Why, yes, Mr. Reporter, of course Catholics have women priests.

An acquaintance of mine who works in public relations was bemoaning a conversation with a producer for a liberal cable news outlet. The producer asked my friend if the Catholic speakers she represents would be prepared to discuss the likelihood of women priests under a new pontificate.  She, of course, was frustrated and annoyed.  I, on the other hand, see an awesome opportunity.

As a therapist, I spend a lot of time contemplating gender issues and the war between the sexes.  As a Catholic, especially one immersed in the Theology of the Body, I have a particular interest in how these issues play out in the Church.  As such, I’ve often imagined my answer to such a question.  Here’s what I think I’d say…

“Well, Mr. (or Ms.) Reporter, what most people don’t know is that Catholics DO have women priests.  It’s called the common priesthood of the baptized.  Although it isn’t PC to say so, the truth is every baptized Catholic woman on the planet has the same spiritual authority as any protestant minister who cannot claim apostolic succession.  So, yes. Catholics have women priests.  Millions of them. And I would like to see the next Pope do a better job of asserting that truth to the world.”

Of course, my answer would get me written off as a crank.  But it happens to be true. And it would be nice to hear someone say something different when the question came up. What do you all y’all think?

About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit www.CatholicCounselors.com.

  • C Schuelke

    I sympathize with your friend and would feel the same way. I like your answer a lot, not only because it is different, but also because it encourages us to go beyond the one-sentence catchesis that we “share in the mission of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king.” However, I cringe when I think of what Mr. Or Mrs. reporter would do with that statement. I think it would look something like this: When asked about the possibility of female priests under the next pontificate, Dr. Popcak says, “Every baptized Catholic woman on the planet has the same spiritual authority . . . . And I would like to see the next Pope do a better job of asserting that truth to the world.”

  • http://ConvertJournal.com George @ Convert Journal

    I like your answer because it presents total equality between the sexes while differentiating the ministerial priesthood as something else, which it is.

  • Inge

    The thing is that most Protestant churches also know the priesthood of the baptized, which is why they say special priesthood isn’t necessary because they all are priests. So the remark towards Protestants isn’t necessary.

    • http://www.catholiccounselors.com Dr. Greg

      Thank you, Inge. The truth is, some do, some don’t. I don’t think your average Big Box Megachurch really has much of a theology of baptism at all, for instance. Regardless, I think its important to clarify that my comment isn’t meant as a dig. The MSM uses our separated brothers and sisters as the ministerial model Catholic should be following. My point is that, as Catholics, we already have that model of ministry and more. Catholics can certainly respect a lot Protestant ministry but the Protestant model of ministry isn’t something Catholics aspire to because we already exceed it. Every baptized Catholic already has the same minsterial and spiritual authority of any Protestant minister (or at least those who not have some kind of legitimate claim to apostolic succession). Likewise, when it comes to Protestand who do have the model of ministry you describe, your comment makes my point. They don’t think they need priests because every believer is a priest. Well, we agree–at least that every baptised believer shares in a kind of priestly ministry (though not the bit about not needing a ministerial priesthood of course). In that case, the objection isn’t to women priests, but to an apostolic sense of priesthood, which is an entirely different question altogether. Great comments, though. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. –Dr.G.


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