A Limerick A Day


Cerula (above) was a bishop in the fifth century before women were airbrushed from Christianity’s lead roles

A new book has just been released
Which claims at least one early priest
Was certain to be
A she, not a he,
But the numbers since then have decreased

John Moynes

Pic: ABC

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18 thoughts on “A Limerick A Day

  1. newsjustin

    There’s no doubt that women held leadership roles in the early church and that they performed some of the practical duties of what we would now call Deacons. A Vatican commission reported on this very recently – a commission picked by Pope Francis and including known pro female ordination members. They found no evidence that women were actually admitted to Holy Orders in the early church i.e. that they were ordained as Deacons or Priests.

    Powerful Abbesses (leaders of major abbeys of nuns) were and still are appointed with some of the styles (vestments etc) of bishops – signifying their importance in the Church. But they are not priests. Similarly, Mary mother of Jesus, could be depicted in this way.

    This is an interesting topic and one rightly being examined by a conference at the church’s own Gregorian University.

      1. newsjustin

        You’re welcome. Search for “mitred abbess’ for old and modern pictures of such Abbesses.

    1. ReproBertie

      NJ, do you know when the church started anointing clergy? As I understand it the early church was just gatherings of Christians meeting for a meal and for tales of Jesus. I may be wrong though, it’s been a while since I read Henry Chadwick’s history.

      1. newsjustin

        I’m not an expert but I think the last supper when Jesus said “do this in memory of me.” The Acts of the Apostles (c. 80AD) and epistles (C. 50AD) are full of descriptions of different roles and responsibilities – I think they mention deacons, if not priests. The earliest bishops (local christian leaders) appointed priests and deacons to help them. The Acts of the Apostles and Epistles are funny as they show, literally from day one, that Jesus was no sooner gone than the arguments began!

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      Interesting, thanks. Women occupied powerful positions in other faiths – often wondered why they are so reviled in the bible. I also incorrectly thought that the only people who study theology are nuns and priests in training or holy joes..but it really is a fascinating subject.

      1. newsjustin

        Women are not reviled in the bible. For example, we are told that it was women (not a group of fancy, learned, “reliable” men) who first discovered that Jesus had risen. This is an interesting fact/narrative choice.

  2. bisted

    …since when was the church interested in evidence…do you have any evidence for the existence of your god or any of the thousands of other gods invented over the years?

    1. kellMA

      Ah come on….. pick your battles. As an aetheist I find this unfair. The belief in an unproven deity in itself causes no harm and if it helps people get through their lives, leave them alone. Fair enough going in for the jugular with regards to the nutty rituals, ceremonies and life smothering opinions the men (and women) of the church have projected from that….. but that is not what you are doing or?

      1. bisted

        …is that you Justin…you put on a relentless pro-catholic defence here but you know your power is waning…the connection between church and state is weakening but has a long way to go…you still control education and health but that power is being challenged. A few years ago your priests could commit attrocities including abuse of children with impunity and before that you were able to burn or kill dissenters…if you are going to profess to be an atheist, at least learn how to spell the word…

        1. kellMA

          Nope bisted I can assure you that I am not Justin…. Indeed if I was I would be very worried about myself as we had a bit of banter over and back around repealing the 8th. It would mean I had set up two accounts to have arguments with myself.
          ** Pops to the bathroom medicine cabinet to pop an anti-psychotic**

  3. Papi

    Anyone read “Scorn” by Paul Hoffman? It’s frickin amazing. Especially if you’re not a big fan of the Catholic clan.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Or Vicars of Christ by Peter de Rossa. Very much a wake up and smell the incense kinda read.

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