Is Catholic moral theology right after all? /
Reply Benedikt Kromlechner 00, 2003-10-13
Is it out of the question for a woman ever to become a priest of
the Catholic Church? / Reply Benedikt Kromlechner 01, 2003-11-06
The biblical job description for a priest, and the reality
to be found in the churches.
Lauryn Hill sets the Vatican in an uproar. / APA
press release, 2003-12-14
The situation in the Protestant churches
The situation in the Catholic church
The situation in the congregations
Women in the established churches
Women as the true pillars of the church or congregation
I am essentially in agreement with your arguments about the Catholic church. But then when you
give your support to contraception, my sympathy for your position flies out the window again.
You do not seem to have considered that the pill - even if it is a "non-invasive intervention", as you put it - still uses chemical means to alter certain physical functions of the female organism, and therefore is just as "invasive" and so (as Catholic moral theology rightly says) should be rejected from a religious point of view.
Benedikt Kromlechner B.Kromlechner@aol.com
On the first pages of Discourse 55 on the subject "Why does God
permit suffering?", I expressed the view that banning Catholic Christian believers from using
contraceptive methods based on condoms or the pill is incomprehensible, seeing that Catholic moral theology
admits the Knaus-Ogino or rhythm method, and thus there can be no valid argument against other non-invasive
methods - like condoms and the pill.
And yet we find the Austrian Bishop of Salzburg, Prof. Andreas Laun, a moral theologian of the Catholic Church, making the following statement on the theme of condoms and other contraceptives:
"Even for good purposes, such as the responsible regulation of conception for
the sake of the family or of population control - aims of which the church would thoroughly approve -
reprehensible instruments like condoms and other artificial contraceptives should not be used. It has been
found, incidentally, that the natural method (i.e. the Knaus-Ogino method / ed.) of regulating
conception is particularly well suited to developing countries, on account of the respect accorded to the
woman - the man here being required to fit in with the rhythm of the female cycle!"
Above all at the present time, when in wide areas of the world, especially in Africa, hundreds
of children die every day because Catholics (and also Moslems) ban the use of condoms on religious grounds,
with the result that these children are infected by the mother with AIDS from the moment of birth, this whole
issue becomes significant not just from the point of view of demographic planning but even more, and
increasingly, in terms of hygienic preventive medicine.
In answer to the visitor’s comment quoted above, I went on as follows:
As the author of the comment quoted above quite correctly says, taking the pill has an effect
on certain physical functions of the female organism.
After ovulation, at the start of a woman’s fertile period, the hormone progesterone is produced by the ovaries. The presence of this hormone prevents the coming to maturity of further egg cells (which might result in double fertilization or dizygotic twins), as well as blocking further ovulation. If the egg has not been fertilized, after 28 days of the cycle it will be discharged in the woman’s monthly courses, along with the endometrium. The ingredient the pill contains, gestagen - a synthetically produced and better tolerated hormone substitute for the naturally generated progesterone - has just the same effect as the latter: only its presence has the effect of preventing ovulation in the first instance. As now no mature egg is present, and further ovulation is likewise ruled out, fertilization is unable to take place.
This method, then, can in no way be described as an "invasive intervention" - a term that can be applied only to surgical or to other (minimally invasive) forms of treatment, like acupuncture for instance. If we use this principle to justify our banning this method of contraception, in all consistency we would also have to reject all other forms of pharmaceutical treatment, as in cases of headache, acid stomach and so on, on religious grounds.
Turning the matter about, the question suggests itself whether Catholic moral theology has given the right amount of thought to these issues, or whether - as with priestly celibacy or the denial of communion wine to the people of God at the Lord’s Supper - we do not have here a case of authoritarian and ivory-towered decisions made in the board room, without any real understanding of or reference to reality..
As a Christian whose faith is in the Bible, too - and for that very reason - one can only react with astonishment and incomprehension to these words spoken by Cardinal Meissner of Cologne:
"The ordination of women is just as much of an absurdity as if men wanted to
give birth to children."
On the contrary, we read of Our Lord Jesus Christ (in Jn 12,1-3) the following:
Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair.
Jn 12,1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where
Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 12,2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was
serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at he table with Him. 12,3 Mary then took a pound of
very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the
house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Jn 12, 1- 3;
So if Our Lord and God let his feet be anointed by a woman, and then dried with her hair, even
the Pope in Rome - let alone the Cardinal of Cologne - is not in a position to cast aspersions on the service
of women done to Our Lord and to the people of God.
