Response to Macklemore II: Arguments Against Gay Marriage Which Do Not Presuppose God

When I wrote the response to Macklemore, I was supposed to, after pointing out the religious arguments against gay marriage, the secular arguments against it, but I forgot. It was going to stay forgotten too, except that I randomly stumbled on a video of one Dan Savage on Youtube, who I can tell is not a philosopher or an honest person, or a respectful person. I have no problem with people who draw a hard line, but when you are speaking to high school students and you use words like, “bullshit” for the Bible and you see students walking out and then you proceed to make jokes about them in their absence, that shows nothing but childish disrespect, so I had to respond. Dan Savage argues that he has a right to defend himself, but his arguments can be contested. In fact, in this post, I will do one better. He says that it is hypocritical that Christians only believe one part of Leviticus, which is preposterous (look at my original response to Macklemore and tell me if Leviticus even comes up), but I will not argue that, I will do Mr. Savage one better and proceed to give only secular arguments against his position. In fact, the arguments will be organized in such a way that each argument has more commitments than the first. It starts from absolutely no philosophical commitments other than logical consistency. So, without further ado:

First, we have the legal argument. As I said, this argument assumes nothing philosophical other than logical consistency. Most gay couples that I have talked to (and surprise surprise I do have gay friends) say that it is about more than just “a piece of paper.” Of course, the ability to be able to marry is important, but a lot of them argue that they deserve the right to get the tax benefits that normal married couples do. Well, the following is a proof that gay couples do not deserve the same benefits.

Let us investigate into the reason why married couples have, historically, gotten special benefits and privileges. In order to have this completely free from Christian influence, let us look at the pagan Roman opinion on the matter. It is funny that a lot of people cite the Romans as an example of a culture that was very much pro gay marriage, when this is the opinion of the Roman jurist Modestinus regarding marriage, “the union of a male and a female in a complete life partnership, the sharing of divine and human law.” (D. 23.2.1) There is no record of any gay marriage ever occurring in Rome and, more importantly, there was never a law against it. Now, some people may see this as a point for gay marriage, but the truth is that that proves a stronger point for the people against. Consider the fact that the US has no rules to regulate teleportation, this shows that there is no need to regulate it, because no one is doing it. The same is true for gay marriage in Rome.

That, however, does not prove enough. Our quest was to figure out why married couples get special benefits. In Rome, if you were the father of three male children, you would get special tax breaks and benefits (sort of like the Feast of the Family in Bacon’s New Atlantis). It is obvious that the birthing of children was seen as a benefit to the state, so it is quite obvious that the state would give married couples special benefits for it. Ah, proponents say, that’s true enough, but weren’t people who were naturally infertile allowed to marry in Rome, even though they could not bear children? True enough, but even to this day those things are not clear cut. For example, a good friend of mine in Scotland was born to a mother who was labelled “infertile.” In fact, it is not a very unusual case, because even today, when we speak about infertility, we speak about a probability, not a clear-cut case. In Rome, these issues were even more muddled and people knew it (because they could see children born to infertile parents), so they allowed people who were labelled infertile to be married, because it could be that they were labelled so inaccurately (it is better to let ten guilty people walk than one innocent person go to prison). On this basis, because gay couples cannot procreate, they should not be able to get the special benefits which are given as part of the marriage package (i.e. the agreement with the state to bring for children) for male-female couples.

Second, we’ll assume the least possible about anything. Being a Protagoras-style relativist just is not logically consistent to the point where one cannot use human language to communicate if we believe it (and even believing it may be contradictory, but that’s beyond the point). One position that you can make work, however, is the cultural relativist. Of course, I think there is an easy way to disprove this brand of relativism, too, but I would think that most proponents of gay marriage would be very sympathetic to such a philosophical position, so I am going to prove, from it, that gay marriage is still non-permissible. Now, because we are talking about America, I think most people would be willing to accept a democratic form of cultural subjectivism (I think it is also the most sympathetic to the gay cause). The basic point of this democratic cultural subjectivism is that, basically, whatever most people say is right is right. California has voted Preposition 8, but for the purposes of this argument, we will still consider them a pro gay marriage state. Now, for ease of calculation, we will also consider that in every state where gay marriage is law 51% of the people are for it and 49% against and that for every state where gay marriage is not allowed, 51% of the people are against it and 49% for it. Now, Texas and California, I think we can all agree, at least cancel each other out. That said, there are twelve states that allow same-sex marriage, which are some of the smaller states in the Union. Against this, there are still 36 states against it. That is to say, even if in each of these 36 states there were 49% of the people for gay marriage, there would still be more people against than for and, therefore, gay marriage is non-permissible if you’re a democratic cultural subjectivist. That is not even considering the fact that it would be heresy within an understanding of cultural subjectivism to try and change the status quo, because in the very act of accepting it is the status quo the cultural subjectivist accepts that it is the right thing to do.

