Friday, June 24, 2011

Is The Tablet misogynistic?

Reprinted from Dr Joseph Shaw's rather good blog:
Below is a letter published today in The Tablet, in response to their leading article (and other articles) on the use of Altar Girls at the Traditional Mass, from Annie Mackie-Savage, the Latin Mass Society Representative for the diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The bit in red is the bit they refused to print.


As a woman who acts as a local representative in Arundel and Brighton of the Latin Mass Society, I find your claim (Leader, 18 June) that not allowing female altar servers at the Extraordinary Form insults me is quite absurd.

I challenge you to provide your readers with evidence for this bizarre claim that the tradition of male altar service has anything to do with “ritual uncleanliness” (sic). On the contrary, this tradition is quite obviously a reflection of the fact that only men can be ordained as priests, and it is because male service at the altar emphasises the different roles of the sexes in relation to the sacrifice of the Mass that it has special value. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass represents the preservation for future generations of this and many other venerable traditions, and it is for this reason described by Pope Benedict as a “treasure” for the whole Church.

Before you reject these traditions as ‘insulting’ you should reflect on the fact that they formed the basis of the liturgical life of women, as well as men, for countless centuries. Is it not more insulting to women to picture us as helpless and passive oppressed victims of a misogynistic Church for nineteen centuries? Give us a little more credit than that.

Annie Mackie-Savage
Eastbourne, East Sussex

8 comments:

Anne said...

What a disgraceful picture.
The man is smoking! (:

Daryl said...

I would be interested to learn the basis of the ritual uncleaness hypothesis.
From an earlier Tablet article making reference to this:

"History has left us ample records of the activity of genuine women deacons who flourished mainly in Greece, Asia Minor, Dalmatia, Syria and Palestine, from certainly the third to at least the eighth century, until here too, as in the West, menstruation and other taboos eroded it. St Chrysostom at Constantinople had 40 women deacons attached to the basilica of Hagia Sophia, as well as 100 male deacons. From the correspondence of the Fathers we know a good many by name: Salvina, to whom St Jerome wrote; Macrina, the sister of St Basil the Great; Anastasia, an assistant of Severus, Bishop of Antioch. We also have many epigraphic inscriptions, such as that of Theodora in Gaul (sixth century) and Sophia in Jerusalem (fourth century): Here lies the servant and virgin of Christ, the deacon, the second Phoebe.

So here we have proof that women were admitted to holy orders for centuries, under the sanction of ecumenical councils, producing ordained ministers who confirmed in their own person the equality of men and women in Christ. Is this not the true Tradition to which the Church should be faithful? "

When women were deacons
08/05/1999
John Wijngaards The Tablet

Left-footer said...

Brilliantly argued.

IanW said...

Another example of the theological & liturgical liberals' instinctive iliberality. They're quite as willing to exercise power to limit discourse as the most fervent ultramontane.

mikesview said...

In other words, tradition is what The Tablet says it is. Or, to put it another way, "words mean what I want them to mean" (with acknowledgements to Lewis Caroll)

santoeusebio said...

I gave up writing to the Tablet years ago as they delete parts of one's letter without reference to you thereby mangling the meaning in a most dishonest manner.

Nicolas Bellord

tempus putationis said...

John (formerly Father) Wijngaards' assertions, cited by Daryl, would seem to imply that menstruation didn't hit the women of the Byzantine wing of the Church until the eighth century!
But seriously, words, words, words ... we need to become Greek scholars before we get too excited or indignant. There is an excellent discussion of one of the alleged old chestnuts by St Paul, that of the identity of Junias in Romans 16, on an Anglican website: http://www.trushare.com/0141FEB07/15%20our_friend_junia.htm by just such a scholar. Erudition, eloquence and humour, just the sort of thing we need, now who wrote this? ... Why fancy, it's Father John Hardwicke!

Pétrus said...

I find it strange that nobody at the Tablet seems to take an exception on the ban on men becoming nuns.