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As I sat down to share some reflections on the U.S. bishops' meeting, my colleague Michael Farrell handed me a short piece by NCR contributor Bill Peatman, who studies ministry and lives in Sunnyvale, Calif. After reading it, I decided to let his words grace this space:

I was in my car, listening to

the radio when the newscast

turned to the recent meeting of

the American bishops.... One

bishop was quoted as saying,

"Women priests are as impossible

as me having a baby."

The newscast went on: "The

official church teaching says that

since Christ and his apostles

were male, priests must also be


Much of the rhetoric referred

to "official church teaching" and

... the theory that symbols must

resemble what they represent. If

the role of Christ were not taken

by a man, it would be difficult to

see in the minister the image of

Christ, the theory went.

I was, at the time, on my way

to a Mass to celebrate the martyrdom

of five Catholic nuns in

Liberia. . ."

It struck me that these five

women, serving the poor, proclaiming

the Good News and

putting their lives on the line for

Jesus' sake had been, and continue

to be, priests. They had

loved sacrificially. That is Jesus'

definition of what it means to

resemble him.

Those five women resemble

Christ more than any man I've

met. I longed for a church that

would recognize this kind of

priesthood and stop manipulating

women, married men and

the Eucharist in order to prop

up a confusing theology of male


As the Anglican Church moves

toward the ordination of women,

Rome calls it a grave obstacle

to unity." It's an obstacle, all

right. It only leaves the Catholics

even more isolated in their position

and sounding more shrill in

their objections to the Christlikeness

of women.

Alert! In Pakistan, Gul Masih, a Catholic, has been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the prophet Mohammed (see story, page 16).

This death sentence for blasphemy -- questionable and taken on one man's word against another's -- is a disgrace to humanity, to religion. Does it honor a prophet that people are killed for his name's sake?

Amnesty International recommends sending telexes and airmail letters of protest expressing concern that Pakistani law on blasphemy makes the death penalty mandatory and that the death penalty is inhuman and degrading punishment: President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, The Presidency Murree Brewery Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan; telex: 54058 PSPUB PK.
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Title Annotation:Cover Story; ordination of women
Author:Peatman, Bill; Fox, Tom
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 4, 1992
Previous Article:Public outcry could slow ongoing human-rights violations in China.
Next Article:U.S. bishops isolated as women weep; it's over - nobody wins.

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