Third, we will accept what the modern metaphysical and philosophy of mind orthodoxy tells us, which is that (through Kim’s dilemma) Eliminativism is probably the correct theory of mind and, therefore, the correct ontological basis for humans. Now, Eliminativism claims that traditional (what they refer to as “folk”) psychology is literally false, as false as the phlogiston theory of combustion. That means that beliefs, desires, etc. literally do not exist. The Churchlands, the champions of this theory, call for a complete drop of the aforementioned elements from language and some of their proponents believe that, eventually, Eliminativists will develop a new kind of language to fit the theory (as it stands, in this language, Eliminativism violates the Principle of Non-Contradiction). Now, if that’s true and the belief of gay people that they are gay literally does not exist, then we have a problem. If all we have to go on are atoms and molecules, then the principle of morality is biology, we should behave in the best way that ensures human survival and, as I understand it, that includes procreation. In that case, same-sex marriage and even same-sex intercourse is non-permissible.

Last, we come to Platonism, having moved through legalism, subjectivism, and the contemporary understanding of philosophy of mind. Because this is my backyard, there are several arguments I can present within the Platonic frame of reference.

1) The argument from anatomy: If the Timaeus is true and the Demiurge created everything (us included) according to the Forms, then our own bodies contain clues for wisdom and, if we are to seek wisdom truly, we should come to an understanding of the principles behind those clues. Because there is male and female, and because both male and female partake in the Form of the Good and because the male and female body are designed to unite in order to procreate, only male and female should be allowed to marry, for the purpose of procreation.

2) The argument from sources: The question at hand here is what gay sexual relations, and with it gay marriage, are supposed to fulfill. If they are simply there to fulfill desires, if they are simply there to satisfy eros, then they have insufficient standing and fall pray to the metaphor of the bottomless jug and the sieve in the Gorgias. Despite what the “brightest minds of the day” tell us, in the very Gorgias, Socrates (and through him Plato) and even Callicles, whom Socrates is debating, explicitly condemn the act of homosexual sex (right after the two metaphors, if you want to look it up). The axiom stands that, if sex is being approached with the eye of simply pleasure, i.e. having a desire and fulfilling it, it is like forever trying to fill a bottomless jug.

3) The argument from consequences: In the Republic, Book I, Socrates argues that one cannot be good by doing evil things and that all things that are not good are evil. It follows from that logic that we only should do things that are good. Well, in terms of everything we do, good things are those that bring us either a spiritual or a physical benefit. Gay sex, and by extension gay marriage, do not bring a spiritual benefit (because it is only the fulfillment of a desire) and, unlike eating, they do not bring physical benefit (gay sex and gay marriage do not strengthen the body, etc). Therefore, because it fails both categories of acceptable consequences, gay marriage is non-permissible.

4) The legal argument and objective knowledge: The first argument I presented, by itself, does not work, because you can make a similar argument in favor of slavery (that’s why I said it comes with the least baggage). However, if you take the three arguments above, which objectively profess that gay marriage is non-permissible and you add the legal argument on top of them, the case becomes stronger.

Well, I have stated my case, anyone who disagrees may feel free to respond, but I, too, have a right to defend myself.

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The Half-Nude “Artist” and The Ridiculousness of CMU’s Response

Recently a 19 year-old art student was arrested because she had paraded half-naked dressed like a Pope from the waist up and in her birthday suit from her waist down. Her pubic hair was shaved in the shape of a cross and she was handing out condoms to everyone. Alright, nothing controversial there, so why am I babbling about it?

Well, the problem is that she was not, in fact, arrested for dressing half-naked as a religious figure, but simply for disorderly conduct. In fact, the Carnegie Mellon President says that she will face no disciplinary repercussions, because the incident sets at odds “competing values.” Seriously, what does that even mean? If we are actually talking about “values,” what used to be called Moral Laws, until Hume came along, then they cannot contradict if there is an objective basis for morality. If we are talking about value-opinions, then CMU’s President and the rest of CMU need to be open to the fact that one of their value-opinions, seeing how it contradicts another, might be wrong. I will come back to this later, but for the time being, this is a quote from CMU’s statement, “While I recognize that many found the students’ acts deeply offensive, the university upholds their right to create works of art and express their ideas. But, public nudity is a violation of the law and subject to appropriate action.” Well, why is this different from other cases, say, the student from the University of South Carolina, who nearly got in a lot of trouble for flying a Confederate flag until they found out he was African-American. Now, I really don’t have an opinion on the USC case, but my issue is that the CMU is classifying this incident as a “freedom of expression” issue, which I think is a big lie. Imagine if the USC student had been white and that he had been hanging the Confederate flag out of hatred for African-Americans and, suppose that while people we coming to talk to him he had blackface on. Doubtless, he would have been in a lot of trouble and I think he would have deserved every last bit of it. How awkward do you think it would be if he then turned around to say that his blackface and his hanging the Confederate flag by his window was “artistic expression”?

