The Ordination of Women in the Catholic Church: Unmasking a Cuckoo's Egg Tradition
Seay, Scott D., Journal of Church and State
The Ordination of Women in the Catholic Church: Unmasking a Cuckoo's Egg Tradition. By John Wijngaards. New York: Continuum, 2001. 182 pp. np.
For almost thirty years, John Wijngaards has been a vocal advocate of the ordination of women as Catholic priests. An experienced missionary, agile theologian, and sound expositor of Scripture, Wijngaards resigned from the priesthood in 1998 to devote himself entirely to this campaign. His book weaves together historical narrative, personal reminiscences, and especially a rigorous critique of Rome's teaching to articulate a compelling-though sometimes highly rhetorical-argument in favor of women's ordination in the Catholic Church.
As the subtitle of his book suggests, Wijngaards trades upon a peculiar metaphor to frame his argument: like avian foster parents caring for a cuckoo chick while ignoring their own offspring, the Roman curia has nurtured a foreign ideology of exclusion while ignoring the sources and norms of their own theology. Indeed, Rome's longstanding "no" to women's ordination, he argues, is parallel to the cuckoo's practice of "nest-mate expulsion" because its justification has been based more upon an unnatural adoption of ancient custom than upon a natural exposition of Scripture and the church's own historic practice (e.g. women deacons, Marian devotion).
After laying out his basic argument, Wijngaards turns his attention to a series of rapid-fire interrogations of Rome's historic justifications for excluding women from ordination: arguments from creation, the troublesome passages from Paul's epistles, Jesus' relationship with his women followers, and the marriage symbolism of Christ's relationship to the church. His verdict is simple and straightforward: these historic justifications are based upon "cultural prejudice" and find authentic warrant in neither Scripture nor tradition.
How does the church find its way out of this dilemma? Predictably, …
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Publication information: Article title: The Ordination of Women in the Catholic Church: Unmasking a Cuckoo's Egg Tradition. Contributors: Seay, Scott D. - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 45. Issue: 1 Publication date: Winter 2003. Page number: 175. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.