In the Catholic Church, ‘ordination’ means consecration as a priest. As the servants of
God, the priests also perform a service as the shepherds of God’s people. And in this function they are
also, and above all, the teachers of the congregation of the church.
Now you, as one who knows the Bible well, will doubtless be familiar with Paul’s injunction in 1. Tim 2,12: "But I do not allow a woman to teach". This means that the biblical point of view also prohibits women from teaching, and so rules out the possibility of women ever becoming priests of the Catholic Church. This is precisely the position taken by the Catholic Church, as well as by Cardinal Meissner. This is in contrast with the Protestant churches, who in spite of repeatedly proclaiming their adherence to the Bible seem to ignore this statement of Paul’s completely, and so permit women to become priests or even to hold office as bishops.
Benedikt Kromlechner B.Kromlechner@aol.com
The above reply from Mr Kromlechner gave me a sufficient motive to go into this entire
complex of problems in this separate Discourse. Let us first take a look at the scriptural passage quoted by
this commentator, as well as by several others who argue in favor of this position.
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
1Tim 2,11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 2,12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 2,13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 2,14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 2,15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. 1Tim 2,11-15;
The women are to keep silent in the churches; let them ask their own husbands at home.
1Cor 14,33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches
of the saints. 14,34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but
are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 14,35 If they desire to learn anything, let them
ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. 1Cor 14,33-35;
These statements of Paul’s seem quite unambiguous in their implications for the role of
women in the congregation. But before we come to grips with this issue, let us just cast some light on the
role of the man - and of that man, specifically, whom Paul had in mind when issuing such instructions.
For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward holding fast the faithful word.
Tit 1,5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what
remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 1,6 namely, if any man is above reproach,
the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 1,7 For the
overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to
wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 1,8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just,
devout, self-controlled, 1,9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so
that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Tit 1, 5- 9;
The "elders" who Paul refers to here are to be thought of as equivalent to the priests of
our own day - to the parish priests and pastors of the Catholic and Protestant churches. So this passage, Tit
1,5-9, is a summary job description of what kind of person should be entrusted with this task.
And here we find the requirement that the elder, that is, the priest, should be "the husband of one wife". This, though, is impossible - for Catholic priests, at any rate - in view of the command of priestly celibacy. The Catholic argument that what we have here is an optional specification is completely without logic. This is because it is incumbent on an elder, a priest, above all that he be in a position to understand the problems of the brothers and sisters entrusted to his care, and to support them with counsel drawn from his own experience of life. But inasmuch as Catholic priests have not had personal experience of this side of things, they are ipso facto incapable of carrying out such a task.
As in a great many other contexts, so here too the Catholic Church has in its arrogance established rules for its clergy at its own human pleasure. Not only is it impossible for these people to obey such rules - the Bible does not even require it. On the contrary, in his first Epistle to Timothy, Paul warns us that liars will come who forbid marriage.
By means of the hypocrisy of liars, who forbid marriage.
1Tim 4,1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away
from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 4,2 by means of the
hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 4,3 men who forbid
marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those
who believe and know the truth. 4,4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it
is received with gratitude; 1Tim 4, 1- 4;
Continuing the job description of the priest or elder as delineated by Paul, we are then told
in Tit 1,9, quoted above, that he must be one "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with
the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict".
And now let us just sample this "teaching" - that is to say, the sermons being preached in the Catholic
and Protestant churches at the present time. We hear a lot of stuff coming from various disciplines - history,
psychology, politics and sociology - but it is very rare that we hear anything about Jesus Christ and his
having offered himself as a sacrifice for us. A Catholic priest who has spent 30 years exercising his ministry
"Jesus did not become man and die on the cross in order to reconcile us with God
(...) - this is outdated theology of the Middle Ages. We don’t see it that way these days: the message is
different. (...) The death of Jesus on the cross has nothing to do with the demand for bloody satisfaction of
a juridically ‘righteous’ God - quite the reverse! The cross shows what human beings are and what God is.
(...) Jesus came as a human being to bring us back to God after we had run away from Him, to be a signpost to
God for us. (...) Because human beings did not want to follow the path pointed by the signpost, t h e y nailed
him to the cross."
He is arguing here that the path a human being must follow, if he is to be righteous and
pleasing to God, is that of dying on the cross like Jesus Christ. Because human beings were unwilling to
follow this "path", in their hate and envy they nailed Jesus Christ to the cross. He derives this insight
from a book by the Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "Einführung in das Christentum" ["Introduction
to Christianity" (sic!)], whom he also quotes as saying "(...) that a truly righteous person must be one
who endures suffering and persecution."