My question is, in what ways is this different? Obviously, the African-American community has been oppressed in this country, but that does not mean that that is why it is legitimate for people to be reprimanded when carrying out such acts. The Jewish community was not oppressed in this country, but if someone were to shave their pubic hair in the shape of a swastika and hand out fliers or something else of the sort asking for a new genocide on Jews, would they not be reprimanded? Well, what about Christianity. This episode of “freedom of expression” featured the girl shaving her pubic hair into the shape of a cross and then putting on a cardboard mitre and Papal staff in addition to a “chasuble,” with a cross on it, which only covered her breasts, handing out condoms. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see much intellectual expression there. Of course, I am very much for protecting her ability to be opposed to the Catholic Church, but there’s a not-so-fine line between being intellectually opposed to an idea or even an institution and profanely parodying and insulting them. One is perfectly permissible, the other one isn’t.

Strange as this sounds, there is actually a parallel to this coincides with Socrates’ lifetime. During the Peloponnesian War, all the penises of the Herms (blocks of marble depicting the god Hermes’ head up top and his penis half-way through; it makes perfect sense why Socrates didn’t agree with the state religion) in Athens were broken, an act seen as great sacrilege in Greek religion. Alcibiades (you’ll know about him if you’ve read the dialogues) was found to be guilty, but because he was rich, he escaped with his life. This is in contrast with Socrates himself, who opposed Greek religion on account of the things it attributed to the gods (by the way, it is not true that Socrates/Plato was an atheist, if anyone disagrees, they should read the Phaedo and the Timaeus), was put to death. I think we have the same situation here. Anytime someone makes an intellectual argument (as opposed to the stupidity and futility of people like the ones associated with the Westboro Baptist Church) against gay marriage or abortion, they are labelled hateful, close-minded, bigoted, and the rest of the list of epithets. However, when someone does something like this girl, it’s “artistic expression.” Perhaps that’s the same argument Alcibiades used to keep his life in Athens. The only problem is that here it is not the student herself that is making this argument, but the school that is handing this argument to her, the same school that is supposed to teach her to become a good and honorable human being (that is the point of liberal education in case you had missed it).

A Case Against Externalism

I had to write about this topic in one of my final exams, but here is the extended version.

The question is about externalism of mental content. Everyone agrees that some of your thoughts are conditioned by your surroundings (my belief that it is sunny in Boston right now is conditioned by the fact that I feel warm in my shorts and polo in Boston at this point. Were it not for what is going on outside (i.e. the fact that it is actually quite warm) I would not be experiencing that feeling. However, the question externalists pose is whether there are any thoughts which are entirely personal and which do not have to do with the society around some person. This would be easy to respond to, but the added complication is “mental language,” i.e. that we use language in our inner thinking, so it seems very likely that since society affects language, it should also affect everything we can think of. I will review the two classic arguments for externalism and then move on to create a positive argument for internalism.

The first classic argument was put forth by Putnam in 1975 and it treats the case of Oscar and Toscar. The scenario says that it takes place before 1750 (i.e. before it was discovered that water was H2O). There is Oscar, who lives on Earth and his twin (i.e. a perfect replica of him) in close possible world, Twin-Earth, which is the same as our planet, except for the fact that instead of H2O, the substance they call water has the chemical formula XYZ (and they too don’t know it). Putnam’s argument is that when Oscar says, “Water is quenching,” he means H2O is quenching, when Toscar says it, he means XYZ is quenching. In addition, it is correct to call the liquid here on Earth “water,” but it is not correct to call XYZ water. His scenario goes on.

There are several problems to this thought-experiment. First of all, even though Oscar is correct when he says “water” and Toscar is not, even though there is a change in the truth value in between those two statements, they are not arrived as a conclusion of logical premises (at leas the naming of the liquid is not), but as a guess (since neither twin knows that water is H2O). Even in our own planet, the same (or a very similar) succession of sounds means two very different things among different groups. Is it logical then to say that whenever Group A uses that word they are right, but whenever Group B uses it they are wrong?

Second, there is the problem of changing the environment without changing anything in Oscar’s twin (he needs to be a perfect twin for the thought-experiment to work). Well, Oscar’s body (as all of ours) is made out of about 60% H2O. If Toscar is the only person in Twin-Earth who has H2O in his body instead of XYZ, then the scenario changes, because there is both H2O and XYZ in Twin-Earth and, supposing that the Twin-Earth people have good irrigation, some of Toscar’s pee and sweat (after being purified) have found their way into the “waters” of Twin-Earth, which have made a mixture between XYZ and H2O.

Third, the question is raised about whether it is logically consistent to think of XYZ. For the experiment to work, XYZ needs to have all the same properties as water, except for one, it is XYZ instead of H2O. The problem arises, however, when you consider the fact that it is its being H2O that gives water all the other properties. It seems, therefore, that XYZ would have to be a variation of water. Leibniz’ Law of Indiscernibles then comes into play, since two things which have all their properties in common cannot be numerically distinct. That is to say that XYZ cannot be considered something different from water and, therefore, it is not wrong to call it water.

