Sunday, May 06, 2012

Ancient wisdom

John Cassian was a 4th/5th century monk who brought the Eastern monastic tradition to the West. One of the famous lines from his Conferences for monks says that omnimodis monachum fugere debere mulieres et episcopos. "The monk ought by all means to flee women and bishops."

One, he said, lead to fornication, the other to ordination, two consummations devoutly to be un-wished. Why monks ought not fornicate is pretty simple. Why ordination is to be avoided is not so obvious to us. Bishops back then liked to have monks ordained as priests: they were dedicated. And ordination was a more hurly-burly affair; St Augustine, for example, was ordained by surprise and unwillingly. Since monastic life was essentially about withdrawal from the world early monks found their life hardly compatible with what was expected of priests in the rapidly normalizing post-Constantinian Church.. Eventually, though, the priesthood became monasticized through celibacy and the monasteries were full of monk-priests.

In our time, poor John Cassian would be flummoxed. There are now, at least among the Reformation churches, women bishops. Two reasons for flight in one.

Anyway, this is just a little run-off of my cluttered brain as prelude to why, monk or not, women and bishops, well, at least some women and some bishops, ought still by all means be fled.

Fake Catholic Maureen Dowd, who represents everything Ex Cathedra loathes about feminists and the NYT, now holds that the Catholic Church and the GOP are "hunting" women. Because they don't want their taxes to pay for free contraceptives...  Hysteria, not by accident, comes from the Greek for "womb". And by the way, I bet there are no men "hunting" Ms. Dowd. Vagina dentata with a side of frostbite, and Exhibit A for the repeal of Amendment XIX. She seems a supremely unhappy female, and deservedly so. Women as "hunted creatures". Yikes. When I become Consul of America, she's going off with Obama into exile in Nigeria. Then she'll see who's hunted.

And as for bishops, the US Catholic bishops --whose complicity in the immigration disaster has earned them Ex Cathedra's bile-- continue their habit of holding forth most frequently on matters for which they have the least competence. Their list of obsessions shows that they have recently

Talk about "meddlesome priests". Perhaps the Nativists had a point.

Ancient wisdom: flee such women and bishops.


Anonymous said...

But it isn't necessarily that the white male Catholic bishops are seriously principled in their support of a leftwing social agenda. It could be that they have been considering changes in American demographics and they are simply trying to extend a favourable impression of their authority into the future. So they aren't necessarily opposed to the future that Ex Cathedra wants.

For instance, when a bishop is speaking to Cuban Catholics in Florida, he probably doesn't mention any opposition to the embargo. He would if he were seriously principled on the injustice of the embargo, but probably he's thinking that if Cuban American Catholics dismiss'd his authority on the embargo they might also dismiss his authority in general.

People make fun of the reality that HRH Queen Elizabeth is Anglican in England and Presbyterian in Scotland. But that's just the way reality is -- variable. Why should Catholic bishops not have the right to pile on like everyone else? »Truth is relative because meaning is contextual and being is relational.«

Anonymous said...

Joe Biden, the first RC to have "attain'd" the office of vice president, has just announced he is "absolutely comfortable" with men marrying men, women marrying women, etc.

And the Unsaid is that the president hasn't declared that his [Darwinianly?] "evolving" view of marriage now means he no longer holds marriage is [only?] between a man and a woman.

So if an American wants to vote for the Obama-Biden ticket on grounds that they don't oppose marriage equality, that's okay. But if an American wants to vote for the Obama-Biden ticket on grounds that they don't support marriage equality, that's okay too. Including even maybe those Americans who believe homosexuality is a white moral disease.

Liberal prot and RC clergy and academics who enthuse for Eastern Orthodoxy's spiritual depth and richness etc don't ask Orthodox authorities to ordain gays or women of any orientation. Reality varies, and authority wisely recognizes this and works for change within the system of reality.

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