One of the teachings we study when studying Holy Orders is that only men can be ordained to the priesthood. For some this has been a prickly issue, sometimes framed as a justice or civil rights issue. The book, Women, Sex, and the Church – A Case for Catholic Teaching, has an excellent chapter titled “Embodied Ecclesiology: Church Teaching on the Priesthood” that helps address that topic. The chapter was written by Sister Sara Butler, who was an advocate for women’s ordination for many years. This book will also be helpful beyond just that subject as there are other issues about which a lot of ink is spilt about the Church, sex, and women, leading at times to misunderstandings and confusion.
Covering a wide range of issues, the book isn’t only a good read for women, but for husbands, brothers, sons, fathers, seminarians and priests! (Next week for FTF we will study the Sacrament of Marriage which this book talks about in the chapter, “The Liberation of Lifelong Love: Church Teaching on Marriage.)
Below is an interview of the book’s editor followed by a Study Guide for the book that is written for parish and small group use. There is also a more academic Teaching Guide that has been developed for professors and students of law, feminist theory, and sexual and social ethics; however, it doesn’t cover the chapter on the priesthood because, though “the topic certainly bears studying, it presents an intra-Catholic issue outside the scope of the law.”