The second argument seems to me to be even weaker that the first. It is  put forth by Burge in 1979 and 1986 and it seeks to show that Jane and her twin (perfect replica) are right and wrong in their environment. The thought experiment poses that Jane, an English-speaking female, has a pain in her thigh. For some reason, she is convinced that arthritis describes pain in the joints and in the thighs. Burge then asserts that when she says, “I have arthritis,” she is uttering a wrong sentence. However, when Jane’s twin, who lives in the close possible world where arthritis does cover thigh pain, is right. Now let us see the problems with with argument.

From the very beginning, this argument misunderstand what it has to prove. When Jane “says” a sentence, she could be wrong, the question here is about thought, but that is a small and semantic point, which has room to be considered as a counter-argument, but perhaps you don’t agree.

In addition, this thought-experiment forces us to think about what words are. Do words have intrinsic meaning, or do they derive their meaning based on their definition? If you hold to be part of the first group (Cratylus talks about it), just follow me here, what I mean is a little different. Consider this scenario. Say one objectively true fact about quompth. If you say quompth is beautiful, I’ll reply that that is relative, if you disagree with that, the statement is still about the string of sounds or letter that make up that word and we cannot consider any string of letters or sounds to be defined as a word, otherwise things would get quite confusing (aslidhslkah would be a word under that definition). If I were to ask you to give me an objectively true fact about “sphere,” you’d not really have that much trouble with it. Here’s one, “a sphere is always circular.” Let’s try another example. Consider qerpik. This one is so weird that I bet you can’t even pronounce it right. State one objectively true fact about qerpik. If you are reading this and you have an objectively true fact, then please put it in the comments, because I am at a loss.

What do these examples show us? Take any string of sounds (in a basic sense, that’s what a word is) and strip it of its meaning (that’s the second condition, in my mind) and there is no way for you to use it in your thinking. Now, you could assign your own internal meaning to it and use it for your thinking and that’s perfectly valid. For example, when someone looks at my notes, they are initially very confused, because I use a system of symbols for some words. Again, that’s perfectly valid in my case, but if you are looking at them for the first time (and can’t guess when judging from context), you’d think it was just a collection of words and symbols which don’t correlate. That means that though we speak in words, it is really their definitions that we are thinking, so when twin-Jane says “I have arthritis,” her mental content is that she has a pain in her thigh and she chooses to communicate that pain by associating it with arthritis. I don’t think that there is anyone who’d argue that when the Englishman says about a rose, “It is red,” that his mental content is different from the Frenchman, looking at the same rose who says, “Il est rouge,” they are just communicating the same concept with different words. On these grounds, it seems to me that there is a very good chance that externalism about mental content is false.

An Open Response to Macklemore’s “Same Love”

Many years ago, in Ancient Greece, philosophers and poets (that is to say, artists) were in a constant battle. In fact, they often walked to an alternate route if they saw someone from the opposite ‘faction’ on that way. For the most part, this enmity has fallen out of favor these days. For one, I think singers and philosophers can peacefully coexist if both groups keep to their respective spheres. Now, there’s been trespassing on both sides, but this new fad with singers and artists in general is something that I cannot help but address.

I was annoyed way back when when Lady Gaga posted a video which I happened to come across, where she was, I think, addressing Congress or something in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Now, I was completely for repealing it, but she did not make one good argument, rather it was all rhetoric and b.s. I have mentioned this is another post, but I find it very enraging when people 1) ‘argue’ for positions without offering proper arguments for them (“I want to repeal X, because I’m famous and I can sing, pretty please bend over for me.”) 2) speak outside of their field of expertise (being a celebrity/artist/singer/w.e. does not make you a guru nor give you perfect wisdom). Imagine how silly it would be if I, having absolutely no experience in music, were to start arguing that Macklemore needs to do this or that in order to make his product better. I think we’d all see the stupidity of that scenario.

Well, a similar thing has happened on reverse. I am picking Macklemore at this point in lieu of all the singers and artists who think it good to speak out and, by that act, exert their influence over their whole fandom without themselves understanding the issues at hand. Of course, it could be that some of them are doing it as a publicity stunt and I think that is even more lamentable, but I digress.

What often confuses me about people (in general) who are involved in the gay marriage debate is that they do not keep it strictly in civic and legal terms, but, instead, take the offensive into arguing against the Christian principles which many people accept in order to deny gay marriage. The question is then, not whether it is acceptable to make gay marriage legal, but whether it is consistent with Christian theology and morality to allow gay marriage. If that is what Macklemore and others want, then that is the issue we are going to argue.

