Saturday, 1 August 2009

MACY, GARY: The Hidden History of Women's Ordination

Female Clergy in the Medieval West

"The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West offers valuable historical background for the ongoing debate about women’s ordination. Theologian and historian Gary Macy documents and explains references to the ordination of women that exist in papal and church documents in the first millennium of Christianity.

As a radical church reform that occurred during the 11th and 12th centuries took hold, it changed the concept of ordination, leaving women behind. But prior to that, sufficient evidence exists to warrant the claim that women were considered to be ordained ministers in the Western church.

Macy writes that women were not ordained as ordination would come to be understood from the 12th century on, “that is, as receiving a personal irrevocable power to serve at the altar.” Rather, he writes, “They were commissioned for particular roles in particular communities.” The important point to be made, however, is that so were men."
- National Catholic Reporter

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