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Help me deal with my mother's anti-women priests ideas!

(56 Posts)
pigsinmud Wed 19-Mar-14 10:02:21

I was brought up going to a C of E church with my mum, but went to a Catholic primary school. At the age of 14 I refused to go to church any more - I told her it was all rubbish which upset her, but I felt she refused to take my beliefs into account. I am now an atheist - I think!

Anyway, my mum stopped going to church when I was about 18 - so 23 years ago. About 5 years ago she started going to the C of E church again, but stopped because she didn't like women taking the service. She swapped to the local RC church that my primary school was linked to and now has decided to be baptised a Catholic. It is mainly because they don't have female priests - she thinks it's wrong, but can't give me an answer as to why she thinks it is wrong. Plus, the fact that there a lot of people going who she knows from when I was at school.

I can't deal with the fact she is so opposed to female priests. She even went as far to say that if I was to become a vicar (highly unlikely!) she would not come to my ordination. My dad is hmm about it all and thinks she is going through a phase. She doesn't have any reasons WHY women shouldn't take church services, she just tells me it's wrong.

I'm just venting really!

MooncupGoddess Wed 19-Mar-14 10:08:22

Some people are just very resistant to change, especially when it comes to religious practices. She's not the only woman to feel like this - indeed, a century ago there were woman deeply opposed to the idea of women having the vote!

As people get older their prejudices often get more entrenched, and I'm sure most of us find some of our parents' views teeth-gritting. There's nothing to be done but avoid the subject and remind yourself that your parents are entitled to their own opinions, however batty.

pigsinmud Wed 19-Mar-14 10:10:44

Yes, you're right. I should avoid the subject, but she keeps bringing it up and then I feel outraged that she is so sexist.

MooncupGoddess Wed 19-Mar-14 10:15:17

Oh, that is annoying. Perhaps you need to practise looking vague and drifting off to put the kettle on. She is probably looking for a reaction from you.

Bramshott Wed 19-Mar-14 10:17:20

As I understand it, the people who are opposed to women priests believe quite literally that they would not be able to say in the creed "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church" if women priests are allowed, because the church would no longer be apostolic (based on the teaching of the apostles).

AMumInScotland Wed 19-Mar-14 10:52:52

There are a number of reasons why some people object to women priests, but tbh it sounds like your mum just doesn't like the fact that, in her long absence, they moved the goalposts smile

If she keeps on about it, she either wants to convince you she's right, or is just trying to wind you up.

I'd probably go with roilling my eyes and saying "Don't worry, I won't invite you to my ordination" and getting on with something else.

Or, if you're in an argumentative mood, read up on the reasons why people object - they tend to be either 'God is the head of the church as man is the head of woman' if they are from an evangelical background, or 'All the apostles were male, and the priest represents Christ at the altar' if they are at the more catholic end, with a few 'We will never be able to achieve unity with the RC and Orthodox churches if we dare to change unilaterally' for good measure.

Ask her to explain which is her view, then argue against it.... (But I'd have to be very bored to bother personally!)

fizzoclock Wed 19-Mar-14 14:32:27

She sounds like she has picked up on the apostolic argument against women priests as pp said.

I don't think you can say anything persuasive really. I believe in the ordination/leadership of women, but that's for theological/biblical reasons. I don't think any Christian would (should!) be persuaded by secular arguments for equality because popular opinion isn't what guides us. Jesus/the Church/God/the Bible are our reference points and since you don't believe in any of them I can't see that you could give her a good reason to change her mind. Hope that makes sense!

pigsinmud Wed 19-Mar-14 14:48:54

Thanks for your replies. I'm not sure she has any reasons apart from it never used to be like that. I have asked for her reasons and she just says it's not right. I get the urge to wind her up, but then I feel guilty.

I think I'll just have to change the subject when she brings it up!

atthestrokeoftwelve Wed 19-Mar-14 15:12:27

Women are sinful because the colluded with Satan in the garden of Eden and brought about the downfall of man. Therefore they can never reach the godhead as they are inferior beings. Abrahamic religion is partiachial- it can exist no other way.