(See also Discourse 30: "Why did Jesus have to die on the
So this is what "sound doctrine" looks like, on the basis of which priests today, amongst
them the highest dignitaries of the church like the Prefect of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith and dogmatic theologian Cardinal Ratzinger, "admonish" the Catholic faithful. And we should be
aware that this is a contribution of a rather higher order - intellectually at least, if not in terms of faith
- compared with the superficialities that one generally gets to hear in the sermons of the various established
But it is hardly surprising that of all people Ratzinger should advocate this view - because it is precisely this point that constitutes the difference between Catholicism and Christianity. In Catholicism you try to establish an "account" in heaven, on the basis of works and your own deliberate suffering - in the hope that this will succeed in earning you, in the eyes of God, the right to salvation. But this is not the teaching we find in Scripture. Salvation in Jesus Christ is not the result of any kind of performance on our part - of whatever nature - but rather of grace, through our acceptance of the redeeming sacrifice of Our Lord on the cross. And that is given to us freely, without any strings attached. We only have to accept it personally and in full awareness - that is all. But if we have accepted it in the first place, then our heart burns to express our gratitude. We will look out for every opportunity that God sends us to serve him. We will do our best to pass on what we have ourselves received - just as freely, and without any strings attached! This is the true faith, this is the true love of Our Lord.
But let us continue with this scripture-based evaluation of today’s "shepherds" of the people of God. In his first Epistle to Timothy, Paul goes on to refer to "teachers of the Law":
They want to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
1Tim 1,7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand
either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 1,8 But we know
that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 1,9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous
person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane,
for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 1,10 and immoral men and homosexuals and
kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching. 1Tim 1, 7-11;
In this passage, 1Tim 1,7-11, Paul writes about those things and persons who are "contrary to sound teaching", mentioning for instance "homosexuals". It goes without saying that Paul is not just condemning those individuals who engage in such deviant behavior: his condemnation likewise must extend to those elders of the congregation who tolerate it. And he says that these teachers of the Law do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. Paul has more to say about the class addressed here in 1Tim 1,10 - the homosexuals, that is - in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Or do you not know that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God?
1Cor 6,9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
homosexuals, 6,10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit
the kingdom of God. 1Cor 6, 9-10;
Such "homosexuals" then, according to Paul, will not inherit the kingdom of God. And here
we feel obliged to state that there was a Cardinal in Austria in recent years (now deceased), Cardinal Groer,
who was accused in unambiguous terms by his now grown-up victims of having abused them sexually as children.
He did not make any statement in response to this charge, and the Catholic Church never found it necessary
that the man should be brought to court. On the contrary - it was after these incidents that he was
promoted from Bishop to Cardinal.
It is only quite recently, in the USA, that a Catholic priest has been found guilty in court, after over 100 charges of child abuse had been proved against him. The bishop who was his superior had known for years what was going on, but had kept quiet about it, and had just kept transferring the man to a different parish rather than casting him out and bringing him to justice. Only now have the collective charges of all the parents of the children abused by this Catholic parish priest resulted in a verdict of guilty, leaving the Catholic Church in the USA having to pay a fine that runs to hundreds of millions of dollars.
It may be assumed that these two cases are only the tip of the iceberg. In all probability, such practices have been going on for centuries in the Catholic Church, in its monasteries and in schools run by religious orders, without the abused children or their parents ever having the face to take action against these "holy" men. These, then, are the "teachers" of the Catholic faithful: according to Scripture, they will not inherit the kingdom of God, but they teach and preach and give blessings and celebrate Mass all the same. Extraordinary!
So it is a matter for sincere congratulation that it was a woman - the 28 year old practicing Catholic and American singer Lauryn Hill - who lately had the nerve to lecture this male clique in the Vatican on this subject.
Rome - The American hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill shocked the Vatican with an appeal against
pedophilia, which she read out on Saturday evening at the traditional Christmas concert in the Paul VI Hall.
Before performing to 7,500 spectators, among whom were a number of cardinals and bishops, the singer, who has
won frequent Grammy awards, read out a self-composed statement in denunciation of the plague of pedophile
priests in the Catholic Church, to the extreme indignation of those present.
"I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why
you are not in mourning for his death in this place. Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership,
of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy. There are no possible
grounds on which the church can be excused,"
said the 28-year-old artiste in a trembling voice.
