snipery lately. My remarks that ordaining a woman priest is akin to baptising a stone on a recent Liberal blog were true, but perhaps too terse. My main worry is that I stop speaking out of love. I am supposed to interact with all people in love observing only their humanity and not who they are. It is pertinent therefore for me to remind myself periodically of what love is and what its properties are.
According to I Corinthians xiii which I reproduce in Greek:
4 η αγαπη μακροθυμει χρηστευεται η αγαπη ου ζηλοι η αγαπη ου περπερευεται ου φυσιουται
μακροθυμει - Love is slow to anger, slow to burst into a flame of passion. This points to the lengths that God has gone to endure on behalf of humanity, and the direction we must go in coming together in God.
χρηστευεται - Love shows itself χρηστoc, literally "useful" but in a moral sense "good" or virtuous. The word χρηστoc also means "profitable" which the goodness of God always is. I believe that this points to that abundant growth in God that results from and in good works.
ου ζηλοι - In a good sense, this means zeal (Gee, where can that word come from?) or ardour such as when the young man pays court to his lady. When another captures her affections, the young man captures the negative side of zeal where the same ζηλοc-energy remains but is directed negatively at the object of his desire.
ου περπερευεται - The Lover does not make much of self, for vaunting oneself is a distortion of what is true.
ου φυσιουται - St Paul says knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Love has a substance rather than knowledge which will largely vanish away when the perfect comes.
5 ουκ ασχημονει ου ζητει τα εαυτης ου παροξυνεται ου λογιζεται το κακον
ουκ ασχημονει - This has a sense of deformity which in the NT is taken for a shameful nakedness - the display of the self purely for gratification. Love is not a ecdysiast. Her beauty is gently revealed through mutual self-giving in a secure and committed relationship.
ου ζητει τα εαυτης - To seek after the things of the self, a warning against total independence. To seek after one's own comfort is to ignore the need that the self has of giving itself to another.
ου παροξυνεται - Coming from the idea of sharpening, one is led to think about the axes we have to grind. Love is one for burying hatchets and certainly not in the backs of our antagonists.
ου λογιζεται το κακον - To plan evil cannot be an act of Love. Guile is not an attribute of love. Shrewdness is, we are told, but the active planning of hurt and worthless action (worthless being the opposite of the profit meant in χρηστoc) is not an attribute of love.
6 ου χαιρει επι τη αδικια συγχαιρει δε τη αληθεια
ου χαιρει επι τη αδικια - Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness: there is no joy in that which is contrary to God for only God is the source of righteousness.
συγχαιρει τη αληθεια - Love and Truth enjoy each other as they sit in each other's presence eternally: they cannot be separated.
7 παντα στεγει παντα πιστευει παντα ελπιζει παντα υπομενει
στεγει - To bear: love carries faithfully all the burden that is thrown upon it.
πιστευει - This does not mean that Love believes all things in the sense that any doctrine would do. Can you see Love believing "there is no God?" Love isn't a fool. No, Love is always ready to have a confiding reliance in the veracity of a person. The Lover is always ready to accept the word of a partner as reliable.
ελπιζει - Love does not lose hope in its object. If God had no hope in our repentence then we would have been consigned to Hell from the outset.
υπομενει - Hope perseveres. He that shall endure to the end shall be saved because he has the quality of Love.
8 η αγαπη ουδεποτε εκπιπτει
Love never fails. Quid plus?
So where does this leave us?
The Truth is the Truth; it is unalterable since, like Love, it is eternal.
I could write on further about how the Liberal doctrine ζητει τα εαυτης but this isn't the purpose of what I'm writing here. I need to ensure that I always communicate with Love.
Do I understand where the Liberals are coming from? I believe that I have some inkling. Certainly the fact that women have been oppressed for a large amount of time is true and it may well be due to an unloving reading of the doctrine of St Paul which has been embroidered upon throughout the ages. Women are very capable of leadership, of speaking the Truth, of guiding people in God's way. Their relationship skills are generally much better than those of men, and indeed this has been invaluable in the moral growth of humanity. Their desire for the priesthood is understandable since the ridiculous notion that priests are somehow "superior" members of society has proliferated, and subsequently the days of women's liberation, there has been a need for women to assert themselves as competent in whatever field a man is competent.
There are women who feel called to serve Christ. Of course they are called to serve Christ in preaching in teaching and in spreading the Gospel and, most importantly of all in doing what Christ tells them. The Church is historically guilty of not affirming the ministry of women. That shouldn't mean that it drops all the rules that she has been given "just to be fair".
The fact that there is an underlying fallacy of facere possum ergo facio contradicts the following of the self. So how do I communicate that in Love?
Likewise I think of the oppression of homosexuals. It isn't fair that they have been targeted as being less than human and hated and victimised. I rejoice in the homosexuality of some of my friends, because that homosexuality is part of who they truly are.
However, the fact that these people have been hurt and oppressed does not change the truth. Women cannot be sacramental ministers - they have far more important work to do. Homosexuals are called to lives that are far better than expressing their love for a partner sexually. I suppose as far as my calling takes me, I must show them of their higher vocations which must involve their bearing and enduring sacrifices of will and desire. Their oppression must be ended, but in turn they must look beyond the Temporal to the Eternal. Only there will their True Love be revealed.