Tweet Review: Women’s Ordination

This post serves a simple purpose which is to clarify a teaching of the Catholic faith and give a brief reason why the teaching occurs.  Because it is considered by many to be controversial I would ask that any comment stay on the topic of this clarification.  This is not a place for Catholics who are unhappy with this teaching of the Church to vent any frustration, and any comment of that nature will not make it through moderation.  It is also not to be used as a debate on sacraments in general.  It is for any non-Catholic Christian to ask questions for clarification on why the Catholic Church only ordains men to the priesthood.

Earlier this evening, Mark Driscoll tweeted, “The Push to Ordain Female Priests Gains Ground,” and linked to this article from Time Magazine Online about several women who have attempted ordination in the Catholic Church.  While I don’t have  time to go into in depth I can clearly state that Mark Driscoll is incorrect on this point.  The push to ordain female priests in the Catholic Church has not gained any ground, because females cannot be ordained to the priesthood.  Unlike priestly celibacy, which is not a doctrinal issue but a custom, the all male priesthood is an issue of doctrine which cannot change.

When we speak of priesthood (Holy Orders), the oral tradition of the Church is pretty clear that Jesus only shared the ministerial priesthood with men and not women.  This is because a priest makes visible the spousal relationship between Christ the bridegroom and the Church, his bride.  This relationship is life giving.  A woman minister and a feminine Church cannot make this life giving relationship visible.  Thus, the “matter” involved in the sacrament of Holy Orders must be a man.  Even if a bishop tried to ordain a woman, the sacrament of Holy Orders will not occur.  It would be similar to baptizing a person using gasoline and without using the words that Jesus gave to us.

Our universal pastor, Pope John Paul II was very clear on this.  He explained that the Church will not ordain women to the priesthood because the Church does not have the authority to do so.  The women mentioned in the Time article he linked are not priests.  They simply simulated the sacrament and now they are pretending to be priests.  The Church does not believe this is a matter of “Canon Law.”  It is a matter Divine Law, and the Church cannot dispense from Divine Law.  There will never be women priests in the Catholic Church, no matter how popular the idea gets.

These women went through our “Church Discipline” and many of them were excommunicated.  Their actions should not be viewed as representative of the direction the Catholic Church is headed.

Mars Hill Church members and fans of Mark Driscoll (not to mention Mark Driscoll himself) would do well to avoid looking to the mainstream media for any sort of objective coverage of the Catholic Church.  For further reading I would recommend this post from the Ignatius Insight Scoop and the links at the bottom of the article.

UPDATE: An interesting discussion is happening on Facebook and people who believe women should be pastors and should not be pastors are both making good arguments using the Bible alone.  Churches that hold to the Bible and Sacred Tradition are united that women cannot be pastors, which I find interesting.

God’s Work at Mars Hill

I have made it clear that I like Mars Hill Church and their pastor Mark Driscoll.  I have also made it clear (much clearer, actually) that there are many things taught at Mars Hill that I believe are false and uninformed.  Despite these shortcomings, I really do believe that God is at work at Mars Hill Church.  So, for the sake of clarity, I want to use this post to help define and clarify exactly how I believe that God is actually working in and through Mars Hill Church.

The reason I want to do this is that there is a temptation among Christians of all types, including Catholics, to believe that they have a monopoly on God’s blessing.  I see it as a Catholic all the time.  There are many Christians who believe that my Church is “The whore of Babylon,” and that God despises everything that she teaches and does (thankfully, Mark Driscoll isn’t one of these people).  Likewise, there are many Catholics who wrongfully believe that since the fullness of the Christian life is found in the Catholic Church all other churches and Christian groups, including Mars Hill, are worthless.

I think all Christians should approach this issue by considering how God has worked in the world throughout history as recorded in the Scriptures.  First of all, God blesses people who are not part of his covenant.  We see this in Genesis 17.  God replied: “Nevertheless, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son, and you shall call him Isaac. I will maintain my covenant with him as an everlasting pact, to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.  As for Ishmael, I am heeding you: I hereby bless him. I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation.  But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year.”  The lesson here is that we can’t dismiss God’s blessings on people who are not part of his Church.  I will leave it to Mars Hill Church members to determine what this means for them, but I will urge my Catholic brothers and sisters to discern how God is blessing Mars Hill Church members and to rejoice in those blessings, because these blessings are the work of God.