I find it extremely amusing that, in the end of the video, they say “love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Corinthians 13:4), because it seems that Macklemore and the people around him do not understand that it is this same St. Paul, in the same letter,  very clearly states that gay sex is not permissible (1 Cor. 6:9-10). It’s almost funny to think that people presume to make arguments (a stretch, I know) from the Bible, when most likely they have heard the one verse of Scripture they are going to use either in some sermon in passing or otherwise have googled for it, without bothering to read what is going on around that one particular verse.

That said, let’s go into proper arguments for why, under Christian morality, homosexual sex could never be permissible.

First of all, as mentioned above, St. Paul explicitly presents as revelation that anyone who has homosexual sex (and does not repent) cannot enter Heaven. Now if he was literally wrong in this case and he presented it as revelation, there are two options to explain this: 1) he did not know what he was doing, i.e. he was crazy, or 2) he knew exactly what he was doing, i.e. he is evil. It is quite easy to drop off the crazy idea, because someone who was crazy could not done what he did nor written what he has written. That said, if you think he were evil and the people who compiled the Canon of the New Testament were wrong about picking his letters to be included in the Canon, then what keeps us still sure that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the right choices for Gospels? If they made a mistake once, why could they not make a mistake again in including one of those four Gospels instead of, say, the Gospel of Truth, or the Gospel of Judas, or the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, or the Gospel of Mary, and so on and so forth. Then, the question becomes not about homosexual sex, but about whether we know anything about Christ and, if not, whether anyone today is a Christian.

Second, within Christianity, marriage and sex in general is not seen as a means of recreation, but a means of procreation. This is the principle behind the Church’s stance against contraception. Because homosexual sex cannot be a means of procreation, it cannot be permissible.

Third, specifically about gay marriage,the Church is in disagreement in terms of parental imagery. One thing we often confuse in our minds is that we are not, in fact, the concrete entities to which God is being compared in the Bible, it is the other way around. That is to say, when God is called Father, it means that the earthly father is supposed to be a symbol and an image of the Father. In a similar way, our earthly mother is supposed to be an imagery of the Church. You can see how that could be a problem when two males adopt a child. As far as Christianity goes (and we may be able to treat the question in secular terms either, but this is not how Macklemore framed this debate), the ability for gay married couples to adopt and raise children would be a big problem.

That said, in the song, Macklemore talks about how some people think homosexual tendencies can be cured. I do not know whether it is possible for a person to wholly get past those tendencies, but I think people who argue that gay people need to be “cured” either don’t understand the issue or don’t understand human psychology. Even if homosexuality is a natural tendency, that does not mean that it is good. I have a natural tendency toward anger and pride, but I work (though admittedly not enough) to suppress those feelings. Of course, many people would agree that this would be the correct path to take against feelings of anger and pride, but if feelings have to do with sex, then they’re sacred? How silly. By definition, feelings are irrational. They must be judged by reason and only be allowed to become actions if they benefit the person (eating, for example is a very good feeling to hold on to). However, if, as any Christian would, you believe that sin damages your soul (and thereby your whole person and even the whole world) then it is a no-brainer to suppress those feelings.

Finally, a word to other people who oppose gay marriage. There are many out there who are preaching the Christian dogma as is, which, since last time I checked, included the separation of the sinner from the sin and hating the sin, not while, but because you love the sinner. Nonetheless, gay people are being treated as if they are guilty of a sin that is somehow special. I find that hypocritical and un-Christian. If you look at the quote from St. Paul (there are others, but 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is the most direct), gay sex is condemned together with fornication, adultery, thievery, greed, drunkenness, etc. I do not know of one person today in the US who can say they have steered clear of all of these things, especially consider that in Matthew 5 Jesus says that if you have ever thought of adultery with someone else’s woman or fornication and the like, it is the same as if you had actually done it. If there is such a person, another response form the Gospels is indicative, specifically when Jesus tells the rich young man to give up everything and follow him. Long story short, if you think Christianity is comfortable, you are doing it wrong. Myself, I have more than one gay friend, which may sound very surprising to some people reading this post. They know my position and I respect the fact that they kindly decline to accept my views. After all, there is no forceful conversion into Christianity, they may choose not to obey the tenants of the faith. Of course, I pray that they will see the light of Christ sooner or later, but I am not going to stop being their friend or stop loving them simply because they are not Christian and neither should you, that also was ordained in the Bible.

For those who disagree with this last paragraph, I invite to offer me a Biblical argument (since I don’t think you can go anywhere in this direction with Tradition) to show where it says that it is not permissible to hate both the sin and the sinner in any other case, but that this case is somehow special. In the meantime, I would humbly advise them to pray for discernment in the choices they are making and, as a consequence, misrepresenting the Church. It goes back to what I was talking about in the beginning, namely, if you are not qualified to do something, wether that be to argue either for or against gay marriage, you should not do it, if only just to spare the side that you presumably support face when your arguments are refuted and your hypocrisy is revealed.

Women’s Ordination: Seriously?