"I know some of you may be offended by what I am saying. But what do you have to
say to those families that were betrayed by people they believe in? And what do you say to the children who
were violated in mind and body?"
the singer asked, of a stony-faced and disapproving audience.
"It’s a mistake to worship people when we need to be praying to God. I don’t
believe in representatives of God on earth, I only believe in God. Human beings sin, and they are responsible
said the singer emphatically. Her words called forth an indignant response. Some cardinals
demonstrated their disapproval by leaving the hall. The concert presenter, Cristina Parodi, apologized to the
audience. The concert was to have been relayed by the private television channel Canale V, but the station,
which is owned by the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, will in all probability cut Ms Hill’s appeal
when it is broadcast.
And yet the Vatican had no misgivings about inviting the practicing Catholic singer to the Christmas concert. Faith in God plays an important part in the life of the American star, who is married to Bob Marley’s son Rohan. "I honor and love God. He is involved in everything that I do," Ms Hill said recently. The singer won five Grammy awards with her first solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", more than any other woman before her ever achieved. She first came to prominence in 1993 together with the rap band the Fugees.
+) This article comes from a press release by the Austria Presse Agentur (APA) [Austria Press
Agency] of 14. 12. 2003.
And what was the reaction of the Vatican? Remorse? Admission of guilt? Perhaps even an
apology? - Not a trace!
Bishop Rino Fisichella, who had organized the concert, reproached the singer for having ruined the Christmas spirit for the audience. He said:
"Ms Hill’s attitude was just objectionable. Instead of singing, she made a
speech. She betrayed the trust of the people who invited her. Her obnoxious behavior is self-evident."
The bishop did not think to mention the trust of the many, the very many Catholic parents and
children which was betrayed by pedophiles in the Catholic hierarchy - whose attitude was not merely
objectionable, but a crime against humanity. Nor did he refer to the fact that it is just this kind of excess
in the established churches that leads to the Christian faith’s being slandered and abused.
There will be false teachers and because of their sensuality the way of the truth will be maligned.
2Ptr 2,1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also
be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the
Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2,2 Many will follow their
sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 2,3 and in their greed they will
exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2Pet 2, 1- 3;
We might hope to find a better situation when we turn to the Protestant churches - but we would be far wrong. Not only is the "marriage" of homosexual partners permitted in almost all Protestant denominations throughout Europe - what is more, just recently in the USA a confessed homosexual was consecrated as a bishop. In the Anglican communion, the 56 year old Gene Robinson was raised to the office and dignity of an Episcopalian bishop. This man was married for ten years to a woman from whom he separated some years ago, and has an adult daughter. Such men who have abandoned natural intercourse with women and burn in their desire toward one another, men who commit indecent acts with men, are also described by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans:
The men burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts.
Röm 1,22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 1,23 and exchanged the
glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed
animals and crawling creatures. 1,24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so
that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 1,25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie,
and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 1,26 For this
reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which
is unnatural, 1,27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned
in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own
persons the due penalty of their error. Rom 1,22-27;
Paul’s telling description of such people is this:
"Professing to be wise, they became fools. (...) For they exchanged the
truth of God for a lie.""
But now Paul enjoins women to be subject to their husbands in everything:
But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Eph Eph 5,21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 5,22 Wives,
be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 5,23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ
also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 5,24 But as the church is subject
to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 5,25 Husbands, love your
wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Eph 5,21-25;
So if the wife of the homosexual bishop referred to above were to be subject to her homosexual
husband in everything - in questions of doctrine as well, shall we say - she would be at least as culpable as
her husband. Which shows us plainly that that is most certainly not a thing that Paul would have
wanted. Just as all true believers are obliged to distance themselves from such so-called teachers, and to
condemn their proceedings, any right-believing wife must of course be expected to do the same. Anyone who here
demands that the women of such husbands (pedophiles and homosexuals, that is to say) must be subject to them,
is committing a reductio ad absurdum of Paul’s comparison in Eph. 5,22, quoted above ("as the
church is subject to Christ") and is guilty of perverting Scripture.
Paul’s injunction in the above passage - "Husbands, love your wives" - can be understood, on this argument, in four distinct senses:
1. Husbands, love your wives - that is, take wives and love them, and do not
attempt to live without women in this unnatural fashion. This is against the will of God, and there will be
the devil to pay sooner or later.
2. Husbands, love your wives - that is, after the first flush of romance has
faded, and the problems of daily life make themselves felt, do not just treat them as tiresome baggage.
