Why Won’t the Catholic Church “Get With the Times” and Ordain Women Priests?

Why Won’t the Catholic Church “Get With the Times” and Ordain Women Priests? August 27, 2015

Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States
Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
In Des Moines, Iowa, the Catholic Worker House is no longer permitted to hold liturgies on the premises, after conducting a service in which a woman who claims to be an ordained priest celebrated a Eucharistic service in their chapel.

The celebrant was Janice Sevre-Duszynskaper, who attempted ordination in 2008, being “ordained” by the Association of Catholic Women Priests. The group and the ordinations which it attempts are not recognized by the Vatican, and Sevre-Duszynskaper is therefore excommunicated.

Bishop Richard Pates, bishop of Des Moines, issued the letter withdrawing permission for Masses at the Catholic Worker House on May 5. Frank Cordaro, co-founder of the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, called the bishop’s actions “bullying.” Cordaro insisted that the action wasn’t meant to draw attention (which it did) or to cross a line (which it did). The story was reported in the August issue of The Catholic Mirror, the diocesan Catholic newspaper.

*     *     *     *     *

It’s a good time to take up the question:

WHY CAN’T WOMEN BE PRIESTS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

There are women pastors in the Presbyterian church and even a female bishop in the Episcopal church, and they can be very effective preachers, leading people toward greater holiness. Women already occupy positions in the Catholic Church as teachers of theology, as pastoral associates and counselors and spiritual directors and lectors and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. They visit the sick, serve the hungry, help the poor. They answer the phones in the parish office, for Pete’s sake! Why can’t the Catholic Church get with the times and ordain women to the priesthood?

 That was just a rhetorical question, friends. I believe, with the Catholic Church, that when Christ instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders and selected only men to serve as priests, he was giving us the blueprint for how the Church should operate.

I’ve worked in the past with women, feminist nuns, who took umbrage at that claim. I remember one particularly angry sister exclaiming, “My students talk with me in my office about things that are really sensitive. After our conversation, shouldn’t I have the right to hear their confession?”

But that’s the thing: There is no “right” to the priesthood. Rather, the priesthood is a call from God, a summons to serve Him in a special way. To the young man who experiences the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit toward the priesthood, it is a precious gift; but it is a gift which comes with a high price tag. The man will spill out his life in service to others, standing in for the crucified Christ.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers an explanation:

1577 “Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.”66 The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.67 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.68

The Catechism continues, explaining that “right” thing I just mentioned above:

1578 No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God.69 Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God’s call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.

When the Anglican Church first considered the issue of women’s ordination, Pope Paul VI cautioned that this would have a deleterious effect on relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. He explained the Catholic Church’s inability to ordain women:

She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.”

To further clarify the matter for theologians within the Church, Pope Paul VI directed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to set forth and expound the Church’s teaching on a male-only priesthood. This was done through the Declaration Inter Insigniores, which the Supreme Pontiff approved and ordered to be published.

Saint Pope John Paul II reiterated the Church’s teaching in the Apostolic Constitution Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which has the weight of infallibility. Quoting from that document:

In the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, I myself wrote in this regard: “In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time.”(5)

In fact the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles attest that this call was made in accordance with God’s eternal plan; Christ chose those whom he willed (cf. Mk 3:13-14; Jn 6:70), and he did so in union with the Father, “through the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:2), after having spent the night in prayer (cf. Lk 6:12). Therefore, in granting admission to the ministerial priesthood,(6) the Church has always acknowledged as a perennial norm her Lord’s way of acting in choosing the twelve men whom he made the foundation of his Church (cf. Rv 21:14). These men did not in fact receive only a function which could thereafter be exercised by any member of the Church; rather they were specifically and intimately associated in the mission of the Incarnate Word himself (cf. Mt 10:1, 7-8; 28:16-20; Mk 3:13-16; 16:14-15). The Apostles did the same when they chose fellow workers(7) who would succeed them in their ministry.(8) Also included in this choice were those who, throughout the time of the Church, would carry on the Apostles’ mission of representing Christ the Lord and Redeemer.(9)

3. Furthermore, the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe.

The presence and the role of women in the life and mission of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable. As the Declaration Inter Insigniores points out, “the Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission: today their role is of capital importance both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church.”(10)

The New Testament and the whole history of the Church give ample evidence of the presence in the Church of women, true disciples, witnesses to Christ in the family and in society, as well as in total consecration to the service of God and of the Gospel. “By defending the dignity of women and their vocation, the Church has shown honor and gratitude for those women who-faithful to the Gospel-have shared in every age in the apostolic mission of the whole People of God. They are the holy martyrs, virgins and mothers of families, who bravely bore witness to their faith and passed on the Church’s faith and tradition by bringing up their children in the spirit of the Gospel.”(11)

Moreover, it is to the holiness of the faithful that the hierarchical structure of the Church is totally ordered. For this reason, the Declaration Inter Insigniores recalls: “the only better gift, which can and must be desired, is love (cf. 1 Cor 12 and 13). The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are not the ministers but the saints.”(12)

4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

That’s it, folks. If you believe that Jesus Christ founded His Church here on earth, that he entrusted Peter with the keys (symbolizing authority), that the Pope is the legitimate successor of Peter who is entrusted with shepherding the flock until He comes in glory, then that’s it. Rome has spoken. The Catholic Church will never ordain women to the priesthood.

Furthermore, the group that calls itself Roman Catholic Womenpriests are not priests. They are, by virtue of their having attempted ordination, merely excommunicated women. To clarify, in 2007 the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the authorization of the Pope, decreed the penalty of automatic excommunication against anyone “who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order.”

 

"I'll follow you over Kathy. I was probably in more sympathy with your point of ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"If you're at all interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"Thank you, Mrs. Harris! Christmas blessings to you. I hope to see you over at ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."

Browse Our Archives



TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brian Sullivan

    I wonder why the highlighted paragraph from Pope John Paul II is not considered infallible teaching? What criteria does it not meet?

    • kathyschiffer

      It IS infallible teaching. It’s just that there are people who simply ignore that fact.

      • Brian Sullivan

        What I mean is when people say “There are only 2 uses of papal infallibility” this is not one of them. I agree with you, but I am unclear if this infallible because of JP2 statement or because of the ordinary magisterium, or something else?

        • It is not the highest level of proclamation (i.e. Ex Cathedra Dogmatic Definition), but it is still infallible

        • Phil Steinacker

          I’ve read that it has been part of the ordinary magisterium over the life of the Church. This teaching is not infallible because of JP2’s statement; this statement simply clarifies its infallibility but authority of it precedes JP by centuries.

      • Luis Gutierrez

        It is NOT infallible teaching. You may want to consider my notes on this issue, here:

        One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic:
        Nuptial Balance in the Priesthood and the Episcopacy
        http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv11n08supp6.html#section9

        • TerryC

          Ah..no. It is infallible. It is a teaching of the ordinary magisterium. Your conclusions are simply incorrect. For example “All the sacraments are nuptial, and none was instituted by Christ to be gender-exclusive.” Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which is a an instrument of the ordinary magisterium is infallible and directly contradicts that conclusion.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            My understanding is that no teaching of the ordinary magisterium is infallible unless it has been specifically defined to be so. As far as I know, it has never been dogmatically defined that any sacrament was intentionally instituted by Christ to be gender-exclusive.

  • They are indeed a group of excommunicated women, but also a group of excommunicated women who dresses funny…

  • Romulus

    There’s no such thing as an “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist”.

    • JohnServorum

      The proper term is Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

      • nic

        But it is only truly proper if it is in Latin!

        • JohnServorum

          Uh, nice try but no.

    • Chrysoprase

      There is, of course. The Church uses the phrase for a reason. It describes a person who is authorised by the officiating priest to distribute – to minister – communion. It means “in extraordinary circumstances”, that’s all. Those are circumstances where it is not practical to require the priest on his own to distribute communion to a large number of people filling his church. In times when there are lots of clergy such people are not asked to take up the role. In our age (until things improve) the clergy need this assistance and are authorised to nominate lay people for the purpose. The Church has nothing against Common Sense.

      • Romulus

        Excuse me, but you are mistaken. You are thinking of an “extraordinary minister of Holy Communion”. Only a priest is a minister of the Eucharist, a term that includes but extends well beyond the act of giving and receiving Holy Communion.

        • Chrysoprase

          The key word is ‘extraordinary’ meaning ‘not the usual’. For instance, the Church speaks of the ‘Ordinary’ to describe a bishop. I understand it to mean the person “who in ordinary circumstances” exercises the authority of a bishop. It’s Church-speak. Thus, an Episcopal Vicar is empowered by the Church to exercise some of a bishop’s authority. I think that’s right, but I am no Canon Lawyer, I admit.

          • Romulus

            No; the key word is “Eucharist”, meaning thanksgiving. The Eucharist is a complete sacramental action, and only a priest can be its minister. Holy Communion is only a single element of the Eucharist (and is essential for the priest only). Read Redemptionis Sacramentum 154.

  • frdlongenecker

    Can men be nuns?

    • Critical_Analyser

      Only if they are “gender fluid”, whatever that means currently.
      Welcome to the “We-DEMAND” generation…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw7AYJikDJE

    • Luis Gutierrez

      No, but women can be priests, and nuns with vocation to the priesthood should be ordained.

      • LM

        Women do not have vocations to the priesthood because women were not called by Christ to the priesthood. Women who claim they are, are simply manifesting their own demands fed by their pride.

        • Luis Gutierrez

          Who are you to judge?

          • facts are facts, not judgements. If you see facts as judgements, you may be insane.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            What “facts” do you have in mind? One fact that does come to mind is that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis says it is a definitive
            “judgment” (about past and present) but doesn’t say anything about it being a dogmatic definition, or about what the Church can or cannot do in the future.

          • The main fact I see has nothing to do with dogma, and in fact very little to do with the Church, other than the image of God as Father.

            I can’t accept a woman as a priest because I can’t accept a woman as a father. As a mother, sure, but as a father, no.

            Unlike modernists who choose to forget that there is a difference between men and women, or worse yet, cause mental disabilities by trying to erase the differences between men and women, I cannot get past biological definitions and biological gender roles, regardless of what any person says.

            Maybe one day we’ll have priestesses in the church- with the honorific title of mother- in a way many, many orders of nuns already do- but we will never have a female priest.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Never say never. It may not happen this century, but hope it will happen before the end of this millennium.

            About biological analogies, they cannot possibly exhaust the mysteries of our faith. We should not think that God is an image of man; it is the other war around. God is both Father and Mother and infinitely more. For the redemption, the incarnation of the second divine person as a male is as incidental as the color of his eyes. What matters is that *human nature* was assumed; else, women should not be baptized. Consider this:

            “Corporality and sexuality are not completely identified. Although the human body in its normal constitution, bears within it the signs of sex and is by its nature male or female, the fact, however, that man is a “body” belongs to the structure of the personal subject more deeply than the fact that in his somatic constitution he is also male or female.” John Paul II, Theology of the Body, 7 November 1979. Source: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb8.htm (see also section 8:1, page 157 in the 2006 edition)

          • Is English your second language? Does your first language not have gender roles?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Spanish is my first language, and it does have masculine and feminine pronouns. Why?

            I shared two excerpts from the John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. What do you think?

          • larry

            So the Catholic Church is relativist? Some errant Pope may allow women to become priest but that does not make it right.

          • nic

            You accept a man who is celibate as a father? That’s some strange biology.

          • There are spiritual fathers and biological fathers- but no woman can be a spiritual fathr.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            A woman can be a spiritual mother, which is just as important.

          • Which we already have in the Catholic Church in religious communities- as I pointed out. Many convents have Mother Superiors.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Many nuns may also have vocation to the priesthood, and should be ordained. Why not?

          • By definition, a vocation to the PRIESThood is male. You mean a vocation to be PRIESTESSES, which we don’t currently have, but might in the future. In the mean time, they can dedicate their lives to the service of the Lord as Nuns. Part of being clergy is OBEDIENCE- I’ve yet to see any of these women exhibit even the smallest calling to that, because feminists have a problem with obedience.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            There is no such thing as a dogmatic definition that the ministerial priesthood is male. What is the dogma that defines the priesthood as male?

            I mean PRIESTS, not PRIESTESSES. Why is it that the successor of Peter cannot be a woman?

          • It is not dogmatic, it is linguistic. The meaning of the word Priest in English indicates a male. A female priest is called a priestess. And I would think anybody called to that vocation, should most of all have a command of the laguage and use words correctly.

            The successor of Peter cannot be a woman because the role calls for male thought.

            Just as a man cannot be a mother, Papa/Pope/Father cannot be a woman. How is it you are so ignorant of language to even ask such a question?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Sorry for my ignorance. I didn’t know that God can be reduced to the limitations of human language.

            The successor of Peter can be a woman as soon as the Church decides to allow it. Apostolic succession is not contingent on masculinity.

          • God created human limitations, so therefore they count for something. I really heavily resent your intense denial of the difference between men and women, but perhaps you are the product of modern feminism and it’s heresy.

            I no more would follow a female Pope than I would follow Satan- because such a person is a LIE.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            No need to be so melodramatic. The obvious differences between men and women do not cancel their fundamental unity in one and the same human nature, as is clearly explained by John Paul II in the Theology of the Body.

            Again, may I suggest you consider the following, especially sections 1 and 4:

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb8.htm

            See also CCC # 1598. The first sentence says that the male-only priesthood is a choice, the second sentence says who has the authority to make the choice.

          • Why do you seek to neuter men and women and remove their humanity from them? We are male and female, different. If we were not different, we would not be human. Respect differences, and do not try to lie and say that men can what women do, or that women can do what men do. It is what makes us human, created male and female, and I for one am tired of this modernist attempt to turn everybody into eunuchs.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            For the third time, have you considered this catechesis?

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb8.htm

            The Theology of the Body endorses neither radical patriarchy nor radical feminism, and provides a vision of marriage, and gender relations in general, that can be summarized as unity in diversity (“original unity of man and woman”), individuality in community (“communion of persons”) and equality in mutuality (“spousal meaning of the body”). The complementarity of man and woman is for reciprocity and mutual enrichment, not mutual exclusion.

          • I have, but I do not see any denial of the linguistic error you have made, nor the basic categorical error denied by the biology of the species. If anything, removing the diversity between the genders as you propose will destroy the unity of the species.

          • larry

            I agree. Luis espouses many feminist and modernists thoughts. For him, male and female is indistintictive.

          • Warren Anderson

            Therein lies the problem with your conclusion, LG. The Church does not possess the authority to change what Christ has established. Continuing to argue against that fact merely indicates an inability to appreciate what the Church has decided not to allow, a fact about which she, the Church, can never change her mind.

            Regarding the metaphysics of accidents, cf. Kreeft: “Advocates of women’s ordination usually misunderstand sexual symbolism because they misunderstand symbolism itself as radically as they misunderstand authority. They think of symbols as man-made and artificial. They do not see that there are profound and unchangeable natural symbols, that things can be signs.”—http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/sexual-symbolism.htm

            Also, a lot of your positions presented in this forum tend to do harm to the person of Christ. Christ established the male priesthood as male only. Contrary to what many contemporary ideologies hold and project on to the past and other cultures, Christ did so not out of mere conformity to social convention. Christ, true God and true man, acted with complete freedom. To suggest otherwise is to cast doubt on the character of both His divine nature and His human nature, i.e., His sinless and ability to act with complete freedom. Ergo, His decision to found His Church on a man (Saint Peter) and the other (male) apostles is a decision made with complete freedom and foresight (i.e., with thought to the needs of the future) on His part. That Jesus Christ did so is beyond question. Why that is so is another question.

            You may want to access the following article for a more in-depth perspective.— http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2007/09/women-and-the-catholic-priesth

            The First Things article (9.26.07) by Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of sacred theology at St. Mary’s College of Madonna University, addresses many of the issues which are of concern for you and others.

          • larry

            Christ was God completely. He spoke in human words. He makes no errors. To imply that God is separate from Christ ties into some early heresies.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            He made no errors? He selected Judas Iscariot as one of the apostles, wasn’t that an error? Jesus Christ is one divine Person in two natures, divine and human. This means 100% divine and 100% human. Are you suggesting that Jesus of Nazareth was only divine?

          • larry

            Christ fulfilled the scriptures and his betrayal was one of those things predicted in Scripture.

          • Benedetti

            Maybe Luis would like to see a trans-gender pope as well

          • larry

            Agree. That is step three in Luis agenda.

          • larry

            Again….because Christ did not appoint women as apostles. He chose 12 males. If you are saying Christ’s actions were sexist and patriarchal, then you are not a follower of Christ. I am assuming you would have no quarrel with a matriarchy. Your responses her are framed in the context of feminism and modernism.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Matriarchy would be as biased as patriarchy. This is not about feminism and modernism. Christ’s actions were not sexist, simply tolerant of a patriarchal mindset that he had to accept, see John 4:27, 16:12. God comes to us where we are!

          • wineinthewater

            “There is no such thing as a dogmatic definition that the ministerial priesthood is male.”

            Only if you ignore the way that dogma is defined. In all of your comments, you have been using a single standard for the definition of dogma, but that standard is for the infallibility of the extraordinary magisterium in defining dogma. As per Vatican II, there is another standard for infallibly defining dogma: the *ordinary* magisterium. The extraordinary magisterium is seen in an Ecumenical Council or when the Pope teaches ex cathedra. It is a moment in time. But the ordinary magisterium is seen when the bishops of the world in communion with the pope teach in unison even though they are separated by time and space.

            You keep dismissing OS as being fallible because it does not meet the standard for the extraordinary magisterium. But that does not make it fallible, it just means it is not extraordinary. The CDF made it clear that OS is not an exercise of the pope’s extraordinary magisterium, but that the teaching is still infallible because OS and the teaching it contains is a part of the ordinary magisterium.

            And this can be empirically seen. Every time the question of women’s ordination to the priesthood has come up in history, the Church has universally said no. Every council that has treated the topic, every Church Father or Doctor of the Church, every papal teaching. All of them say no. If the prohibition against the ordination of women does not meet the standard for the ordinary magisterium, then pretty much no teaching does.

            If the Church were to change her teaching on women’s ordination, then that would mean that the ordinary magisterium is not, in fact, infallible (since, as above, women’s ordination is one of the clearest examples of the ordinary magisteium teaching). And if the ordinary magisterium is not infallible, then the extraordinary magisterium is not infallible, because Vatican II (an exercise of the extraordinary magisterium) definitively teaches that the ordinary magisterium is infallible. This would mean that we would have no mechanism for knowing with certainty whether or not any belief belongs to the Deposit of Truth or not, nor the proper understanding of any belief from the Deposit of Truth.

            If the Church’s teaching on women’s ordination falls, so does the whole of Catholic teaching. And if you think this is hyperbole, just look at the Anglican Communion. After they began to ordain women, they rapidly began jettisoning the rest of Christian belief to the point that you don’t even have to be Christian anymore to be an Anglican priest.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Not everything that the ordinary magisterium teaches is infallible. The ordinary magisterium is infallible only when all the bishops teach in union with the Pope, and the Pope says that the teaching is infallible. See CCC 892.

          • wineinthewater

            That’s not what it says. First, it says nothing about the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium being dependent on the pope saying it is infallible. That would completely negate the purpose of the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium since it would ultimately depend on the infallibility of the pope’s extraordinary magisterium.

            Secondly, 892 says specifically what is not infallible: “they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals.” This teaching about women’s ordination is not about a better understanding of Revelation, but an actual part of Revelation.

            Let’s look instead at what the Church *actually* teaches about the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium:

            “when, even though dispersed throughout the world but preserving for all that amongst themselves and with Peter’s successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely.” Vatican II, Lumen Gentium

            This has been done in the case of women’s ordination. The teaching is infallible.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            You say that the ordinary magisterium is not dependent on the Pope? Please note that Lumen Gentium says precisely the contrary. Furthermore, Vatican II specifically refrained from teaching anything infallibly, so nothing in Vatican II is infallible, and cannot make infallible anything that has not been taught infallibly, per CCC 892. Sorry, but just to keep repeating that something is infallible doesn’t make it so, just as repeating a lie doesn’t make it true.

          • wineinthewater

            “You say that the ordinary magisterium is not dependent on the Pope?”

            No, I didn’t. Throughout this thread you seem to have had many issues responding to what people say. I know that it can be difficult when you are engaged in so many conversations, but it is important.

            I said that the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium is not dependent on the pope saying that something from the ordinary magisterium is infallible. The pope’s role in the ordinary magisterium is as both member and as organ of unity. He is therefore essential, but it is not essential that he explicitly say that something from the ordinary magisterium is infallible in order for it to be infallible. That would eliminate the need for the ordinary magisterium entirely since at that point we are hinging everything on the extraordinary magiestium of the pope instead.

            Vatican II is, in fact, infallible (at least within the realm that Ecumenical Councils can be infallible about). You often hear it said that Vatican II is not dogmatic, since it did not define any new dogma as Ecumenical Councils do. But that is an imprecise and misleading turn of phrase and is not a part of the Council itself.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Vatican II specifically REFRAINED from teaching anything infallibly. NOTHING in the documents of Vatican II is infallible. Sorry, we must be working with different definitions of infallibility. I go by the Vatican I definition as approved by Pope Pius IX. None of the recent MUMBO JUMBO about infallibility is infallible, or dogmatic, or in any way intrinsic to our Catholic faith. See CCC 892.

          • wineinthewater

            “Vatican II specifically REFRAINED from teaching anything infallibly.”

            Vatican II refrained from defining any dogmas, but it still taught infallibly. It is an exercise of the extraordinary magisterium (which that pesky Council Vatican I talks about) and therefore is infallible in matters of faith and morals (CCC 891, Code of Canon Law 749.2). The irony here is that the only way for Vatican II to not define any new dogma is for the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium to already be an infallibly defined dogma.

            Vatican I defines only PAPAL infallibility, not infallibility writ large, so “going with Vatican I” is not a way to negate what is in Vatican II, nor in Canon Law, nor 891 of the CCC:

            891 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful—who confirms his brethren in the faith—he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…. The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in
            the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.” This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

            892, which you keep referencing, is not some statement that the ordinary magisterium is not infallible. In fact, it draws a wider circle about the authority of the ordinary magisterium. Not only is the magisterium infallible in the ways described in 891, even when it is not teaching infallibly we are bound to “adhere with religious assent.”

            And a further irony is that you keep referring to CCC 892 to justify your rejection of the male-only priesthood, when 892 says that you would owe religious assent to the teaching about the male-only priesthood even if it were not infallible.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Relax. Religious assent is not the same as the assent of faith. Read CCC 892 again.

            “Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.”
            https://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM

            Thus, infallibility is a gift of Christ to the Church, and specifically to the Pope, but not to the bishops even when teaching in union with the Pope. So, if Vatican II did not issue any new dogma, and the idea that all the bishops teaching in union with the Pope are infallible had never before been infallibly defined to be a divinely revealed dogma, how can such statement by Vatican II, no matter how authoritative, require the assent of faith?

            Please…

          • wineinthewater

            “Relax. Religious assent is not the same as the assent of faith. Read CCC 892 again.”

            No it isn’t, but you are not exhibiting either. So, it is still ironic that you continue to appeal to the authority of a teaching to support your position while you reject that same teaching by holding your position.

            The quote from Vatican I only says that the pope is infallible. It does not say that the pope’s infallibility is the only infallibility. In fact, Vatican I also reaffirms the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils. Vatican I and II are not in contradiction here. Vatican I defines one mechanism of infallible teaching, Vatican II reaffirms another.

            “So, if Vatican II did not issue any new dogma, and the idea that all the bishops teaching in union with the Pope are infallible had never before been infallibly defined to be a divinely revealed dogma, how can such statement by Vatican II, no matter how authoritative, require the assent of faith?”

            If the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium had never been defined as dogma, then Vatican II would have been defining a new dogma through its language. But, since it is widely accepted that Vatican II defined no new dogmas, the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium must necessarily have already been dogma at the time of Vatican II. Remember, Lumen Gentium is a Dogmatic Constitution. Since this is an issue of faith (of “faith and morals” fame), it falls within the purview of an Ecumenical Council’s infallibility.

            And I’d reiterate, if an issue of such importance to the understanding of the faith as whether or not the ordinary magisterium is infallible were not dogma, why would it be so unequivocally stated in both the Catechism and Canon Law?

          • wineinthewater

            Incidentally, it is interesting to see you say that repetition does not make something true when your own repetition is the only substantiation you offer for your assertion that merely a human being is the proper matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

          • larry

            I agree! In Christ time the pagans had priestesses. Only within the last 50 years has the English been toyed with to remove gender distinctions.

          • Yep, and that’s my objection. Of course, in pagan religions priestesses had significantly different functions than priests. Priests offered sacrifices- sometimes priestesses WERE the sacrifice (some would say, given the value of female fertility to primitive tribes, temple virgins were also quite the sacrifice of investment for a given community or family). In Catholic terms, I think that a group of priestesses, or at least female deaconesses, could be quite valuable in 21st century America in the sacraments of anointing of the sick and confession, especially of female congregants who had experienced soul-destroying male-authority-figure-based sexual abuse.

            I still want the Eucharist reserved for the Priest- as in that moment, he is acting directly as Alter Christus- another Christ. I wouldn’t want the male priesthood to disappear for the *exact same reason* I think female deaconesses, ordained for those two sacraments, might be useful; so too are male priests useful in those two sacraments for men who have been harmed by the feminist revolution, particularly the divorced and the fathers of aborted children, both of whom may have had no say in their condition.

            The rest of the sacraments already have volumes of specific Canon Law on who can do them under what circumstances- and there is no need whatsoever for any of that to change.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I also want the Eucharist to be celebrated by a priest, male or female. The priest must be a baptized human who has been ordained. Te proper “matter” for the sacrament of holy orders is a baptized body-person, male or female. It is time to sanitize our sacramental theology from patriarchal ideology.

          • wineinthewater

            “Te proper “matter” for the sacrament of holy orders is a baptized body-person, male or female.”

            According to what authority. The only authorities that matter to Catholicism have all said that the proper matter is a baptized man.

          • Luis, once again, until you correct your irrational use of language, I cannot come to a conclusion with you on this.

            Christ wasn’t a female. At all. Your extreme lack of historical knowledge and your extreme bigotry and hatred against the patriarchy disgusts me. What woman brainwashed you into acting like this?

          • Stephen Ferry

            Can you provide the Scripture and the Tradition to back up this claim? If the Pope when so far as to say ” I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” then it would seem you not only have to contend with the comboxes but also with a canonized saint.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            We are discussing priests, not pagan priestesses. Perhaps we have something to learn from the Church of England! 🙂

          • wineinthewater

            Yes, then we can have priests who claim to also be druid priests, just like the Anglican Communion does. 😉

          • Luis Gutierrez

            No, then we can have priests who claim to be human, male or female, without presuming that masculinity is more human than femininity.

          • wineinthewater

            Begging the question. You’re conclusion hinges on the validity of the premise that you are trying to prove, that being human is the matter of Holy Orders. But that has not been established by any Catholic authority, just you asserting it.

            Also a straw man. The teaching about a male-only priesthood is not predicated on men being superior or more human than women. To condemn it on this basis is nothing more than a strawman.

            That’s two logical fallacies in one sentence. And unfortunately, that is very common in women’s ordination advocacy.

          • larry

            I wouldn’t think so!T he Church of England is losing members by the droves. The Episcopal church in the US is almost bankrupt and sold off its main headquarters building in NY. Several congregations in Virginia have severed ties and now have African bishops as their head. Two Episcopal churches near me are vacant and for sale.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            This is not about numbers. This is about discerning what Christ wants for the Church, for the glory of God and the good of souls. What’s wrong with a smaller church that is more faithful? No, this is not about numbers, this is about seeking God’s will rather than perpetuating inordinate attachments to patriarchal traditions of human origin and contaminated by original sin (Genesis 3:16).

          • Benedetti

            Some things are just a mystery, such as those who do not understand gender differences.

          • larry

            Because they are not men and Christ appointed 12 men as apostles. It is a simple concept. I am a man and if I cut a pumpkin and pull it over my head it does not make me a pumpkin.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Would Christ, in today’s world, appoint 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel? A human cannot be a pumpkin, but all humans (male and female) share one and the same human nature. This is very clearly explained in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The proper “matter” for the sacrament of Holy Orders is a baptized “body,” male or female. Else, women should not be baptized.

          • larry

            I can’t speak for Christ. He came ONCE for our salvation and his actions and teachings are not relative and to be changed at will based on current crusades and thought.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            He came ONCE for our salvation, but we should not presume that we have already exhausted the deposit of faith. We have a long way to go… 🙂

          • larry

            And I want to be a pumpkin. Can I be?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            You cannot be a pumpkin, but women are as human as you are. Are you suggesting that women are not fully human?

          • wineinthewater

            You are begging the question. The only way for any nun to have a vocation tot he priesthood is if women can be ordained to the priesthood. If women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, then no nun actually has a vocation to the priesthood.

            You cannot use the fact that some women believe they are called to the priesthood as proof that women should be ordained. Personal conviction is not the Catholic standard for Truth, it’s the Protestant standard.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Nuns cannot be ordained to the priesthood because the Church is not willing to mediate their vocation. As soon as the Church is willing, nuns can be ordained to the priesthood. Women would have to go through the same testing as men for ordination. If Christ still doesn’t want women to be priests, none will qualify! 🙂

          • wineinthewater

            You’re missing the point. If women cannot be ordained, then no woman has a vocation to the priesthood.

            The Church’s infallibility has limitations, and her ability to discern the suitability of candidates to the priesthood and validity of their vocations is one that is manifestly fallible.

          • Stephen Ferry

            ” I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” Pope John Paul II.

          • larry

            A circular argument

          • Luis Gutierrez

            What is the circularity?

          • larry

            Your reply went in a circle back to your original contention at the beginning of your posts

          • Benedetti

            Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
            The Holy Father was using the language of infallibility that was used in the Vatican I document that defined the DOGMA of papal infallibility here with the allusion to Luke 22:32. If you find his language here ambiguous or non-definitive for the Church you are hopeless.

          • TerryC

            Nobody. That’s why I leave the judgment up to person God left in the position to make those kinds of judgments, his Vicar on Earth, the Pope. The entire line of Popes from Peter down to Francis have made the decision that woman cannot be ordained.

            Who are you to judge they’re wrong?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I am not judging any person or any teaching. I am simply asking questions to clarify what they mean.

          • 1776Mariner

            And when people “clarify” you accuse them of judging. You are typical of those who argue but do not listen, simply jumping over to another questions since previous answers to your questions don’t bear the results you want. Go away if you are not open to truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He founded his Church to proclaim the Truth. You are obviously not interested.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            When previous answers don’t make sense, it is reasonable to seek further clarification. When the “clarification” that is offered is simply a repetition of the previous answers, no new understanding has been gained.

