I have very mixed feelings about the ordination of women.

In principle I agree with it – but in practice I have misgivings about the women priests and ministers I have met.

What I am trying to say is that we should have women priests – but they should not be CLERICS!

The background to most of the RC church’s problems is to be found in CLERICS and CLERICALISM.

Jesus founded a very community based church – and the leaders in it, like Jesus himself, were SERVANTS and not MASTERS. He said: “I came to serve and not to be served. He 

But he was hardly gone away when the men in the community began to emerge as a ruling class.

That was worsened when the RC crowd threw in their lot with the emperor and you had a ready made establishment which has grown ever more power hungry by the day and year.

ry mixed feelings about the ordination of women.


“The word “Cleric” comes from the ecclesiastical Latin Clericus, for those belonging to the priestly class. In turn, the source of the Latin word is from the Ecclesiastical Greek Clericus, meaning appertaining to an inheritance, in reference to the fact that the Levitical priests of the Old Testament had no inheritance except the Lord.[1] “Clergy” is from two Old French words, clergié and clergie, which refer to those with learning and derive from Medieval Latin clericatus, from Late Latin clericus (the same word from which “cleric” is derived).[2] “Clerk”, which used to mean one ordained to the ministry, also derives from clericus. In the Middle Ages, reading and writing were almost exclusively the domain of the priestly class, and this is the reason for the close relationship of these words.[3] Within Christianity, especially in Eastern Christianity and formerly in Western Roman Catholicism, the term cleric refers to any individual who has been ordained, including deacons, priests, and bishops.[4] In Latin Roman Catholicism, the tonsure was a prerequisite for receiving any of the minor orders or major orders before the tonsure, minor orders, and the subdiaconate were abolished following the Second Vatican Council.[5] Now, the clerical state is tied to reception of the diaconate.[6] Minor Orders are still given in the Eastern Catholic Churches, and those who receive those orders are ‘minor clerics.'[7]
The use of the word “Cleric” is also appropriate for Eastern Orthodox minor clergy who are tonsured in order not to trivialize orders such as those of Reader in the Eastern Church, or for those who are tonsured yet have no minor or major orders. It is in this sense that the word entered the Arabic language, most commonly in Lebanon from the French, as kleriki (or, alternatively, cleriki) meaning “seminarian.” This is all in keeping with Eastern Orthodox concepts of clergy, which still include those who have not yet received, or do not plan to receive, the diaconate.
A priesthood is a body of priests, shamans, or oracles who have special religious authority or function. The term priest is derived from the Greek presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, presbýteros, elder or senior), but is often used in the sense of sacerdos in particular, i.e., for clergy performing ritual within the sphere of the sacred or numinous communicating with the gods on behalf of the community. instructed his disciples to follow that model of servanthood”. (Wikipedia)

I believe that the development of “priests” becoming “clerics” has done a disfavour to the church.

The priest/pastor/minister is the servant of the church community. The cleric, with its various and ascending ranks has led to ambition, abuse of power, sense of entitlement, corruption, etc.

We have too many “clerics” as it is – and we do not want to add women clerics to the cleric catalogue.

The whole notion of cleric needs to be abolished and also the great divide between clerics and laity.

One way to do this might be to go back to the Pauline doctrine of priests having a regular day job or profession – earning his own keep – serving the community voluntarily at evenings and weekends.

In a way this is how we operate at The Oratory. Our priests are self financing by being is work and serve the community when not in the regular work. Our priests have and do work as teachers, social workers, youth workers, addiction counselling etc. They get no income from The Oratory Society.

For 33 years I have, as well as being a priest and bishop, have worked as a journalist and columnist for which I was well paid and which I was able to fit my ministry around. I have also done voluntary work with cancer patients. And of course I get fees and donations for weddings – religious and non religious.

The women priests and ministers I have met dressed up like male clerics and were just as bossy and bullying as their male counterparts. That was because they were clerics in full time church employment.

The ordination of women needs to be done in the context of a non clerical structure.

The last thing we need is bullying and ambitious female deacons, priests and bishops.

It would make a bad situation worse.