3. Husbands, love your wives - that is, not other women, and still less the
wives of other men, but your own wives, to whom you have made a commitment.
4. Husbands, love your wives - rather than getting into relationships with
As we have also seen in the above passage (Tit 1,5-9), Paul holds that Christian brothers are
qualified to exercise the office of an elder and teacher - of a priest, that is - if they have the following
"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains,
and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,
- namely, if any man be above reproach,
- the husband of one wife,
- having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.
- For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward,
- not self-willed,
- not quick-tempered,
- not addicted to wine,
- not pugnacious,
- not fond of sordid gain,
- but hospitable,
- loving what is good,
- holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict."
Peter too, in his first Epistle, lists some of the qualities that the elders of the congregation must be possessed of:
Shepherd the flock of God among you, proving to be examples to the flock!
1Pet 5,1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and
witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 5,2 shepherd
the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will
of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 5,3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to
your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 1Pet 5, 1- 3;
These, then, according to Scripture, are the real teachers of the Gospel. These are the true
servants of our God. Anyone in our churches and congregations today who is set over the flock as a shepherd -
that is to say as a priest or an elder - and exercises a teaching office must answer these criteria. Anyone
who does not meet these requirements has no right to demand that his fellow-believers, whether they be men or
women, be subject to him. Quite the reverse - if such a man does not have enough self-knowledge to motivate
him to resign his office, then the congregation should speak to him seriously in the presence of two or three
witnesses, and show him the door.
If this proceeding were actually to be carried out, there would be cause for concern, admittedly, that the great majority of priests would have to be replaced. It is a shameful fact, and highly damaging to the people of God, that we have people in holy orders who sometimes are not even familiar with the Bible (see above), let alone having understood the real heart of the Gospel.
Besides the incapacity of priests in the established churches, we also find false doctrine -
especially in the Catholic Church with its reliance on "tradition" (as passed down by human beings) and
its misguided doctrine of the "Mother of God" and "Queen of Heaven", Mary. The various Marian
appearances in Medjugorje proclaimed, in a series of public communications that lasted from 1981 into the
nineties, the familiar message:
"I am the mediator between you and God".
(From: "Erscheinungen und Botschaften der Gottesmutter Maria - Vollständige
Dokumentation durch zwei Jahrtausende" ["Appearances and Messages of the Mother of God, Mary - Complete
Documentation through Two Millennia"] by G. Hierzenberger und O. Nedomansky. Aschaffenburg: Pattloch/1993).
Seeing that Our Lord Jesus Christ says of himself:
No one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no
one comes to the Father but through Me. Jn 14, 6;
and Paul confirms it:
There is one mediator also between God and men the man Christ Jesus.
1Tim 2.5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus, 2,6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.
1Tim 2, 5- 6;
and expressly warns us to be on our guard:
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men.
Col 2,8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty
deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world,
rather than according to Christ. 2,9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 2,10
and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority. Col 2, 8-10;
- these assertions of the Catholic Church and its idol "Mary" are patent lies, and
exclusively dedicated to the object of preventing the faithful from finding the true path of salvation through
their savior Jesus Christ.
(See also Discourse 52: "Can the actions of Mary be
effective in averting Bible's prophecies of the Last Days?")
As early as at the Council of Ephesus in 431, in the Catholic Church it was resolved that
prayers should be addressed to Mary as a "mediator" and that the expression "Mother of God" might be
used as applying to her. This doctrine was confirmed by Pope Pius XI, just 1500 years later - in 1931! The
dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary - stating that Mary was conceived by her mother (!!) Anna without
the stain of original sin - was elevated by Pope Pius IX to a dogma in the year 1854. The resulting similarity
with the birth of the Lord Jesus became still more complete when Pope Pius XII declared in the year 1950 that
Mary had ascended into heaven, and raised this opinion - doubtless on the strength of his "infallibility"
- to the dignity of dogma.
In much the same way as Holy Scripture was deprived by the human "tradition" of the Catholic Church of its unique claim to be God’s revelation, so here too the claim of the Son of God, as the unique mediator between God and man, has been replaced by a "mediatrix".
All these, and some other inventions of the Catholic Church - prayers to "saints" (amounting to a cult of the dead!), the Lord’s Supper without wine for the faithful, infant baptism, purgatory, reverencing relics etc. - are in plain contradiction of the precondition set by Paul in Tit 1,9 for anyone wishing to act as an elder and teacher. Such a person he insists, must be one
"holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that
he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict".