          • larry

            True. Luis is a baiter and has no interest in truth; just the answers he wants to hear.

          • LM

            I agree but with a caveat, that Christ made the decision and the Popes from Peter to Francis, follow and obey Him.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Christ also said that the Church would do greater things than he had done, and he gave the Church full authority. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1598. The first sentence clearly says that the male-only priesthood is a choice, and the second sentence states who has the authority to make the choice. Note that the patriarchal rationalization offered in # 1577 is not reiterated in the “more essential” # 1598. Christ will call women to the priesthood and the episcopate as soon as the Church allows Him to do so.

          • LM

            “As soon as the Church allows Him to do so”? Christ IS His Church. They are not separate. The Church is Christ’s command and choices, not a separate entity to “allow” Christ to obey Himself, or “allow” Him to change His mind.

            From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

            VI. Who Can Receive This Sacrament?

            1577 – “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination.”66 The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.67 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

            – “The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.” –

            “The Lord chose”. Christ is His Church. He instituted His Church (Himself) on earth with very specific examples for its continuance. Christ conferred His authority on His earthly Church to ordain only men and that is duly recognized.

            Christ is His Church; there is no dichotomy between them.

            1598 – The Church (Christ) confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (Christ’s choice) whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone (which comes from Christ’s choice and example) has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

            Christ IS His Church. There is no dichotomy between them. There is no changing Christ’s choice to ordain only men, through wishful thinking and semantical subjectivity.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            CCC 1577 is a rationalization of a patriarchal tradition. The “more essential” CCC 1598 clearly says that the patriarchal priesthood is a choice (first sentence) that can be changed by apostolic authority (second sentence). This is what it says literally, without any subjective interpretation.

          • LM

            It says nothing, literally, of the sort.

            From whence was apostolic authority derived? From Jesus Christ Himself. The male priesthood was chosen by Christ, Himself.

            1598 “The Church (Christ) confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (Christ’s choice and example) (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority (Christ’s authority) alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

            I have said all that I can say to you on this subject. You have inscribed your own meanings to the CCC which do not exist, and merely continue to come back with the same contortions.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I am not judging that they are wrong. I want to understand why they are right, given that they have said for 2000 years doesn’t make sense to me.

          • LM

            Women were not called by Christ to the priesthood. Christ decided that. He is the judge. Who are you, to work against Christ and judge that He is wrong?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Surely it was prudent 2000 years ago to choose 12 men, in his patriarchal culture, to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. But how do we know what he would do today, if the Church doesn’t give him a chance? Read CCC 1598 carefully. It says that the male-only priesthood is a choice (first sentence) and who has the authority to make that choice (second sentence). Christ decided 2000 years ago, but the Church decides now, because Christ submits to the Church and has given authority to the Church.

          • LM

            Read my response above. Christ decided 2000 years ago, indeed. He is His Church, He, through whom all authority is derived. Christ submits to no one, except His Father when Christ walked the Earth. We submit to Him. There is no rewriting, revising, what He did or said 2000 years ago to force-fit the ‘modernity’ of our culture. Jesus Christ is timeless. Believe Him then, believe Him now, or make your own choice not to.

            You ask how do you know what He would do today. Christ doesn’t change to fit societal expectations in any age. Christ was All; He knew all, saw all and everything to come, now and forever. Had he wanted women as priests today, He would have set that example and chosen them then. Please re-read the CCC, yourself. You inscribe your own meanings into it which do not exist.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Christ is timeless, but the Church is not. The Church is “work on progress.”

          • larry

            Makes no sense. Jesus was not bound by time or human logic therefore he chose 12 male apostles for a reason. He could have chosen Mary Magdalene as an apostle but did not. That cannot be argued. Jesus was not a someone who became an anachronism and now can be second guessed and his teachings and actions revised.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            The 12 apostles symbolize the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus Christ is timeless, but his earthly mission was to the people of Israel, and he had common sense to understand the limitations of his disciples (cf. John 4:27, 16:12). The Church is “work in progress,” not timeless. Jesus himself promised that the Church would do greater things than he had done. Overcoming patriarchy is part of the agenda!

          • Benedetti

            And who are you to judge LM? Anyone can play that game

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Only God can judge, but the patriarchal binary game is over. The proper “matter” for the sacrament of Holy Orders is a baptized person with a human body, male or female. This is the only judgment I offer in the context of this page. Grab a seat, the new game is on!

          • larry

            You may say so in your all knowing wisdom but I have equal say more based on logic and fact and what you say is in error. Trying to ignore maleness does not win a discussion.

      • JohnServorum

        Nothing you wrote is even close to being true.
        You don’t have any authority before God to make up doctrine as you see fit, and when you presume to do so you are separating yourself from Christ.

        • Luis Gutierrez

          No, because Christ is always receptive to honest questions.

          • JohnServorum

            You are not asking valid questions at all. You are denying doctrine and in so doing you are denying Christ. Learn first what the Church teaches and why she teaches it.
            Then you can ask questions that are informed by the truth.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I am not denying any doctrine. I am asking questions trying to understand a doctrine. What is the “matter” of Holy Orders, *human flesh* or only *male human flesh*? According to TOB 8:4, my understanding is that it is human flesh, male or female. Thus, isn’t the proper matter a *baptized person,* male or female?

          • JohnServorum

            Please read “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” the apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II in which he explains and formally defines the Church’s doctrine on Holy Orders.

            http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1994/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_22051994_ordinatio-sacerdotalis.html

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I have studied the letter and related CDF documents, and cannot find the verb “define” anywhere. Sorry, it is not a dogmatic definition, because it doesn’t say it is.

          • JohnServorum

            The teaching of the Church contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is most certainly infallibly defined.
            Questions about the canonical status were answered in a follow up document called,
            “RESPONSUM AD PROPOSITUM DUBIUM CONCERNING THE TEACHING 
            CONTAINED IN ‘ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS’”.

            http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

            This is settled doctrine and as such it will never change.

            Remember what St. Ignatius of Loyola taught, ‘”Sentire cum eccelesia”, “To think with the Church.”

            You on the other hand are thinking in opposition to the Church, which is the very essence of the Protestant heresy.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            The CDF is never infallible, and is not infallible when saying that a Pope was infallible when he didn’t say he was.

            If you read St.Ignatius’ rule 13 for thinking with the Church, please note that he refers to what “the hierarchical Church so defines.” The operative word is “defines.”

            St Ignatius surely knew that not everything the Church teaches requires the assent of faith (CCC 892).

          • JohnServorum

            When the Roman Pontiff teaches a doctrine that is a part of the Deposit of Faith, that doctrine is most assuredly infallible because it is of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
            Your understanding of Church doctrine and the infallibility of Church teachings is seriously flawed.
            You have simply not done your homework and so you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            This is what St. Ignatius wrote in the Spiritual Exercises:

            Rules for Thinking with the Church, XIII

            “If we wish to proceed securely in all things, we must hold fast to the following principle: What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines. For I must be convinced that in Christ our Lord, the bridegroom, and in His spouse the Church, only one Spirit holds sway, which governs and rules for the salvation of souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord who gave the Ten Commandments that our holy Mother Church is ruled and governed.”

            http://spex.ignatianspirituality.com/SpiritualExercises/Puhl#c31-1234

            The operative word is “defines.” In the documents you have mentioned, where is the verb “define” used? See also CCC 892, which clearly says that not all Church teachings require the assent of faith (even though it is published under an apostolic constitution entitled Depositum Fidei). See also CCC 1598, which clearly says that the male-only priesthood is a choice (first sentence), and who has the authority to make the choice (second sentence). A lower level doctrine (CCC 1577) is the current doctrine, but it is clearly a patriarchal rationalization of Canon 1024. There is a hierarchy of doctrines, and not every doctrine about faith and morals is a dogmatic definition of revealed truth.

            Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an order (to the bishops, not to the entire Church) to have a hiatus in further official discussion of the issue. Nothing less, nothing more. I have done some homework about this matter. For your consideration:

            One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic:
            Nuptial Balance in the Priesthood and the Episcopacy
            http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv11n08supp6.html#section9

            The Church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic,” but not necessarily patriarchal.

          • JohnServorum

            With the formal infallible definition of the doctrine of the inadmissibility of women to Holy Orders the Church has now closed all discussion of the subject and moved on, as should you.

            Roma locuta est, causa finita est. Rome has spoken, the case is closed.

            Women will never be admitted to Holy Orders. End of story.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Posting glittering generalities is not conducive to a meaningful dialogue, and it is noted that you are not considering the specific documentary evidence I have shared. Never? Never say never. The door is provisionally closed but not dogmatically locked. In this case, “Roma locuta, causa confusa est.” Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is the beginning, not the end of the story. Read John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. If possible, try to read it through an unbiased lens, without patriarchal bias. No need for feminist bias either. Let’s resume the discussion in the next millennium, hopefully in more pleasant surroundings. Peace be with you!

          • Stephen Ferry

            Can we just accept that the Pope said no and move on?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            If you mean Pope John Paul II, he decreed a *hiatus* in official discussion of the issue by bishops. He did not say “no” as an infallible teaching o faith and morals.

          • Stephen Ferry

            “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” Seems pretty final to me. Let me check the Latin.
            “declaramus Ecclesiam facultatem nullatenus habere ordinationem sacerdotalem mulieribus conferendi, hancque sententiam ab omnibus Ecclesiae fidelibus esse definitive tenendam.” Yup, that is pretty final, unless declaramus has some other meaning and definitive is code for “open for debate.”

            From the OED, “Definitive: done or reached decisively and with authority

            From Collins Latin Dictionary: definitivire: to set within limits

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I am using the same dictionary. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is a “definitive” but FALLIBLE judgment about the infallibility of a doctrine that has never been infallibly defined to be a divinely revealed dogma of the faith. A definitive judgment by a Pope doesn’t automatically make a doctrine infallible, as far as I know. Note that he didn’t say anything about what the Church can or cannot do in the future, as is always the case in dogmatic definitions.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Geez, please don’t be one of those people who needs the pope ex cathedra-ing it up in order for you to listen to him; it is exhausting.

            Theologians can argue all they like. Yet, when the Pope declares something in a document generally considered to have the same weight as the Papal Bulls of yore, then the matter is doctrinally closed. Sure, we can debate all day long about what ifs and could have beens but the Pope has, as he stated himself, draw from Scripture, Tradition, and the constant Magisterium–aka the Deposit of Faith–and come to the conclusion that this has been the constant teaching of the Church and we must definitively accept it.

            In short, the Pope doesn’t need to define anything infallibly because all the infallible sources say infallibly that the Church does not have the authority to make women priests.

            Also: “Note that he didn’t say anything about what the Church can or cannot do in the future, as is always the case in dogmatic definitions.” Seriously? “…he Church has no authority whatsoever” wasn’t a strong enough hint for you?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            It is written in present tense, says nothing about what the Church can or cannot do in the future. This is the “hint”!

          • Stephen Ferry

            When has the Church GAINED authority it previously did not have? When has the Church realized, “Oh, you know, we can just change this outward sign of grace instituted by Christ for the life of the Church whenever we want.” That was specifically condemned at Trent.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            The Church always has the authority, there is no need to GAIN anything. It is a GIFT of Christ, not a reward. About Trent, read the dogmatic definition on the institution of the priesthood. It mentions apostolic succession but DOES NOT mention a masculinity requirement for succession. The complementarity and homogeneity of man and woman coexist in one and the same human nature. The proper “matter” for the sacrament of Holy Orders is a baptized body, not a baptized male. This does not change anything essential, simply clarifies what we already know.

          • Stephen Ferry

            So why does the pope say the Church does not have the authority. If the Church does not have it at present and it did not have it the past, how could it have it in future? You also just changed your position. You argued that, while the Pope said the Church does not have the authority at present, it does not stop the Church from having the authority in future.

            The Council of Trent decided that the Church has no power over the substance of the sacraments, that is to say, over what Christ the Lord, as the sources of Revelation bear witness, determined should be maintained in the sacramental sign. (Conc. Trid., Sess. VII, can. 1, De Sacram, in genere). This same doctrine is echoed by Pope Pius XII in the immensely binding Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis. Since there is nothing, accoring to the scrutiny of Trent and Pius XII, in the entirety of Divine Revelation–that is, from Sacred Scripture and Tradition as John Paul proved–that suggest women priests, no such change can be made to the sacrament.

            Seeing as Scripture and Tradition maintain that the proper matter of Holy Orders is a baptized male, as John Paul points out, then you are wrong.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            I am NOT infallible, so I MAY be wrong… 🙂

            Having admitted my fallibility, I still think that the doctrine about a “baptized male” being the proper “matter” for the sacrament of Holy Orders is amenable to further clarification. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB) may provide a basis for such clarification.

            Based on the TOB, my understanding is that the complementarity and homogeneity of man and woman coexist in one and the same human nature, the same human nature that the Eternal Word assumed for our redemption. If so, it follows that the proper “matter” for the sacrament of Holy Orders is a baptized body, not necessarily a male body. This would be a good point to start this part of the discussion:

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb8.htm

            Are you familiar with the TOB? It is primarily about the sacramentality of marriage, but I think it has implications for all the sacraments, including Holy Orders. Keep in mind that the Christ-Church mystery is described by St Paul using a nuptial analogy, but the analogy does not exhaust the mystery (Ephesians 5:32).

          • Stephen Ferry

            But if what you contend is true and the matter is humanness and not manness, then where is the Scripture to prove it? Christ cannot imperfectly create a Sacrament so how is it that you contend that, for 2000 years, the Church has somehow been ignoring an important aspect of Sacramental theology? Baptism doesn’t develop. You can’t use orange juice to baptize someone. You can’t just declare that the matter of the sacrament is something entirely different without pointing to where Christ establishes the matter.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            He said, “this is my body.” The operative word is “body,” and “body” ontologically precedes sexual differentiation, as John Paul II explains in the Theology of the Body:

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb8.htm

          • Stephen Ferry

            And yet his sex is essential to that body. See Church teaching on transsexualism.

          • larry

            Sounds final to me! End of story, close the book!

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Close what book? The Bible? On the contrary, the challenge is to open the book and pray for more understanding, seeking further clarification of the little we already understand!

          • SaudadePR

            I agree, Luis.

          • larry

            No. Feminists and liberals DEMAND that women be priests! Men in their eyes are worthless and it gauls them that men are priests and women cannot be.

          • Stephen Ferry

            My wife is a feminist and she doesn’t demand to be a priest nor that others do so.

            I think, generally speaking of course, that the motives are less vindictive and it mostly stems from a misguided sense of what the Sacramental life of the Church is for.

          • SaudadePR

            As long as there is no dogma of faith clearly declared against women’s ordination, it’s not the right thing to accept that. Forbidding women to priesthood is a mistake and it’s our duty as catholics to help our Holy Father and our friends the bishops to correct such horrendous mistake, in a fraternal, prayerful and informed manner. Otherwise, were are just fanatics that obey bindly the rules without considering the consecuences.

          • Stephen Ferry

            But there is. It is called Sacramental theology. Nothing, either Scripture or Tradition, point to women’s ordination.

            “Forbidding women to priesthood is a mistake and it’s our duty as catholics to help our Holy Father and our friends the bishops to correct such horrendous mistake…” Christ did not ordain women. That is a simple fact of Scripture. So how is the Church allowed to do what Christ did not establish? Did Christ leave that work undone? That is absurd. That would mean Christ founded the Church imperfectly and therefore made the ship by which he would save mankind as fallible as man himself which is, to be perfectly frank, heresy.

          • larry

            Agree. Luis and his proponents are just following the agenda of the Episcopal church. Look at the time line of the Episcopal church and that is the agenda. Unfortunately for Luis and his followers there is no basis for women’s ordinations which dead ends the progression of their agenda. I know why they work within the church; to bully into submission but would be less effort to join the Episcopal church. They certainly need members after the membership has fallen miserably where the main headquarters in New York has been sold and many congregations have either closed, converted to Catholicism or align themselves with Episcopal African Bishops.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Well, I am not sure he is part of some conspiracy. This is the combox, not real life. Things said here have little bearing on the world outside of it.

          • Korou

            Hmmm. How are mass attendance figures in the Catholic Church? Since you’re doing so much better than the Episcopals, I mean?

            You might be interested to see this story about the priest who invited people to come and talk to him about why they didn’t attend mass any more. The answer he got was that the Catholic Church was interested in nothing except homophobia and bullying people.
            http://ncronline.org/blogs/parish-diary/attempt-answer-question-where-are-young-adults
            This is of course just anecdotal evidence – except that it ties in with the data which shows that Catholics want the Church to change its ways. Not because they’re hedonists seduced by modern life, but because they object to what the Church is saying on moral grounds. It also ties in to the data which shows that mass attendance is falling steadily.

          • larry

            Help? How so? Since when does the Pope invite opinions to make church decisions? The Catholic Church is not run by a vestry who dictates church decisions and doctrine.

          • Korou

            I’m sure that the ordination of women is just one of the many things that the church would love to say “We’ve closed all discussion on that now, and you should just move on.”
            Sadly for the church we don’t live in the middle ages any more. Those of us who are protestants, atheists, Jews, Hindus and others are quite free to keep prodding the church on its various offenses. Even worse for the church, even it’s own flock don’t bother listening to it any more.

          • JohnServorum

            Your use of the phrase “middle ages” is very telling.
            It is commonly used by those who know nothing about Church history at all, a term typically employed by those who have a woefully incomplete and sophomoric understanding of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

            Second, I’m sorry to be so blunt with you but since you are by your own definition outside of the Catholic Church your opinion has no bearing on the doctrine, dogma or discipline of the Church and is therefore irrelevant to the discussion.

            Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and we are beholden to him alone, not to you or the world.

            We have closed all discussion on the ordination of women. It will not happen ever. Period.
            Perhaps you’ve heard it first here so mark my words. End of discussion.

          • Korou

            (a) no need to feel persecuted. “The Middle Ages” is the commonly used term for a period of history.
            (b) No offence taken. Because my opinion isn’t irrelevant to the discussion, which is why we are having it. The Church is quite within its rights to proclaim whatever it wishes to be true, and people outside the Church are quite free to tell the Church it’s talking nonsense.
            People inside the Church are quite free to say that as well, much as it irks the Church. Perhaps you’ve seen the latest surveys? They show that most Catholics simply ignore the Church’s teachings on issues such as contraception, divorce, gay marriage and, yes, women priests.
            (c) Feel free to repeat that you have closed the discussion as much as you like. It won’t make it true.

          • Benedetti

            Sadly, for people who disagree with this obviously infallible pronouncement by Pope John Paul II are marginal Catholics at best.

          • Korou

            “Obviously infallible”? Neither of those words is true.

          • nic

            They just are as much catholic as you. Will they have smaller houses in heaven or will they be confined to some level of hell for those who were not adequately catholic?

          • SaudadePR

            You and others in this forum are exactly the kind of catholic Pope Francis warned us about: those who proclaim to be real catholic because they blindly obey the rules but critizise and condem other catholics who have different points of view.

          • larry

            You speak as universal wizard for the Catholic people which you are not. What survey did you do to determine that Catholics do not listen to the Magisterium anymore and what surveying method did you use? What methodology did use use to analyze your survey data? Challenging an issue closed by the Church shows that you self appoint to the Magisterium. Do you accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church or is that subject to your editing based on your superior knowledge?

          • Korou

            Quite happy to provide you with information. Let’s see…
            There’s this article:
            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/09/catholics-church-contraception-abortion-survey
            “As part of a poll commissioned by the US Spanish-language network Univision, more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries were asked their opinions on the church’s positions on issues such as gay marriage and women’s ordination.
            The survey found (pdf) that, of all the subjects covered, the church’s teaching on contraception was most out of step with the thinking of ordinary Catholics, with 78% of respondents worldwide supporting the use of artificial birth control.
            More than half (58%) disagreed with the church’s stance that
            divorcees who remarry are ineligible for Communion. And 65% of the respondents said abortion should be allowed – 8% in all cases and 57% in some.”
            Download the survey infographic. It’s quite clear – in almost every country on almost every issue, Catholics disagree with the Church.

            Then there’s this: conprehensive data on Catholic trends in the USA and the world. Note the steady decline in just about every category, including attendance?
            http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html

            And then there’s the survey that the Vatican itself sent out. the results are clear: Catholics disagree with the Church’s positions on multiple issues.
            http://cta-usa.org/media-center/16000-u-s-catholics-respond-pope-franciss-call-input-family-issues/

            “Fifty-three percent of survey respondents self-identified as weekly Mass-goers. This is a higher Mass attendance than the overall U.S. Catholic average of thirty-one percent in 2011 (D’Antonio et al., 2013). Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch, one of the organizing groups remarked, “this finding indicates that respondents are deeply engaged Catholics who care about their Church…

            …Analyzed independently by Dr. Peter J. Fagan, M.Div., PhD., from the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, the survey results highlight 7 core issues of concern:
            – Pastoral care urgently needed
            – Pedagogical/evangelism challenges
            – Separated, divorced and remarried Catholics
            – Same-sex marriage
            – Women in the Church
            – Sexual abuse scandals
            – Skepticism and hope”

            I hope this makes it clear. Perhaps you have some other data which shows that the majority of Catholics eschew contraception, disapprove of divorce and want to ban gay marriage, among other things?

          • larry

            First of all, Univision has a bias against the Catholic church and Evangelical Christians as repesented by statements from Jorge Ramos who is an activist. Jorge Ramos is the same man from Univision that attempted to ambush Donald Trump and Trump had him ejected.

            12000 out 1.2 billion Catholics? The survey base makes the survey invalid since is way to small to provide valid results.

          • Korou

            Jorge Ramos sounds like a great guy.
            As for 12, 000 out of 12 billion, do you not realise that the way a poll works is that it takes a small sample and extrapolates results? So long as the 12, 000 were randomly selected Catholics the information is sound. And more than that, it is supported by other studies, as I’ve shown you.
            Can you perhaps find me some polls showing that Catholics agree with the Church’s position on contraceptives, gay marriage, divorce and the non-ordination of women’s priests? Every poll available shows that they don’t.

          • larry

            A survey conducted by a biased organization to a group way less than 1 percent does not warrant a blanket pronouncement that “Catholics reject…”. That is extremely misleading and insulting to Catholics.

          • Korou

            I’m afraid you don’t have much of an understanding of how polls

            work. 12,000 people from countries that represent the majority of Catholics is just fine, so long as they were self-identifying Catholics chosen at random.

            Still, do please feel free to show me a survey proving that the Catholic laity agree with the Church on, say, contraception, divorce and women being allowed to become priests.
            I’m sure that the truth is out there. Although you probably won’t find it in Ireland, where the Catholic population recently voted to make gay marriage legal, in direct opposition to the Vatican.
            Oh. A little searching shows that no, you won’t find “the truth” in Ireland:
            http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/poll-irish-catholics-have-unfavorable-view-church

            And it looks like you won’t find it in America either – see this poll:
            http://cta-usa.org/media-center/16000-u-s-catholics-respond-pope-franciss-call-input-family-issues/
            Goodness me. What a surprise:
            “Analyzed independently by Dr. Peter J. Fagan, M.Div., PhD., from the
            Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, the survey results highlight 7 core issues of concern:
            – Pastoral care urgently needed
            – Pedagogical/evangelism challenges
            – Separated, divorced and remarried Catholics
            – Same-sex marriage
            – Women in the Church
            – Sexual abuse scandals
            – Skepticism and hope”

            Your move.

          • wineinthewater

            In the 4th century, nearly all Catholics held to Arianism, the belief that Jesus was not fully divine. That did not change the fact that Jesus is fully divine, consubstantial with the Father. The Truth is not up for majority vote, or else we would all be Arians today.

          • Korou

            And yet the gospels themselves show that Jesus did know doubt, and did experience pain and fear and temptation. Do you deny this?

          • wineinthewater

            Relevance?

          • Korou

            Before we get to “relevance”, I’d like you to acknowledge that this is true. If you don’t, there’s no point continuing.

          • wineinthewater

            Doubt? Debatable. Fear and pain? True. But that is the nature of the hypostatic union. To be both fully human and fully divine, consubstantial with the Father.

          • BotGregory

            This is resolved by the traditional teaching of Christ possessing two natures.

          • Korou

            ie, something we made up.

          • BotGregory

            If that is true, then why care at all about lady priests?

          • Korou

            Jesus gave you the answer already when he told you the story of the Good Samaritan. I care about women being discriminated against by the Catholic Church for the same reason I care about gays and transgenders, even though I’m none of those things myself.

          • larry

            Korou wants to make up lady priests

          • larry

            The Church does not run on popular vote and polls. The Pope is the final arbitor. Georgetown is no longer a Catholic university and teaches much against the Catholic church. How are secular sources and media as the Guardian and Johns Hopkins considered unbiased?

          • Korou

            Larry. This isn’t something you can argue about; you’ll just make yourself look foolish.
            Let’s just home in on one point: do you accept the fact that the majority of Catholics ignore the Church’s teachings and use contraception?

            And by the way, when you said “Pure speculation and made up by you in your superior land of self importance” you have now been proven wrong. Please can I have an apology for you calling me a liar?

          • Korou

            Oh look, here’s another one:
            http://polls.saintleo.edu/america-catholics-reveal-their-views-on-marriage-and-other-important-social-issues-in-wide-ranging-survey/

            “As Catholic bishops from around the world convene in Rome for a
            special synod (conference) on family and marriage, American Catholics
            favor inclusivity in a number of situations, as responses to a new
            national survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute show.

            Catholics expressed strong support for allowing divorced or remarried
            Catholics to receive the sacrament of Communion (68 to 18 percent). By a
            3-to-1 margin, Catholics say the Church should drop its opposition to
            contraception (66 to 21 percent). A smaller majority supports dropping
            opposition to pre-marital sex and cohabitation (50 to 33 percent). A
            narrow plurality says the Church should recognize same-sex marriages (42
            to 40 percent).”

          • larry

            The Church has every right to make it’s own decisions. It did with Martin Luther, Henry VIII and heretics. That has not changed. It will continue to do so and 1.2 billion Catholics will accept it.

          • SaudadePR

            Then your obedience to the doctrine is blind and mindless. The day in the future a Pope decides to correct this mistake and allow the ordination of women, I would wonder if people like you would left the Church to go somewherelse.

          • BotGregory

            The problem, I think, is that the WO crowd doesn’t see past their pet issue, Saudade.

            Stephan has already pointed this out, but if the indefectibility of the church has been compromised (which is what the WO view says) than it was never the church in the first place. If this is true then it doesn’t matter whether you have priestesses or not. The institution has no sacraments or grace, and is ultimately pointless.

          • larry

            My obedience is to Christ and His successors and yes…is as you snarkily state is “blind and mindless”. I may not agree to all but I do not work within the Church to undermine the Magisterium. As a honest person if I seriously disagreed, I would select another church that agreed with me. Why don’t you switch to Episcopalian. They seem to suit you to a tee.

          • larry

            Agree! Causa finita est!

          • If what the Roman Pontiff teaches is part of the deposit of faith (therefore infallible) then the doctrine that he teaches in infaliblle. Quite a tautology. The question is how do we know that what he teaches belongs to the set of doctrines that are infallible. The fact that he didn’t define a doctrine in Ordination Sacerdotalis casts doubts about the infallibility of the doctrine.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Can you point to an instance in the deposit of Faith when women were ordained to the priesthood?

          • Thanks for the question. Although related, historical and theological statements are different beasts. The historical statement of whether women were ordained to the priesthood is different from the theological statement of whether they can or can’t be ordained.

            I can’t point to instances of ordination of women to the priesthood, and it may be that there are none. Depending on whether metaphysically women can or cannot be ordained the historical record may be taken either as an indication of the underlying true theology or as an indication of the underlying patriarchal system.

            If we go to the first council of Jerusalem, we could imagine one side arguing pro status quo that the tradition and all the scriptures that Jesus followed as a Jew required circumcision, while the other side would argue that this was not an essential part of the deposit of faith, even that requiring it was counter the faith in Jesus. Now, in a similar way on pro status quo side can argue that tradition and all the scriptures require that women are not to be ordained to the priesthood, while the other side can view this as a patriarchal structure that the true deposit of faith doesn’t contain, and that even might be counter it. I have theological and metaphysical reasons to believe that it is possible for women to be ordained (but I can be wrong).

            Now, an infallible declaration would be decisive here, however, it doesn’t seem that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is infallible under several grounds, when one compares it to known infallible statements. This is because the pope used the word judgment, used past tenses, first person, and addresses not all the faithful but the bishops.

            Indeed, Ratzinger himself told that this declaration was not an infallible ex-cathedra declaration but that, in his opinion, the pope taught (fallibly) that something only-male priesthood belongs to the ordinary infallible magisterium.

            So at the end, people that thinks that there are no theological grounds to bar priesthood to women are left only with a declaration that can be interpreted as a judgement that this is not something available at the moment, but that it might change (far) in the future.

          • Bill Guentner

            May I see your Canon Law credentials?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            None, but I can read. Canon 1024 states that only a baptized male can be validly ordained. This is based on a patriarchal understanding of the 12 apostles (CCC 1577). But this is a choice that the Church makes, and the Church has the authority to adapt the choice (CCC 1598) according to the signs of the times.

          • Stephen Ferry

            “Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

            Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

            Yet he wrote to dispel any doubts about what was in the Deposit of Faith. So, since he makes it clear throughout the document that he is taking from existing Magisterium, Scripture, and Tradition, then we must accept this as Ordinary Magisterium. As the Pope says, ” I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Just the fact that there was doubt of the time of publication (22 May 1994) shows that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis cannot possibly be a dogmatic definition.

          • Stephen Ferry

            But it CAN be a doctrinal ruling. The Pope has always had the trump card when theologians get in dispute. So there was a dispute and the Pope declared the Church does not have the authority because neither Scripture nor Tradition can point so the opposite.

            There was significant doubt about dyophisitism when Nicea rolled around but I doubt you are a Nestorian.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            OK, it “can” be a doctrinal ruling and it *may* someday become infallible, but as of now it is not infallible and does not require the assent of faith, even though it requires religious assent (CCC 892). Are we on the same page? 🙂

            Some clarification is offered in CCC 1577 and 1598. The less essential doctrine in 1577 is the argument used in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which is not very persuasive. The “more essential” doctrine in 1598 literally says that the male-only priesthood is a choice (first sentence) and who has the authority to make the choice (second sentence). Are we still on the same page? 🙂

            No, I am not Nestorian, and have no false hopes to see the issue dogmatically resolved during my lifetime, but hope it will be resolved by the end of this millennium.

          • Stephen Ferry

            “Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals.”
            Well, seeing as the Pope specifically says that the Church must “definitively” believe what he said about priests, it is rational to concluded that CCC 892 does not wholly apply here.