As Catholics we believe that when we gather for prayer on Sundays, Jesus Christ makes himself present in four ways.  Through the proclamation of the scriptures, the congregation gathered in his name, the priest who celebrates the Eucharist, and the Eucharist itself.  If we really and truly believe that Jesus Christ is present in these four ways there are two obvious implications.  One of these implications is that we should feel genuinely sad that members of Mars Hill Church do not possess Christ’s presence in the priest and in the Eucharist.  The other is that we should feel genuine joy and we should rejoice that they encounter the living God in the scriptures and in the community gathered in his name.

Mars Hill Church is helping people know Jesus in the scriptures and in the other people who gather with them in prayer.  They are also our allies in many of the cultural battles we are fighting, especially regarding rights of the unborn and the fight against pornography.  It might be tough to admit, but a lot of what they are doing is cleaning up a mess that many Catholic parishes have created because they turned away from the Gospel.  So let’s pray for Mars Hill.  Lets pray that they continue to seek Jesus Christ.  And let’s pray that one day, very soon, we will be united to them in faith as our Lord desires.

Online Content Review: Sola Scriptura

Blog Posts by Pastor Scott Thomas: Part 1, Part 2.
May 20 and 21, 2010

Note: The following is merely an essay critiquing Pastor Scott Thomas’ blog posts on Sola Scriptura. It does not respond to every single argument he makes, but is only an overview of the doctrinal issues from a Catholic perspective. Responses to more of Pastor Scott’s specific arguments agsinst the Catholic Church and in favor of Sola Scriptura will be dealt with in a separate post.

No matter which issue we take up here at DriscollWatch, whether it is about Mary, Confession, Purgatory, or whatever, we will ultimately go back to one debate: Authority. Who or what has authority to state and define Christian Doctrine? Is it a Pope? Is it the Bible? Is it Mark Driscoll? Is it individual Christians reading and interpreting the Bible on their own?

As we shall see, Mark Driscoll and his associates, such as Pastor Scott Thomas, believe that the Bible alone is a Christian’s highest authority. In his blog post on the subject, Pastor Scott is misleading in the same way that Mark Driscoll is sometimes misleading: he states what he believes, and then states that the Catholic Church teaches something different. He then defines his own view, leaving the audience the impression that the Catholic Church is opposed to everything that he said in his view, when that isn’t necessarily the case.

Take, for example, Pastor Scott’s definition of Sola Scriptura. Continue reading

Progress?

Today Pastor Mark tweeted a quote from a relatively recent Roman Catholic! One who actually did Catholic things like pray the rosary and believe in the real presence. GK Chesterton!

Progress? Not sure, but I for one sure am in favor of evangelicals reading more Chesterton. This can’t be a bad thing.

The Silence

DriscollWatch is off to a great start! Thank you all for reading! We have received many hits on the blog, and most of these visitors are reading multiple articles which I believe is a very positive sign. We have also received a couple of emails from Catholics who have friends who attend MarsHill and have had to defend the faith against things Mark Driscoll has said about our Church.

Unfortunately, real life has caught up with me and I have not been able to post for some time. Not only that, but my internet situation is not very good right now, and I am unable to download sermons off the Mars Hill Church website as easily as I was up in the Northwest.

There will be more posts coming, but they will not be very frequent. I also have some guest posts in the works and will hopefully get those up on the blog in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can help us make this blog better by perusing the Mars Hill Website for content that relates to Catholicism and telling us where it is. For example, you might encounter a blog post that mentions something that find to be erroneous or misleading regarding the Church. If you do, send us the link and tell us what you find troubling. You can contact us at Driscollwatch@gmail.com .

Even better, however, would be to find a sermon that might have something to do with the faith. Listen to the sermon and tell us when the information occurs. This will help us out a lot as it will allow us to get posts up a lot faster.

So keep reading the blog! Comment! Join our facebook page and follow us on Twitter! And most importantly pray for us!