In advance, I’d like to apologize to everyone who has heard enough about this topic and would just wish it to go away already, I understand the proverbial horse has been beat unto death, buried, and then its place of rest has been beaten and pummeled to a pulp, but it seems some people still don’t get it, so this goes out to them.

I decided to write this post because I recently saw a video on YouTube, “Ordain a Lady” and figured that someone needed to speak on this yet again. It is rather sad, because I am not Catholic, but it seems (as will become apparent) that I’d be more qualified at becoming a priest. After the Pope and about everyone under the Sun who actually is a Christian has spoken against this preposition, it seems that perhaps if some people who are not even Catholic speak on it, the issue might get solved. That’s my hope, at any rate.

First, let us go through the lyrics (and the video):

I had a dream as a girl
Like Therese of Lisieux

That’d be St. Therese of Lisieux (correct titling is very important). Now, I had to do some research on this one, because I am not familiar with her story, but here’s what it is referencing. St. Therese of Lisieux (declared by John Paul II a Doctor of the Church, which will be important later) published a autobiographical book Story of a Soul, before she died at the age of 24 from T.B. in a French monastery. The quote proponents of women priests (let’s refer to them correctly from this point on, priestesses) use is the following, “If I were a priest, how lovingly I would carry you in my hands when you came down from heaven at my call; how lovingly I would bestow you upon people’s souls. I want to enlighten people’s minds as the prophets and the doctors did. I feel the call of an Apostle. I would love to travel all over the world, making your name known and planting your cross on a heathen soil.” (courtesy of womenpriests.org). However, this quote does not say that St. Therese wanted to be a priest, simply that if she were a priest (but she is not) she’d do the duty correctly. That’s like me saying, “If I were Pope, I’d always wear red shoes.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to be Pope, it’s a simple counterfactual statement. What she does say is that she wants to be an Apostle, she wants to preach to the masses and, guess what, the Church has no problem with that. In fact, there were, very early on and throughout history, great women to whom the title is-Apostolon (as the Greek refers to them) was granted (i.e. Equal-to-the-Apostles), St. Thecla I think is the first (and she was shoulder to shoulder with St. Paul). That’s totally fine, but what the Church speaks against is women being priests, not being propagators of the faith (you can’t really be an “Apostle” per se, that’s taken to refer only to the Twelve).

Another episode from the Saint’s life they refer to as in favor of their argument is:

“My child”, the Pontiff said. “Do as your Superiors [i.e. the Mother Superior of the convent] decide”.

“But, Most Holy Father”, Thérèse insisted, “if only you would say ‘yes’, everyone else would agree too.”

Leo XIII looked at her and said: “Come, come, your wish will be granted if God so wills”. While he raised his hand in benediction, two of the papal guard led her away in tears.

Somehow, the author uses this a comparison, however, the issues are not parallel. First, the age at which someone can join a monastery or convent is up to the Superior of that monastery or convent, which is what Leo XIII tells her. Second, making a major life decision at fourteen may be considered premature by some (I wanted to study chemistry at fourteen, look where I ended up), but is not a matter of dogma. Third, it is true that if the Pope had put in a good word (except he did not think it was his prerogative, rightly) she would have probably been let in, but what he could not do is to infallibly declare that all fourteen year-old girls that want to join a convent must be allowed to. Doing so would mean that he is falsely declaring new doctrine, which would get him a latae sententiae excommunication. So, obviously, he didn’t do it. Lo and behold, Therese later did join the convent. That said, we move on.

I need to give this whirl

Well, that stopped fast. You don’t give the priesthood, “a whirl.” It’s not a ride at Six Flags. Imagine if someone said, “I want to be a nuclear physicist, I need to give it a whirl,” would you think they were serious about it?
So I can lead the way

Oh c’mon! Look, the priesthood isn’t about leading, it’s about serving. It’s not about power, it’s about humility. If only you’d remember that one of the titles of the Pope is servus servorum Dei, you could figure this out.

Woman priest is my call

About the video at this point. You are wearing the stole over the chasuble. Seriously, it takes going to one Catholic Mass to figure out that it is the other way around. I guess this is what you end up with once you give the priesthood a “whirl.”
Women preaching for all
Don’t listen to St. Paul

Wait, what? That is definitely not ok. Telling someone to disregard St. Paul and then going ahead to call him “St. Paul” is a little awkward, but that’s only the smallest glimmer of problems with this. If you say, “Don’t listen to St. Paul,” we have a serious problem, because not only are his writings the earliest Christian writings, but they were included in the Canon of the New Testament, that’s why we have them today. If the Fathers selecting the Canon made a mistake here, then what’s to say that they did not make a mistake somewhere else? What if Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the ones who got it wrong and the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Thomas, etc. are the ones we are actually supposed to be using? Do we even know Jesus Christ, or just the hoax that the people we regard as the Evangelists created? You see the problem. Doubt the decision to include one part of  the New Testament and and it gives reason to doubt the decision about everything else, too. So, I think I’ll stick with St. Paul on that one, because if not, then the issue is no longer about priestesses, but about whether Christianity as we know it has any ground to stand on.