            “literally says that the male-only priesthood is a choice…”

            “The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

            My eyes must be going because I can’t see the word choice. It DOES say that the Church alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to Orders. Take that with CCC 1577…

            “The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself”

            …and we have the one authority i.e. the Church that can call people to the priesthood restricting itself to a higher mandate i.e. Scripture.

            Also, how are you determining what is “more” or “less” “essential?” How is that your prerogative?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            There is a hierarchy of truths, and there is a hierarchy of doctrines. This is clearly explained in the catechism, see # 20 and # 234. See also # 25, which we often forget in this kind of discussion.

            If # 892 doesn’t apply to this discussion, then infallibility is off the table as a consideration. Labeling a judgment as “definitive” is not the same a defining a dogma in a “definitive manner,” which would have obviated the need for any subsequent explanations by the CDF.

            The word “choice” is not used in the first sentence of 1598, but it CAN be interpreted that way based on the literal meaning of the text. This can of ambiguity cannot possibly be a definition of a divinely revealed dogma.

            I am sure that St John Paul II issued this letter for the good of the Church, perhaps to buy time for the Church to liberate herself from patriarchal gender ideology. Based on my understanding of the CCC, I am also sure that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis does not contain any dogma of the Catholic faith.

            False certainties can be very harmful when they are forced down people’s throats. We should never forget that “the faith is always the same, yet the source of ever new light’ (Fidei Depositum 2; cf. Matthew 13:52).

            Peace be with you!

          • Stephen Ferry

            It is clearly explained THAT there is a hierarchy of truths, but you have not shown HOW the truths you cited are hierarchically ordered. You merely stated they were. I would like to see some evidence to support the claim that CCC 1577 is less essential than CCC 1598. You must have gotten the idea somewhere. I specifically asked how you made this determination and how it was your prerogative to make that determination.

            I meant that CCC 892 did not apply in the sense that, while it is not infallible, it is definitive as the Pope says.

            Also, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, JP says, “Paul VI directed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to set forth and expound the teaching of the Church on this matter. This was done through the Declaration Inter Insigniores, which the Supreme Pontiff approved and ordered to be published.” The Pope has no ambiguity about whether or not a male priesthood is Catholic doctrine. “As Paul VI later explained: “The real reason is that, in giving the Church her fundamental constitution, her theological anthropology-thereafter always followed by the Church’s Tradition- Christ established things in this way.” So it was clearly in the mind of both JP and Paul VI that this is not just some theory but Church Tradition i.e Sacred Tradition i.e. that stuff you have to believe in because it came from Christ and the Apostles.

            “…perhaps to buy time for the Church to liberate herself from patriarchal gender ideology.” JP was not convinced and neither was his predecessor. “To these fundamental reasons the document adds other theological reasons which illustrate the appropriateness of the divine provision, and it also shows clearly that Christ’s way of acting did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to his time.” Frankly, to say that God did not wholly and completely establish the Sacrament of Orders at the time he did so would be admit that Christ’s work of founding the Church was left unfinished. This is absurd on its face.

            “Based on my understanding of the CCC, I am also sure that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis does not contain any dogma of the Catholic faith.” I trust that JP and Paul VI had a better understanding of the CCC to prove your understanding to be mistaken. Also, an Apostolic Letter is a formal papal teaching document, not used for dogmatic definitions of doctrine, but to give counsel to the Church on points of doctrine that require deeper explanation in the light of particular circumstances or situations in various parts of the world. It is different from an Apostolic Exhortation which is a mere reflection while a Letter is a formal act of teaching with universal jurisdiction. It is used to dispel doubt on topics already discussed i.e. those found in Inter Insigniores, a Papal Declaration by all juridical scrutiny. A Papal Declaration, even if it is one written by another entity and approved by the Pope like Inter Insigniores, carries the formal weight of Church law. What was declared in the Declaration IS and cannot be debated. JP reiterates in an Apostolic Letter, not another Declaration because–this is a fact known to anyone who pays attention to the purpose of the various Papal documents–the matter is doctrinal settled. There is no new definition needed because the Pope is confident from Scripture, Tradition, and the constant Magisterium, that the matter is settled. Finitum.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            See CCC # 22. Note that # 1577 is not one of the BRIEF sections, and note that # 1598 is the corresponding BRIEF section that summarizes what is essential.

            As for the “definitive” judgment of Pope John Paul II given 22 May 1994, it is not a timeless teaching for the Church, because a judgment is not a dogmatic teaching of a divinely revealed truth. Nonfinitum.

          • Stephen Ferry

            “At the end of each thematic unit, a series of brief texts in small italics sums up the essentials of that unit’s teaching in condensed formulae. These “IN BRIEF” summaries may suggest to local catechists brief summary formulae that could be memorized.” This does not support your argument. All it says is that the brief summaries summarize, not reflect the hierarchy of truths. The context of this paragraph is explicitly the practical use of the Catechism, not any theological reality.

            As CCC 90 states, “The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coherence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ.51 “In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith.” So in reality, the Hierarchy of Truths is not which truth is more important than the other Truth, but rather it how the Sacramental Tradition of the Church regarding Holy Orders led John Paul II and Paul VI and every other Magisterial authority who has the power stipulated in CCC 85 to say that the Church does not have the authority to make women priests.

            John Paul II explicitly wrote to dispel the doubts of time about the theological issue of women’s ordination. He explicitly states he was declaring what was the teaching of the Church. He does not need infallibility to declare what is already infallible doctrine by virtue of being part of Sacred Tradition. The Pope does not need to speak infallibly to say that Christ was true God and true man. It is already doctrine. That is explicitly what he saying in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. It is no new teaching. Instead, it is reiterating what John Paul II himself stated and showed has been part of Sacred Tradition and found in Sacred Scripture i.e. Divine Revelation.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            It is not a matter of importance, or a matter of ranking, but it is a matter of proximity to pure revealed truth. Same light, one truth, but different degrees of splendor.

            It seems to me that if the argument of # 1577 were revealed truth, it would have been reiterated in summary form in # 1598. It is not, so it is not “essential” teaching.

            With all due respect for St John Paul II, and also respect for you and the CDF, my basic question remains: Would Jesus, in today’s globalized world, choose 12 males to represent the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel?

            I don’t think so, and certainly don’t believe, with certainty of faith, that he would make the same choice today. No “new teaching” is necessary to ordain women to the priesthood and the episcopate, because we all share one and the same human nature that the Eternal Word assumed at the incarnation. My understanding is that, for the redemption and the sacramental economy, the masculinity of Jesus is as incidental as the color of his eyes. Else, women should not be baptized.

            In this regard, you may want to consider John Paul’s Theology of the Body, which clearly explains that complete male-female homogeneity subsists in male-female difference, even after the original unity of man and woman was corrupted by original sin.

            Who knows, it could be that John Paul closed the door but also provided the door opener… 🙂 … Would this be the first time that a pope speaks with both sides of his mouth, for the good of the Church?

            In BRIEF, my understanding of the current hiatus is that the door is provisionally closed but not dogmatically locked. If your understanding is different, fine with me; let us agree to disagree, pray for each other, OK?

            Peace be with you!

          • Stephen Ferry

            Right, but John Paul II makes it clear that it is a Sacramental reality that Christ chose men for the priesthood. That is the Truth from which stems the Truth that the Church has no authority to chose women.

            Yes, Christ would have. To suggest otherwise is to assume that Christ left anything incomplete in the founding of the Church, that some aspect of the Sacraments were left unrevealed and unfinished.

            We share one human nature, but as Christ said, “He created them male and female.” Salvation is for all human beings. Particular participation in the Sacramental life of the Church with regards to Holy Orders is not necessary for personal salvation unless you wish to throw your lot in with the Mormons.

            Are you saying that it was a mere accident that Christ came as a man? Is it incidental that he calls God our Father? No, obviously not. It was for a purpose, namely to reveal the nature of the Trinity. Again, if you wish to fall in with the Modalists, that is your choice.

            But it is the complementarity of males and females that bar women from the priesthood to begin with. Their inherent difference from man makes them not men and not called to the same things as men. Instead, their vocations would be necessarily and essentially different. The Theology of the Body itself makes this clear.

            “Who knows…” The Pope specifically said he was writing to dispel all doubt. He was specifically speaking so that further discussion wouldn’t arise.

            But there is no hiatus. There is nothing the Pope said that suspends the conversation. There is nothing in Tradition that supports the idea to begin with. Again, where are the Church Fathers, the Scriptures, the constant Magisterium of the Church to support the notions you have? No where, which is what the Pope said so there could be no ambiguity.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            “Are you saying that it was a mere accident that Christ came as a man?” The masculinity of Jesus is part of God accepting all the limitations of the human condition. God assumed human nature in a concrete human being, at a given time, in a given place. For the redemption, and for the sacramental economy, what matters is that God assumed human nature, and the masculinity of Jesus is as incidental as the color of his eyes.

            “Is it incidental that he calls God our Father?” The language Jesus used is limited, as all human languages are limited. God the Father is not exclusively male. Man is made in the image of God, not the other way around. God is Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum. The deposit of faith is inexhaustible, and it is wrong to presume that we have already exhausted all possible understanding.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Ummm, idk, maybe to fulfill the prophesies of God?

            “The scepter will not depart from Judah,
            nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[a]
            until he to whom it belongs[b] shall come
            and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”

            “I see him, but not now;
            I behold him, but not near.
            A star will come out of Jacob;
            a scepter will rise out of Israel.
            He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
            the skulls[a] of[b] all the people of Sheth.”

            “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

            “He will reign on David’s throne
            and over his kingdom,
            establishing and upholding it
            with justice and righteousness
            from that time on and forever.”

            Christ came and came as a man. To say it is an accident is to say that God had no intention of being a man which then implies that there can be some variation in the will of God, which is absurd. Christ became man because he chose to.

            “he deposit of faith is inexhaustible, and it is wrong to presume that we have already exhausted all possible understanding.” False. Divine Revelation is complete. God has revealed all he intended to reveal. Our understanding of that revelation may change but there can be no more revelation. It is finished. It is wrong and even heretical to say so.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            “Christ became man because he chose to.”

            There was no Jesus before the incarnation, and there was no Christ before the incarnation; and what other choice could God have made, given that a woman would not have been allowed to teach in the synagogue? God comes to us where we are…

            “Divine Revelation is complete.”

            Divine revelation is complete, but our understanding of the deposit if faith is NOT yet complete. This is made clear in Fidei Depositum, 2:

            “This catechism will thus contain both the new and the old (cf. Mt. 13:52), because the faith is always the same yet the source of ever new light.”

            The redemption is finished, but the pilgrim Church is “work in progress,” and this is no heresy…

          • Stephen Ferry

            God can make all things happen. He can make a barren woman bear children. He could have come as a woman. He did not. The conventions of man do not dictate to God what is already in his mind to do. It was HIS will that he come as a man in the specific place and at the specific time.

            Your qoute does nothing to help your argument. The faith is always the same. The pope even explains what this means. “To respond to this twofold demand, the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the one hand repeats the old, traditional order already followed by the Catechism of St Pius V, arranging the material in four parts: the Creed, the Sacred Liturgy, with pride of place given to the sacraments, the Christian way of life, explained beginning with the Ten Commandments, and finally, Christian prayer. At the same time, however, the contents are often expressed in a new way in order to respond to the questions of our age.” It is not a change in teaching that is new but the way in which that same teaching is expressed in word.

            The Church, as it was constituted by Christ, cannot change substantive aspects of the Sacramental life of the Church. You can’t baptize with Sprite and you can’t confirm with coconut oil. Christ made the sign of Holy Orders for men and we have to stick to that because the infallible Word of God and the Sacred Tradition of the Church says so.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Read again:

            “This catechism will thus contain both the new and the old (cf. Mt. 13:52), because the faith is always the same yet the source of ever new light.”

            With biblical texts, it is not just what the say literally. It is about the truths they convey, and our understanding of those truths is by no means exhausted.

            Else, what do we need the Magisterium for?

          • Stephen Ferry

            Right, and the Magisterium has constantly taught that the Scripture’s convey the Truth that Christ established perfectly the Sacrament of Holy Orders to be received only by men.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            But the Magisterium has never said, dogmatically, that the patriarchal priesthood is revealed truth. That remains to be clarified, so we are back to step 1. If you are happy with the current degree of understanding, that’s fine. I choose to keep praying for what I hope to see, even if I will never see it happen in this “valley of tears.” 🙂

          • Stephen Ferry

            “But the Magisterium has never said…that the patriarchal priesthood is revealed truth.” Can you point to Magisterium, to Scripture and Tradition, that doesn’t support it? Name one Church Father, one Council, one passage in Scripture that supports it. Unless you can, then the prodigious amount of teaching the Magisterium has produced saying the priesthood is for men–John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Ignatius of Antioch, Thomas Aquinas, various councils, numerous Popes–trumps whatever you may have in mind. That isn’t just me. That is the Magisterium.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            The male-only priesthood was taken for granted as part of the “natural order of things” until rather recently. I have yet to see any ancient analysis that is free from patriarchal bias. Thomas Aquinas was at best ambiguous about the full humanity of women:

            http://www.aquinasonline.com/Questions/women.html

            Trent doesn’t even mention the issue. As far as I know, Inter Insegnores (1976) was the first serious analysis. The Vatican certainly trumps my mind, but not even the Vatican can trump God’s mind. Two thousand years doing something wrong is no justification to keep doing it after it is recognized that it is wrong.

            Did Jesus do something with evil intention? No, of course not. Did he do many things wrong? Absolutely, including choosing Judas Iscariot as one of the 12!

            The Magisterium in no better than Jesus, as the history of the Church makes clear. This is the reason that dogmas of the faith are written with such precision, and always specify past, present, and future. In this case, the lack of precision in current documents is evident if you read what they literally say, and what they fail to say.

            Read the Theology of the Body. Try to read it through an unbiased lens, i.e., free of either patriarchal or any other cultural bias. Much to learn…

          • Stephen Ferry

            Taken for granted? What you call “taken for granted” is the constant teaching of the Church. This is evident from, well, the Church constantly teaching it. If God had truly intended for the priesthood to be free of what you call “patriarchal bias” then would he have handed SOMETHING to the Apostles on the matter? According to everything we know about how Divine Revelation is transmitted, God did not reveal that women can be priests. You have yet to prove from Divine Revelation and have actually scorned instruments of Tradition i.e. the Church Fathers and their “patriarchal bias.”

            Trent mentions infallible that the substance of the Sacrament cannot be changed. Inter Insignores is a Papal Declaration with binding authority requiring the assent of Faith. Furthermore, since the Church, including the Vatican, is guided by the Holy Spirit to infallibly preach only orthodoxy, then there can be no separation between the teaching of the Church and the mind of God. The fact that it has stood for 2000 years is actually AMPLE reasoning to continue doing as there is a solid continuity of Sacramental theology taught by the Magisterium, rooted in the Scriptures, and handed down by Sacred Tradition. The Church bases an essential part of Divine Revelation on the very fact that we having been doing and believing the same thing for 2000 years.

            “Did he do many things wrong? Absolutely…” Ummm, that is actually bona fide heresy. To say that Christ could err period would deny that he was sinless. Seriously, you are twisting around in too many heresies to try and support an unsupported position.

            “The Magisterium in no better than Jesus…” Seeing as the Magisterium is guided by the Holy Spirit, you are correct; it is no better than Jesus. Yet, seeing as Christ could not err based on his sinlessness and his divinity, so also is the Magisterium guided infallibly by sinless divinity.

            “…the lack of precision in current documents is evident…” The Church had little to say on abortion until fairly recently yet no one can argue without the deepest heresy that the Church has been ambiguous about that subject. Women’s ordination only became an issue recently and the Scriptures, Tradition, and the constant teaching of the Church do not point to green lighting women’s ordination the same as they do not point to green lighting abortion.

            “…read it through an unbiased lens…” Based on what you have said so far, you wish for me to read specific teachings of the Church devoid of all their context i.e. Sacred Tradition. If I were to read anything in Scripture or published by the Church and her organs without the context of the “patriarchal” Church Fathers and the rest of Sacred Tradition, then I would prove to be a plain heretic. To suppose that any teaching of the Church can be somehow devoid of the influence of the Fathers, Councils, Scriptures, and constant teaching of the Church is also heresy.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Sorry, but I am overwhelmed by so much infallibility. Suggest we study John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which is not infallible but may be the best we have in matters of human sexuality.

          • Stephen Ferry

            So we are supposed to ignore all of the infallible teaching that doesn’t support your thesis and focus on a narrow and frankly/ironically biased view of a collection of Papal teachings of more or less Magisterial weight so that we all come to your way of thinking?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Nothing has been infallibly defined against the thesis that women should be ordained. None of the documents you have listed contain a dogmatic definition that the male-only priesthood is divine law.

            I am not suggesting that you ignore any previous teaching, even if they are not infallible. I am simply suggesting that you study the Theology of the Body, and otherwise keep an open mind and keep searching.

            If you really believe that we have already exhausted all understanding of revealed truth about this issue, fine with me. Overwhelmed as I am by the avalanche of patriarchal “infallibility” that has been produced in the past, I am not persuaded that further insight is impossible.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Right, because it has always been taught since Christ himself when he instituted the Sacrament to begin with that it was for men. Infallibility is not necessary to say something that was established by God himself.

            Wait…are you trying to say the Scriptures do not have dogmatic weight? That they somehow are incomplete or mistaken? Christ did not make women priests. The infallible Word of God says so.

            Why don’t I just study the Scriptures which have supremacy over all teaching? Let me check….Nope, no women priests in the Scriptures. It doesn’t matter what you think John Paul’s teaching on the body means when you divorce it from all context that make it the least bit authoritative when the Scriptures, the foundation of all Christian teaching and the first principles of the Faith that are super binding and the MOST infallible, say that your notion is not only inconsistent with the teachings of Christ, but flat out wrong.

            “Overwhelmed as I am by the avalanche of patriarchal “infallibility…” You may want to rethink your notions about patriarchal infallibility because, as is plain in the Scriptures, God is our Father and exercises patriarchal infallibility with extreme prejudice.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Not everything the Bible says is revealed truth, and not all revealed truth is explicitly stated in the Bible.

          • Stephen Ferry

            The Catechism says that is wrong.
            102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Of course, but “completely” is not the same as “explicitly.” Where is the dogma of the assumption explicitly revealed?

          • Stephen Ferry

            Everything in Scripture is the Utterance of God and therefore Divine Revelation. A teaching does not need to be explicit but it needs a basis. You have yet to give a Scriptural basis for your theory.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            “Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.” (CCC # 66; see also # 108)

            The Church has never defined (dogmatically, infallibly) that the patriarchal priesthood is revealed truth. The biblical basis offered for the male-only priesthood (CCC # 1577) is so ludicrous that there is a hiatus (mandated by John Paul II in 1994) on further discussion of the issue by bishops. CCC # 1598 makes it clear that it is a choice made by the Church, not by Christ (the first sentence is the choice, the second sentence is who has the authority to make the choice).

            It is the Church’s choice, not Christ’s, to keep ordaining only baptized males. Christ submits to the Church (Matthew 16:19, 18:18; Ephesians 5:21-33) and this is why I think that the Church must reconsider the issue. Patriarchal interpretations of biblical texts are no longer tenable. Of course, this is just my personal opinion; the Church will clarify the issue in due time. Peace!

          • Stephen Ferry

            CCC 67 “Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”

            Therefore, Christ has revealed in the Scriptures that he chose only men for the priesthood. Revelation has been fulfilled. UNLESS, you can give SOME Scriptural account otherwise, as the Pope and Church and God Himself in the ordination of the Apostles have said, then the priesthood is for men alone.

            “Christ submits to the Church…” No, St. Paul expressly says that the Church submits to Christ, not the other way around.

            Your personal opinion is heretical. You may want to get that looked at.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            The Church submits to Christ, and Christ submits to the Church; it goes both ways. Oh well, here is a summary of the reasons for my “heresies” …

            One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic:
            Nuptial Balance in the Priesthood and the Episcopacy
            http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv11n09supp6.html#section9

            The Church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic,” but not necessarily patriarchal. Nothing I write is infallible, so you are free to disagree … 🙂

          • Stephen Ferry

            1. Sacraments are all distinct in their matter, form, and effect. Baptism has the matter of water, the form of Trinitarian baptism, and the effect of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist has the matter of bread and wine, the form of the words of consecration, and the effect of uniting physically with Christ. “… thus the proper matter for the sacrament is “flesh.” False. According to the Church, the matter is the imposition of hands. This has been so since the Apostles as the Scriptures reveal. In no sacrament is the person the matter. Rather, in each sacrament, there is a matter outside the person that symbolizes the interior sanctifying grace. To say the person himself is the matter is not found in sacramental theology, the canons, or the Tradition of the Church. If flesh were the matter, no other rite would be necessary. The form would be sufficient to make a priest. You could theoretically ordain someone by telephone. Since this is manifestly absurd and not keeping with the Apostolic Traditions, it must be rejected as heresy.

            2. “All the sacraments are nuptial…” False, only one is nuptial: Matrimony.

            3. “…that there is no such thing as an infallibly defined dogma that the male-only priesthood is a timeless, divine law.” The male-only priesthood has been the constant teaching or doctrine of the Church as Pope John Paul said. As doctrine, it requires the assent of faith. Not all doctrines need the elevation of dogma to be infallible. Doctrines definitively proposed by the Church require assent of faith, because the infallibility of the Church in matters of faith and morals is itself divinely revealed.

            4. “Jesus Christ, a divine Person, is the one and only Priest of the New Law.” False, this error was condemned by the Council of Trent when it reaffirmed that the Sacrament of Orders is the sharing in Christ’s priesthood.

            5. “For the sacramental economy, rooted in the mysteries of the incarnation and the redemption, the masculinity of the historical Jesus is as incidental as the color of his eyes.” False, Christ could not have intended it otherwise. It would divorce God’s actions from his attributes. Christ willed himself to be a he.

            6. “With regard to Mary of Nazareth, she preceded the sacramental economy by embracing her unique and unrepeatable vocation as Mother of the Redeemer, and she is much more than an ordained priest or bishop.” False, though Mary ranks higher in honor than even the Cherubim, she does not have a rank in the order of Christ’s priesthood. Hence why Mary Magdalene and Olga of Kiev are called equals to the Apostles. Their great contributions to the evangelization of the world give them unique honor, but not a place in the order of priests.

            7. “The bridegroom-bride analogy, beautiful as it is, does not exhaust the Christ-Church mystery.” Seeing as the analogy is found in Scripture, that is all he wrote on the subject. A priest devotes himself to the Church like a husband to his wife. It is firmly established the Church does not believe in same sex marriage.

            8. “The ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate would be in perfect continuity with apostolic tradition.” Seeing as nothing in Apostolic Tradition supports the notion, it cannot be in continuity.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Thanks for taking time to review my notes. Clarifications:

            1. Sure, the rite is the imposition of hands, but what are hands made of, and on what are they imposed? See CCC # 1573

            2. See CCC # 1617 and the Theology of the Body. The entire sacramental economy is nuptial.

            3. There is a difference between religious assent and the assent of faith. See CCC # 891-892.

            4. The dogmatic definition on the institution of the priesthood by the Council of Trent does not mention a masculinity requirement for ordination.

            5. If Jesus had been a woman, she would not have been able to even enter the synagogue, let alone teach!

            6. See CCC # 773. If Mary is more than a bishop, why is it that a woman cannot be a bishop?

            7. The bridegroom-bride analogy is about mutual submission, not about hierarchical raking. See CCC # 1642, TOB # 89

            8. The Church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,” but is it necessarily patriarchal?

            My take is that you found some doctrinal discrepancies that require further clarification, but no dogmatic errors, right? Even dogmas are amenable to clarification due to the limitations of human language. Is “God the Father” exclusively male? God is not made in the image of man, it is the other way around. When discussing the mysteries of our faith, we should be careful about assuming that we have already exhausted all possible understanding. Rigid patriarchal interpretations of texts, until recently taken for granted, are no longer tenable.

          • Stephen Ferry

            1. Well, if we take the Scriptural basis, they are a man’s hands. Scripture trumps catechism.

            2. Theology of the Body is not dogmatic, if we were to go by your own scrutiny. Also, CCC 1617 is analogous to the sacrament of marriage. Thus, only by analogy is Holy Order nuptial. Thus, if the analogy was taken entirely, the priest is in a nuptial relationship with the Church. Again, the Church does not endorse same sex marriage.

            3. Assent of religion is an extension of the assent of Faith. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is dogma. The extension of it is an all-male priesthood. It is not dogma i.e divinely revealed truth, but doctrine i.e. what the Church infallibly teaches those divinely revealed truths mean. Thus, the difference is only in what you are assenting to, either doctrine or dogma, and not the ability to assent or not.

            4. No but in no Council is silence to mean consent. That means that no Council can be said to say something by what is left unsaid.

            5. False. There are several instances where women were told by God to perform roles not traditionally supported in contemporary society. See the Prophetess Deborah, judge of Israel. Thus, God could not be said to have limited himself to cultural norms if he had every intention of disposing of them. In other words, God chose to become man for more than just cultural ease. To say otherwise is actually heresy.

            6. Mary is higher in honor hagiography, but has no place in the Order of Priests. There is nothing in Tradition that says Mary received Orders, therefore we must reject that notion.

            7. Yet, Scripture shows that there was a clear hierarchy between the laity, presbyters, and Apostles. Thus, the Church is hierarchical.

            8. Yes.

            Seeing as doctrinal errors are just as detrimental to the soul as dogmatic ones–see Martin Luther’s treatise on grace–then it doesn’t matter what type of errors I found. Indeed, there were some dogmatic errors. Christ is the Son of God. The Father is revealed through the Son. The distinctions of Father and Son are not accidental because the persons are defined by those titles. Christ could not have remained the Son of God if he was born his daughter on earth. Thus, to say that Christ could have been female would undermine the dogma of Christ as the Son of God. God the Father is the Father, not the Mother, not the Sister, not the Aunt. This is how God has revealed himself be. He is ONLY like a Father. Christ is ONLY like a Son. This is dogma. To question it would be refusing an assent of faith.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            1. Scripture trumps catechism, but does not trump Magisterium. You can prove anything you want with a fundamentalist interpretation of isolated bblical texts. In the Catholic tradition, we adhere to the tripod of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium.

            2. Certainly, the TOB is not dogmatic. NOTHING in the catechism is dogmatic either unless it has been infallibly defined to be so. CCC 1617 is not a dogma, but CCC 1577 is not a dogma either. The sacraments being nuptial refer to the mystery of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32), not to patriarchal analogies. This has nothing to do with same sex marriage.

            3. Read CCC 892 again. Religious assent is related to the assent of faith but does not require the assent of faith, just like chocolate ice cream is related to milk but is not pure milk. I can assent to everything the Church teaches, but only truths infallibly defined to be divinely revealed deserve certainty of faith. The only dogma we have about Holy Orders is the dogmatic definition on the institution of the priesthood by the Council of Trent. It does not mention a masculinity requirement for apostolic succession, so the male-only priesthood is the current doctrine, but not a dogma.

            4. So, what has been left unsaid remains to be said, and what has not been said cannot possibly be believed with certainty of faith.

            5. God comes to us where we are, and taking into account the limitations of our hearts and minds. See John 4:27, 16:12.

            6. Actually, the sacramental order of priests is subsidiary to the order of Mary, which precedes the sacramental economy. Mary received the Holy Spirit for her unique apostolic vocation before the sacrament of Holy Orders was instituted; no need for a merely sacramental ordination by the imposition of human hands. See CCC 773.

            7. Yes, the Church is apostolic (i.e., hierarchical) but the hierarchy is not necessarily patriarchal.

            8. The Church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,” but is it necessarily patriarchal? In other words, is apostolicity identical to patriarchy? Is apostolic succession contingent on masculinity? I don’t believe so, and the question has not been dogmatically answered. Again, it is impossible to believe, with certainty of faith, a dogma that the Church has never defined.

            Sorry, but a patriarchal theology of the Trinity reduces the mystery of God’s inner being to human categories, and is no longer persuasive. God is Love. Each of the three divine Persons is Love. Other analogies, such as Originator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, may be helpful to some extent but do not exhaust the mystery. To suggest that “God the Father” is exclusively male, or that “God the Son” (aka, the “Eternal Word”) was exclusively male before the incarnation, is to reduce the mystery of the Trinity to the limitations of human language and human categories. As the catechism explains very clearly, we are made in the image of God, not the other way around (CCC # 42, 239, 370). I believe, with certainty of faith, that God is a Trinity of divine Persons; but it is not my faith that the Trinity is a patriarchy.

          • Stephen Ferry

            1. False. 85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

            86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”

            This is the same tripod that John Paul II and his predecessors said didn’t support women’s ordination so you don’t have a leg to stand on.

            2. You seem to be basing much of your argument on an unfounded premise i.e that the Church’s teaching is patriarchal theology. If I take it to be in the sense most common, then the premise is prima faciae false and must be expelled from further discussion. I will allow you to explain your premise once. If it is as I suspect prima faciae dismissive, I will no longer recognize any claim based on the premise as it would be a baseless claim.

            3. But doctrine is infallible. Let me break this down. Doctrine is what is taught by the Church. The Church teaches infallibly. Therefore, doctrine is infallible. Dogma are those things that are expressly revealed in the Scriptures. For example, God became Man. That is dogma. That is an essential revealed truth and needs the assent of Faith. From that dogma comes the doctrine of dyophysitism where Christ is both fully man and fully God. You must believe both if you wish to be part of the Catholic Church.

            4. No, what has been said cannot be said to be true if it has not be said to be so. Basically, if the Church does not say it is so, then it is not so. End of story.

            5. God also told Abraham to circumcise himself and leave his homeland. God clearly is not one for kowtowing to human social conventions.

            6. This claim has no basis in Catholic teaching. The Marian privilege was something unique to her. She does not share it. There is no other Theotokos besides the one. She was chosen for that specific purpose and it was a purpose and role no other had filled, has filled, or will fill. There is no sharing in Mary’s motherhood. There is a share in Christ’s priesthood for men.

            7. And that hierarchy is bound by revelation. There is nothing to suggest that female priests is dogma. You don’t get to invent dogma. It has to be something that was divinely revealed in the Scriptures and Tradition while being taught by the Magisterium. You have yet to show me where any of those support such an idea. We have already established it could never be doctrine.

