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Is This Frescoe Proof of Womynpriests?

A newly restored catacomb in Rome has a number of frescoes that some are pointing to as evidence of womynpriests in the early Church.

It's not. But that's not stopping them from pointing to it.

Reuters reports:
Organizations promoting a female priesthood, such as the Women's Ordination Conference and the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests, have pointed to these ancient scenes as evidence of a female priesthood in the early Church.

But the Vatican contests these interpretations which have also appeared in books on women in Christianity, such as the "The Word According to Eve" published in 1998.

"This is an elaboration that has no foundation in reality," Barbara Mazzei of the Pontifical Commission on Sacred Archaeology told Reuters at the presentation of the restoration on Tuesday.

"This is a fairy tale, a legend," said Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, superintendent of religious heritage archaeological sites owned by the Vatican, including numerous catacombs scattered around Rome.

He said such interpretations were "sensationalist and absolutely not reliable".

Bisconti said the fresco of the woman in a gesture of priest-like prayer was "a depiction of a deceased person now in paradise," and that the women sitting at the table were taking part in a "funeral banquet" and not a Eucharistic gathering.
But that's not going to stop those in favor of ordaining women from pointing to the pictures as evidence. I'm always a little confused about their arguments because at one point they say that Jesus just couldn't have named a woman to be one of the apostles because everyone would've totally freaked. Yeah, because you know, Jesus was all about saying whatever it took to get treated nicely, right?

But then they argue that the very early Church had women priests. Well, which is it?

In his 1994 apostolic letter on ordination, Pope John Paul II made it clear that the church's ban on women priests is not open to debate among Catholics.


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Sophia's Favorite said...

If you can ascertain the sex of that central figure—the dark area under whose chin might be a thin beard and whose figure is, well, sorta like a Pacman ghost—you should probably be burned as a witch, because the only way you'd know that is from asking dead people.

Anneg said...

Over the head of the central figure appears to be a prayer shawl, worn by Jewish men. I say this because of the blue stripes.
Also, this is a restoration of a fresco. Who knows what was there originally.

Lori said...

The fresco has been known for quite a long time. I read an analysis of it some years ago in a an art history book (I wish I could remember the name), which was quite convincing: the central figure with the Jewish prayer shawl is one of the O.T. prophets foretelling the birth of Christ, the woman and baby on the right are Mary and the infant Jesus, and the group of three people on the left are - guess! That's right, the Magi. It's simple when you know.

ProudHillbilly said...

Thanks for the info, Lori. I thought the central figure looked like a young man in orens posture with a tallith draped over his head, which made me wonder how long Jewish externals like prayer shawls continued in the early Church.

ProudHillbilly said...

Oh, and Christmas is coming, which makes this right on cue.

Mary De Voe said...

Prayer shawls were worn by men who prayed for the whole family. The marking on the shawl were, like tartans, the marking of a particular tribe. Jewish men were to wear the prayer shawl at all times. A woman can never act "in persona Christi". at Mass or elsewhere. A woman can act in "alter Christi, as another Christ, but that is lost on any woman who insists on becoming ordained. Move over Mary, you got competition, but it is not Catholic.

Jeffrey Stuart said...

They can't be womynpriests. None of them have blue hair.

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