Body & Worship

Body & Worship

Published: Mar 25, 2005 by Maria Gwyn McDowell

Fr. Thomas Hopko, in the most recent edition of Women and the Priesthood comments that ordaining a woman is tantamount to ordaining criminals and the disabled, both of which he considers problematic. Thus, the following thoughts:

There is no perfect body. Every body is frail, broken, or breaking. How many priests stand before God in perfect health? How many of our priests are obese, have high blood pressure, weak backs, a rash? Is the priest whose body is ravaged by cancer no longer able to present the sacraments because his body will soon bring an end to his present life?

The work of God is not dependent on the perfection of our bodies. At some level, we are all dis-abled. For some, our disabilities are significant enough that we cannot perform particular tasks. And, perhaps, one of these tasks is to preside at the Eucharist. But disability itself cannot prevent the movement of the Spirit. To think otherwise is to limit God according to our weaknesses. Note Christos Yannaras’ defense of the canon law which forbids the ordination of men who were raped as children. Who or what triumphs in this theology? A God who becomes a broken body, and by doing so, enabling matter to participate in the divine, or simply a broken body?