            8. The question has been doctrinally answered which is sufficient to close the discussion.

            Well that is just heresy. It is dogma that God is Three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Any other title is irrelevant when discussing the dogmatic truth. God is the Father. He revealed himself to be the Father. God is the Son. He revealed himself to be the Son. He did not chose Mother and Daughter. He sought to convey a very specific Truth and so revealed himself in the masculine exclusively. This is the mystery of the Trinity and there is no other. Christ refers to the Father as he. The Logos is referred to as he. Not merely by “patriarchal” theologians but by the Word of God itself, the Sacred Scriptures in which there can be no error.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Are you serious? The notion that every doctrine is infallible is ludicrous. We could go around and around on this. It is a visceral issue that cannot be resolved by reasoning alone, but ecclesiastical patriarchy is “man made” (just as all human languages are “man made”) and is not a fruit of the redemption. Let the irreversible cultural evolution continue, and let us pray that the Holy Spirit will enable the Church to distinguish between “man made” doctrines and revealed truths. I am sure the Church will be able to keep what is good (revealed truth) and let go of patriarchal theology. Dominus vobisum! 🙂

          • Stephen Ferry

            If you find that ludicrous, then I am sorry. That is Church teaching.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            No, it is not. Tell me where the Church teaches that every doctrine is infallible. See CCC 891-892. All doctrines are provisional until infallibly defined to be revealed truth.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Doctrines that are taught by the Magisterium are done so infallibly. Regarding doubts about John Paul’s document on the priesthood, the CDF, the office in charge of figuring these things out, said “This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

            The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

            There is no more debate. The matter is closed. When the Church, through one of her organs of Magisterium, produces Ordinary Magisterium, it merely reaches into the Deposit of Faith–which is already infallible dogma–and infallibly teaches. Doctrine is what is taught. Dogma is what is believed. Dogma is what is in the Creed. Doctrine is dyophsitism. You can’t being a monophysite and be Catholic. It is not a dogma that Christ has two natures without one subsuming the other, but that does not make it any less infallible or necessary for salvation.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Ordinatio Sacerdotalis has been carefully analyzed, and is not an infallible definition of a divinely revealed dogma. It is a “definitive” but fallible “judgment” about the infallibility of a doctrine that has never been infallibly defined to be revealed truth. The CDF is never infallible, and the Dubium confirms that there was doubt at the time of publication, so Ordinatio Sacerdotalis cannot possibly be infallible. Sorry, but just pushing these documents down my throat is most unpersuasive. The hiatus in official discussion by the bishops may be good to buy time for the Church, but the issue is not going away. The matter is not closed, and I hope women will be ordained to the priesthood and the episcopate before the end of this millennium… 🙂

          • Stephen Ferry

            No, it was Ordinary Magisterium which is required for the faithful to accept via intellect and will if they want to profess the Catholic Faith. This organ, a subset of Extraoridnary Magisterium, doesn’t define anything new but merely teaches what is already defined infallibly.

            By that line of reasoning, then Papal Infallibility must not have been infallible because people had doubts about that too. Misunderstanding doctrine is not the fault of the doctrine, as St. Augustine says, but the fault of the person who misunderstands. The Dubium resolves questions as to the organ of the Magisterium that was used and how the faithful are to respond. If you are suggesting that the CDF erred in their assessment of the Magisterial authority of an Apostolic Letter–a document similar to a papal bull from days of yore–then I am afraid that discussion is too ludicrous to even be heard.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            It is ludicrous, but entertaining. It doesn’t make sense to keep insisting that either the ordinary magisterium or the extraordinary magisterium has taught infallibly that the male-only priesthood is divine law, since neither the ordinary nor extraordinary magisterium has given such a dogmatic definition. The latest dogmatic definition we have about the sacrament of Holy Orders is the dogmatic definition on the institution of the priesthood by the Council if Trent under Pope Pius IV, 1563 AD. It does not mention a masculinity requirement, so this minor detail remains to be clarified. Do you think another dogmatic definition will be required? I think that any pope can do it at any time, simply by invoking the power of the keys given to Peter.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Oh my….Let me break it down again. There doesn’t need to be a solemn definition of dogma as John Paul points out. This is because the dogma we have is that Christ ordained men. Thus, from the very Scriptures themselves, we have no reason to believe that Christ intended anything different. Neither from Tradition has there been an instance of an ordained woman. Thus, since BOTH instruments of Divine Revelation are silent on women priests, John Paul rightly said that the Church has no authority to pronounce anything that is not already dogma. That is not how dogma works. It doesn’t come out of think air. It has to be a divinely revealed truth. That means it HAS to come from the two sources of Divine Revelation, Scripture and Tradition. Since NOTHING in Divine Revelation says we can, the Church cannot ordain women. End of story.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            There are no dogmas in the Bible. Only the Church can define dogmas, which may or may not be explicitly stated in the Bible. CCC 1598 is a clear indication that the male-only priesthood is not a dogma. In fact, it is a choice that the Church makes. Read it carefully. The first sentence says that it is a choice. The second sentence says that the Church cannot make the choice without the approval of the Pope. The choice Jesus made 2000 years ago, in the context of his temporal mission to the people of Israel, is not a dogma. Christ gave the Church full authority to make the choice at each point in time until he returns. For this reason, I think that Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive of female priestly vocations. CCC 1577 is a rationalization to keep doing it. CCC 1598 tacitly admits that apostolic authority can change the choice at any time. There is NOTHING in divine revelation that says the Church cannot do it, so the Church can do it. This is just another chapter in the story, not the final chapter.

          • Stephen Ferry

            “A dogma is an article of faith revealed by God. God reveals through the organs of Divine Revelation. The Scriptures are nothing but dogma. The Church can define dogma, but only insofar as they are contained in Divine Revelation.

            “The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized.” Actually, it doesn’t say it is a choice. It says that the suitability of men is recognized. It then says that the Church alone has the authority to call men to the priesthood. No one can claim it by right. CCC 1577 explains what the recognition of men consists of. “The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself.” Hence, men have been duly recognized to be suitable. Women have not and cannot.

            “There is NOTHING in divine revelation that says the Church cannot do it, so the Church can do it.” Wrong. There is nothing in Divine Revelation that says the Church cannot baptize dead people like the Mormons. But the Church doesn’t do it because it wasn’t told it could. What you are doing here is adding to the Scriptures what is not there.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Not everything is the Bible is dogma, and not every dogma is explicitly stated in the Bible (eg, the Assumption of the BVM). Read CCC 1598 again. The word “choice” is not used, but it says it is the Church’s choice. Read CCC 1577 again. It is a patriarchal rationalization of Canon 1024. This discussion is not about baptizing dead people. It is about ordaining baptized women while they are alive. If they can be baptized, they can be ordained; why not?

          • SaudadePR

            With the restoration of women’s ordination, as it was in the first centuries of our Church.

          • SaudadePR

            And the CDF confirmed that it was not a dogmatic definition, that the Pope did not spoke ex cathedra.

          • I agree

          • larry

            Agree. Luis is a professional baiter. His 7th layer arguments are not worth the time.

          • Luis Gutierrez

            Simply repeating 1st layer arguments is not persuasive either.

          • larry

            Luis is a self appointed ‘theologian”. He and his like minded fail to realize that the Church is not a democracy where members get to lobby and bully their political crusades. They are not forthright and work behind the scenes to create problems but just this edge of exposing themselves as heretics and being excommunicated. In essence they act as a “cat among the pigeons’. In modern terms they are “trolling inposters posing as Catholic”.

          • Korou

            Have you yet realised that people like this in fact represent most Catholics, and that it is in fact you who are in the minority?
            Oh yes, truth isn’t decided by a vote; and the Catholic Church isn’t a democracy. And, apparently the Vatican doesn’t care in the slightest what its people think.

            Can you at least admit that most Catholics do agree with Luis and me, and not you? Come on, man – have some integrity!

          • SaudadePR

            Exactly. That is why I’ll recommend you to visit http://www.womenpriests.org. Take your time and read carefully – if you really want to learn the truth.

          • larry

            The truth from a group of women who were excommunicated by the Pope? That is where I would “get my truth”? That is a bizarre statement.

          • SaudadePR

            The Roman Women Catholic Priests, the group you’re talking about, are not the creators of the website. It was developed in Great Britain by a group of catholics that have studied profoundly this topic. Please read the site first before talking about it.

          • larry

            Actually I am referring to the women in the US who were “ordained”. They are excommunicated. And I have read what they say and it is a self-declaration. Using the same logic, I could out put on a black dress and black veil and declare that I am a nun. That does not make me one. First of all, I am the wrong sex and second of all, I would have to be blessed by a valid bishop.

          • Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson

            To be fair, the Danube seven were ordained by a valid bishop who chose to remain anonymous rather than risk excommunication. Then one of the seven was made a bishop to continue the apostolic succession. Each priest is therefore made a priest in the normal way, by a bishop who was commissioned.

          • kathyschiffer

            The “anonymous” bishop excommunicated himself by defying canon law. And since the Church has ruled definitively that women CANNOT be priests, there was not proper matter and form and the attempted ordinations are invalid.

          • larry

            When did Christ tell you that?

          • Luis Gutierrez

            During his public ministry. 🙂

        • larry

          Luis is trolling this site so I wouldn’t feed him. He has no interest in truth; only battling those he disagrees with and looking for any support for his positions. He is deliberately obtuse until someone agrees with his faulty arguments.

          • Korou

            You do realise that most Catholics around the world agree with him, don’t you?

          • Bill Guentner

            When will you and others like you learn that the Catholic is NOT operated by the votes of her constituents? The Catholic Church is not a democratic institution, ow even a representative one. Get with it.

          • Korou

            Oh yes, I quite understand that the Vatican – and it’s supporters on Catholic Patheos – don’t care what actual Catholics think. But larry was insulting Bill, saying that he was just a crazy guy on his own looking for trouble, and the truth is that he’s not. The truth is that he represents Catholics more than you do.

          • larry

            And where are your stats for that? Pure speculation and made up by you in your superior land of self importance

          • Korou

            Oh, you poor thing. Do you mean to say you’re actually under the impression that your fellow Catholics agree with you and the Church?
            If so, let me enlighten you. Catholics around the world think that the Church is talking nonsense about contraception, which they use freely and without guilt; they think that people should be allowed to divorce and remarry; and they think that women should be allowed to be priests.
            Stats? If you like. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/09/catholics-church-contraception-abortion-survey
            Before you dismiss this as a “left wing rag” please note that the Guardian did not commission this survey, just report on it.

            You can try to find statistics which show Catholics agreeing with the Church – and it’s true, less developed countries do tend to agree more with the Church, but even they don’t do so absolutely, with large minorities disagreeing with the Church line.
            But North America? Europe? South America? Catholics in these continents basically just ignore Church teachings.

          • kathyschiffer

            So what, Korou? The Catholic Church is not a democracy, and Catholic teaching is not up for vote.

          • Korou

            Let’s take things one step at a time.
            When it comes to contraception, divorce and the ordination of women the Catholic laity is firmly set against the Catholic Church. This is not open to dispute; it’s a fact.

            So what? So I think I’d like an apology from larry for calling me a liar.

          • Korou

            And by the way, while it’s technically true that Catholic teaching is not “up for a vote” I think the Vatican’s refusal to listen to its supporters shows staggering arrogance and contempt for them.

          • larry

            So if I have supporters that do not agree that stopping at red lights and stop signs is wrong, then the authority who made this ruling is comtemptible?

          • Korou

            If a majority of people *who are supporting you and on your side* tell you that you are seriously wrong about something, it might not be a bad idea to ask them what their reasons are. In the case of the Church, whose ideas are wrong in just about every area, it would certainly be a good idea. Unfortunately, the Church is handicapped by its decision to never, ever admit to being wrong about anything.

            How do I feel about this? Well, on the one hand, the Catholic Church’s policies are very bad for its people. I have sympathy for them and wish these policies would change.
            On the other hand, however, this is one example of how the Catholic Church is working as hard as it can to increase its reputation for being ridiculous, irrelevant and/or cold-hearted. So there is at least that silver lining.

          • Stephen Ferry

            Well, the Catholic Church’s policies, if they follow the teachings of Divine Revelation, cannot be harmful to its people. Seeing as the Catholic Church cannot have policies contrary to the will and guidance of the Holy Spirit in regards to Faith and Morals, which include the ordination of women.

          • PalaceGuard

            There’s “staggering arrogance and contempt” in play, but it’s not coming from the Vatican.

          • Korou

            Yes. It really is.

      • larry

        An entire order of Anglican nuns converted to Catholicism rather than have female “priests” use their convent.

    • Korou

      I thought you didn’t argue with people.

    • The39%Majority

      Good point

    • Luis Gutierrez

      No, but women can be priests.

    • Luis Gutierrez

      No, but nuns can be ordained to be priests. There is no biological obstacle, and there is no theological obstacle either. The only obstacle is ideological, i.e., patriarchal gender ideology.

    • Ethel Wiess

      Why are all the priests Gay?

      • Leo White

        Why are you begging the question?

    • SaudadePR

      Yes they can. They are called monks.

    • Andre B

      Can monks say mass?

  • Critical_Analyser

    OK, let’s not get our collective knickers in a bunch, people. Am I a vegetarian if I only eat meat on day’s ending in a “y”? For all you folks who won’t be happy until Pope Francis dons only a pair of white leather chaps and cowboy boots to lead the next SF homosexual “pride” parade, don’t hold your breath. Say, I hear there is a nice non-denominational church down the road you might feel is more to your liking. Go give it a try, OK?

    • larry

      Too funny! I can see Pope Francis doing that though.

  • niknac

    I go to a woman priest mass. There is no difference. Due to unresolved issues, I experience fear and loathing of male priests, so it’s good for me.

    • Phil Steinacker

      I am sorry to read of the pain you carry regarding priests. However, there IS a difference – a HUGE difference. You are not receiving the Sacred Body & Precious Blood of Our Lord. For Sacraments to be confected properly, there must be proper form and proper matter.

      I am supposing the faux ordinations of these false priests may have proper form, assuming they correctly copied all the required actions and verbiage used by the Church. but proper matter requires that men be ordained. Failure to provide either proper matter or form renders the sacrament of Holy Orders NOT a sacrament. And, of course, you can forget the Eucharist because it cannot be an authentic priest attempting to confect that sacrament.

      • nic

        But a wafer blessed by a priest who has raped a child is the body and blood? Oh, yes, because it is done with the correct forms.

        • LM

          That is NOT what Phil said or inferred. If that ever would be the case as you described, that is an offense of its own against God, and does not justify women who pretend they are priests, or any other offenses against the Lord.

        • JohnServorum

          You’re reasoning is entirely flawed.

          A priest who has sinned, as terrible as that sin may be, does not lose his priestly faculties because of his sin. Please study the history of ex opere operato. This was settled doctrine very early in the history of the Church.

          On the other hand the Church has never, does not now, and never will ordain women in the sacrament of Holy Orders. This is simply a fact of the Church.

          When you attend a service conducted by women claiming to be priests, that service is not a Mass and the bread and wine do not become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

          If you believe any differently you are simply deluding yourself.

          • nic

            No need to study lengthy justifications for something as nonsensical as the idea that a rapist has priestly functions. All that long-winded trash is sophistry generated over time by a collection of corrupted men.

          • JohnServorum

            You don’t speak the truth because you have no interest in the truth since the truth is not in you.
            Is that short enough and simple enough for you? I hope so.

          • nic

            Who died and made you arbiter of truth? JPII?
            You are deluding yourself when you believe that a mass of gibberish is truth just because it was written in latin by a collection of catholic scholars trying to prove that the accreted traditions and habits of the church are in fact the truth and the whole of the truth, somehow mandated by jesus. Male priesthood, infallibility, the curia, all just human constructs and all disconnected from Jesus.

          • JohnServorum

            Wrong, wrong, wrong, but for Protestants like you the truth is a distant and unclear concept that you cannot grasp.
            The only “human constructs” here are your own flawed and unschooled opinions that are irrelevant to truth and to Church doctrine.
            You lose here. Doctrine never changes. Accept it or don’t, either way the Church moves on toward an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Sorry you won’t be there.

          • nic

            The entire structure of the church is a human construction. Bishops, cardinals, the pope, none of these existed at the beginning of the church, they developed over time. You can shout wrong all you want, but the whole thing is as much a human construction as the palaces in which the curia dwell.
            It strikes me as peculiar that you have been conned into believing that you must be schooled in the doctrines of the church to understand truth. The whole idea is, in itself, hilarious. Or maybe blasphemous.

          • JohnServorum

            You Protestants are completely clueless and utterly separated from Christ.

          • Sue Korlan

            Jesus made Peter the first Pope, and that was before the beginning of the Church at Pentecost. Jesus also chose the Apostles, who were the first bishops. Cardinals developed over time to aid the Pope in running the Church.

          • BotGregory

            What if I told you that the woman priest sect has virtually no connection to Jesus, and is really just a gaggle of hippies trapped in their own self-styled alternate reality where the 70s never ended.

        • TerryC

          I’m sorry you have obviously been hurt someone. I would ask that you at least limit what you obviously feel is justifiable anger to the individual who actually hurt you, rather than attempt to malign a whole organizations, the overwhelming majority of whom had no contribution to your pain.

          • nic

            Classic! This is just a clever way to dismiss an opinion with which you disagree–it’s just some poor injured person lashing out, so sad for them. But no, I’m not one of the victims of predatory priests and the hierarchy that protects them. If you can show where I maligned the whole organization, I would like to see it.

        • If a math teacher rapes a child (100x more likely than a priest raping a child), and the math teacher goes on to teach that 2 + 2 = 4, are you saying that 2 + 2 no longer equals 4 because the math teacher raped a child?

          I don’t see your logic.

          • nic

            A teacher teaching math is not claiming to be performing a supernatural function, nor it mathematics purported to be an expression of god on earth. Are you taking the position that a priest is merely performing a mechanical act? In that case, women can do the job as well as men and there is no justification for the church’s claim that only men can be priests.

          • Okay, you miss the point. Truth is truth. My point is that a person’s individual sins don’t affect the nature of the truth they teach. A pedophile math teacher can still teach 2 + 2 = 4. A pedophile priest can still validly confect the sacraments.

          • larry

            Excellent logic!

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Are you saying women can’t teach math?

          • What? No, not at all. Why would you think that?

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Just trying to follow the logic here. A man can teach that 2+2=4, regardless of his personal ethics, yes? And a woman teaching math would also teach that 2+2=4.

            A man called by God to the priesthood presides over the Eucharist, and the Eucharist is holy no matter what stain is on his soul. A woman called by God to the priesthood presides over the Eucharist, and she is condemned and the rite is deemed invalid.

            I simply don’t follow the logic here.

          • A woman cannot be called the priesthood any more than a man can be called to conceive and bear a child. Both are ontological impossibilities. Priests are ordained by God, and math teachers are not, which is why the latter can be both male and female, but only the former can be male. Priests represent the Bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            God calls women to the priesthood, and I’m not going to be the one to tell Him off. But knock yourself out.

            And you really want to talk “ontological impossibilities” after the whole virgin birth thing? Ontologically impossible things are God’s specialty!

          • No, He has not, according to the Church (which is the only entity Jesus has given permission to teach in His name). By what authority do you make your assertion?

          • lizzysimplymagic

            I’m not sure what you mean by “authority” in this context. I’m not a religious leader (but neither are you, obviously). My assertion is based on witnessing the Holy Spirit at work in the world, including in the lives of female priests and the communities they serve. Is the authority of God to be understood as limited only to Church institutions?

          • Authority is limited to those to whom Jesus entrusted it. If you read the Bible, he clearly entrusted that authority to Peter, as the first pope, and stated that he would build his church upon him (that is, on him & his successors).
            I find it odd that you think women are only capable as being filled with the Holy Spirit and serving the church if they think they are priests. I have known many dynamic and spirit field women in the church, both religious sisters and laypeople, Who did not have delusions regarding the priesthood and yet still made, and make, enormous contributions to the life and faith of the church.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            “I find it odd that you think women are only capable as being filled with the Holy Spirit and serving the church if they think they are priests.”

            I find it odd that you think I said that. Did you confuse me with someone else? I have no interest in limiting women’s roles based on gender – I’m arguing quite the opposite. I also find it odd that you seem to base your judgement regarding which people are called by God and which are delusional primarily on what genitalia they have. In your worldview it is simply impossible that God could call a woman to the priesthood. In mine, nothing is beyond God’s power. If He can will a virgin to become pregnant, why can’t He will a female to be a priest? Who are we to tell Him no?

          • God has already told us no. That’s why he gave us the church, so there would be no question on these kinds of things. The church teaches, as part of the ordinary magisterium, that the church does not have the ability to ordain women. That is God speaking through the church.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            And so God is mute without the church?

          • In what respect?

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Can God ONLY speak through the church, or is God free to speak through anybody?

          • Again, in what respect? In terms of teaching doctrine, through prayer, or what?

          • lizzysimplymagic

            In any respect – this is God we’re talking about. Can God do anything without the permission of the church?

          • The Church serves God, not the other way around. But God will not contradict Himself either. He has promised the Church spiritual protection from teaching error as doctrine. So, if someone claims God has told them to do something in opposition to the protected teaching of the Magesterium, either that person is wrong, or God is wrong. (Hint: it is always the former and not the latter.)

          • lizzysimplymagic

            So God is incapable of contradicting the Magesterium, a body of human beings? I guess I’ll never make a good Catholic, then. The God I worship doesn’t have such limitations. He doesn’t have to stick to ontological realities, or only call the powerful into service. Authority impervious to reform is tyranny.

            Have you actually spoken to, or been to a service conducted by a woman priest? I have. I assure you, God is there. He does not flee the scene at the sight of clerics with vaginas. I feel blessed to have witnessed the Spirit working through these women. As you say, God hasn’t contradicted Himself, people have contradicted God. We just disagree about which people.

          • Yes, isn’t it amazing that God has given spiritual protection to his Church so that She is protected from teaching error as doctrine in matters of faith and morals? It is a great gift.
            You’re actually resorting to Mormon theology here – they use that exact same argument (“this feels like it is from God, therefore it is”) to justify their teachings. But emotions are a not a good method for determining theological truth.
            BTW, I am going camping this weekend so I will no longer reply. If you want continue this discussion at a later time, though, you can email me at jrwahlund (at) gmail dot com.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Have a great trip!

          • Korou

            I can’t say I see your logic. 2 + 2 = 4 whether it’s Hitler telling you that or Saint Francis. What nic is saying is that God would not bless the host consecrated by an unrepentant sinner.
            And what you’re saying is, who cares if a priest rapes kids? He’s still a priest!

          • Actually, no, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s a horrible tragedy and a gross injustice whenever a child is abused, especially by a priest. My point is that the sinfulness of the individual person does not affect the truths that they teach. In the context of the sacraments, God is more powerful than sin. That is why a sinful priest is still able to confect a valid sacrament.

          • Korou

            And my point is that it’s not about the truth. Yes, if a maths teacher taught that 2 + 2 = 4 it would be true, whether they were a convicted child molester or not. But do you think that such a person would be allowed to teach maths in the first place?

            A priest blessing the host is not imparting knowledge, he is representing God. Remember, we’re not talking about a penitent sinner, but about a brazen sex offender. But you think that he would be fine by God, right? An atheist, a married man, a woman – none of these people would receive God’s approval, but you think He doesn’t care if a priest has raped kids – or at least, not enough to stop him from representing Him.

            Is what you said.

          • Whether or not a priest or math teacher should be “allowed” to fulfill their function is really irrelevant to the question at hand, though. That is a separate issue. The fact is that 2+2 does not stop being 4 if the math teacher teaching that fact has committed pedophilia. Sacraments do not stop being valid if the priest confecting them has committed pedophilia. The latter is a protection *for the faithful,* so that our accessibility to the sacraments isn’t taken away if the priest has committed mortal sin.

          • Korou

            Okay. You think God is fine with child abusers representing him. Fine by me.

          • It’s not an issue of if God is fine with it or not. The point is that the priest’s sinfulness does not affect the validity of the sacraments. The sacraments are independent of the priest, they are not a reflection of that individual priest’s holiness or state of sin, just like the truth of maths is independent of a math teacher’s state of sin.

          • Korou

            Nic was saying that God is apparently happy to have a child-abusing priest represent him, and you’re agreeing with him.
            And I’m not disagreeing with you either, by the way. The difference is that I don’t think much of God as the Catholic Church represents Him, so I’m not surprised that He wouldn’t object to child-raping priests. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that you don’t either.
            You say you do, but your arguments show that you don’t; you’re happy with child-abusing priests representing God.
            As to your argument – you’re conflating two different things. Yes, a maths teacher can teach correctly whether they’re an evil person or not, but the priest isn’t communicating independently verifiable knowledge – he’s representing Jesus Christ. One would presume that a good God would not want to be represented by an evil person. But you think otherwise.
            As I said, fine by me.

          • You’re absolutely right, I’m sure God does not want sinful priests to remain in their positions.. But if they do, for whatever reason, he isn’t going to punish the faithful for it by taking away the priest’s ability to confect valid sacraments.

          • Korou

            A very Catholic answer. The priest is to be protected at all costs.

          • Um, no. Try actually reading what I wrote. Guilty priests should be penalized with all appropriate canonical, civil, and criminal penalties.

            Are you under the misconception that being able to confect the sacraments is some sort of earned honor, or reward? Maybe that’s why you’re not getting this concept.

          • Korou

            I read what you wrote, but I wonder if you did.
            If guilty priests should be penalized with all appropriate canonical, civil, and criminal penalties, then they how could they then be in a church, being in contact with parishioners? They ought to be in excommunicated, defrocked and in prison.

            You also said:
            “Sacraments do not stop being valid if the priest confecting them has
            committed pedophilia. The latter is a protection *for the faithful,* so that our accessibility to the sacraments isn’t taken away if the priest has committed mortal sin.”
            So, do you think that the faithful would be happy about this? If they knew that their priest had raped children, was unrepentant for it, and that the Church had seen fit to continue to allow him to be a priest?

            “Are you under the misconception that being able to confect the sacraments is some sort of earned honor, or reward?”
            Am I wrong in thinking that being able to confect the sacraments indicates that the person in question is regarded as being worthy to serve the church?

          • Quite obviously, if a priest has been laicized or jailed, he wouldn’t be in a parish setting. How is that relevant to the question at hand?
            You’re also uninformed about Catholic theology. A priest is a priest forever, regardless of his personal sins, or even if he leaves the priesthood (voluntarily or otherwise). He may not be allowed to perform priestly duties, or he may refuse to do so, but he is still a priest.
            But again, I don’t think you are quite getting what I’m saying here. Of course priests should be punished to the fullest extent of the law (canonical, civil, and criminal) if they commit crimes. And it would be wrong for Church officials to knowingly allow a priest to serve a parish if they know that priest has committed crimes against children. But that is still irrelevant to the question as to if a sinful priest can confect valid sacraments. He can.

          • Korou

            Okay. That’s fine by me.
            God approves of child rapists representing him. That’s what you said. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I was hoping you might be.

          • No, that’s not what I said. I don’t understand how you’re getting that from my comments. God does not approve of sin. But He’s not going to punish the faithful by preventing their access to the sacraments if a priest does sin and no one knows about it.

          • Korou

            I’m getting it because that’s what you’re saying. Although you don’t seem to see it.
            Let me put it like this. When the people put the bread and wine in their mouths it, crudely speaking, turns into Jesus Christ (how it does this is a long discussion for another time!) It’s a miracle. Does the priest do it? No. It is God who is transubstatiating. He is working a miracle through the priest. Why a priest? Because he approves of the priest. People are called to be priests, they feel an urge, they feel God tapping them on the shoulder and saying “Come and work in my Church”. With me so far?

            Would God call an actively gay person to be a priest? An atheist? A Jew? No, because these people are not living life as God meant it to be lived. All still agreeing, I hope?

            Therefore, priests are approved of by God. They are doing his work in the world.

            Now, how do you think the congregation would feel if they found out that the Church knew that their priest, who was placing the bread and wine in their mouths and blessing them, was an unrepentant child rapist? Do you think they would feel grateful that God allowed the priest to continue serving them?

            You are saying, whether you mean to or not, that they would not mind, and that God doesn’t mind either. You can deny this all you want, but it’s the logical outcome of your arguments.

            Which, as I say, is fine by me.

          • “You are saying, whether you mean to or not, that they would not mind, and that God doesn’t mind either. You can deny this all you want, but it’s the logical outcome of your arguments.”
            No. This is completely wrong. Absolutely God would “mind,” and the congregation could and should “mind” IF THEY KNOW ABOUT IT – which, sadly, sometimes they don’t. But even after they find out, at least they don’t have to worry that all the marriages, baptisms, and Eucharistic celebrations the priest performed were invalid.
            You’re interpreting God allowing sinful priests to confect sacraments with approval of their sin, and that is simply not true. The ability of a priest to confect sacraments is not some magical power that only manifests of certain conditions of purity and goodness, subject to God’s approval, are met. It is a characteristic that remains regardless of the priest’s personal actions after ordination.
            Let’s go back to the math teacher analogy. Say it’s discovered that the math teacher at the local school is actually a serial killer, and for years he has been chopping up people into bits and throwing them in the ocean. The community is properly horrified, and he’s arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed. In prison, he starts teaching the other inmates how to do math, because his ability to teach bath is completely separate from his moral failings. Being a serial killer didn’t take away or affect his ability to teach math. His personal moral failings mean he was a danger to his community and needed to be removed, but before the discovery of his crimes, his students were still able to learn math from him.
            Do you see? God has allowed it to be this way so that the faithful will still receive lifegiving, lifesaving sacraments even if the priest is secretly a reprobate. (And if the priest’s crimes become public knowledge, *absolutely* he should be subject to all canonical, civil, and criminal penalties – and removed from ministry if the situation calls for it.)
            Being able to confect sacraments is not a magical reward for *priests* – it’s a gift from God the faithful, and he doesn’t limit that gift by requiring His priests to be sinless at all times – impossible for human beings. (Although He does require them to do their best obey all of His laws, including the ones about not harming children.)
            BTW, I am going camping this weekend so I won’t reply anymore. But if you want to continue the conversation after I return, you can email me – jrwahlund (at) gmail dot com.

          • Korou

            I see exactly what you’re saying, and have done throughout this entire conversation. It’s you who’s missing the point.
            I’m not saying that a priest isn’t acting on behalf of God when he gives the sacraments, even though he is an unrepentant sinner of the most horrible sort. I’m saying that it’s wrong of God to let him act on his behalf. Which, I would have thought, is obvious to anyone.
            You’re saying that, although he is an unrepentant sinner, God will not stop him from performing his clerical duties. There will be no thunder from heaven, no miraculous denunciation, no message from God saying “Don’t listen to this man, he is not worthy of serving me.”

            And I’m saying, okay, that’s fine by me. I didn’t expect much of the Catholic God anyway.

            I shall not be emailing you, thanks for the offer. I prefer to keep Disqus and personal emails separate. Have a good trip.

        • larry

          Give that argument a rest. Nothing invalidates the priest’s ability to create through Christ the consecrated bread. If known, he can be barred from saying Mass.

          • nic

            Or, if known, he can be quietly transferred to another church and he and the bishop protecting him retain their magic abilities. Really, such nonsense.

