Canon Ginnie Kennerley has some thoughts about the desire to preserve the purely male priesthood:
... the demand for “sacramental assurance” – the guarantee that the priest celebrating the Eucharist has not been ordained by a woman bishop, or even by a bishop originally ordained by a woman – is a demonstration of “magical thinking” at its most primitive, akin to ritual rain-making ceremonies and tribal rituals designed to control the uncontrollable. ... As I understand it, magical thinking relies on perceived (but un-confirmable) causal links between desired events and the phenomena that appear normally to accompany or precede them. It assumes that, by ensuring that there is no change in the supposed link of cause and effect, we can ensure the desired result every time – in effect, we imagine we can control the action of God. ... An obvious example of this way of “thinking” is the conviction that no woman can effectively celebrate the Eucharist, because to change the pattern of the celebrant having always been a man in days gone by is to change a significant variable of the mystery of the sacrament – which will mean that the “magic” won’t happen.Read in the Irish Times here. She is responding to Mary Condren's op-ed which we reported on last week. See also Kennerley's sermon of July 25
God is not dependent on our rituals to give us his grace, his blessing, his forgiveness and his guiding presence in our lives. Nor can the gender of a priest or bishop possibly stand in the way of his will to nourish us and bless us. Any limitation to that blessing can only lie in our own closed and obstinate hearts, not in God’s will to bless. Have we not, whether as Anglican or Catholic Christians, learned long ago that “the unworthiness of the minister hinders not the effect of the Sacrament”? How then could purely biological handicap, if such it be considered, cause any difficulty?
So my message today is simply this: we need to leave magical thinking about the sacraments in the distant past where it belongs, and recognise that the blessing we receive depends on nothing but our common openness to God and God’s desire to redeem us from all that separates us from him - to perfect us as human beings created male and female together to reflect God’s glory. The sacraments focus that redeeming love for us, but they do not manipulate God or control him in any way. Rather they open up the channel through which we can more easily receive that love and truth and healing into our lives.