‘Cuz I can lead the way

My ministry is growing
Excommunication? I’m still glowing.
M.Div, chasuble flowing

Don’t even talk about that…
Where you think the Church is going?

Nowhere, that whole Matthew 16:18 bit.

Hey, I was baptized, and this is crazy,
But God just called me, so ordain a lady!
Justice doesn’t look right, with only male priests,

That’s a category confusion.
But God just called me, so ordain a lady!

Hey, I was baptized, and this is crazy,
But God just called me, so ordain a lady!
All the other Churches, try to schmooze me,
But I’m a Catholic, so ordain a lady!

My call is a fact, but some Pope in a hat,
Closed discussion on that, and now he’s in my way

Who exactly was this “Pope in a hat”? John Paul II. Yes, that’s right, John Paul II, the same guy who named St. Therese a Doctor of the Church, the same guy who felt a great devotion to Mary, the same guy whose motto was totus tuum, i.e. “wholly yours” [to St. Mary]. Other side achievements include bringing down communism, etc, but that’s beyond the point. The point is that if priestess were to seek to be in the Catholic Church, they’d have to take a vow of obedience to the Pope, so you can see how that’s a problem. Now, there have been cases where people in the Church have disagreed with the decision of someone above them in the Hierarchy of the Church and have fought for their belief. However, they have stayed in the Church and not acted on their conviction. Usually, the issue was resolved by a Council, or, for Catholics, by the Pope speaking infallibly. If you do not believe the Pope is infallible about matters of faith, then you cannot be a Catholic. However, that is exactly what they are doing. If they are right, we’re in big dodo, because then every infallible proclamation from a Pope could be wrong. In addition, any future infallible proclamation from a Pope can be wrong, which means it’s not infallible. But if there is no way to get an infallible decision in the Church, then who’s to ever decisively solve any dispute? Agree to disagree doesn’t really work in these cases. In addition, it would mean that the Holy Spirit really isn’t guiding the Church through a defined person, so the institution of the Popes would be unnecessary. However, saying that the institution of the Pope is unnecessary precludes you from being a Catholic (and an Easter Orthodox Christian).

I pray, sing, and feel

Feelings, a great foundation to build theological dogma on. If you review the documents of the Council of Nicaea, a lot of the Fathers talk about their feelings regarding whether Jesus is divine or not, true story.

At first communion it’s real
I but I refuse to kneel,
To Patriarchy’s way

Again, problem about vow of obedience.


With women priests in my life, I was so glad

There were never women priests in actual reality, so this confuses me.

I missed them so bad, I missed them so, so bad

You cannot miss something that’s not there.

With women priests in my life, I was so glad
We want our Church back, we want it all, all back

The Church is not yours, that’s sort of the point. The Church is Christ’s. Saying you want your Church is asking for something other than Christianity, which, last time I checked, precludes you from being Catholic.

That said, most proponents of priestesses would say that analyzing a song is not really a good way of arguing against an intellectual issue, which I accept, I just wanted to show some of the problems behind the mentality that at leas the people who made that video.

Therefore, let us look at why priestesses are asking for priesthood.

First, they feel a calling. There is no way for me to disprove that they feel that way, but I think I can prove that they’re wrong. Someone may feel that it is God’s will to come to Church naked, but it does not mean they are right. However, for the sake of not repeating myself, I’ll go back to this later.

Second, there seems to be an argument that Hebrews 7 nullifies the requirement for a priest to be male. I don’t see it. Hebrews 7 talks about how Christ is the Eternal High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek. Who Melchizedek actually is is an interesting question, because (in Genesis), His full title is, Melchizedek, King of Salem. Salem means “Peace” and “Melchizedek” means “King of Righteousness” and He brings to Abram bread and wine, and St. Paul (in Hebrews 7) says that He is greater than Abraham, so you can probably figure out what I am hinting to at this point. (“Before Abraham was, I AM” and all that) That digression made, Hebrews 7 talks about the setting aside of the Levitical Priesthood by Christ, but does not say that women can be priests (or even hint it). Ironically, this is the same St. Paul that we are supposed to not listen to.

In the end, arguments for priestesses come down to, “why not?” Scripture (seemingly) does not explicitly deny that women can be priests, so what is the problem?

Well, I accept the burden of proof that they lay on me and proceed to prove why not.