          • Korou

            Dangerous nonsense, though!

      • larry

        I agree. I can play priest but I am committing grave sacrilege.

  • Alfredo Ortiz

    The way I’ve seen it explained is that, metaphysically, the priest stands in the place of the Lord when celebrating the Sacraments. Jesus was a male, so only a male can stand in his place. Along a parallel vein, from the beginning the Church has been referred to as the Bride, with the Lord as the Bridegroom: the faithful that are collectively treated as female and the stand-in for the Groom is a male.

    • nic

      Jesus was also jewish, so shouldn’t all priests have to be jewish?

      • Sue Korlan

        According to St. Paul in Romans, Christians are the true Jews.

      • Militia Run

        @20R:disqus are you willfully ignorant or genuinely ignorant? After reading comments like this my guess is willful.

        • nic

          Please explain how I showed any ignorance? The argument implicitly being made is that Jesus was male, therefore only males may be priests. Why does the same reasoning not apply to other aspects of Jesus?

          • LM

            Jesus founded Christianity; those who follow Him are Christians. Some Jews of His time converted to Christianity, along with Gentiles who also followed Him. Some Jews did not believe Him to be the Messiah and Judaism today doesn’t believe their King has come yet.

      • larry

        No. That argument was settled by Peter and Paul in that Christians do not have to convert to Judaism. The early Church celebrated in synagogues with the Jews until the Jews felt theeatened.

      • wineinthewater

        This is a canard. Jewishness is not something intrinsic to a human person. Gender is.

        Incidentally, I think this is one of the less effective arguments for the male-only priesthood. I like this one:

        The sacraments are a gift from God, instituted by Jesus. Through them, we can have absolute confidence in the graces they convey, that is their nature and purpose and that too is a gift. We cannot change the nature of the Sacraments without endangering our confidence in the graces they confer. Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders using only men. He had shown to be amply willing to smash the gender norms and expectations of the time, and he had women available – many of them objectively better candidates – yet he chose only men. If we were to choose women now, we would eliminate our confidence in the graces conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Orders. And since one of those graces is the ability to confect the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we would also eliminate our confidence in the graces of the Sacrament.

        The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian worship. To undermine it by screwing around with the Sacraments themselves is to attack the center the Catholic spiritual life.

        • nic

          Genetic make up is intrinsic to the person. Jesus was a descendant of David as much as he was male.

          • wineinthewater

            True, and if Jesus had only picked men who were genetic descendants of David to ordain then your point might be relevant. And it is not just that Jesus was male, it’s also that he only selected men.

          • nic

            But they were genetically descendants of Abraham.

          • wineinthewater

            It’s a fair assumption, but we do not know that. We do know that they were all men. We do know that given very viable (perhaps more viable even) female candidates, He only chose men.

          • nic

            He chose Peter when there were other viable candidates. He chose Judas and that guy has serious issues. We don’t know why he chose whom he chose. We do know that he did not state that women could not be priests. The gospels are slim volumes, and the church has filled in blanks based on the application, or misapplication, of logic. It is hubris to claim that decisions made by humans are infallible dogma as though handed down by god himself.

          • wineinthewater

            “It is hubris to claim that decisions made by humans are infallible dogma as though handed down by god himself.”

            So your problem is with the Church’s very mechanism of discerning God’s Truth. Your problem is with Jesus who gave the power to loose and bind to the apostles as a group and Peter specifically. Because that is what the power to loose and bind is, to authoritatively determine right belief, even when done by human beings.

          • nic

            Whatever power jesus gave to the apostles, it wasn’t passed along to the human creation that grew up afterwards. The dogma of the catholic church did not exist 2000 years ago, the infallibility of the church was not dogma until long after peter died, the sacraments, vestments, creed, etc, all developed over the years.

          • wineinthewater

            “Whatever power jesus gave to the apostles, it wasn’t passed along to the human creation that grew up afterwards”

            That’s illogical. The time immediately after Jesus’ life is the time when it would be least needed. Why would it not be passed on. Keep in mind also that scripture depicts it being passed on, both through the calling of an apostle to replace Judas and through Paul’s discourse about the bishop. Further, texts from the period immediately after the Apostles in the late first and early 2nd c. reveal that the Christians at the time believed that it had been passed on.

            “the infallibility of the church was not dogma until long after peter died, the sacraments, vestments, creed, etc, all developed over the years.”

            The concepts developed, but were not created later. The church’s authority to definitively establish belief (which is all infallibility is) is described in Acts. We see the essential sacraments described in the New Testament: baptizing, anointing the sick, forgiving sins, ordination, marriage, confirmation, the Eucharist. Vestments are inconsequential. The creed has it’s roots in scripture. The understanding of those beliefs developed over time for sure, but the beliefs themselves go back to the apostolic age.

            And you are pivoting, abandoning your original argument in favor of new attacks against catholic belief. It’s not a good rhetorical sign.

          • nic

            I am not pivoting. The gospels are slim volumes, and the church has filled in blanks based on the application, or misapplication, of logic. It is hubris to claim that decisions made by humans are infallible dogma as though handed down by god himself.
            The church you worship is a human construct, some of it a result of good faith attempts by people to do god’s work, some of it a result of powerful men seeking to keep and enhance their power.
            You misread first sentence to apply only to the first years after jesus died. The catholic church is a human creation. The leadership of it are about as far removed from Christ as the priests and Pharisees of his time.

  • Roberta Deering Meehan

    I would like someone to define MALE — as per Canon 1024. I have asked bishops, priests, and all sorts of other folks. No one seems to be able to do that. Not even biologists — and I am a retired biology professor. If the Church wants to define MALE theologically (which the Church has never done — despite a few feeble philosophical attempts), the Church is first going to have to define MALE biologically — and even us biologists can’t do that. We can define characteristics on the MALE end of a continuum but that is not the same as defining MALE.

    • jrb16915

      Hope this clears things up. From Webster’s Dictionary:

      1 a : a male person : a man or a boyb : an individual that produces small usually motile gametes (as spermatozoa or spermatozoids) which fertilize the eggs of a female

      University professors playing semantics game seems harmless in the short run but really leads to a lot of problems down the road. Please just stop.

      • JohnServorum

        Well said. The Church has every right to ignore this confused secular nonsense.

        • Roberta Deering Meehan

          Why? Also, it is not confused and it is not secular. The church uses the term.

          • JohnServorum

            You say you are a biologist. Fine.
            My undergrad degree is in Biology Pre-Med and I have practiced medicine for more than 30 years. I am not confused by the definition of either male or female and neither is the Church.
            I would advise you to look those terms up in your Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. They’re very simply and clearly defined.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            Couldn’t remember my Tabor’s password so I went to other medical dictionaries. I do not find anything that is simply and clearly defined. Many “general characteristics often found” lists but no absolutes.

          • JohnServorum

            It’s Taber’s not Tabor’s. Are you sure you’re a biologist?

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            Very much so, John. Two doctoral programs in biology — plus one in ministry — 17 biology books, 2 non-biology books, 40+ years as a biology teacher, 14 years on the editorial board of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (and almost as long as a columnist for their Journal).

            What else do you want to know? Well, maybe you’d like to know that my computer over-rides my spelling sometimes. Ever happen to you???

          • JohnServorum

            My point is that there is a simple straightforward agreement on the biological definition of make and female and all these arguments are irrelevant to the non-ordination of women to Holy Orders.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            What is that definition, then? If it’s so simple, let’s hear it!

      • Roberta Deering Meehan

        Then according to your definition, a man who does not produce sperm (and such men certainly exist) are not male and could not be ordained, which isn’t true. I am not playing semantic games. It is a very real question and I think it is not unreasonable to ask the church to define its terms.

        • Rob B.

          Tell me, Ms. Meehan, exactly when did science start to reject basic common sense principles like “male” and “female?”

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            I am not certain why you call these “basic common sense principles” but the general shift away from older definitions has been developing over time — especially with the identification of different chromosomes and the observances between the similarities and differences in chromosomal activity with the different species — humans included.

        • jrb16915

          Its a phony game of semantics. You can go into any kindergarten class and the vast majority of children can identify who are men and who are women. Its only after receiving a PHD in obtuseness that one loses this skill.

          • Rob B.

            I don’t think it’s even a “loss of skill.” It sounds more like willful ignorance of basic ideas to promote an ideology.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            Not at all. I am just trying to hone in on a definition. I would like to hear (read) an official church definition of MALE. Why is that asking too much?

          • Rob B.

            Because you are being deliberately obtuse by even asking for an “official Church definition.” You are asking the question simply to dispute said definition.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            No “said definition” exists. Find it and quote it (and cite it) and I’ll verify it and back off. Until then….

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            My PhD is not in obtusiveness. I don’t think I am obtusive at all.

          • larry

            So true! You cannot debate with a radical feminist either. What they demand shall be and shall be truth or you shall be dispensed with and your house burned down.

        • Eunuchs have been denied the priesthood in the past, it was a rather controversial subject at several early councils.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            Being a eunuch does not constitute the only reason why someone does not produce sperm. So, what you are saying is that anyone who does not produce sperm is not a male and cannot be ordained — even if their semen is completely normal other than lacking sperm.

          • Why don’t you go and study the councils for yourself? It’s not exactly hidden information.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            I have and that is not the problem here. The contention was that to be male one had to produce sperm. You mentioned eunuchs and some early councils. I agreed with you but stated that being a eunuch is not the only reason a man might not produce sperm. If sperm production is an essential criterion, then any man who does not produce sperm — for whatever reason — is automatically barred from the priesthood. And he doesn’t have to be a eunuch.

    • TerryC

      You claim to be a biologist, yet don’t seem to grasp that in humans a male is a person whose has a single X chromosome and a single Y chromosome. Some males have been known to have a double Y.
      Maleness itself is not a theological question it is a biological question and in humans it depends on the sex chromosomes. It’s a genetics question and it is well understood by all biologist, except for those having an political agenda.

      • Roberta Deering Meehan

        Males do not necessarily have a single X chromosome and a single Y chromosome. The number of people who do not fit the pattern is staggering. The conservative estimate is 0.5%. The more accurate estimate is probably about 2%. So,one in 50 people does not fit the classic chromosome pattern for sex determination. Probably close to 2% of all priests would not pass a strict XY chromosomal test.

        You are correct that some males have XYY. That is Jacob’s Syndrome — a syndrome with an unfortunate history. Some males are XXY (which is Klinefelter’s Syndrome. That one caused quite a stir with the Olympics in the 70s and 80s. The Olympic Committee decided to stop using chromosomal analysis as a determining factor in whether or not someone was eligible to participate in a certain sport. There are also XX males and XY females. That is generally caused by genetic action and interaction. And so forth.

        I just want the church to give me a definition of male. If Canon 1024 — one of the shortest canons around — is going to say only a baptized male can be ordained, then I think the church should give a definition of male. What is wrong with that?

    • A male person is an organism of the species homo sapiens with XY chromosomes in their DNA.

      • Roberta Deering Meehan

        That is usually — but not always — true. There are XX males and XY females. Oh, and chromosomes are not IN DNA. Chromosomes are composed of DNA.

        • I meant “DNA” in the sense that a DNA test would yield those chromosomal results.

          And there may be XX females with male genitalia (or vice versa), but they are still biologically female (or vice versa).

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            How is anyone to know? There have been XX males ordained in the RCC. That is documented

          • Documented by whom?

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            I have actually corresponded with one such person — in the UK. LUIS GUTIERREZ, I know you are following this thread. Please verify that you too have been in communication with this person — per your old Canon 1024 list — and that you know the veracity of what I am saying. (Use your PhD, if you must, even though it is not in biology!)

          • I’m assuming the DNA test was not performed until after his ordination?

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            DNA testing is not a requirement for ordination. In this particular case, the person became ill some years after ordination and was hospitalized. That is when the sexual confusion was discovered. I do not wish to break anonymity here. The RCC admits that there was no evidence of deliberate deception on anyone’s part.

          • 1776Mariner

            So what is your point Roberta? We are a church made up of humans and mistakes are made. So what? You don’t change policy because of this. Especially it does not justify ordaining women, which is what this thread has been discussing. So again, your point?

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            Aside from what we know now about the biology of male and female, I will restate a couple of points.

            1. Jesus never ordained anyone.
            2. Jesus called both men and women to be disciples.
            3. The word apostle is mentioned only in one gospel.
            4. There is plenty of evidence that during the early centuries of the church, men and women presided equally at Eucharist
            5. Men and women shared equally in church leadership positions — including what eventually became the ordained positions of deacon, priest, and bishop.
            6. The diaconate ordination ritual was identical for men and women (and that rite is extant in the original).
            7. The Pontifical Biblical Commission declared in 1976 that there was no scriptural reason why women could not be ordained.
            8. Women have been ordained with the church’s blessing. Not just those whose chromosomal configuration would make them actually women — and there are a fair number of them — but also women like Ludmilla (the Czech woman) and her compatriots who were ordained with the Pope’s blessing so that the Church in the Czech Republic would not die out. Ludmilla is still living.

            My point is that based on the teachings of Jesus and the history of the church, it doesn’t make one d**n bit of difference whether the priest is a man or a woman, a male or a female. The priest is there to proclaim the Good News of the gospel and to work for love, peace, and justice for the people of God. And all are equal. Jesus make no distinctions. Genesis 1:27. Galatians 3:28.

          • larry

            Give me a break. I assume you believe in Pope Joan too. If some human with XX genes were ordained it would have been invalid. And how in the world would anyone have known unless the XX person had her genes tested? Ridiculous.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            I do not believe in the Pope Joan story. But, I do believe you need to learn a bit more biology. And throw in a genetics course or two.

          • larry

            Per your sneak comment to me I took both genetics and biology. The real attributes of being male are not arguable. You argue in nonsequitors, so useless to continue me wasting time.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            I didn’t realize I was making a “sneak” comment to you — whatever that might be. I do, however, suggest that if you did actually take genetics and biology, you either took only the most rudimentary course or your teacher didn’t do a very good job. The real attributes of being male are indeed arguable and are based on a variety of parameters. I further suggest you learn how to spell NON SEQUITUR before trying to use it in an intelligent conversation.

          • larry

            In debating logic this is what is called an anecdotal fallacy ( an isolated example instead of sound reasoning or compelling evidence.)

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            I have plenty of sound reasoning and compelling evidence. I didn’t realize you wanted me to write out a complete lecture.

        • 1776Mariner

          “That is usually — but not always — true.” Hmmm… this sounds awfully like “that depends on what the meaning of the word is is.” (Bill Clinton in case you have forgotten.)

          Quit splitting hairs, Roberta, and take the definitions of normal males and normal females at face value of their normative state. The XX and males and XY females are extremely rare defects and aberrations of the natural order and therefore are exceptions to the norm.

          You don’t make policies for the general population based on defects that may exist an infinitesimally small amount of the time. It is bad in business, it is bad in science, it is bad in government, it is bad in the church, which obviously Our Lord and Savior knew (He was all knowing, ya’ know;) so He ordained ONLY MEN.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            But 2% is not a small number. What are you going to do about those who have chromosomal anomalies and who have already been ordained? Remember, chromosome and DNA checks are not done in seminary.

            AND, Jesus did not ordain anyone — regardless of sex or gender. Go read your bible — and a bit of early church history.

          • larry

            More semantics. Christ appointed Peter as head of the Church. He was “annointed” or ordained. He then passed his leadership onto the next male apostle (ordination). Nor of the subsequent leaders ordained or appointed a female nor did Christ give instructions to do so.

          • Roberta Deering Meehan

            You need a couple of good courses in Church history.

    • larry

      Male has a penis and testicles and DNA is XY. No one can change the XY genes. One can mutilate oneself but it does not change the gender.

      • Roberta Deering Meehan

        Perhaps you will learn some biology some day. Those are generalities but not absolutes.

  • Luis Gutierrez

    See the Theology of the Body, specifically 8:1 and 8:4. There is complete somatic homogeneity between man and woman, with perfect unity (regardless of the obvious differences) in one and the same human nature. Therefore, the proper matter for the sacrament of holy orders is a baptized person, male or female. It is WRONG to push Canon 1024 and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis down people’s throats as a matter of faith. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is a fallible judgment about the infallibility of a doctrine that has never been infallibly defined to be revealed truth. The current hiatus about discussing this issue will not stand the test of time. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will be liberate the Church from patriarchal gender ideology.

    • LM

      The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune nature of God. It is sacrilege and great hubris to ask the Spirit to work against itself.

      • Luis Gutierrez

        Why is my comment a sacrilege? Why is my comment hubris? Please explain.

        • TerryC

          You set your wishes and statements against the magisterial teaching of the Church, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It take a bit a hubris to think that they know better than God.

          • cy

            TerryC and LM: It’s even more of a sacrilege and takes an incredible amount of hubris to set your wishes and statements directly against the holy scripture:

            “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

            There is some hubris for you–thinking you know more than the bible.

          • larry

            Many modern Catholics DO believe that they know better than God. They say they are Catholics but fight God and teachings of the Church. The early church had many heretics and it appears that we have many today.

        • larry

          One reason is that Jesus said that if you lead one astray you might as well tie a millstone around your neck and throw yourself into the sea.

    • JohnServorum

      Your personal opinion about Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is objectively wrong.
      The Church responded to questions about the canonical status of this apostolic letter in a follow up statement entitled –

      “RESPONSUM AD PROPOSITUM DUBIUM CONCERNING THE TEACHING 
      CONTAINED IN ‘ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS’”.

      It can be found here –
      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

      Ordinatio Sacerdotalis formally defines an infallible teaching of the Church that is part of the Deposit of Faith.

      It will never change. Period.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    The mortal sin that was, and now is not… Michael Hoffman Talks About Usury – https://youtu.be/jT0grvk16NI

  • Korou

    “Why Won’t the Catholic Church “Get With the Times” and Ordain Women Priests?”

    Because it is afraid of ever admitting it was wrong, about anything.

    • LM

      Christ founded the Catholic Church and Christ is never wrong. There is no separation of Christ and His Church; they are One and the same. Those who do not understand and continue to deny this, of course keep arguing about Christ’s actions, as if they know better than God, which is a sin of defiance against Him.

      • Korou

        So the Church was not wrong to torture and burn heretics? Start wars? Forcibly convert people of other religions? Kidnap Jewish children and raise them as Catholics? Hide child abuse within its ranks and protect the abusers?

        These are all things the Catholic Church has done. Since you say the Church is never wrong, presumably you think they were right to do these things?

        • LM

          My words: “Christ founded the Catholic Church and Christ is never wrong.” Christ, is never wrong. Christ is His Church, the perfect way He created it to be, but Evil always tries to find a way to corrupt the human beings within Christ’s Body.

          Jesus Christ did not torture and burn heretics. Jesus Christ did not start wars. Jesus Christ did not forcibly convert people of other religions or kidnap Jewish children and raise them as Catholics or hide child abuse within its ranks and protect the abusers. Christ did not send His apostles out to spread His Gospel to wreak havoc on mankind. Evil in men did these things. Christ welcomed all to Him who wished to follow Him, but He is not responsible for evil and fanatics who are corrupt. Those who do evil have departed from Christ’s Church by their free will, so they who commit atrocities within the Body of Christ (His Church) have sinned egregiously against Christ and their fellow man.

          • Korou

            Fair enough, LM, I might have misread your comment.

            Although I should point out that you rather weakened your case by also saying:
            “There is no separation of Christ and His Church; they are One and the same.”

            However, isn’t the larger point that you’re saying that Christ created the Church and so whatever the Church says is right? And so if it says it will not ordain women then it must be right not to do so?

            If you’re not saying that, I’m not sure I see what your point is.

          • LM

            The Church cannot ordain women by virtue of the fact that Christ chose men as his apostles, and gave the keys of the kingdom to St. Peter, thus, St. Peter all the way down to St. Francis, is the Apostolic succession, of men, as Christ decreed. And these men were priests first, long before they became Pope; Christ established the Holy Priesthood. Had Christ decided women were also to be priests, He would have decreed that His mother, Mary, Mary Magdalene, His great friends, Martha and Mary, and any number of good, righteous women of the time, could have been priests. He did not do so.

        • Sue Korlan

          The Church did not burn heretics. The civil authorities did so in cases of heresy because such persons were considered threats to the common good of the state. The most serious canonical penalty was extended imprisonment, usually in a monastery somewhere.

          • Korou

            Accepting this as true for the moment, the Church was apparently happy to cooperate in their doing so.

    • And the Church has never taught error when it comes to doctrine regarding faith and morals. 🙂

      • Korou

        You mean it’s never admitted it was in error.:)

        • No, that isn’t what I mean. It can be proven that the Church has never taught error as doctrine regarding faith and morals.

          • Korou

            Considering the many mistakes the Catholic Church has made with regards to morals I find that very hard to believe. Perhaps you’re using narrower definitions of the words than me?

          • What error has the Church (the pope, in conjunction with the Magesterium) taught regarding faith and morals?

          • Korou

            I’d rather not have too narrow a focus. I notice that you’ve now stated your question in three ways, each in a more detailed manner than the last. I’ll be happy to answer the first, in which you stated:
            “And the Church has never taught error when it comes to doctrine regarding faith and morals.”

            With that in mind, perhaps you’d like to cast your eye over this brief summary of some of the Catholic Church’s most noticeable errors:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2013/08/moral-relativism-in-the-catholic-church/

            Excerpt:
            “In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the bull Dum diversas, followed by Romanus Pontifex in 1455. Both these documents authorized King Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens (i.e., Muslims) and pagans, as well as all other “enemies of Christ” wherever they could be found, and to “reduce their persons into perpetual slavery”. As one writer put it, these documents “usher[ed] in the West African slave trade“…

            So, the Catholic church once taught that it was morally acceptable to
            enslave people for being non-Christians, take their land, and consign
            them to lifelong servitude. Does it still teach this?

            In 1864, Pope Pius IX issued the Syllabus of Errors,
            a list of propositions condemned as falsehoods by the church. Among the statements which were listed as errors include the following:

            Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.
            The Church has not the power of using force, nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect.
            In the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers [i.e., civil and religious], the civil law prevails.
            The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.
            In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion
            should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of
            all other forms of worship.

            If all these statements are errors, this document must be urging the contrary conclusions: that the church should not be separated from the state, that it should have the right of using force, that Catholicism should be the only legally permitted religion and that all other beliefs should be forbidden and suppressed by law. Does the church still teach any of these things?”

          • Re: slavery, what you feel to distinguish is that there are two types of slavery, chattel slavery and slavery more akin to indentured servitude. The church has always condemned the former but has said that the latter may sometimes be permitted, but that the rights of indentured servant must always be protected. Read here for more: http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/let-my-people-go-the-catholic-church-and-slavery.html
            Will reply to your next charge in a separate comment.

          • Re: the Syllabus of Errors, please see the following: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-syllabus-the-controversy-and-the-context
            Anything else?

          • Korou

            Thank you for those articles, they make interesting reading.

            While the article on slavery makes a good case for defending the Church it does nothing to address the point I made. It talks about “acceptable” slavery (indentured criminals and prisoners of war, who still had human rights) and “chattel slavery” (the type we are more familiar with). This, however, shows that the Church was in the wrong when it issued the Bulls of the 15th century. Their content is quite clear: they are not giving the right to place prisoners of war and criminals into indentured servitude. They are giving Christians the licence to enslave whichever people they wish and are able to, as long as they are not Christians. This is clearly a morally wrong thing, authorised by the Church.
            In addition, when the writer defends slavery in the Bible as “giving slaves human rights” – well, perhaps he ought to go and read some of the verses in the Bible which describe the horrific ways in which slaveowners are permitted to punish their property. Slavery as described in the Bible may not have descended to the depths of abuse that were seen in the USA, but it certainly wasn’t the way the author is trying to whitewash it as.

            On the Syllabus of Errors. Again, the writer does a good job in defending the Catholic Church. But if you’re saying that the Catholic Church has never made any moral errors, you’re going to have to clear a high standard!
            Yes, maybe the Church did have reason to fear the new societies emerging in the nineteenth century. But that does not mean that what it was teaching in the Syllabus was right.
            Just because it’s wrong to infringe on the religious freedoms, that doesn’t mean it would be right to give the Church power in the State. Or are you saying that it would be morally correct for the Catholic Church to have the power to make other religions illegal if it wished?
            In the same way, would you say that the Church should have the power to use force – in the nineteenth century or now?
            Are you saying that, then or now, it would be moral to outlaw all religions other than Catholicism?
            These are things that the Syllabus of Errors taught. Are you saying that they were morally correct at the time, or would be morally correct now?

          • Here is your mistake. The Church has never taught error as doctrine regarding faith and morals. That is not the same as individuals within the Church committing moral errors. Do you see the difference?

          • Going to copy/paste from the Catholic.com article, because I don’t think you read this part.

            ” Read It in Context

            That last proposition would be greeted with hilarity and satire in the Syllabus’ era. Even condemning the separation of church and state seems archaic to us. But again, we must understand the context of the statements and how such separation was defined at the time in Europe. In many countries, such as Bismarck’s Prussia, it meant that the Church was absolutely subservient to the state and must be divorced entirely from civil life. What was being condemned was how those ideas were used to attack the Church.

            We must also consider the question of historical context. The propositions concerning church and state were intended to defend the laws of Spain, which established the rights of the Church. The pope was defending Spain’s right to do so. Though it strikes us as not in keeping with an espousal of religious liberty, to the Church it meant that Spain was entitled to maintain its Catholic identity.

            The condemned propositions applied to specific circumstances in Europe at that time. Most of the propositions had been taken almost directly from earlier papal documents. Only by referring to the original context can we make sense of the Syllabus.

            For example, that 80th proposition that Europe found so funny at the time was derived from the Lamdudum Cernimus of 1861. Its universal condemnation of “progress, liberalism, and modern civilization” directly cited the argument made by the Piedmontese government when it unilaterally closed monasteries and Church schools.

            That was the definitive explanation given to the Syllabus in a popular pamphlet written by the bishop of Orleans, Felix Dupanloup, an interpretation Pius IX accepted as accurate.

            Bishop Dupanloup noted the exact source of each condemned proposition in reference to a particular event or statement. These annotations gave vital historical context to the Syllabus as well as a clear frame of reference. The pamphlet roots the Syllabus in its specific time and offers a more nuanced view than contemporary readings can.”

          • Korou

            I read it, but find it a very shallow defence indeed. It is significant that the document required Bishop Dupanloup to explain it – or perhaps, to whitewash it. The sentiments expressed in it – that the Catholic Church should have the right to do as it pleases and to be the sole arbiter or morality – are completely in keeping with the Church in the past and the present.
            However, it may be that there is something in what the article says and that the Syllabus was indeed merely a reaction to certain specific instances – although apparently it was so poorly framed that it seems to me as if there hadn’t been such a reaction against it the Church would indeed have been happy to have made those its official positions.
            Let us then leave the Syllabus of Errors and return to the issue of slavery, which I feel you haven’t addressed:
            As I said of the Bulls of the fifteenth century:
            “Their content is quite clear: they are not giving the right to place
            prisoners of war and criminals into indentured servitude. They are
            giving Christians the licence to enslave whichever people they wish and are able to, as long as they are not Christians. This is clearly a
            morally wrong thing, authorised by the Church.
            In addition, when the writer defends slavery in the Bible as “giving slaves human rights” – well, perhaps he ought to go and read some of the verses in the Bible which describe the horrific ways in which slaveowners are permitted to punish their property. ”

            Do you agree that the Church was morally wrong to authorise the enslavement of non-Christians? And do you agree that the Bible was morally wrong to support slavery as it did?

            In addition, if we are looking for clear examples of the Catholic Church having preached immoral things, the case of Edgardo Mortara is a good one. Would you agree that the Catholic Church acted wrongly in kidnapping him from his Jewish family, refusing to let him see them and raising him in a faith other than his parents’?
            I do agree with you that we may not count bad things that individuals in the Church have done, but this was official Church policy, sanctioned by the Church and never apologised for. Do you think it was the right thing to do?

          • The Church neither authorized chattel enslavement of non-Christians via chattel slavery, nor does the Bible do so. I don’t know why you keep making false statements in light of proof to the contrary.
            And yes, God is the sole arbiter of morality, and He established the Church to teach in His name.

          • Korou

            I’m sorry if you don’t like it. The text of Dum Diversas is quite clear:
            “”We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property…and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery. ”

            We’re not talking about prisoners of war here; we’re not talking about indentured servitude.
            Do you agree that it is immoral to enslave people for no other reason than they are not Christians? Because the Church has, in the past, taught that.

            As to slavery in the Bible being of the “benevolent” or “permissible” type, I refer you to this:

            “The so-called Good Book explicitly, repeatedly and unequivocally endorses and approves of slavery, presenting it as an institution directly sanctioned by God. Consider the following passage from Leviticus, which is one of a long list of instructions spoken by God to Moses:
            “Thy bond-men and thy bond-maids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land. And they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bond-man forever.”
            —Leviticus 25:44-46

            The idea that human beings can be bought and sold like possessions, and that this state should last in perpetuity, is a repugnant one that lies at the root of all the cruelties and inhumanities associated with slavery. But perhaps the Bible teaches that slaveowners should be kind and gentle to their servants, and the cruelty is a later development?
            Not quite:
            “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money.”
            —Exodus 21:20-21 (RSV)
            Not only does the Bible explicitly allow beating your slaves, it allows you to beat them to death, just as long as the slave does not immediately expire from the beating but lingers for a few days before dying.”

            – See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2007/05/slavery/#sthash.OixkfCbF.dpuf

          • Actually, Dum Diversas was enacted during a period of war.

            “What we need to understand here is the context. This bull was written at a time of severe Muslim persecution of Christendom – Byzantine/Constantinople was under threat of attack and takeover by Muslims. In fact it was written just one year before the Muslims defeated Christian Byzantine (100-200K invaders against a mere 8,000 or so defenders). To give a context let me say that the Muslim invaders looted, pillaged and slaughtered Christians for a number of days before giving the few hiding survivors terms for their subjugation and homage if they surrendered as vassals to Islam.
            The call by Pope Nicholas V (who authored this bull) was to rally Christendom to come to the aid of its members and confront Islam (the Saracens and pagan mercenaries they gained by conquering W. African pagan countries) head on. But he failed to get the European Kings to help and that is why Byzantine fell. This bull was directed to the Spanish only and was an authorization to engage the conquering Muslims and make war with them to stop their encroachment and aggression and conversion of Pagan Africa into homage by providing a quota of men of war – mercenaries . It was a time of war and at this time the Church had a definate voice of influence in government secular affairs and had to assert itself to defend innocent lives being slaughtered by the Muslim hordes. The pope uses the language and emotion of the day. Christians were terrorized by what looked like Satan himself waging war against Christendom. So the pope authorized the taking of prisoners of war and their enslavement/incarceration as a life sentence for crimes against Christendom. This is a mercy since the war convention at the time was to kill enemies due to the high cost of maintaining them and guarding or else holding the noble ones (knights/lords) as hostage for payment from their Christian families.
            This bull was not a general edict to enslave people willy-nilly. It was no different than giving a life sentence to criminals with hard labor to pay back society as we still do to this very day here in the USA.
            Bottom Line – Dum Diversas was a real papal bull but it in no way is a general endorsement of slavery. It is simply an authorization to the Spanish monarchy to engage the aggressor enemy of Christians in a “just war” and to take any survivors as prisoners and incarcerate them for life for their crimes against Christianity. It was all issued at a time when the Church was trying hard to rally Christendom out of its apathy to help defend our eastern Christian brothers from being defeated.” (Source: http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?s=43d9a6a9c601c601be646d5ef17b3802&p=6200444&postcount=2)
            Your problem is that you’re taking historical documents from a specific time and specific place, and directed to a specific audience, and assuming they are some sort of worldwide Church doctrine binding on all Catholics into perpetuity. That isn’t how you read or interpret historical documents. You need to look at them in context.