SchrodingersFerret Wed 19-Mar-14 16:24:54

What utter shite.

OP, frustrating for you, but it sounds like a set-in-her-ways objection rather than a theological one, which I'm not sure there's any cure for smile

PigletJohn Wed 19-Mar-14 16:46:49

I believe the idea is that none of Jesus' apostles were women, which is why all Catholic priests are illiterate, married Jews from the Middle East.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Wed 19-Mar-14 18:11:30


As a woman who is also a priest I would say that God calls into the priesthood those who have gone forward in faith and trust that God knows what God is doing in this. It is taking the traditional part of the church a bit of time to catch up with what God seems to want.

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Thu 20-Mar-14 10:55:40

What a load of old bollocks.

Religion stinks, you're well rid of it. Leave her to it.

senua Thu 20-Mar-14 11:02:29

There were (allegedly) no female apostles because men airbrushed them out of history.

Wiki: Authorship of one of the apocryphal gospels, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, is attributed to this most famous of Jesus' female apostles. And in Pistis Sophia Chapter 96, Christ says;"Where I shall be, there will be also my twelve ministers. But Mary Magdalene and John, the virgin, will tower over all my disciples and over all men who shall receive the mysteries in the Ineffable. And they will be on my right and on my left. And I am they, and they are I."

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 20-Mar-14 21:17:12

greenheart - which church is that?

hunreeeal Thu 20-Mar-14 21:25:23

Maybe it's just familiarity with never encountering a woman priest. It could be that if she actually met one she'd realise they're not scary and heretical after all.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 20-Mar-14 21:29:11

I don't have enough knowledge of the terminology. Here in Scotland we don't have vicars, we have ministers, I know the catholic church has priests, my own sister is a pastor. I don't think that the church of england have priests- maybe I am wrong. I asked a reasonable question.

I have never encountered a woman priest but never met a vicar either. Not so surprising for an athiest.

AMumInScotland Thu 20-Mar-14 21:35:54

atthestrokeoftwelve the C of E have priests (male and female). "Vicar" is a job title, along with "rector" and quite a few others. But, technically, their clergy are deacons, priests and bishops, same as in the RC church. Oh and Scottish Episcopal, since you're up here!

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Fri 21-Mar-14 08:07:58

athtestrokcoftwelve I'm in the Church of England which is celebrating twenty years of women in the priesthood this year.

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 11:10:37

If you aren't a member of that religion, I don't think it's any of your business whether they have female ministers or not.

Why does she keep raising the subject? If she's venting, then a bored mmmmm and change of subject might stop it. If she really wants to debate it, then tell her you aren't the right person to debate it with; it's not your religion so you really don't care either way.

atthestrokeoftwelve Fri 21-Mar-14 11:17:53

How rude!!!!

pigsinmud Fri 21-Mar-14 11:30:36

Thanks for replies.
kentishgirl - I don't know why she is raising the subject and no I suppose it's none of my business. I can not understand why my mother would be opposed to women being involved in the church - she doesn't give me any good theological reasons. Just because it was declared hundreds of years ago that men should run religion, she thinks that's how it should be. I have suggested ideas have changed over the years, but those people are wrong apparently.

It is the first time my mum and I have had opposing ideas about something (apart from grammar schools and she likes to bring that up to!) and I just need to agree to disagree. I think I might suggest to her that we not talk about it any more. See how that goes down.

PigletJohn Fri 21-Mar-14 11:37:14

I don't think its any of kentishgirls business why you are interested.

atthestrokeoftwelve Fri 21-Mar-14 11:48:08

Religion is everyone's business. Religion continues to be a powerful force in society, one that has been instrumental in developing the social, political and economical architecture of our society.

It;s everyone's business.

Viviennemary Fri 21-Mar-14 11:50:15

If your Mum is opposed to women priests that is her right.

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