>women from ordained ministry. (This is a 'medieval' List, but does anyone
>know if women's ordination was in any way an issue a hundred years ago?) It
Not exactly a lively one but St. Therese of Lisieux struggled long and hard
with her conviction that she had a vocation and finally settled it by
creating a spiritual union with a priest/missionary which enabled her to
feel that through prayer she cooperated with his priesthood.
>A friend whose wife carries out pastoral work in a Roman Catholic parish
>said to me recently that there were numerous such parishes across Europe
>where almost every duty in the church was now carried out by women in the
>increasing absence of (male) priests. One day, he said, these women would
>demand to carry out the one remaining major duty, i.e. consecration, and it
>would be conceded.
This situation exists in the United States as well though at the moment it
looks as though the hierarchy would prefer death by attrition to the
consecration of women.
How frustrating that we don't have a proper handle on the
>factors at work in the categorisation and definition of clerical duties and
>women's share in them in earlier times. Dark tunnels, indeed.
There is a lot of literature on this subject, notably "When Women were
Priests" by Karen Torjesen (Harper, 1993) and a new article by Gary Macy
based on a paper he gave at Kalamazoo last May. I am embarrassed to say I
cannot find my copy in the litter that covers my study at the moment so I
cannot give you a full reference. There is an entire discussion list called
Canon 1024 devoted to this subject and there the learned participants, many
of them clergy from various denominations, go vigorously into every aspect
of the subject, sometimes to the tune of a hundred posts a day.