          • Korou

            If what I say is true, and if the Catholic Church did indeed act immorally, then can you ever admit it? Could you still hold faith in such a Church?
            This is why you – and Catholic apologists in general – will go to such great lengths to defend the Church, even if it means shading the truth or twisting the facts.
            You said (or quoted):
            “It is simply an authorization to the Spanish monarchy to engage the
            aggressor enemy of Christians in a “just war” and to take any survivors
            as prisoners and incarcerate them for life for their crimes against
            Christianity. ”
            It is nothing of the sort. Look again:
            “We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property…and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery. ”

            In other words, it wasn’t saying that soldiers captured in wartime could be made into slaves rather than executed; it was giving permission to seek out people to enslave – any that they wished, so long as they were not Christians. “Invade, search out, capture and subjugate.”

            A shame for you that the bull did not say “We give free and full permission for you to enslave any who fight as soldiers in a pagan army.” That is what you mean, but not what it says.

            “This bull was not a general edict to enslave people willy-nilly. It was
            no different than giving a life sentence to criminals with hard labor to
            pay back society as we still do to this very day here in the USA.”

            Amazing how far you will go in defence of your Church. You are comparing non-Christians in the fifteenth century with criminals convincted of serious crimes in the twenty-first. Would you then support Catholics setting up hard labour camps for atheists, Jews and Hindus? I’m sure you wouldn’t, but that is the conclusion your reasoning leads to.
            This is obvious to anyone who is not invested in believing that the Catholic Church cannot be wrong – and that is why I doubt you will admit it now.

          • You’re taking the document out of historical context, and also assuming that it applies to all people in all times. Which it does not. You are being willfully ignorant.

          • Korou

            As I said: you are unwilling to face the truth. You haven’t addressed the point I made about the Bull giving permission to enslave free, noncombatant citizens of another religion, without restriction.

          • Because it *does not do that,* which I did address. You’re taking the document out of historical context, and also assuming that it applies to all people in all times. Which it does not. You are being willfully ignorant.

          • Korou

            No, I’m not. I realise that the Bull applied to the Spanish and Portuguese, and that it was given in a time of conflict. And I have shown you that the Bull was not giving licence to enslave prisoners of war but instead allowing the Spanish and Portuguese to enslave without provocation.

            One more time: do you agree that it was right for Christians to enslave people of other religions?

          • There WAS provocation. They were in the midst of a war.

            “This bull was written at a time of severe Muslim persecution of Christendom – Byzantine/Constantinople was under threat of attack and takeover by Muslims. In fact it was written just one year before the Muslims defeated Christian Byzantine (100-200K invaders against a mere 8,000 or so defenders). To give a context let me say that the Muslim invaders looted, pillaged and slaughtered Christians for a number of days before giving the few hiding survivors terms for their subjugation and homage if they surrendered as vassals to Islam.”

            That isn’t provocation, in your view?

          • Korou

            Not to enslave innocent men, women and children, no.

            You painted it as giving permission to enslave soldiers who were captured, rather than executing them. As you put it, “So the pope authorized the taking of prisoners of war and their
            enslavement/incarceration as a life sentence for crimes against
            Christendom. This is a mercy since the war convention at the time was to kill enemies due to the high cost of maintaining them and guarding or else holding the noble ones (knights/lords) as hostage for payment from their Christian families.”

            The text, however, makes it quite plain that this was not what it meant:
            “…full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate
            the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be”.
            Since this led, and was meant to lead, to noncombatant men, women and children being captured and sold into slavery, I have trouble seeing how it was supposed to be punishment for “crimes against Christendom”. Presumably their crime was “not being Christian”? Remember, we are not just talking about the soldiers, we are talking about their people.

            See the difference?

          • No. Again, you are taking it out of context. The pope is talking about actions taken in the context of a war.

          • Korou

            I understand that you can’t give way on this; it’s part of your religion that the Church is never wrong. But you’ve been shown now that it is wrong. The abuse scandal; the slavery Bull; the case of Edgardo Mortara. Perhaps you ought to think about those.
            From my point of view, the Catholic Church is a very human institution with a long history and a great deal to answer for. I hope that one day you can recognise this.

          • And I understand why you cannot admit you’re wrong, your hatred of the church is blinding you to the facts. I hope one day you can let go of your irrational hatred and see the truth.

          • Korou

            But you see, it’s not hatred. It’s distaste, certainly, but it’s not a part of my life. If the Church could show evidence that it wasn’t, say, guilty of protecting child abusers, spreading misinformation about contraception, making people’s lives less happy and more difficult in myriads of ways, fighting against equal rights for gays and women and so on, I’d be happy to respect them. To be honest, I used to have quite a good opinion of Catholics, who at least accepted evolution and did good work on behalf of the poor. But quite a lot of revelations have come out in the last decade or so which show the Church in a different light.
            Never the less, any dislike I feel for the Church is not a personal thing; it’s based on whether or not there’s reason to dislike it.
            You, on the other hand, are a Catholic, and so you must support the Church and believe that it’s always right. If not, you’d have to give up being a Catholic, and apparently you’re unwilling to do so – even when confronted by evidence that you can’t reject that your Church has done great wrong.
            No comment on Edgardo Montara, then? Can I take it that kidnapping Jewish children to raise them as Catholics is fine by you? Or is it all excused by the historical context?

          • You realize I’m a convert to the Catholic Church, right? I wasn’t Catholic for the first 22 years of my life, and then I went on a quest to prove the church wrong and found I could not.
            Here’s the thing. I have never denied that people in the church are sinners, and that some people in the church have done pretty horrible things. There have been some terrible popes and bishops, especially those who were in civil government positions back when the church was synonymous with the government. Such as kidnapping kids who were Jewish in order to raise them Christian. However, what you have claimed is that the church has taught error as doctrine, as official infallible doctrine binding on all Catholics. And you have not proven that. All you “prove” is that people in the church are sinners. That’s not a surprise to anyone.

          • Korou

            I note that you don’t have any answer to the fact that the Church defended child abusers, that slavery in the Bible was hardly “beneficial” or that the Catholic Church endorsed the kidnapping of Jewish children.

            Instead, you just dismiss it as “hatred of Catholics”. Well, I guess it would be too hard for you to face the truth.

          • Actually, I have answered all of that. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge my answers does not change the fact that I have given them. I notice you have not acknowledged that you were false in claiming there was some secret church memo that instructed bishops to keep child abuse a secret.

          • Korou

            You tried to answer “all of that” that, but your explanations fell flat.
            And by the way, about your article refuting my “secret Church memo?” So sorry to tell you, but your article was about a document from 1997. Mine was from 1962, and was confirmed by the Vatican as still being applicable as recently as 2001.
            Now then, about the fact that the Catholic Church as a whole, and as a matter of deliberate policy, formally acted to shield child abusers and swear victims to secrecy…
            Let’s start small. Are you willing to admit that it exists? Here’s the link where you can read a pdf of the original document, in case you missed it earlier.
            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/aug/17/religion.childprotection

          • OK, finally at a computer. Thanks for your patience.

            The document is actually called “Crimen Sollicitationis,” (so the Guardian couldn’t even get the name right). It is not a document on molestation but on the canonical crime of solicitation, e.g., when a priest asks a penitent for sexual favors (or the other way around) in confession. Four paragraphs assign the relevant (canonical) penalties for such a (canonical) crime to also apply to homosexual acts, pedophilic acts, or acts of bestiality; but the document is about solicitation. (You should also keep in mind that many if not most or even the vast majority of cases of the ecclesiastical crime of solication wouldn’t be a crime under civil law. One example: Suppose a priest hears the confession of a 30 year old woman. The 30 year old woman during the confession tells the priest: “Father, let’s have a one night stand.” The priest instead of saying, “No that is wrong” says, “OK let’s do it tonight” then by that very fact the priest would be guilty of the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation, even if he is not guilty of breaking any legal laws.)

            The Wikipedia article on Crimen Sollicitationis is actually a pretty fair overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimen_sollicitationis

            From John Allen at NCR: “I spoke with several top canon lawyers, who told me the document was being taken out of context. Its obscurity meant it had not had the impact being attributed to it, and in any event, it dealt only with canonical procedures. It did not order anyone not to cooperate with civil or criminal investigations […] From the beginning, it’s been difficult to explain to non-Catholics the distinction between canon law and civil law, and that when the church imposes secrecy in canonical proceedings, that’s meant to be in addition to, not instead of, cooperation with civil and criminal investigations. […] I pointed out that canon lawyers believe there is good reason for secrecy in sex abuse cases. It allows witnesses to speak freely, accused priests to protect their good name until guilt is established, and victims to come forward who don’t want publicity. Such secrecy is also not unique to sex abuse. It applies, for example, to the appointment of bishops.” (You can read the entire article here: http://nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word0815.htm)

          • Korou

            “It is not a document on molestation but on the canonical crime of solicitation,”
            Wrong. See section 73 of the document: “…or attempted by (a cleric) with youths of either sex…” This document was intended to cover a number of different sins, including the crime of child molestation.

            The document is quite clear; damningly clear.
            First, such a case may never come to a church trial; the bishop is given clear powers to transfer anyone he suspects of such sins. In other words, shuffle them off to somewhere else.
            The document also says that if anyone has knowledge of a priest committing any such sin, they are to report it to the Church. At that point, they must swear a vow of secrecy. The matter will be investigated by the Church in a manner which permits the priest every opportunity to escape the consequences of his crime – for example, the Church authorities are strictly forbidden to make the accused swear an oath to tell the truth. If, at the end of it, the accused is found to be guilty, what happens? There is to be no recourse to civil authorities; the guilty party is to be censured, nothing more; and in addition, if he confessed to the sin, he is to be pardoned and absolved, with some minor penalties.
            In other words, “You’ve been very naughty. Now don’t do it again.” It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

            Seriously, now – do you not have an ounce of shame? Can you simply dismiss this? Do you not feel that it is at least worth looking into?
            I appeal to any sense of integrity that you have. When you read the document, does the thought not strike you “Oh dear, it looks like this could lead to trouble; isn’t there the possibility that because of this things might go very badly wrong?” Do you not think, as you read it, “Where does it talk about going to the police? Surely that should be in here somewhere? Why can’t I find it?”
            And when you come back to your computer, how can you brazenly write “Haha, silly atheist, the document says nothing of the sort.” Do you not feel that, at the absolutely smallest minimum, it would be more correct to say “I can see why you think this is damning evidence, and I must admit, it does give me some pause for thought.”

            Or have you gone too far, and are you afraid that any criticism of the Church, no matter how slight, might lead to the slippery slope of realising that the Church was wrong? Is it better to close your eyes and brazen it out?

          • Can you tell me where the document states that priests et al must not go to the police?

          • Korou

            Is that honestly your first reaction? Instead of reading a document about what to do when investigating cases of children being molested, aren’t you asking yourself “When does it get to the part where is says “the police must now be informed”?

            Anyway, to answer your question: the document tells people not to go to the police by instructing them – including the people making the accusation – to begin any investigations by swearing a vow of secrecy. Having sworn not to divulge any part of the proceedings, how then would they be able to go to the police?

          • But you misunderstand. The vow of silence means that they cannot discuss the case with anyone who is not directly involved in it. The reason that vow of silence is there is to protect the victims, ensure their confidentiality, and encourage them to come forward without fear that their name and their situation will be a subject of gossip or media attention. John Allen mentions this in the article I linked earlier:
            “Crimen Sollicitationis dealt with canonical cases against a priest that could lead to removal from ministry or expulsion from the priesthood. Its imposition of secrecy thus concerned the church’s internal disciplinary process. It did not, according to canonical experts, prevent a bishop or anyone else from reporting a crime against a minor to the civil authorities.”
            “Canon lawyers told NCR that secrecy in canonical cases serves three purposes. First, it is designed to allow witnesses and other parties to speak freely, knowing that their responses will be confidential. Second, it allows the accused party to protect his good name until guilt is established. Third, it allows victims to come forward without exposing themselves to publicity. The high degree of secrecy in Crimen Sollicitationis was also related to the fact that it dealt with the confessional.”

          • Korou

            John Allen and the canon lawyers he spoke to are, to put it bluntly, lying. If you can’t accept this, I must say that their lies come as no surprise to me. What do you expect them to say? “Oh dear, the game’s up now, sorry we were hiding child abusers all these years and that we lied about doing so.” Of course not. Confident that the faithful will be ready to believe anything they say, they are lying to you again.

            If the vow of secrecy is there to protect the abused victim, then why is he or she forced to take one as well? And not in a “this is for your own good” sense, but in a “You will be excommunicated and damned forever if you breathe a word of what happens here, or of what has happened to you.” Seriously. It’s all in the document. As is the fact that the Church authorities are not, under any circumstances, supposed to go to the police. How could they? The document is very, very clear in multiple places: nothing about this is to be said to anyone outside the few people in the Church who are concerned with the investigation – neither while it is happening nor after it is over.

            More than that, look at the appendices which show the forms to follow in sentencing a priest who has been found guilty. You can clearly see that this is not a scene which is going to be followed by the police being contacted. Try to imagine it:

            – “My son, you have sinned grievously, but you are repentant; you have entirely disavowed your sinful nature and expressed sincere grief and remorse for the horrible actions which you committed. Therefore, by the power vested in me by the Holy Roman Catholic Church I pronounce you absolved of guilt upon the pronouncement of twenty-four Ave Marias.”
            – “Thank you, Father.”
            – “Now, my son, await here while I contact the secular authorities. Take comfort in the fact that although you shall languish in jail for the rest of your miserable life under the laws of our country, your soul is at peace with God.”

            It’s obvious to anyone who reads the document that no police are going to be called at any time. It’s quite clear that it is intended to do one thing and one thing only: to make sure that nobody, ever, hears about priests committing sexual sins. That’s the long and the short of it. If you feel happy standing by that, then I hope your conscience will let you.

          • They’re “lying”? You have no expertise in canon law, yet you feel qualified to make that call?
            So, if a judge puts a gag order on all parties involved in a criminal trial, is he trying to punish the victim as well? No. Same concept here. Under the vow, the victim is absolutely allowed to discuss the situation with anyone who needs to be so informed – such as the police, if it is a criminal matter.

          • Korou

            Inclined to judge them as liars? Yes, since you put it like that – I do not feel that an organisation which has already lied and committed heinous crimes is one whose word I would trust much.
            The judge, in your example, already is the proper authorities. The gag order is not preventing justice, it’s fulfilling it. The law already knows about the case, so the gag order does not stop the accuser from going to the police.
            The Church, on the other hand, has no right to forbid victims of abuse from going to the police – but you could see why they would have every interest in doing so. And no, you’re quite, quite wrong. The person making the accusations is constrained by the most serious of vows of secrecy, the intention being clearly to make sure that they never tell anyone outside the Church of what happened, and that the Church does everything they can to make sure nobody else ever finds out.

            I must say once more, I’m amazed at the misplaced confidence you show here. You apparently don’t think that the discovery of a secret document, sent to all bishops around the world, describing how trials are to be conducted in complete secrecy and without any recourse to the police at any stage – none of this apparently bothers you in the slightest. I hope that this is just a front you’re putting on out of a desire not to lose an online argument with an anonymous stranger. I hope that this does actually disturb you. It certainly should.

          • Korou

            It’s always a good idea to trust the experts – except in a case where they have a conflict of interests. What a surprise that they say the Church is in fact innocent!
            Again, I appeal to you: have a modicum of decency and shame. This is an appalling document which any right-thinking person, Catholic or not, should condemn. I notice you haven’t answered the points I made.

          • Korou

            Have you by now discovered that the article you sent me “debunking” me was off by several decades? And have you found the real document I was referring to? It’s called “Crimen Sollicitationis”. It gives full instructions on how to deal with cases of abuse within the Church – ie, by hiding them and shielding abusive priests.

          • my response is lengthy – will need to wait until I can get to a computer. (On my phone right now)

          • Korou

            Is it really worth the bother? Are you going to even think about it before you start looking for ways to get the Church off the hook?
            Am I at least going to get a “Yes, Korou, I see that you were right about it existing?”

          • Oh yes, it does exist, but the reason I was so confused is because it doesn’t say anything that you or that article claims it says. Once again, I am going to type a lengthy response, but it’s annoying to do on my phone so I’m going to wait till I am at an actual computer. But I will have it posted by the end of the day, I promise.

          • Korou

            Let’s skip forward a few hundred years, then, and on to another topic. Here is an article about the lengths that the Catholic Church went to to defend child abusers within its ranks. I realise this may not be received kindly here, so please understand that I am giving clear, solid evidence. It is an order sent straight from the Vatican and received by Bishops all around the world. For decades it was official, though secret, policy to defend child abusers, including forgiving those who repented – or “repented” – shuffling them off to a new diocese where nobody would know about their past crimes – and where they would have ample opportunity to commit more – and intimidating the abused victims, including swearing them to silence.
            As I say, there is clear and solid evidence for this. Go to http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/aug/17/religion.childprotection and you can download a pdf of the original document to read for yourself.
            Perhaps this will prompt you to admit that the Catholic Church has acted immorally?

          • Please cite Catholic doctrine that states child abuse is permitted and condoned by the Church.

          • Korou

            Do you not consider that an official communication from the Pope to all bishops around the world stating that abuse is to be kept secret, abusers protected and victims intimidated is sufficient evidence of immorality?
            This isn’t a case of a few bad apples. This is a case of the leader of the Church in collusion with the hierachy.
            Are you happy about that? Do you consider it to be moral conduct?

          • No, I don’t consider that, because it’s not true — which you’d know if you did a little bit of research. See here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/vatican-warned-bishops-not-to-report-child-abuse

            Plus the Catechism (among many other documents) clearly states that the abuse of children is a sin, so you cannot claim that the Church teaches AS DOCTRINE that sexual abuse is condoned and permitted.

            But you seem to be missing the point here. I am asking you to prove that the Church has ever taught error as doctrine in terms of teaching morals. Unless the Church has ever taught as doctrine that child abuse is condoned and permitted, then the sins of Her individual members, even on a wide scale, are irrelevant to the question at hand. It’s like if you tried to claim that Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes proved that the United States does not outlaw sexual harassment.

          • Korou

            Do you not realise that the article you linked to is talking about a completely different document? The one I showed you is from 1962. The one you linked to is from 1997.

            It is true that the catechism of the Catholic Church does say that abuse of children is a sin. But apparently it is not so great a sin, because the Catholic Church also stated officially that priests who abused children were to be protected and that children who were abused were to be silenced. As the document I linked to shows:

            “The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was
            sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of
            ‘strictest’ secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and
            threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
            They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time
            of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the
            instructions are to ‘be diligently stored in the secret archives of the
            Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor
            added to with any commentaries.’
            The document, which has been confirmed as genuine by the Roman
            Catholic Church in England and Wales, is called ‘Crimine
            solicitationies’, which translates as ‘instruction on proceeding in
            cases of solicitation’.
            It focuses on sexual abuse initiated as part of the confessional
            relationship between a priest and a member of his congregation. But the instructions also cover what it calls the ‘worst crime’, described as an obscene act perpetrated by a cleric with ‘youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality)’.
            Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases ‘in the most secretive
            way… restrained by a perpetual silence… and everyone… is to
            observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office… under the penalty of excommunication’.”

            This was not a case of an individual or a group of individuals acting immorally. It was the leadership of the Catholic Church giving instructions to the Church to act immorally, and the Church accepting and following those instructions. It is not at all like I “tried to claim that Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes proved that the United States does not outlaw sexual harassment.” The comparable case would be Bill Clinton signing a (secret) law that was communicated to all members of the government, in secret, and required them to cover up any crimes committed.

          • and re: slavery – again from the article I posted about that topic: “For many Catholics today the key question is: Does previous Catholic practice regarding slavery amount to a change of doctrine such as would allow Catholic teaching on other subjects such as contraception and abortion to change as well?

            The answer: In no way. The Church’s teaching about the dignity and basic equality of all human beings has been clarified to such a degree that any earlier ambiguity about the tolerance of chattel slavery has been eradicated. The Church’s teaching regarding contraception and abortion can also be said to have developed, but not in the direction of approving those practices.”

          • larry

            Korou is not Catholic. He is here to bait responses. You can tell by how he goes all over the road with issues unrelated to the phony women priest issue. All are attempts to discredit the Church. I wouldn’t waste a lot of time debating him/her.

          • I was once a non-Catholic too. 🙂

          • Korou

            No, actually this is all a reasonably response to JoAnna,who made the mistake of saying that the Church has never taught moral error. And has now been shown differently.

    • 1776Mariner

      Why? Because the Church is counter cultural, that is why. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen said: “The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. Error is error even if everyone believes it.” This is why in our post modern hedonistic culture that even when other churches have watered down their morality, condoning abortion, SSM, divorce, ordaining women, etc. the Roman Catholic Church stands firm. We may eventually be driven underground over all this. But there is nothing new under the sun. We have suffered persecutions before. But in the end, when the culture has imploded, as all pagan cultures do, the Church will come out from the shadows back into the public square and the Christian faithful will rebuild the culture.

      • Korou

        Being counter cultural is not a good thing. Standing up for what is right is good, yes. But the Catholic Church opposes change for no other reason than it is change. Perhaps you can tell me what is so bad about two people who love each other getting married, whether they are male or female? Or two people who, through their changing lives, find that they no longer love each other. Why shouldn’t they then separate? Why should they be forced, or force themselves to live in a loveless and bitter marriage for the rest of their lives? Or the subject of this thread, ordaining women – what exactly is it that a man can do that a woman cannot that means women are unfit for the priesthood?

        As usual, the Catholic Church is interested in only one thing: protecting its own influence in the world. If that means that this causes harm to the people involved – the husband and wife stuck in a bitter marriage, the people in love who are forbidden to show that love, the person who is denied the opportunity to lead, teach and serve because they weren’t born with a penis – well, what of it?

  • nic

    OK, so women cannot be priests because Jesus didn’t have female apostles. However, priests cannot be married but Jesus chose married apostles, including Peter. Jesus also told his followers that harming children was a very bad thing. However, the church claims a pope who covered up child predation by priests is a saint, and continues to cover up for predatory priests. Then there’s all the talk by Jesus admonishing his followers to be humble and not put themselves at the seats of honor. However, the church declares bishops to be princes, gives them flashy gold rings, and they are always given the seats of honor.
    It would seem the church is very selective when it comes to following Jesus. Although I am sure there is a whole library of arguments, many written in latin, to explain that this is not hypocrisy.

    • kathyschiffer

      No, there is a difference, Nic. The requirement of celibacy for priests in the Roman Rite is a discipline, not a dogma, and could be changed. (There are, in fact, priests such as my friend a fellow blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who converted to Catholicism and were already married–those marriages are respected.)

      I’ve always thought it would be difficult for the family of a married priest. Less money to support kids’ shoes and college tuitions; a busy father who doesn’t have enough time to spend with his kids or his wife; pressures from parishioners, who expect the priest’s kids to be “perfect.”

      Nevertheless, the celibacy requirement may eventually be changed. The dogma of a male priesthood will not, for the reasons I stated in the article.

      • jrb16915

        The celibate priesthood is a true gift to the faithful. I believe the celibate priesthood strengthens the confessional seal. In real life, I would also always know that I was secondary in importance to my priest compared to his wife and children. I never feel that way now.

      • nic

        Carefully crafted distinctions to avoid the obvious: the clerical structure of the church is something that grew over time, it was not created by Christ, anymore than he recommended silly hats and outlandish costumes.

        • JohnServorum

          From your comments it is clear that you are not Catholic. May I ask which Protestant denomination you are a member of? That would explain a lot.
          Thank you.

          • nic

            Wrong. Raised Catholic. Then one day I started to suspect that much of what I was seeing had nothing to do with Christ, and then realized, yep, much of what is the catholic church is just a buildup of stuff though up by various clergy through time. Long-winded theological arguments generated to rationalize all kinds of things that are obviously nonsensical.

          • JohnServorum

            So you are Protestant then. So be it.
            Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

          • Which way is the best to bring people to the Lord and to the Catholic Church:
            1) extra ecclesia nulla salus (don’t believe what I say, you will go to hell,i.e, scary tactics)
            2) come and see the sweetness of the Lord, and here are the reasons.

          • Korou

            If I were to invent a religion I’d be absolutely sure to write into it “And by the way, folks, you have to be a member of my faith or else you go to hell.”

          • JohnServorum

            “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
            Acts 4:12

            It’s your choice to embrace the truth or reject it. Jesus Christ didn’t “invent a religion”, he gave us the truth when he gave himself to his Church on the cross.

          • nic

            And after he and the apostles were dead, others came along and cobbled together various religions based on what he said and did, and then began to drift and veer off from that point, until you get such absurdities as the collection of dress wearing old men in pointy hats dwelling in palaces and handing down decrees.

          • larry

            Well…there was a Man who died on the cross who mentioned hell frequently and that people will go there. I believe His followers are called Christians.

          • Korou

            All of that may well be true. Divine punishment is a most useful thing for a religion to have. Just because Jesus said there is a hell, it doesn’t mean that there is.

          • nic

            There are god’s laws and manmade laws. If you break a manmade law, what are they going to do, send you to hell?
            A wise priest once said that in a sermon, talking about the church’s rules. Opened my eyes. No amount of latin can change the fact, the church cannot send anyone to hell for breaking the mass of rules they have created over time.
            For the record, I remain a catholic because there is no means to exit the church. I attend a different brand of Christianity, but now and again I find myself in a catholic service and I always take communion. Bet you hate that, but what can you or anyone else do about it?

          • Korou

            A Richard Dawkins quote comes to mind:

            “What impresses me about Catholic mythology is
            partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with
            which these people make up the details as they go along. It is just
            shamelessly invented.”

          • larry

            Now that you mentioned the ultimate authority Richard Dawkins, I am ashamed of my faith and now am atheist. Did Chistopher Hitchens have anything to say to cement my abandoning faith?

          • Korou

            Well, thanks for taking it in good humour!

            Yes, actually, I do have something to recommend from Christopher Hitchens. He did a debate, alongside Stephen Fry, against Anne Widdecombe and an Archbishop from Nigeria. The proposition was “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world”.
            I’ll let the Catholic writer Andrew Brown (the obituaries editor, fittingly enough!) fill you in. Although clearly unhappy with the debate he was at least honest about how it went:

            “I have just witnessed a rout – tonight’s Intelligence Squared debate.
            It considered the motion “The Catholic Church is a force for good in
            the world”. Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, opposing the motion, comprehensively trounced Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe, who spoke for it. The archbishop in particular was hopeless.
            The voting gives a good idea of how it went. Before the debate, for the motion: 678. Against: 1102. Don’t know: 346. This is how it changed after the debate. For: 268. Against: 1876. Don’t know: 34. In other words, after hearing the speakers, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774. My friend Simon, who’s a season ticket holder, said it was the most decisive swing against a motion that he could remember.”

            “…in the end Hitchens and Fry were able to persuade decisively by simply listing one after another the wicked things that have been done in the Church’s name over the centuries. More than anything they focused on the “institutionalisation of the rape and torture and maltreatment of children”. That’s what Hitchens called it – that’s pretty much what it was – and Fry returned to it. I don’t blame them for harping on about these unspeakable crimes, because there is no answer to them.”

        • Korou

          Nic, you hit the nail on the head.
          Again and again.

          • Rob B.

            More like he’s hit his head against a wall, again and again. One can only hope he’ll be rational when he’s over his concussion.

            What’s your excuse?

          • larry

            Korou and nic I believe are gods themselves and just troll this site.

        • larry

          The Jews of Christ’s time had “silly hats and outlandish costumes”. Buddhists and Masons have them now. What’a the point. And the excommunicated “womenpriests” wear them too

          • nic

            So the silly hats and costumes are OK for the hierarchy, because others wear silly hats and costumes?

    • Nic, as Kathy mentioned, there is a distinction regarding a discipline (celibacy for priests), and a dogma (only male priests). Disciplines can be changed; dogmas cannot. This is a good article about the difference, if you are interested: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/catholics-you-must-understand-this.html

    • larry

      Your post is a mix of fact, error and attack. No one ever stated that clergy are saints and many have sinned. St Augustine is a prime example but he straightened his ways. Saint Terese de Jesus confessor priest was a sinner. The pedophile issue is a serious one but does not represent the entire clergy but is used by attackers to condemn the entire Catholic Church. The wealth of the Church is another argument used to attack especially against tradition. Elaborate churches are built to show glory to God and transform the congregation.

      • nic

        And the flashy gold rings? The coats of arms? Do these glorify god? St. Augustine sinned, then corrected himself. “Saint” JPII covered up pedophilia, and took his sin to the grave. Bit of difference. Elaborate churches, to some, were meant to give glory to god, but to many they were statements of wealth and prestige by the local powers.

  • Howard

    Of course this situation is fair: a woman cannot become a priest, and a priest cannot become a woman. A priest can mutilate his body, but that will not make him a woman, and a woman can mutilate her soul, but that will not make her a priest.

    • Korou

      The arguments against women entering the priesthood are strikingly similar to earlier arguments as to why women could not vote, get an education or have a career.

      • Howard

        If you think you can fashion an argument against education from my comment, please attempt to do so. Otherwise your comment is misplaced.

        • Korou

          Certainly. Please pay attention this time.
          The arguments against women being priests often come down to “this is not the role that God made for women. Women should be mothers, nuns if they like, but not leaders in the Church.”
          These arguments are strikingly similar to those which used to be made against women getting an education, a career, voting, etc. “Women have their place in the home and family. Men have the role of working outside the home.”
          We’ve realised for decades that the arguments against women working and being educated are simply sexist. The arguments against women being priests are, at their root,the same.

          • Howard

            OK, now you pay attention this time. I asked,

            If you think you can fashion an argument against education from my comment, please attempt to do so. Otherwise your comment is misplaced.