Since the year 1870, when Pope Pius IX promulgated the dogma of papal "Infallibility",
errors like this on the part of the church, whether earlier or later, would be in contradiction of this dogma.
Hence Catholic religious doctrine asserts that no doubts are to be entertained of such matters.
And although in the past there have been men and women on repeated occasions who have protested against these false doctrines - often having to pay for it with their lives (under the Inquisition or the Counter-Reformation) - right up to the present day nothing has changed. On the contrary Cardinal Ratzinger, whose opinions we quoted earlier, acting in his capacity as Prefect of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - an institution which until recently was known as the "Holy Office" and which was responsible in the past for the execution of thousands of true-believing Christians in the Catholic Inquisition - only a short time ago made the following claim, in his so-called Declaration ‘ Dominus Jesus’:
"The Catholic Church is the one and only church that mediates salvation"
- thus denying all other Christian churches the right to exist. The insistence of many
Catholic groups that they wish to see "promotion of unity amongst Christians and renewal of church and
society" thus really means the compulsory ecumenical unification of all Christian denominations under the
dominion of the Catholic Church, and a renewal of church and society with the object of making the Catholic
Pope, if possible, the supreme head of all religions worldwide.
(See also Discourse 32: "Commentary on the manifesto "Dominus
Jesus" of the Catholic Congregation of Faith.")
It emerges clearly from the argument we have followed so far that the "teachers" of the Catholic Church have in the course of almost 2000 years made their church into an idolatrous and power-hungry male-dominated sect with a leaning to pedophile perversion. We can see in this a fulfillment of the prophecies of Peter in his second Epistle, where he says:
There will also be false teachers among you, who will deny the Master who bought them.
2Ptr 2,1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will
also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master
who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2,2 Many will follow their sensuality,
and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 2,3 and in their greed they will exploit you
with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2Pet 2,
And so when Cardinal Meissner of Cologne announces to the women of his diocese
"The ordination of women would be as absurd as if men were to want to be allowed
to bear children",
and in support of this appeals to those Biblical passages which forbid a woman to teach and
command her to be subordinate to man, it is hardly surprising if some of these women answer him in the
"Indeed, we will see a cardinal become pregnant before we will subject ourselves
to this kind of Catholic hierarchy".
But there are few women in the Catholic Church who indeed have the courage to stand up openly
for their opinions. If we look at the Catholic women’s movement in Austria, its guiding principles do
admittedly contain the following statement:
"6) The kfb (katholische Frauen Bewegung / Catholic Women’s Movement - ed.)
supports women in discovering and developing the manifold range of their talents. Women are encouraged to
use their abilities in the family, business, politics and the church."
But when it is a matter of indicating errors in doctrine and in morals to the hierarchy of
their church, what meets us is rather wide-spread pusillanimity.
And this seems actually to be the crucial issue in relation to the question that keeps coming up - "Should women be admitted to the teaching office of the church?" When Paul says in 1Tim 2,12:
"I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain
and in 1Cor 14,33-34:
"As in all the churches of the saints the women are to keep silent in the
he is of course assuming that these congregations have the benefit of sound and reliable Biblical doctrine, taught by men who "hold fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching". But as for those who fall away from sound doctrine, and propagate falsities, the Lord himself says:
If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
Lk 17,3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he
repents, forgive him. 17,4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven
times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him." Lk 7,. 3- 4;
And Paul also writes, in his first Epistle to Timothy:
Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
1Tim 5,19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of
two or three witnesses. 5,20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest
also will be fearful of sinning. 5,21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and
of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 1Tim
But if there are no men to be found in the Catholic Church who are willing to take on this indispensable task, there can be no question (even seeing the matter from a Biblical point of view) but that women should take on this responsibility, as the practicing Catholic Lauryn Hill, of whom we spoke earlier, did in the Vatican on 13.12.2003. Another point is that this obligation incumbent on women to be subordinate refers, in all the passages generally quoted, exclusively to subordination to the woman’s own husband. Just as Paul enjoins the Ephesians in the passage quoted earlier (Eph 5,21-22), "... and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord", so he tells the Colossians as well:
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Kol 3,18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
3,19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 3,20 Children, be obedient to your
parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 3,21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children,
so that they will not lose heart. 3,22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not
with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 3,23
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 3,24 knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 3,25 For he who does
wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. Col 3,18-25;
And Peter too has an injunction to women in his first Epistle, urging them to be submissive:
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands.