First, the priests of Christ are picked by Christ. “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16) At the Last Supper, at the institution of the Eucharist, there were only the Twelve. When Christ first came to the Apostles, where He told them that whosever’s sins they forgive are forgiven, there was only the Twelve. Christ picked the Twelve for this job. “Incidentally”, they were all males. Also “incidentally” they only picked males to be Bishops/Priests, such as picking James to be the Bishop of Jerusalem and the four Deacons. There is a point where there’s too much “incidentally” for something to actually be a coincidence. As far as the Levitical priesthood is concerned, only men of the tribe of Levi could be priests. Did God then discriminate against the other eleven tribes? How silly! If God wants only red-haired men under 5’3” to be His priests, then only red-haired men under 5’3” can be His priests. When people who were not from the tribe of Levi tried to perform priestly duties, Moses warned them to stop, when they did not, the ground opened up and swallowed them whole. (Numbers 16) These people “felt the calling,” but they were wrong. When they did not listen to Moses’ preaching, they died. Was God, then, unrighteous when He punished them thus? If you respond yes, you are not a Christian (or a Jew). Christ only picked males as His representatives and they only picked males in return. The descendants of the Apostles say women cannot be priests, what do you think is the correct way to respond?

Second, why would Christ only pick males? Proponents of women’s ordination say that he bowed down to social norms. I think this comes from ignorance of the Gospel. In Matthew 15:20, Christ says “… to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man,” thereby going against tradition. For God’s sake, every time He says, “I AM…” He is going against tradition (Orthodox Jews to this day will not say the word Yahweh, which means “I AM”). When He heals people on the Sabbath He is going against tradition. When he testifies to Himself (i.e. whenever he says, “Truly, truly…” usually, Rabbis would say things and people would respond with “truly” or “Amen” after they said it, He turns this on its head). It seems that Christ breaks just about every other tradition, but He decides to keep this one. Why, because He got one pass and this was what He used it on? Once again, that’s silly. So, why did He do it, then? The true reason lies in the symbolism of priesthood. When a priest says, “This is My Body…” he is standing in persona Christi. He is a living icon of Christ. However, it does not make sense to stop there. Christ is a male, but He is also a first century Jew, etc. Why is Christ’s being male, then, unlike His other qualities? It is unlike his other qualities because Christ’s maleness points to the Father’s masculinity (the Father is not a male, He does not have a body, but he is masculine). In the Old Testament as well as in the New, God the Father is always referred to as He, He is never referred to as “she.” Still, why so? The reason for this is sexual symbolism. God in the Old Testament is referred to as King, Hunter, Husband, etc., all male imagery. This is because He is the initiator. Just like a male needs to enter the woman’s body for bodily impregnation, so God needs to enter the bride’s (i.e. every Christian’s) soul for spiritual impregnation. Because this relationship asserts that God is the First Mover, God must be referred to as masculine and Christ is male because of this quality of God and, therefore, because it is necessary that Christ is male as an icon of the Father, so it is necessary that a priest, standing in persona Christi, be a male. Still, proponents of women’s ordination may argue that we see things this way because of our imperfect nature. However, this argument relies on the idea that we are the concrete reality, which we then transfer onto imagery of God. The Bible tells us it is the opposite. God is the concrete one and His imagery is transferred onto us. The male needs to enter the female’s body not because he is better than the female, but as a symbol and reminded to both the male and the female that God, the true masculine, needs to enter both their souls for spiritual impregnation.

Third, the Church has spoken, the case is closed. If proponents of women’s ordination want to remain Catholic, then they must accept that the Pope is infallible in matters of faith. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have spoken authoritatively on the matter. Even if a future Pope were to try to speak infallibly on the matter on the opposing side, he would be latae sententiae excommunicated, because he would be pronouncing new doctrine.

Fourth, such a move would produce great problems in the Church. If a Pope (somehow) allows women’s ordination, there would be extensive problems. For one, people today against women’s ordination would use the argument above to form a breakaway Church. For those that are undecided, questions would arise whether a baptism by a woman priest or a priest ordained by a female Bishop would be valid as well as whether a Mass celebrated by a woman priest or a priest ordained by a woman Bishop would be valid. This argument is stated last because it is a pragmatic argument, of which I am usually not fond of and I am perfectly willing to give it up and just go on the above-stated three.

Lastly, this idea that people have some “right” to priesthood is absolutely insane. Men can and do get denied entry into seminaries and into priesthood, when the people responsible discern that they are not fit to be priests. There is, has never been, and will never be a right to the priesthood, not in the Church of Christ. In another Church, perhaps, but not in the Church of Christ. As St. Paul says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:27-30) That is the end of it.

On an unrelated side-note: the priestesses in the video, while in full vestment, dance. I think one of them even does a booty shake. That is another violation of the sanctity of priesthood. If a (male) priest did the same thing, he would be sinning. If he did it in public/post a video of it on Youtube and his Bishop saw it, he, too, would be sinning if he did not reprimand the priest in question. Have these women been reprimanded by their pseudo-superiors for doing that? I do not think so. They also fail to properly cross themselves. In the video, time and time again, they go from their head, to their torso and then the arms, the correct form is from the head, down to the abdomen, then the arms. This is something parents teach their five year-old children, someone who wants to be a priest should have already graduated this level of Christian knowledge.