            (emphasis added)
            Your response does not answer to what I actually said. You are on the wrong thread.

            Your straw man argument is, by the way, nothing but a popular cliché, but since it has nothing to do with my comment at the start of the thread, it warrants no further notice here.

          • Korou

            Your comment was the one that was misplaced. Do you imagine I’m talking about schools here?
            Also, I’m not making a straw man argument, I’m just pointing out something that’s obvious to non-Catholics: not letting women be priests is sexist and wrong.
            And, encouragingly, most Catholics agree with me.

          • Howard

            Who cares what you’re talking about? If you want to just jump in and talk about how much you like Star Wars on random threads it would make as much sense. I have spent as much time as I am going to with someone who is not only unable to make a rational response to my comment, he (or she) is unable to understand what a rational response is.

          • Korou

            Howard. You’re incoherent. Goodbye, then.

          • Howard

            You never, ever, ever said anything remotely related to my assertion that just as a priest cannot become a woman, a woman cannot become a priest. Instead, you constructed a straw man argument: “Your assertion A is similar to assertion B, even though assertion B is not a logical consequence of A and you do not actually assert B. But B is a terrible assertion which everyone should repudiate. Therefore A is also a terrible assertion which everyone should repudiate.”

            This kind of argument is fallacious, because it does not actually address the assertion that is in fact made (and is called A above). It is also very offensive. If you think this is a fine way to argue, though, you will agree with this.

            The assertion of Korou is that any difference between men and women is entirely inconsequential, and to think otherwise is to be guilty of sexism. This is just like the assertion that any difference between human beings and other animals is entirely inconsequential, and to think otherwise is to be guilty of speciesism. Now if there is no consequential difference between human beings and other animals, it is no more wrong to own a slave than own a dog or a cow. It’s really sad that Korou is using the same kind of reasoning that justifies slavery.

            You presumably find the above offensive, because nowhere did you justify slavery, and the link between what you did say and slavery is tenuous at best. If you don’t like the straw man argument used against you, stop using your straw man argument against other people.

            And now, good night.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Your assertion that a woman becoming a priest is equivalent to a gender-swap needs some unpacking. What about the priest’s genitals is required for service to God?

          • Howard

            I don’t think I’ll be able to answer that question to your satisfaction. I think this is a divine decision that can be known through Sacred Tradition but which could not have been predicted through reason alone, sort of like the calling of Abram. It is widely acknowledged that the nature of the Holy Trinity could not have been known without revelation, and my suspicion is that this is the same kind of question.

            At some level, you might as well ask why wine made from blackberries cannot be consecrated at the Mass. There is a little wiggle room regarding the elements — the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics use leavened bread, whereas the Latin Church uses unleavened bread — but rice cakes and berry wine are apparently out, regardless of the fact that from a merely human viewpoint one is as good as another. Maybe part of the reason is just to remind us that not all of reality is like sports, where we can change the rules to suit our circumstances or interests (hence the different rules for high school football, college football, the NFL, the CFL, arena football, etc.). I suspect this was also behind some of the Jewish dietary restrictions.

            Of course, it needs to be stated that “service to God” is not the same thing as “acting as a priest”. That whole bit in 1 Corinthians 12 about “if the foot should say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body” really does apply here.

            The thing that interests me most, though, is that there are a number of parallels between priests and women. The one I listed at the top is a more-or-less obvious one. Another is the set of social niceties extended to each — men are supposed to watch their language around either, to surrender their seats to either, and to tip their hats to either. Another is that — however lamentable it is that anyone is a legitimate target in war — civilized people agree that neither priests nor women should be legitimate targets. That means that, regardless of their strength or skill, neither should be a combatant. I don’t expect you to agree with that, but then I suspect you are proceeding from a very different world view and will not agree with much of anything I have said.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            I don’t actually think I can form a coherent argument against “because”. But I also think that to deny that women are called by the Spirit is problematic given what we do know from revelation. There are those who will say that to allow women priests is to ignore God’s will, but how do we know that God doesn’t call women? I believe, from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, that He does call women to the priesthood.

            And yes, I’ve noticed the “feminine” roles, and somewhat homoerotic themes, in the priesthood as well.

          • Howard

            How do we know? Through the same sources of revelation that teach us about (among other things) the Holy Trinity. If the Church is trustworthy on the nature of God, why should the Church not be trustworthy on the nature of the priesthood? Likewise, if the Church is not trustworthy on the nature of the priesthood, why trust the Church on anything at all? Because of the claims at the core of the Catholic Church, She can only be one of two things: the Bride of Christ or the Whore of Babylon.

            But the fact that a few things are not as you would have expected is not itself a reason to distrust the Church. That is just the nature of reality; the new job, the new home, the new whatever is never exactly as we imagined it, assuming at least that we are talking about something interesting enough to be imagined ahead of time. (This, by the way, is why I wonder why anyone would want to have a lucid dream. It sounds to me like being stuck in really bad fan fiction.)

            As for your last assertion, don’t pretend you are agreeing with me when you make it. You know quite well that that is neither what I said nor anything I would agree with.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            I don’t know you at all, let alone what you might find agreeable, and you brought up the “parallels between priests and women”. If you weren’t talking gender-roles, feel free to clarify things.

          • Howard

            My objection was to the “yes”, which seemed to apply agreement with something I had said. But I think my examples go some way towards explaining what I was talking about: a kind of respect. Eros does not enter into this.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            I agreed that the traditional roles of both clergy and women are similar. Both are expected to be compassionate, self sacrificing, supportive, pacifistic, demonstrate endless availability to the needs of others, and be devoted to a male (God).

          • Howard

            Hmm…. If we unpack “compassion” into things like “mercy” and “generosity”, those were qualities everyone was supposed to have.

            As for pacifism, I think you’re being misled by the biases of our time. Jael, Judith, Queen Boudica, and St. Joan of Arc were not exactly pacifists, and were admired for their roles. Lady Macbeth was a fictional villain, but her role had to be believable. Needless to say, it has also not always been expected that a priest would be a pacifist.

            On the whole, though, I think you’re on to something.

          • larry

            Women can stamp their feet and get loud but a priest is a male. Christ had holy women around him and they played major roles but they were not appointed as apostles. He did not choose a woman as one of the 12. Christ is God and God does not work within the constraints of time. Therefore what was then is now.

          • Korou

            But Jesus wasn’t God at that time, was he? In human form he knew doubt, fear, pain and temptation. More than that, God may be the same all the time but human society isn’t. At the time, if Jesus wanted to start a religion it made sense for him to choose men, in a patriarchal society. We’re not living in that society any more.

          • wineinthewater

            “But Jesus wasn’t God at that time, was he?”

            Yes, He was. But He was also fully human, making Him capable of feeling fear, pain and temptation. That is the nature of the hypostatic union. Fully human and fully divine.

            “More than that, God may be the same all the time but human society isn’t.”

            No, but He founded a Church meant to span those changes. The contention here is not that the Church cannot change at all, but that there are just some things that she cannot change.

          • wineinthewater

            You are falling into the trap of clericism. Priests are not the only leaders in the Church .. though the Church has fallen into the same trap of clericism. You’ve had to make the jump from priest to leader in order to make your claim that the arguments are similar.

            Women *can* be leaders in the Church. And this is one of the things to Pope Francis’ credit, that he wants to see this more fully realized. And quite frankly, I think that women already have access to the most powerful role in the Church: that of mother. Sure, not every woman is called to motherhood, but far more of them are called to motherhood then men are called to the priesthood.

            Personally, I think that the male-only priesthood is God’s way of balancing the scales a bit. Some spiritual affirmative action if you will. 😉

          • Korou

            That’s precisely the argument that feminists first heard when they started campaigning for equal rights for women. “But you can be a mother!” they were told. “You can have the most precious, important role in the world. Why would you turn your back on that?” The answer, of course, is that mothering children is a wonderful thing – but that some women would like to have an education and a career.

            Women can be leaders in the Church? In what sense, exactly? How are women allowed to teach, lead, or make decisions in the Catholic Church? These things do happen in the Catholic Church, and they are a form of power – the power to lead, the power to inform, the power to make or change policy, the power to be listened to – and absolutely none of this power is available to women.

            You think that male-only priesthood is a way of “balancing the scales”? Are you serious? Do the words “patriarchal society” mean nothing to you? Are you unaware that equality of the sexes is merely a decades-old concept and that throughout human history it is men who have held the power?

          • wineinthewater

            “Women can be leaders in the Church? In what sense, exactly? How are women allowed to teach, lead, or make decisions in the Catholic Church?”

            They can be theologians, canon lawyers, even doctors of the Church. They can be pastoral administrators, hold positions on tribunals, posts in diocese, even head curial dicastries where they lead bishops and cardinals. They can teach at all levels, from preschool through university, even seminaries. And, when parents, they hold the most crucial position of teaching, leading and decision-making .. based on Catholic values even if not the world’s. And the authority of the priesthood depends on all of these.

            The fact that you are hinging this discussion on power shows that you have already moved away from a discussion of the true Catholic priesthood. The Church is a hospital for sinners sure, and as such has often allowed the priesthood to fall into the world’s fallen notion of power. But that is not the true nature of the priesthood. If power is what is sought, then it is not truly the priesthood that is sought. And the fact that so much of the women’s ordination movement is rooted in a philosophy of power-dynamics shows how divorced from Catholic theology so much of it is. In Catholicism, true power comes from personal holiness, not ordination. In Catholicism you become a leader by being a servant, not by being a priest.

            We do have an issue of clericism in the Church, and that often appears to be sexism because we have a male-only priesthood. But the far more significant, underlying issue is not male vs female, but cleric vs laity. Many of the positions of influence that are closed or nearly closed to women are also closed or nearly closed to lay men as well.

            “Are you unaware that equality of the sexes is merely a decades-old concept and that throughout human history it is men who have held the power?”

            Decades old? “For I tell you there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, woman or man….” One of the most contentious elements of Christianity in the ancient world was the fact that it treated women as equal in worth to men. It was criticized as being a “woman’s religion” because women played such a prominent role. The ancient paradigm of woman as chattel, woman as deformed man, was upturned in favor of a paradigm of women as equals. The church is full of sinners, so it has consistently fallen short of this ideal, but the only reason that the women’s equality movement of the last century even could exist is because it was built on the revolutionary and thoroughly Christian notion that women are of equal dignity and worth.

            But equal dignity and equal worth do not require than men and women be the same. Women don’t have to be priests to be equal to men any more than men would have to be mothers to be equal to women.

          • Korou

            And yet they cannot be priests, cardinals or Popes. And that means that they have no voice – none at all – in leading the Church, choosing its leaders or making Church policy.
            You say that the priesthood is not about power as if power were a bad thing. Why should women be denied the power to teach as a priest does, to help as a priest does, to serve and advise as a priest? Why should a woman not lead as a Cardinal does, or a Pope?

            “Many of the positions of influence that are closed or nearly closed to
            women are also closed or nearly closed to lay men as well.”
            Of course they are. But lay men can become priests, and women cannot.

            “Decades old? “For I tell you there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, woman or man….”

            Yes, very inspiring. But it did not in fact mean that slaves were to be freed, and nor did it mean that women were given positions of power that mean were.

            “One of the most contentious elements of Christianity in the ancient
            world was the fact that it treated women as equal in worth to men. It
            was criticized as being a “woman’s religion” because women played such a prominent role. The ancient paradigm of woman as chattel, woman as deformed man, was upturned in favor of a paradigm of women as equals.”

            In fact, Christianity was unusually accepting of women for some time – but as soon as it gained power and became the official religion this quickly stopped. Christianity only favoured women when it was a small, growing religion.

            “the only reason that the women’s equality movement of the last century even could exist is because it was built on the revolutionary and thoroughly Christian notion that women are of equal dignity and worth.”

            Even though the people who consistently opposed the women’s equality movement were religious and based their opposition on their religion. Yeah, right.

            “But equal dignity and equal worth do not require than men and women be the same. Women don’t have to be priests to be equal to men any more than men would have to be mothers to be equal to women.”
            Exactly the same argument that was made against feminists.

          • wineinthewater

            “And yet they cannot be priests, cardinals or Popes. And that means that they have no voice – none at all – in leading the Church, choosing its leaders or making Church policy.”

            That’s where you display your ignorance of the nature of these things in the Church. Truth is Truth. “Church policy” is a meaningless term that attempts to impose secular notions of control on the way the Church works. As to discerning Truth, priests don’t do that. Bishops don’t do that in isolation. They do it in concert with the theologians of the Church, something that women can be.

            And again, in Catholicism, leadership isn’t about ordination, it’s about holiness and service.

            “In fact, Christianity was unusually accepting of women for some time – but as soon as it gained power and became the official religion this quickly stopped. Christianity only favoured women when it was a small, growing religion.”

            Yet, the depths of Christian sexism was miles above the greatest equality to be found in paganism. And yet, when a convent was doubled with a monastery, it was the abbess who lead.

            “Even though the people who consistently opposed the women’s equality movement were religious and based their opposition on their religion. Yeah, right.”

            They appealed to it, but their religion constantly fought back. People always twist faith to their own ends.

            “You say that the priesthood is not about power as if power were a bad thing.”

            It is a thing of no value in Catholicism, no place. So, using it to frame this discussion is utterly inappropriate. It displays that the conversation is not about the priesthood, but about something else. Advocacy for women’s ordination in order to level the power dynamic is pointless. That can only be done with holiness.

          • Korou

            “That’s where you display your ignorance of the nature of these things in
            the Church. Truth is Truth. “Church policy” is a meaningless term
            that attempts to impose secular notions of control on the way the Church
            works.”

            Really.
            So when the Church decides to change its policies regarding the way it acts in the world, or how it chooses to meet challenges or address issues, or who the next Pope is going to be, women have a voice in that?

            “And again, in Catholicism, leadership isn’t about ordination, it’s about holiness and service.”
            The message for women, then, is “You are not as holy as men, and you are not allowed to serve as they do.”

            “They appealed to it, but their religion constantly fought back. People always twist faith to their own ends.”
            Sheer ignorance of history.

            “Yet, the depths of Christian sexism was miles above the greatest equality to be found in paganism.”
            You are, perhaps, unaware that many non-Christian religions had priestesses?

            “It (power) is a thing of no value in Catholicism, no place.”
            And yet you try to show that women do actually have power in the Catholic Church, by being doctors, abbesses and theologians.

            Nothing you’ve said disproves the simple point: women do not have power in the Catholic Church; they are discriminated against for no other reason than their sex. This is sexism, plain and simple.
            The Catholic Church is free to do this, of course, but let us not pretend that what it is doing is in any way a right thing.

          • wineinthewater

            “So when the Church decides to change its policies regarding the way it acts in the world, or how it chooses to meet challenges or address issues, or who the next Pope is going to be, women have a voice in that?”

            They don’t need to be priests to have that voice. Institutionally the Church could do better at giving the laity in general and women specifically a voice in those things. But none of those are things that are the sole purview of the priesthood.

            “Sheer ignorance of history. ”

            Religion was the wrong choice of words. But true Christianity pushed back against them. For though they would quote Paul when he told wives to be submissive to their husbands, they would ignore Paul when he told husbands and wives to be submissive to each other out of love. The inequality you decry was not rooted in the Christian faith, but the common failures of Christians to live up to their Christian faith.

            “You are, perhaps, unaware that many non-Christian religions had priestesses?”

            I am also aware that priestesses were often temple prostitutes or temple virgins, either way roles not as leaders but as sacrifice. Not an absolute by any means, but a common reality. And while priestess-hood might be a path to greater power, prestige and authority, the major cults were predominantly priest-based.

            “And yet you try to show that women do actually have power in the Catholic Church, by being doctors, abbesses and theologians.”

            No, you asked “How are women allowed to teach, lead, or make decisions in the Catholic Church?” I answered.

            “The message for women, then, is “You are not as holy as men, and you are not allowed to serve as they do.”

            Maybe from some members of the Church, but not from the Church herself. Priests are no more inherently holy than the laity. Those who think they are reject Catholic teaching. And again, sameness is not the only way to equality. We never say that men will never be equal unless they can be mothers as fathers are not just male mothers.

            This is a fundamental premise that underlies your argument that you have yet to substantiate, that the only meaningful path to equality is sameness. Within Christianity, it is in our diversity that we are equal, not in our sameness (“you are many parts, you are one body”). And this makes sense, because people will never all be the same. People will never have all the same opportunities. People will never all have access to the same experiences, benefits or trials. A system of equality built on sameness will always lead to inequality. Those who are not as strong, or smart, or beautiful, or capable or whatever valued characteristic, will never be equal because they will never be the same. In fact, I would say that the inequality that we see in society today is largely due to the embrace of the sameness-based equality you advocate. Our inability to value diversity and diverse characteristics and our insistence that in order to be equal to another one must be the same as another is one of the greatest obstacles to equality in society today.

          • Korou

            “Throughout history, the Catholic Church opposed women’s suffrage
            on its conviction that a woman’s place is in the home. Claiming that if
            women were to engage in political life, their dignity would be impaired,
            the Church argued that in opposing women’s right to vote, it sought to
            protect and defend women.”
            See the rest at http://people.opposingviews.com/catholic-church-womens-suffrage-2388.html

            You can’t seriously argue that the Catholic Church has been a supporter of women’s rights.

          • wineinthewater

            A random page on the internet with no references to actual events or documents is hardly an authoritative source. For example, it is not that women are denied the right to vote in Vatican City, but only Cardinals can vote in Vatican City. That is a much different issue. (Incidentally, there is no reason that a woman cannot be a Cardinal, Cardinal is not a degree of holy orders and it could – and I would say should – be opened to the laity, including women.) But even giving it the benefit of the doubt….

            I have repeated talked about the failures of individual Christians to live up to the Christian faith. So, while many members of the Catholic Church, even from her clergy, have been hostile to women’s rights, the Catholic faith is not. The advent of Christianity represents the greatest surge toward equality for women in Western history. Conversion of hearts is still needed for certain.

          • Korou

            Your own personal view of Christianity may be that it supported equality between the sexes, but I’m afraid the facts of history disagree. Perhaps, though, you can find some evidence that the Vatican supported giving women equal rights or the vote?

          • wineinthewater

            Which is why I have been speaking about the Christian faith. Christians suck at being Christian.

          • Korou

            If Jesus Christ had never taken disciples, if the Church didn’t have the “Jesus didn’t take women so we won’t either” reason for not ordaining women, then would it be a right thing to forbid women who wanted to become priests from doing so?

          • wineinthewater

            I’m not quit sure what you’re asking, “if Jesus had never taken disciples.”

            Jesus took women as disciples, that is not the issue. It was one of the way that he smashed the gender norms of the day. But yet Jesus chose only men for the priesthood. The reality is that there is no way to read Jesus’ choice of men specifically for the priesthood as anything but intentional.

          • Korou

            Right. They hear the message of Jesus about love, peace and sharing and think it means that it means men telling women what to do.

          • wineinthewater

            No, they are fallen human beings, slaves to sin and therefore desire to dominate others and/or elevate themselves. So they grasp for any justification they can, which is why they take one bit of scripture and ignore the rest of scripture and the faith.

          • Korou

            That sounds more or less correct. The desire of men in a patriarchal society leads them to deprive women of rights, grasping at any justification they can – i.e., the paper thin reasoning of “Jesus didn’t make women priests, so he must have meant for women to never be priests.”

          • wineinthewater

            If it’s paper thin, then give the counter-argument.

            Why, when He had women candidates from whom to choose – many of them of better character and ability than the men He did choose – and when he had already shown Himself to be more than willing to flaunt contemporary gender norms, would Jesus choose only men when He instituted the priesthood? If Jesus intended the nature of the priesthood to not be gendered, why did He make such a gendered decision?

          • Korou

            Easy. Because (a) Jesus was himself a product of a patriarchal society, and so it would hardly have occurred to him to give positions of responsibility and power to women and (b) even if it had occurred to him he would have known that, if he wanted people in that same patriarchal society to listen to his disciples, they would have to be men.

            Either way or both, the answer is the same: we’re living in modern times, in a society where men and women are treated equally; there is no reason for women not to be given positions of leadership in the Church if they are qualified for them.

          • wineinthewater

            Both a and b are incompatible with a Jesus who is the very word of God. They ascribe profound limitations to either the personal insight (a) or planning abilities (b) for God Incarnate. So, your counter arguments are that Jesus is not God. If that is the case, what is the point of anyone, much less a woman, being one of his priests?

          • Korou

            Sorry to break it to you, but God actually has a very long record of screwing things up.
            He couldn’t stop Adam and Eve from spoiling paradise, he had to admit that His whole world had gone wrong when he sent the great flood to reboot it all, and the Church that he set up split itself apart, with the wrong half going on to be a great success. God’s story is full of mistakes being made.
            On the other hand, though, this is not necessarily one of them. Jesus may well have judged that his Church would have the best chance of being accepted if it was men who were in charge of it, and so it proved.
            However, we are not living in patriarchal times anymore, and there is no reason not to ordain women, apart from “we’ve never done it before.”

          • wineinthewater

            “Sorry to break it to you, but God actually has a very long record of screwing things up”

            Only if you see granting humans free will as a screw up. Everything you list is the consequence of human free will. But if we did not have free will, we would be unable to love, and would be considerably lesser creatures for it. I don’t see that as a screw up.

            “However, we are not living in patriarchal times anymore, and there is no reason not to ordain women, apart from “we’ve never done it before”

            And all the others that I’ve mentioned. That it means completely jettisoning every mechanism of the church’s teaching authority, restructuring the priesthood into something fundamentally different from what it has been the last 2000 years, and completely upending Catholic sacramental theology. To ask the church to ordain women is to ask her to be something fundamentally and quite drastically different. That might not stop you from advocating for it, but at least be honest about what a tremendous thing you are asking.

          • Korou

            No, I don’t see granting human free will as a screw up. What I see is the screw ups!
            Look at the character of God as he is portrayed in the Bible. He can’t get anything right! He built a paradise, Adam and Eve wrecked it for him. He had to reboot the whole human race with a flood. Then, goodness me, there’s the Tower of Babel! The Egyptians have enslaved the Israelites? Must do something about that…after a few hundred years. Right, thinks God, I’ll sort this out. I’ll go down in person and tell them what I…hang on, they killed me! Well, at least the religion’s got started – wait, they’re splitting! Heresies abound.

            It’s quite undeniable that God does, in fact, get things wrong an awful lot. And you can’t just write it off as saying “Humans have free will, therefore they’re to blame” because God is clearly doing his best to try to fix the situation – sending prophets, speaking to people in person, working miracles, even coming down himself – but he just can’t seem to get it right.

            Now, on your other point: “To ask the church to ordain women is to ask her to be something fundamentally and quite drastically different.”
            Interesting. You might be right. There are two possible outcomes I can think of:

            1. Making this change is not a problem. Plenty of other Christian denominations have made the change to a more liberal approach, without self-destructing. Yes, the Catholic Church is somewhat less flexible – it’s whole “we’ve never been wrong and can never be wrong” schtick is not one that is conducive to correcting mistakes – but I’m sure the theologians are up to the task of finding some pretext on which this change could be made without admitting that they made a mistake.
            2. Making this change benefits the Church. Considering that the large majority of Catholics actually want the Church to allow women priests, and that the Church is suffering from a serious shortage of priests, I imagine that this change would be both well-received (except by the conservative; fortunately, they are the ones most likely to do as the Pope tells them to) and beneficial to the Church.
            3. Making this change causes serious problems. All that you have foretold comes true. In which case, so what? Are you arguing that the Church should refrain from doing the right thing – and we are, just in this case, proceeding on the hypothetical assumption that women’s ordination is morally right – because it causes it inconvenience? If ordaining women as priests causes the skies to fall, well, Catholics can at least take comfort in knowing that they did the morally right thing. and so they should.

          • wineinthewater

            “It’s quite undeniable that God does, in fact, get things wrong an awful lot.”

            Or, God is honoring our free will and only intervening enough to stave off absolute disaster. Like the parent who allows their toddler to fall, but not walk off the pier.

            “1. Making this change is not a problem. Plenty of other Christian denominations have made the change to a more liberal approach, without self-destructing.”

            You sure about that? Look at the Anglican Communion. The parts of that confederation of churches that have embraced this more liberal approach are the ones that have seen the greatest decimation of their numbers out of old mainline Chritianity. If. It for their tradition of extremely well-funded endowments, it would be even worse. Meanwhile the parts of the communion from the global South that have resisted women’s ordination are far healthier. Most of the other Christian bodies that have embraced a form of female ordination are not Eucharistic, so they weren’t facing such a fundamental change to their ecclesiogy.

            “2. Making this change benefits the Church. Considering that the large majority of Catholics actually want the Church to allow women priests, and that the Church is suffering from a serious shortage of priests, I imagine that this change would be both well-received ”

            Most of the polls that show such overwhelming support for women’s ordination do not control for whether they are practicing Catholics. When you look at the polls that ask the weekly mass attenders what they think, the numbers get quite different and support is no longer in the majority. Additionally, the denominations that have embraced women’s ordinations have not found it to be a cure for vocations shortages beyond a very short-lives surge. In the Catholic Church, vocations are notably strongest in diocese and religious orders known for orthodoxy. Widespread support for issues like women’s ordination tend to trend inversely with vocations. So it does not make sense to assume that opening up the priesthood would solve any vocations crisis when all of the empirical data is to the contrary.

            “and we are, just in this case, proceeding on the hypothetical assumption that women’s ordination is morally right – because it causes it inconvenience?”

            No, we cannot assume that your conclusion is right for the sake of arguing that your conclusion is right. It’s the very definition of begging the question.

            Plus, everything that I’ve talked about is more than mere convenience. It is the complete and utter redefinition of the Catholic faith. It is more than an inconvenience to overthrow the Church’s authority, her sacramental theology, the very source and summit of her worship. That’s a lot to do based on the still unproven contention that the only way for women to be equal in the church is for them to be priests.

          • Korou

            First, the question of God making mistakes. You think he’s honouring our free will by letting us make mistakes – but that, like a good parent, he stands ready to step in and save us? Would it be fair to say that that’s what you meant?
            If so, I cannot agree – and I don’t believe that anyone who rationally views the story of the Christian God can either. Let’s use your example of a child walking near a pier to see how well God does at fatherhood.
            In the beginning, God made a perfect world. Shortly after, it was ruined. Why? Because free-willed people at the apple that God told them not to eat. In terms of your analogy, God sees his children toddling by a pier, says to them “Don’t walk off the edge of the pier” – and then watches as they do so.

            When we next encounter God in the story He is angry at the world for being so wicked, and ordering Noah to build an Ark to save the righteous few. Wow, what a father figure! Is there a comparable way we could show this in real life with a real human parent? Perhaps if you imagine a (single) father with a large number of children. Angry at the way they are all fighting, he takes his favourite child off to a safe place and then…well, this is where the metaphor breaks down a bit. The father kills all the other children, perhaps by dynamiting the house down on top of them.
            Is this what you’d call the behaviour of a loving father who steps in to save us at the last minute? God is more modelled on the idea of an emperor – and an autocratic, brutal emperor at that.
            I won’t bother to write down any more examples. Go to http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/an-almighty-screwup/
            to see a fuller list of God’s horrific mistakes. Suffice it to say that we should all be very glad that none of us had a father who loves us the way God did. A real father doesn’t brutally punish his children when they make mistakes or murder them when they break his rules.

          • wineinthewater

            “I won’t bother to write down any more examples. Go to http://www.patheos.com/blogs/d…to see a fuller list of God’s horrific mistakes. ”

            A blog post that depends on a Protestant, literalist interpretation of the Old Testament has little relevance on whether the Catholic Church should ordain women. Catholics read the OT theologically, not as a literal history. There is plenty of history in it, but it is not a history book.

            Paradise is not a geographical place, it is the perfect communion of God and humanity. when humans sinned, they broke that communion and were “exiled” from paradise. Look at the context of the great flood. The whole world is wicked and Noah the last righteous man (not a literal history after all, so that it stretches credibility does not matter), so God destroys the wickedness before the wickedness can destroy the last spark of righteousness in humanity. And on….

            The theme is of humanity having free will, humanity using its free will to sin, God tolerating it in order to preserve our free will and thus our humanity (for we certainly would not have been truly free, nor truly human if God had stacked the deck to prevent us from ever sinning and rejecting Him), God intervening only when humanity was on the verge of destroying itself utterly, God laying the seeds of salvation throughout history, God ultimately coming Himself to bridge the chasm of sin that we created and can never bridge ourselves. It’s a story of God preserving humanity all the while humanity sought to destroy itself.

          • Korou

            Irrelevant, I’m afraid.
            It doesn’t matter whether you believe that this was literal or metaphorical, it still shows God to be incompetent. He made a perfect world, but nothing he could do could stop it from being utterly corrupted. Is this God standing by ready to save us at the last minute, or God standing by watching his children walk off the pier?

            His attempted solution was that “God destroys the wickedness before the wickedness can destroy the last spark of righteousness in humanity” – in other words, he killed everyone. How exactly does this show God in a good light?
            The pattern is the same throughout the story. Whether you believe the events of the Bible were literal or metaphorical, they show God as incompetent and vicious. By the way, do Catholics believe that the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians? Does the story of God striking indiscriminately among the Egyptians and murdering their babies show God in a good light?

            And then take Christianity:
            “He descended to Earth and took mortal form…and told them he had come to give them a completely new message…
            For once obeying the law they had been given so long ago, the Jews promptly seized this incarnated god, charged him with blasphemy, and killed him.
            Christians, of course, claim that this was what God had in mind all along, that only through the shedding of his blood could we be forgiven for our sins. However, I am not so sure. Throughout all the millennia God knew the Jews, he failed to ever tell them that this was the method of redemption he had in mind…
            Besides, God is supposed to be all-powerful. If he wanted to forgive us, why couldn’t he just forgive us? Why was the agonizing and bloody death of an innocent person necessary for human salvation? Perhaps it was not, and God’s propagandists only attributed this significance to it afterward to avoid this debacle being labeled as another complete failure.”
            See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/an-almighty-screwup/#sthash.Nb4vdf0G.dpuf

            And then there’s Catholicism itself.God has established Christianity, and gives it his divine blessing. And yet he is unable to prevent it from being plagued by heresy after heresy and eventually from splitting altogether. And then, despite the best efforts of the Catholic Church, God is unable to make it clear to his people that it is the right one.

            You can’t just write this off as saying “Free will, God’s hands are tied.” God, as you yourself have said, has a history of directly intervening in human affairs. He wanted to give the Jews a new message and he failed, tragically. He wanted to set up a new Church and he failed, enormously. At exactly which point does God step in to save his children from walking off the edge? A few well-placed miracles are all it would have taken to convince the sincere Christians of the Protestant Churches that the Catholic Church was the one true faith. But no. God just stands by and watches it happen. It’s almost like He doesn’t exist at all.