1Pet 3.1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands
so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of
their wives, 3,2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1Pet 3, 1- 2;br>
Like Paul in the earlier passage, here Peter too bids women be submissive to their own
husbands. But as we know, in view of the Catholic Church’s obligations of clerical celibacy neither Cardinal
Meissner, nor any of his brethren in office, has a wife of his own who might exercise the duty of
And here it becomes very plain that the Catholic Church, by prohibiting its clergy from taking wives of their own, has automatically and unambiguously lost the right (and in the nature of things, likewise the capacity) to appeal to the biblically grounded subordination of the wife to her husband in its own interest. One who goes against the dictates of the Bible in emancipating himself from the obligation to love, protect and care for his wife, equally loses any kind of entitlement to expect the submissiveness of women. Paul himself says in 1Cor 11,10-12:
However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.
1Cor 11,10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head,
because of the angels. 11,11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man
independent of woman. 11,12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth
through the woman; and all things originate from God. 1Cor 11,10-12;
But this injunction to submissiveness is not only to be found in the Catholic Church:
submissiveness is also required in other churches, most particularly so in many Protestant and/or Free Church
congregations. Here there is no celibacy: here every man can have and love his own wife. This is biblical and
thoroughly to be desired. What is less desirable, however, is the way in which this injunction to
submissiveness is put across to "the woman" by some brothers in leadership positions.
It may be fundamentally stated that it is already a sign of weakness in the brothers and elders who exercise leadership if things get to such a pass that an unfriendly confrontation with a sister in Christ on this issue becomes unavoidable. If a situation like this is not recognized in good time, it is a sign of inadequate leadership and a lack of openness in relation to our brothers and sisters. The very first point to get clear is the question to what extent the criticism of this sister in Christ is justified. If it should prove to be justified, a council of the brothers should immediately be appointed to find a solution to the problem. If the woman’s criticism is unfounded - and two or three witnesses concur in this judgment - and if she has a husband who is likewise a member of the congregation, the first thing is to talk to him and tell him of the problem. And in this case it can and must be the husband who, together with his wife, brings the issue to a solution with which all are satisfied. Others may give him advice, if he wishes to be advised, but in the last resort it must always be the woman’s Christian husband who is responsible for the attitude of his wife in the congregation.
If this sister in the Lord - and it is only such we are concerned with here - does not have a husband, or her husband is not a believer, then one of the older women in the congregation, one of established faith, taken from among those who instruct younger women, girls and children in the congregation - but not on any account an elder or a brother!!! - should take her under her wing. In private discussion with her, meeting repeatedly if necessary, she should explain to her the biblical background to this commandment. Here it should be pointed out that in accordance with the will of God, God himself is the head of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but Christ in turn is the "head" of the man. That is to say, Christ directs and protects him. The man, then, is the "head" of his wife, and it is his task to direct and protect her. The wife, finally, is the "head" of her children, whom she in turn directs and protects.
Older women are to be teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women.
Tit 2,1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.
2,2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 2,3 Older
women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching
what is good, 2,4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their
children, 2,5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the
word of God will not be dishonored. Tit 2, 1- 5;
What an intelligent and creative Christian woman cannot find a way of expressing in the
congregation, in view of this commandment, she can and should invest in her own family. She is the actual
motor of the family. If the family "enterprise" is flourishing and expanding with the help of God, there
is bound to be a capable woman behind it, one whose brain and heart and prayers have helped make such
successes a reality. Last but not least, women also have better chances - in their daily "conversation"
with Our Lord, when it is a matter of finding solutions to family problems, or determining the best path for
the development and strengthening of the family - to build up a really close and personal relationship with
This still leaves the women in the other churches - for example, those in the Catholic Church
who find an obliging bishop who is prepared to consecrate them as priests. Some of these women derive their
knowledge from the catechism alone, and have never read the Bible properly in all their lives. They can argue,
of course, that many male Catholic priests are far from exemplary in this respect. And besides, it can be
clearly shown on the basis of the Bible (see my earlier remarks) that the men of the Catholic hierarchy have
for centuries been violating the fundamentals of biblical doctrine without a second thought. Only when it
comes to women’s being barred from teaching, and the injunction that they should be submissive, do they
suddenly appeal to the Bible - an altogether transparent maneuver.
