Sunday, June 1, 2008

My reply

to this post was submitted to the Enquirer tonight:

In her column, Heidi Bright Parales (Anti-female priests decree not based on Bible, May 31) commits a common, but serious flaw: she ignores the distinction between the discipleship demanded by all Christians versus the ministerial priesthood bestowed upon the Twelve Apostles during the Last Supper.

All disciples have an obligation to make Christ known through the witness of their lives: Mary Magdalene did in the post-Resurrection accounts in the Gospels; Mary, the Mother of the Lord, did in the Nativity narrative; and Peter, John, and Paul, and many others, did throughout the Acts of the Apostles.

However, this commission to go forth and preach is quite different from the obligations given to those chosen for a special ministry and passed on through prayer and the laying on of hands: the Twelve Apostles. Throughout the Gospels and the New Testament, there is a distinction between these two groups: the call of the general disciple and the call of the ordained priest who has been set aside and anointed with the authority to stand in for Christ in the administration of the sacraments.

The deeper issue remains unaddressed. The call to ordained priesthood is not a call to power or authority, these are gifts granted to the priest; but the call is one of service and love, following Our Lord’s commission that ‘no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ The priesthood is to be embraced in humility, and the man called is to sacrifice himself for his people as Jesus did on the Cross. Those Twelve men are to give their lives for the rest of the community, a call which continues to today.

For more information, see

Fr. Kyle Schnippel is Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

No comments: