The issue of what exactly the priesthood is is notoriously thorny. Often appearing to be caught between pronounced sacramentalist tendencies (ordinances effect real change that goes beyond their symbolic import) and an underdeveloped theology regarding the significance of our so-called “non-essential” ordinances (no transubstantiation for us!), we seem at a loss to explain clearly the difference between a non-priesthood holder reciting the blessing over the bread and water of which people then contemplatively partake, and the same situation when a priesthood holder pronounces it.
But that, fascinating in itself, is not what this post is about. Accepting for the sake of argument that the priesthood somehow makes a difference to the efficacy of the blessing of the sacrament, how do we explain why the priesthood would be necessary for the distribution of those emblems? In other words, obviously women, lacking the priesthood, are unable to effectively bless the sacrament. But doctrinally, what prevents them from passing it?
- 28 August 2006