What About Matthew 20:30?

From: Brian Carroll
Subject: Women can't be priests

Fr. Bloom

I have just read your article on the above topic on your site.

I take it that the pivot of your argument is that "Christ as bridegroom, Church as bride" is the best (since it was used so much by Jesus) metaphor for the ETERNAL relationship between God and His people and that to stand at the altar "in persona Christi" the priest has to be male. This is to say, I take it, that our human sexuality is some kind of foreshadowing of the Beatific Vision, the eternal relationship between God and humanity.

If, up to this point, I am accurately presenting your position then here comes my difficulty. If the sexual metaphor is so fundamental why did Jesus say in Matt 22:30: In heaven there will be no marriage or giving in marriage, you will be as the angels (presumably sexless?)

A second difficulty I have a problem refuting is that many feminists will say that the Holy Father's statement that the Church has NO POWER to ordain women, (i.e. she couldn't do it even if she wanted to) is simply a ploy to cut off any further discussion. This lack of power, they say, would seem to be at variance with what Jesus promised to Peter (as head of the Church) in Matt 16:19 "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven ...


Deacon Brian Carroll


Dear Deacon Brian,

Excellent questions. I'm hardly up to the first one, but my thought would be that in heaven we will experience the glorious aspects of marriage - intimacy, self-giving - but not the limiting parts - e.g. exclusivity. Have you read Miracles by C.S. Lewis? He has a good section on what sexuality might mean in the next life. We will have resurrected bodies, so the "being like angels" must refer to heightened spiritual capacity (attention, clear-headedness, follow-through, etc.), but not giving up the "animal" aspect of our human nature (sensations, perceptions, etc.) which is bound up with sexuality.

The authority to loose and bind should be understood in light of the gift of the Holy Spirit to call to mind all that Jesus taught. (Jn 14:26) For the pope to use the power of the keys to admit women to priesthood would be like decreeing 2 plus 2 now equals five. It would solve a lot of short term problems, but in the long run would ruin the entire economy.

I know this is a vexing issue, Brian, but it seems to me it will only be resolved by us men shouldering our responsibilities. Obviously something you have done by accepting the call to the diaconate.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom


Other Questions

Letter from Anglican Priest

Women Priests and Ameerican Democracy

Homily: Wives, Be Submissive