A letter to the Landmark on Jan. 28 (“Push for full women’s rights in Catholic Church”) stated that having men as priests was a tradition that was hypocrisy equivalent to slavery.
Unfortunately, the writer does not have an understanding of church history nor church doctrine. At the time of Jesus Christ, there were women priestesses serving pagan gods. It would not have been unusual for Jesus to have selected women to be apostles (the future priests).
However, at the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the priesthood using only men. What many people don’t understand is that since it was Jesus who established men as priests, this is church doctrine and cannot be changed. (For more info, read the book, The Catholic Priesthood and Women by Sr. Sara Butler).
Does this mean that Jesus saw women as lesser than men? Not at all. In Jesus’ time, as currently in some places in the world, women were treated horribly. They had no status, no rights, no say in anything, and often were treated very cruelly. Jesus changed that. He elevated women and set the example for them to be treated with dignity and respect. After Jesus, his mother, Mary, holds the next highest position (above all men) in Heaven.
Men and women can be equal without being the same. Each has their own special characteristics and talents. Women hold important roles in the church that are different than men but equally as important. They work together for the glory of Christ, not for their own personal glory.
I am grateful to all the wonderful priests that serve us just as I am grateful to all the women who serve in the various ministries.