Monday, September 10, 2012

Keeping Silence, Headcovering, and Catholic Tradition

Should Women Keep Silence in Church?



This article is an attempt to answer the questions raised about the differences of men and women in the service of the assembly of the church, according to scripture.
"In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, St. Paul seems to suggest that women should be totally silent in church.
Is this true?
If so, how do we square it with the practice of the Church today?"
As the writer admits, the passage is a "difficulty", especially in the culture and society in which most of the English speaking world lives today. And so he examines the scriptural context, other texts within the same letter of the Apostle Paul which address these issues (that is, our head covering scripture in 1 Corinthians 11), as well as other scriptural texts concerning the spiritual equality of women. He reviews the current traditions and scholarly teaching, acknowledging again, that although women do speak and prophesy in assembly, there is one matter where women and most men are to remain silent - in teaching the Word of God publicly.

Although the passage commanding women to be silent in the church seems to be contradictory to the teaching in other places that women and men are equal in spirit, upon further study, there is no contradiction.

The head covering passage is a core idea here: if women were to remain silent ALWAYS, then why did Paul only a few paragraphs earlier instruct them to wear a head covering while they were praying or prophesying? Truly, a woman may pray alone at home, but prophesying is not something done in privacy, but to the benefit of hearers. The command for silence of the women is not a contradiction then, but rather a clarification of who is to be watching over the teaching of the Law of Christ, and who is to be quiet so that everyone in the assembly can hear and understand from the appointed teacher.


What have you studied about this? Do you know of another study on this passage that you would like to link here? Please comment, and let us all keep pressing on.
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