Catholic Church has always been criticized for being patriarchal in nature, where women (nuns) hardly get any role to play in its administrative positions. Catholic Church can satirically be defined as; Church of the men, for the men and by the men, where men (priests) enjoy all the powers and privileges. Church expects the women to play the role of ‘Pious Women’ as narrated in the Holy Bible, remaining in prayers, contemplation, obedience, and performing the designated domestic and social roles.
During our childhood in Sunday Catechism, we had been taught that there are Seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church; Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Matrimony and Anointing of the Sick. Out of the Seven Sacraments, in normal scenario, one can receive only six sacraments in one’s lifetime, Ordination and Matrimony being an ‘either or’ option.
The sixth sacrament, Ordination, is meant only for men. A catholic man, who aspires to be a priest, after having undergone the training for the prescribed years, will be ordained as a priest, in order to guide other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), proclaiming the Gospel, and providing other ways to attain eternal bliss.
Nunhood or nunship means the status, vocation, or responsibilities of a nun, who is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The nunhood that catholic women embrace is not considered a sacrament unlike Ordination nor does it come under Holy Sacrament with Pontifical Status.
Priesthood is seen as a glorified as well as a dignified profession. Unlike priesthood, nunhood demands total austerity, renunciation and sacrifice. Catholic nuns have to endure strict rules and regulation unlike their counterparts, priests. The nuns need to be in their religious habit always, whereas the priests need to wear their habit only when they officiate prayers and sacraments and participate in official functions. Nuns lead a secluded and submissive life, and enjoy less liberty, rights and privileges. They are less exposed to the worldly things compared to priests. Unlike nuns, the priests can own a car, gadgets and other luxury things. Despite all these, the way of life led by nuns is not labeled as sacrament and could not find a place in the list of seven sacraments meant for women.
Instead of Ordination, the sixth sacrament could be termed as ‘The Holy Orders’ encompassing the Holy Orders received by both men and women by Holy Pontiff. It would be a decisive step towards giving equal right for women in the church, eventually paving way for the rightful place for women in the administrative roles of the church.
(Inspired from a question posed by my loving Life Partner)
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