In the Protestant churches, pastors can be married; and women have the right to be consecrated as priests. All the same - or perhaps for this very reason? - some of these churches have developed in recent years practically into pressure groups for homosexuals. Not only do such churches "marry" homosexual couples, we now find - as mentioned earlier - that in the USA a gay man has been made a bishop. This man goes to his church on Sunday morning after having had anal intercourse with his lover, and preaches a moral sermon, as a "shepherd" admonishing his "sheep" for not attending Sunday church services more regularly - and all this with the acquiescence of the leading men of this church! I must apologize here if I have shocked some female readers (among them my wife, incidentally), but it is absolutely essential to my way of thinking, when there are people who find this gay bishop "perfectly OK", that the perverse background to their judgment should be made plain to them in the most drastic colors possible. I hope I have thus written in a way that can be understood even by those who are below the "Bush limit" of IQ 90.
Those women, finally, who have developed a feminist theology and reinvented God as a Woman, while still aligning themselves with the Christian religion, demonstrate in so doing that they have not understood the foundation of Christianity - the Bible, that is to say - either in its content or in its message. God is neither male nor female! The representation of God in the Bible as a "man", and later in the New Testament as a "Father", is not to be understood in human and physical terms but in a spiritual sense. Seeing that humanity - at least up to the present time - has regarded the man as the leader, with the father occupying the same position in relation to the family, so the Holy Spirit portrays God as a man and a Father. If the world were to be governed on matriarchal principles, God would be presented to us as a woman and as a Mother. Male and female are not the issue here - it is rather the question how God, as the almighty Creator of the universe, can be presented to the human faculties (here considerably challenged) in such a way as to be adequately understood.
So in conclusion we must say that Paul’s statements forbidding women to teach and speak in
church or in the congregation are Biblical facts, and not to be denied. But if many men (of all
denominations!) advance a claim to supremacy based on this, they completely ignore the second part of these
statements - that is to say, the duty of adhering to correct biblical teaching. What this mentality leads to
is plain to be seen in the spiritual state of many churches and congregations.
One who truly wishes to be the first in the assembly of the faithful must not exercise command, but must serve the brothers and sisters, as the Lord tells us:
Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Mt 20,25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the
rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 20,26 "It is
not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 20,27 and
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 20,28 just as the Son of Man did not come to
be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mt 20,25-28;
But the Lord does not merely tell us that we must serve - he also tells us how we should go about it:
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Jn 4,23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 4,24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Jn 4,23-24;
When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret.
Mt 6,5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they
love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly
I say to you, they have their reward in full.
6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 6,7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 6,8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him". Mt 6, 5- 8;
And here we can now understand the background to Paul’s statements referred to above. It is indeed not the will of God that women should teach in the assembly of the congregation or preach at public religious services. But this is not the place where it is at. This is not where God’s decisions are made! Teaching and preaching are no doubt necessary and indispensable, but all the same it is the prayer of the faithful in the "inner room" which moves God to action. This is real service to one’s brothers and sisters. So those who carry out this service, in faith and in solitude, are really the ones who are the "first" according to the promise made by the Lord:
The last shall be first.
Mt 20,16 So the last shall be first, and the first last. For many are
called, but few are chosen.". Mt 20,16;
And it appears to be the will of God that just this should be the task of the woman who is a
Christian. In the past, and up to the present day, the one-sided interpretation of men has done great harm to
the people of God. How foolish of women to want to compete, in a spirit of emulation, with these men for a
spurious form of "supremacy", instead of taking that place which God has appointed for them and where they
can really make things happen. The fact that in the past far too few women have performed this service for the
people of God is not one of the least reasons for the situation we are faced with today.
As Christians whose faith is in the Bible, we must thus address to all Christian women in all Christian denominations a heartfelt and brotherly request, and an urgent invitation - that they will take thought for this task, which men have so patently neglected, and through their believing prayers in the Spirit, in truth and in silence, help their own families and their brothers and sisters in their own local assembly (church or congregation) to a deeper knowledge, stronger faith and greater love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Father in heaven will hear them and will grant their requests. This would attack false doctrine and bad practice at the root, as well as proving something that could not be put across credibly on the basis of lengthy argument - that they, together with those few men who share their way of thinking, are the true pillars of the church or congregation.
Gottfried Daniel Pomacher, a revival preacher from Wuppertal, took the same view when he stated:
"Christianity does not consist in words, but in the power of the Holy Spirit
in the faithful. The pillars of the temple are not those whose public utterances of ‘Lord, Lord’ attract
the admiration of those who hear them, but rather those who address their prayers to the Lord at home, in
their inner room and without anyone listening. These are the true pillars of the congregation."