          • wineinthewater

            “Irrelevant, I’m afraid.
            It doesn’t matter whether you believe that this was literal or metaphorical, it still shows God to be incompetent.”

            This is just another example of a theme. You have an interpretation of religious matters and refuse to let Catholicism interpret those matters in their own way. I guess as you know Catholic theology so much better than the Catholic Church just as you know so much better than those less developed people you dismiss.

            In the Catholic worldview, it does not show God to be incompetent. It shows a God who honors the freedom of His creation, for a creature unable to choose self-destruction is not truly free. It also shows humanity’s growing understanding of God, an understanding that begins in broad strokes and gets more and more specific and nuanced.

            “A few well-placed miracles are all it would have taken to convince the sincere Christians of the Protestant Churches that the Catholic Church was the one true faith. But no.”

            Plenty of miracles later and there are still plenty of Protestants. “Sincerity” is no guarantee of clear vision. The moment that a miracle becomes so powerful that it cannot be resisted, free will is gone. God could set up creation to lead inexorably to the Catholic Church and salvation, but a will without choices is not free.

            And still, you have not proved that the only way for women to be equal is for them to be ordained priests, and that therefore the Catholic Church must upend her whole theology, ecclesiology and soteriology. Digression after digression and your fundamental premise remains unproven.

          • Korou

            “You have an interpretation of religious matters and refuse to let Catholicism interpret those matters in their own way.”
            Do you really think so? Catholics are free to interpret their religion in any way they please. And I’m free to tell them that they’re talking nonsense. If you think I’m wrong then do feel free to point out why.

            “I guess as you know Catholic theology so much better than the Catholic Church just as you know so much better than those less developed people you dismiss.”
            It isn’t hard to know better than the Catholic Church, as it suffers from a huge handicap: the God it believes in doesn’t exist. This means they have to rationalise away, as you are doing now, all of the things which don’t make sense about the universe. For example: we live in an uncaring world in which you claim that God loves us and looks after us. How exactly does “a God who honors the freedom of His creation, for a creature unable to choose self-destruction is not truly free” fit with a God who is like “the parent who allows their toddler to fall, but not walk off the pier.” Would you not call “choosing self-destruction” falling off the pier?

            God has stood by while his people fell of a number of piers. He let them curse and ruin their own nature and the whole world; he pushed them off the pier in the Great Flood (or, as Catholics believe, there is a story that he did that, and the story shows God’s character to be morally praiseworthy). He allowed his Church to suffer a split from which it has never recovered. You can’t say that a God who rescued his people from slavery in Ancient Egypt wouldn’t have wanted to rescue them from heresy in the middle ages; the stories clearly show that God wants to intervene in human affairs for the better. The problem is that the stories – yours, not mine – show that God is just very bad at it.

            “The moment that a miracle becomes so powerful that it cannot be resisted, free will is gone.”
            Moses, Elijah and Jesus Christ are all there to tell you that you’re talking nonsense. It makes a good excuse for why we never see God working indisputable miracles any more, but unfortunately it’s entirely at odds with the Biblical accounts of God “nullifying people’s free will” with careless abandon.

            Besides which, it doesn’t even make sense. If God Himself were to appear before me right now, writing a personal message to me in the stars and taking me and a video camera to heaven, it wouldn’t nullify my free will. I’d have to be crazy not to become a Christian under those circumstances, but I would still have the option to if I (free) willed it.

            And yes, we have rather wandered from the original premise. The answer is very simple, though. Discrimination based on sex alone is a bad thing, and the Catholic Church has no valid reasons to do so. the reason Jesus chose men as his disciples was that he lived in a patriarchal age when anything else would have been out of place; and since we no longer live in that age there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be allowed to lead religious organisations. That’s basically all it comes down to.

          • wineinthewater

            “And I’m free to tell them that they’re talking nonsense.”

            Yes you are. But you aren’t free to say that the conclusions we draw from our interpretations of religious texts are wrong because our interpretations don’t align with your interpretations.

            “Moses, Elijah and Jesus Christ are all there to tell you that you’re talking nonsense.”

            Actually, Jesus says quite the opposite: “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” People saw Jesus raised from the dead, even ascend to heaven and still did not believe. So even those miracles were not so powerful as to nullify free will.

            “Discrimination based on sex alone is a bad thing, and the Catholic Church has no valid reasons to do so. the reason Jesus chose men as his disciples was that he lived in a patriarchal age when anything else would have been out of place; and since we no longer live in that age there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be allowed to lead religious organisations.”

            And it is like we have not spoken at all. I have given you plenty of reasons beyond pure sex discrimination for a male-only priesthood. And I have repeatedly made the point that priesthood is not the only, nor the most powerful, mode of leadership in the Catholic Church. Yet you keep coming back to these assertions based on the premise that you have still not proven, that the only way for women to be equals is for them to be ordained.

          • Korou

            “And I’m free to tell them that they’re talking nonsense.”
            Yes you are. But you aren’t free to say that the conclusions we draw from our interpretations of religious texts are wrong because our interpretations don’t align with your interpretations.”

            The two are the same thing. The conclusions that you draw from your interpretations of religious texts are self-contradictory. And you have failed to prove that they aren’t.

            You have given me plenty of reasons to justify the Catholic Church’s stance on not ordaining women. The problem is the same: they’re not good reasons. You have also repeatedly made the point that men do not have the only means of power within the Catholic Church; and I showed how you were wrong. Exactly what power do women weild within the Catholic Church? Exactly what influence do they exercise in its choices, it’s policies and its decisions? Being permitted to be mothers and teachers.

            On the subject of people not believing Jesus when they saw his miracles, just two words: Doubting Thomas.

            It is ridiculous to think that God, all-knowing, all-wise and all-loving, wanted to prevent the split of the Catholic Church but was unable to even attempt some Old-Testament-style miracles to do so. Much easier to say that these miracles really happened in ancient times, however, when nobody can contradict you.

          • wineinthewater

            “The conclusions that you draw from your interpretations of religious texts are self-contradictory. And you have failed to prove that they aren’t.”

            You have failed to prove that they are. So many of your criticisms here stem from reading scripture like a Protestant and not a Catholic. For a Catholic, every piece of scripture must be read in its theological context and within the overarching theme of salvation through Jesus. It is an unfolding, a story of God building the foundation of salvation and humanity recovering from the Fall, constantly coming to a greater and greater understand of the God they so often reject. Your contradictions stem from reading pieces of scripture as literal stories ripped from that integrated whole. When the Church assembled and wrote the Bible, they understood those scriptures a certain way. Your criticism relies on saying, “well, when I read them, I understand them differently, in a way that makes them contradict each other; it doesn’t matter what meaning you invested in your own scripture, my interpretation is all that matters.

            “You have also repeatedly made the point that men do not have the only means of power within the Catholic Church; and I showed how you were wrong. Exactly what power do women weild within the Catholic Church? Exactly what influence do they exercise in its choices, it’s policies and its decisions? Being permitted to be mothers and teachers.”

            I’m sorry, but you need to work on your reading comprehension. I offered a lot more than just mothers and teachers: theologians, Doctors of the Church, heads of Curial bodies, administrators in all levels of the Church. And more important than all of them, including anything from the clergy: holiness. Sainthood is the highest form of influence in Catholicism.

          • Korou

            “you aren’t free to say that the conclusions we draw from our
            interpretations of religious texts are wrong because our interpretations
            don’t align with your interpretations.”
            Of course I am. That’s what “I’m free to disagree with you” means.
            You’re free to believe whatever you like. I’m free to point out that you’re talking nonsense.

            As for Jesus, I have just two words to say: Doubting Thomas.

            And yes, you have given me plenty of reasons for why your arguments are valid. The problem is, they’re not good reasons. I come back to “the Catholic Church is sexist and wrong to not ordain women” because it’s as simple as that, and nothing you’d said so far has shown a believable reason why it isn’t.

          • Korou

            “Plenty of other Christian denominations have made the change to a more liberal approach, without self-destructing.”You sure about that?”

            Yes, I am. They may be getting smaller – most religious numbers are falling – but that’s very far from self-destructing. And speaking of which, don’t you realise that the Catholic Church is also declining? Mass attendance and numbers of priests, to take the two main indicators, are steadily dropping. This is not some recent fluctuation, but part of a long-term trend. And although Catholic numbers are looking healthy this may be an illusion. First, as you said yourself, it’s likely that many of them aren’t “serious Catholics”. Second, the figures are probably inflated by the Catholic practice of counting as many members as they can, even when those members do not wish to be considered Catholics. And third, the greatest growth is taking place in the less developed countries.

            So you have to make a choice about what you’re going to say about the Church. The majority of Catholics who want a more liberal Church, accepting of gay people, contraception and women’s ordination – are they “real” or “practicing” Catholics or aren’t they? Do they count?
            If they are, then it seems reasonable to suppose that changes to make the Church more liberal would be popular with the Catholic laity, and benefit the Catholic Church. It’s very hard to deny this; it’s what they say they want. If the Church gives them progress, then why would they not be happy?
            If they aren’t, then you’re in no position to sneer at other donominations for imploding – the Catholic Church has already imploded, leaving just a small minority of “real, true” Catholics.

            And to answer your other point, I’m not begging the question. We’re assuming that women’s ordination is morally right in this case only because if we don’t then there’s no point in your saying that it’s too inconvenient to change. In other words, you’re trying to convince me that even if I’m right it still couldn’t be done. See what I mean?

            To which the answer is: Is this the famous Catholic Church speaking? The “we don’t do what’s easy, we just care about doing what’s right” Catholic Church? I don’t care if it disrupts your authority, rewrites records and calls faith into question – and you shouldn’t either. The only question you should be thinking about is, is this the right thing to do?
            As I’ve shown, though, it’s very far from certain that – from a purely organisational view – ordaining women would be bad for the Catholic Church. Very probably – especially if this was accompanying other badly-needed reforms – it would benefit it.

            For me, it’s a win-win situation. Yes, I would prefer it if the Catholic Church were to fix it’s problems and stop discriminating against women, homosexuals, transgenders, etc. But if they don’t, at least I have the consolation of seeing them dig their own graves. It would be nice to see the Catholic Church become a force for good in the world, but if not at least it is reducing its own ability to be a force of any kind at all.

            It will certainly be interesting to watch what happens over the next few decades. My bet is that the Church will continue its slide into irrelevance until eventually – perhaps too late – it makes the changes that its members have been pressing it to make for far too long.

          • wineinthewater

            “They may be getting smaller – most religious numbers are falling – but that’s very far from self-destructing. ”

            If most religious numbers are falling, then Anglican numbers are plummeting at terminal velocity. They have seen their numbers decimated far beyond what we see in almost any other Christian body, despite their embrace of the progressive agenda. And despite their falling numbers, they still have a vocations problem. Women priests have not proven a solution.

            “Second, the figures are probably inflated by the Catholic practice of counting as many members as they can, even when those members do not wish to be considered Catholics.”

            Most numbers are not based on who the Church considers Catholic, but who considers themselves Catholic. If it were based on who the Church considers Catholic, the numbers would be much higher. And yes, the identity issue does inflate how things look, yet still Catholicism is growing both globally and in the US (although US numbers benefit from immigration to some extent, one of the many reasons Republicans oppose immigration).

            “And third, the greatest growth is taking place in the less developed countries.”

            Wow, the subtle bigotry and condescension in that statement is astounding. I guess those “less developed” people don’t matter.

            “We’re assuming that women’s ordination is morally right in this case only because if we don’t then there’s no point in your saying that it’s too inconvenient to change.”

            Straw man, again, this time times two. I never said it was inconvenient. I said that it would require a complete revolution of Catholic theology. Catholicism excels at the inconvenient, that is far more than mere inconvenience. Further, I did not give that as a reason not to ordain women. I gave it because your statements have implied that the change is not such a big deal, so why not do it. But it is a big deal, so it will require it to be firmly established that it actually is the moral thing to do first. And if women cannot actually be priests (whether or not the Catholic Church decides to ordain them will make no difference if they in fact can’t be priests) then it is certainly not the moral thing to do.

            “It would be nice to see the Catholic Church become a force for good in the world”

            I guess being the single largest source of charity in the world is not enough (by some estimates, exceeding all other non-governmental assistance combined). But this, too, begs the question. The “goods” that the Catholic Church opposes have not proven to be good. If abortion, greed, contraception, sexual license, rampant consumptionism, gender indifferentism, the objectification and commodification of human beings, etc. are in fact good, then the Catholic Church is not a force for good. But if they are not good, then the Catholic Church IS a force for good.

          • Korou

            “Most numbers are not based on who the Church considers Catholic, but who
            considers themselves Catholic. If it were based on who the Church
            considers Catholic, the numbers would be much higher. ”
            I’m not sure why you think this helps your case. It is an established fact that people who identify as Catholics disagree with Church policies. Are you now saying that people who do not consider themselves Catholics actually are? While I agree that the Church does inflate its numbers by, for one thing, refusing to recognise people’s decision to leave the Church, I cannot see how people who do not consider themselves to be Catholics would be likely to support Church policies.

            “Wow, the subtle bigotry and condescension in that statement is astounding. I guess those “less developed” people don’t matter.”
            Who said they didn’t matter? I’m just saying that I would trust the judgement of uneducated people living in deprived circumstances much less. Take an example – the Catholics of Uganda have a 99% opposition rate to gay marriage. Uganda, of course, is also famous for its recent “kill the gays” bill, although we should all be grateful that they eventually changed the sentence for homosexual activity to life imprisonment.

            “I never said it was inconvenient. I said that it would require a
            complete revolution of Catholic theology. Catholicism excels at the
            inconvenient, that is far more than mere inconvenience.”
            Stop avoiding the question. If ordaining women was the right thing to do, should the Catholic Church do it, regardless of the inconvenience?

            “I guess being the single largest source of charity in the world is not enough”
            Credit where it’s due – congratulations to the child-abuse-shielding, sexist, bigoted organisation for the good work that it does in charity. Whether or not this is enough to make up for the harm it has done to children’s lives, the disgrace of its having protected and enabled child abusers for decades and the harm it has caused by opposing contraception, abortion and divorce is another question.
            My point is that while I would certainly be happy to see the Catholic Church mend its ways, I’m also happy that, by digging its heels in, it is further lowering its reputation, both among its members and among non-Catholics.

          • wineinthewater

            “I’m not sure why you think this helps your case.”

            You contended that Catholic numbers were inflated by the Church counting people as Catholic against their will. My point was that those numbers are actually based on people who count themselves Catholic.

            But my point stands. The Christian body that has most fully embraced the progressive agenda you advocate is the Christian body that has seen the greatest decline. And while the identity issue somewhat confounds the comparison to Catholicism, it does not confound comparisons to non-Catholic Christian bodies that do not have the same identity trend. The parts of the Anglican Communion most on board with the progressive ideal have seen decline far beyond any non-Catholic Christian body either. It’s hard to make the argument that the Catholic Church’s future depends on getting on board with what you suggest when the empirical evidence shows that getting on board correlates very strongly to a very dim future.

            “I’m just saying that I would trust the judgement of uneducated people living in deprived circumstances much less.”

            Because the developed world is such a bastion of wisdom. We consume resources at a per capita rate that is nothing other than gluttonous. We kill 1/4 of our children before they are born. 1/3 and 9/10 if they are guilty of the sins of being black or disabled – 3/4 for being black in New York – even while we trumpet diversity and that “black lives matter.” We treat workers in other countries like chattel, whether they are making our t-shirts or incubating our custom-ordered children (unless those children don’t come out “right,” then we just abandon them there). There are more slaves in New York City today than any time in history. Our systems of social welfare are both inadequate and deeply condescending and de-humanizing as well as trapping. Ours is a culture of human objectification, whether it is that third world rent-a-womb, the unwanted child, the hyper sexualized girl, the worker, etc. Our national religion of politics is more irrational than any piety to be found in one of those developing countries. We treat war not as the last recourse of justice but as a way to score political points. Our meddling in other countries almost always leaves them worse off, and often is the source of their problems in the first place.

            No, we can claim no moral high ground, and when we look down on the failures of those “less developed, uneducated” people, we reveal how blind we are to our many and sundry failures.

            “If ordaining women was the right thing to do, should the Catholic Church do it, regardless of the inconvenience?”

            Yes, but you have yet to establish that it is the right thing to do. Your fundamental premise that sameness is the only path to equality sits out there as an assertion only.

            “Credit where it’s due – congratulations to the child-abuse-shielding, sexist, bigoted organisation for the good work that it does in charity.”

            Ah, I wondered how long it would take you to get there. Child abuse is not a Catholic problem, but a human problem. Consider that at the worse of things, priests were abusers at about the same or at a lower rate than the general population. And now the rates are minuscule compared to the rest of the population. The Catholic Church now has some of the most robust child protections in society. It’s not perfect, but its far beyond what the rest of society is doing. The practice of moving abusers around was not a uniquely Catholic problem. Public schools still do it; it’s called “moving the trash around” and we should not be surprised that teachers have just about the highest rate of abuse of any demographic. And when we look at why they did it, we find that avoiding responsibility was only part of it. The other part was that contemporary psychology told them that abusers could be fixed and that abuse didn’t really harm children. The abuse crisis in the Church was due to Catholics not following Catholic teaching and listening instead to the prevailing sexual mores of the day. It doesn’t absolve them of responsibility, but it does reveal the ridiculousness of using the abuse crisis as the basis for an argument that the Church should ignore its teaching an listen instead to the prevailing sexual mores of the day when that was one of the principal causes of the abuse crisis.

            Catholic churches are now some of the safest places for children in society. Much safer than schools, day cares, sports teams, even their own homes. And that has come through greater fidelity to Catholic teaching, not changes to it.

          • Korou

            “You contended that Catholic numbers were inflated by the Church counting people as Catholic against their will. My point was that those numbers are actually based on people who count themselves Catholic.”
            These two things are not mutually exclusive. The Catholic Church counts whoever it is able when assessing its numbers, and refuses to acknowledge that people who wish to leave the Catholic faith have done so. And yes, every time a survey has been done of Catholic attitudes it has shown them to be much more liberal than the Church, and yes, that it from people who identify themselves as Catholics. Unless you’re asserting that non-Catholics are lying about their faith in answering surveys because they want to give Catholicism a bad name, there’s nothing to contradict what’s plainly obvious: Catholics want women priests, gay rights, contraception and divorce.
            It may be that you’re right about the Catholic Church adopting a more liberal policy. It may be that it would lead to its members falling away. But it’s by no means certain. Remember, your example is the Anglicans – a completely different branch of Christianity. Who’s to say that Catholics would react the same way? One thing we do know, however: when Catholics are asked if they want the Church to change its attitudes on divorce, gay marriage, women priests and contraception their answer is a clear “YES”. So how can you think that they would support the Church less if it gave them what they wanted?

            You accuse the developed world of hypocrisy and arrogance, and there certainly is some truth to that. But there’s not much truth to be found in your listing of its failings. First, you must know that abortion is not considered to be a moral failing by all. Second, healthcare in the USA has recently been greatly improved, and in other parts of the developed world is much better. And that’s a theme with many of your other answers – they’re rather USA-centric, and if you say that American politics is crazy there are quite a number of developed countries who would agree with you.
            This does not, however, obscure the key point, which is this: for all their failings, the developed world has at least progressed to the point where it realises that people should not be jailed or executed for the crime of being gay, which is what the people of Uganda – to take the example I gave and that you ignored – think.

            “Your fundamental premise that sameness is the only path to equality sits out there as an assertion only.”
            That’s what you say my fundamental premise is, not what I say it is.
            I say that true equality is equality of opportunity, not sameness. The arguments that you’re using are nothing more than recycled arguments from the earlier anti-feminists who argued against women having the vote, equal pay and equal access to education. They were prove wrong then, and they’re no more right because you’ve dug them up again and applied them to the Catholic Church. Same issue, same arguments – women should stick to what God told them to do – being mothers – and forget about being leaders of any kind.

            “I wondered how long it would take you to get there.”
            I should hope you have been expecting this. The Catholic Church does not deserve to have people forget what it did. On the other hand, I wish I could say that your attitude of “Oh, it wasn’t the Church’s fault, and anyway it’s all better now” came as a surprise to me, but sadly that seems to be the Church’s default reaction.
            The Catholic abuse scandals were due to one thing only: when faced with the choice of letting people know that priests were abusing children or protecting the reputation of the Church, the reputation of the Church was deemed to be more important. Not, as you say, by a handful of bad apples, but by the entire Church itself. The proof of this? You can see it in an official document, sent out in 1962 and confirmed as still valid in 2001, which gives clear instructions as to exactly what to do in cases of priests sexually abusing others, including children. The instructions? Transfer the priests if possible, keep all proceedings completely secret – including swearing the victims to secrecy – and, if the priest was found to be guilty, letting them off with the most lenient possible sentences. At no stage were the police to be involved.
            “Prevailing sexual mores of the day?” Nonsense. The Church was
            guided by a thoroughly Catholic attitude: the Church is always right and cannot be seen to be wrong.”
            You can read a pdf of this document here, linked at the top of this article.
            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/aug/17/religion.childprotection
            I imagine that your reaction will be that this is merely to do with the silence of the confessional (it isn’t), that it doesn’t say that the police shouldn’t be called in (it does) or that it doesn’t deal with child abuse (it does). The document is thoroughly damning, and shows that Church reactions to the child abuse scandals, far from being the one-off reactions of unethical bishops, were exactly what the Vatican itself ordered.

            As to the second part of your “Nothing ever really went wrong, and anyway it’s all better now” – well, that may be what the Church says. But when faced with a test, it failed miserably. The United Nations recently judged that the Vatican was a disgrace when it came to protecting children. You can see an article about it here
            http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/keith-porteous-wood/vatican-child-abuse_b_4774147.html
            This article links to the full document, which condemns the Vatican in no uncertain terms. For example:
            “The Committee nevertheless expresses its deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide. The Committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”
            There’s plenty more where that came from. The Church has changed? Only because it’s been found out. All it’s changed from is “Trust us, we would never harm children” to “Trust us, we have learned from our mistakes and would now never harm children.”

          • wineinthewater

            “The Catholic Church counts whoever it is able when assessing its numbers, and refuses to acknowledge that people who wish to leave the Catholic faith have done so.”

            This is patently false. The Church counts everyone who is baptized Catholic who has not formally left the Church. If you don’t want the Church to consider you Catholic, all you have to do is formally (publicly and explicitly) express that you are no longer Catholic. But what does it matter? The Church’s “population count” does not factor here at all; all the polling and demographic information out there is based on self-identification as Catholic, not who the Church counts as Catholic.

            “Catholics want women priests, gay rights, contraception and divorce.”

            And those Catholics are overwhelmingly non-practicing. It is non-sensical to say that the opinions of people who do not care enough about their faith to practice it and do not care enough about their dissent to sever ties with the Church over it should force the Catholic Church to change her teaching. Further, it is unjust to say that the opinions of people who do not care enough about their faith to practice it or enough about their dissent to sever ties with the Church over it should carry more weight than the opinions of people who do care enough about their faith to practice it, people who do not overwhelmingly support women priests, gay marriage (something distinct from gay rights), contraception and divorce.

            “It may be that it would lead to its members falling away. But it’s by no means certain. Remember, your example is the Anglicans – a completely different branch of Christianity. Who’s to say that Catholics would react the same way?”

            Again, empirical data. The religious orders that have embraced the progressive agenda you propose are dying of old age. Meanwhile, the religious orders that are seeing an increase in vocations are all known for fidelity to Catholic teaching. Similarly, in parishes and diocese where faithfulness to Catholic belief features prominently, vocations to the priesthood are actually up even while more “liberal” areas see the vocations crisis worsening. The trend is solid, parishes where this progressive agenda is embraced over Catholic teaching generally see fewer sacraments, fewer baptisms, fewer marriages, fewer conversions to Catholicism.

            There is no indication that this change would strengthen the Church and every indication that it would weaken it. And this should not be surprising considering that support for it is strongest among Catholics who don’t care enough about their faith to practice it. Catering to what are, quite frankly, milquetoast Catholics is not a recipe for success.

            “This does not, however, obscure the key point, which is this: for all their failings, the developed world has at least progressed to the point where it realises that people should not be jailed or executed for the crime of being gay, which is what the people of Uganda – to take the example I gave and that you ignored – think.”

            And my point is that the failings of the “progressed” developed world mean that it has no basis for taking some moral high ground, even in the face of injustices like the one you cite.

            “I say that true equality is equality of opportunity, not sameness.”

            But even that is an argument from sameness of opportunity. It is not that women must be able to be leaders in the Church, they must be able to lead in a specific way. And this vision of equality is flawed. For men will never have the opportunity to be mothers, nor women fathers, and it is more than just biology.

            “Same issue, same arguments – women should stick to what God told them to do – being mothers – and forget about being leaders of any kind.”

            You just won’t let go of this straw man. Mothers *are* leaders in the Church by simple virtue of their motherhood. Motherhood is a role of influence, leadership and “power,” one of the greatest .. just look at the Catholic relationship to Mary. Your denigration of the significance of this role is actually extremely sexist. In order to make your argument about the inequality of women, you have to tear down the significance of a role only they can fill. There is an irony that this approach to eliminating sexism is built on fundamental sexism.

            And, of course, this straw man ignores that the greatest influence in the Church comes from holiness, not ordination.

            “The Catholic Church does not deserve to have people forget what it did. On the other hand, I wish I could say that your attitude of “Oh, it wasn’t the Church’s fault, and anyway it’s all better now” came as a surprise to me, but sadly that seems to be the Church’s default reaction.”

            Straw man, again. The Catholic Church does not deserve to have people forget what it did. And the failings of the Church are very much the fault of the Church. Things are overall, much better, but that does not mean that there are not still problems, things are better than a pretty low standard of what was happening in the Church and an even lower standard than the condition of our society today when it comes to the protection of children.

            The fact that the abuse crisis occurred, in part, due to the influence from outside the Church does little to excuse the Church and is all the more damning. Priests abuse at a lower rate than the general public, but the fact that priests abused at all is unacceptable. The Church is not the only institution that covered up and exacerbated the problem of abuse, but if every institution were guilty, the Church should have been the one institution that didn’t. I’ll defend the Church against unjust accusations when it comes to abuse, but that leaves plenty of just accusations.

            But the fact remains, this is a canard. What does it have to do with the ordination of women. Many people have said that if only women were ordained, this would have stopped the problem. But the numbers show that abuse happened at comparable rates in churches with women’s ordination. And, we can look to public schools to put a lie to that idea. Within that institution, we probably have some of the greatest representation of women and women in positions of power and authority. It is also a social institution that ascribes in greater proportion to the kind of progressive agenda you advocate. Yet public schools are the social institution where the crisis of abuse is the worst. Teacher is the demographic with the highest rate of abuse outside of parent.

            If these “progressive ideals” and the presence of women and women in positions of power are no safeguard against the abuse of children, then what relevance is the Catholic abuse crisis to whether or not women should be priests? What point does it serve other than ad hominem?

          • Korou

            “This is patently false.”
            Actually, no; it’s absolutely true. See this story about people who tried to have themselves officially removed from the Church lists, and how the Church responded by changing its rules so that they couldn’t.
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/08/13/countmeout-ie-a-website-that-showed-irish-catholics-how-to-formally-leave-the-church-will-shut-down/

            “There is no indication that this change would strengthen the Church and
            every indication that it would weaken it. And this should not be
            surprising considering that support for it is strongest among Catholics
            who don’t care enough about their faith to practice it. Catering to
            what are, quite frankly, milquetoast Catholics is not a recipe for
            success.”
            You’ve got it all backwards. Catholics are not Anglicans. The two denominations are not comparable.
            Are you not aware that Mass attendance is in steady, inexorable decline, and has been for decades? Catholics are quite simply leaving the Church, more and more. It’s a clear downward progress, one that’s been going on for a long time and looks set to continue. what do you think it is that caused this decline? When the Catholics who have, as you yourself say, tell you what they want from the Church, why do you not think that giving them that would (a) encourage them to come back and (b) stop others from leaving? You disdainfully refer to them as milquetoast Catholics, but their principled stands make them look more like genuinely moral people who are unwilling to be associated with an immoral Church.
            I repeat: why do you think people are leaving the Catholic Church? and bear in mind this as well – the people who are staying, the conservative minorities – it’s a safe bet that these are the older members. Which means that soon you’ll be facing an even steeper decline – an “implosion”, as you put it.

            “You just won’t let go of this straw man. Mothers *are* leaders in the
            Church by simple virtue of their motherhood. Motherhood is a role of
            influence, leadership and “power,” one of the greatest .. just look at
            the Catholic relationship to Mary. Your denigration of the significance
            of this role is actually extremely sexist.”
            The irony could be cut with a knife. No, it’s not sexist. What would be sexist would be saying that women are not fit for motherhood, just as its sexist to say that is the only role they should aspire to. That was the argument that was made against women who wanted the vote, that was the argument that was made against women who wanted equal opportunities for education and careers, and that is the argument that you have resurrected to deny women the chance to be priests. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.
            And by the way, Mary may have had a role of influence, leadership and power (although given that Mary’s part in the story of Jesus is pretty peripheral after she has given birth, that’s a pretty weak assertion anyway) but please remember that most women do not happen to be the Mother of God Incarnate.

            I’m glad to see that you do at least admit that the Church was in the wrong over the abuse scandals, and that you believe at least some of the accusations against it were just. All I will do, then, is reiterate that the United Nations review not only condemns the Church in the strongest possible terms for what it did, but also for its present condition, that of showing absolutely no contrition or intention to change for the better.
            What does discussion of the child abuse scandals have to do with the ordination of women? It started when I said that making such a change would be a small step towards the Church becoming a force for good in the world; you said that it was the largest contributor to charities in the world; and I responded that it would take an awful lot of charitable contribution to make up for its history of child abuse. Indeed, can you ever make up for such a thing? Perhaps never. But you can at least admit that you were wrong, and that is what the Catholic Church has staunchly refused to do.

            Your attack on public schools is nothing but a red herring. Of course they have a higher percentage of child abusers; where else do you think such people would look for jobs? The scandal of the Catholic Church is not that children were abused; it is that their abuse was systematically covered up according to official policy of the organisation as a whole – something which cannot be said of public schools.

          • wineinthewater

            “See this story about people who tried to have themselves officially removed from the Church lists, and how the Church responded by changing its rules so that they couldn’t. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/f…”

            You need to stop just uncritically accepting these kinds of things. If you look at the actual changes made to Canon Law by Omnium in Mentem applied to the validity of marriages entered into by Catholics who had formally defected. None of the changes made it impossible to formally defect. Again, the facts refute your claims.

            “Are you not aware that Mass attendance is in steady, inexorable decline, and has been for decades?”

            I am. I am also aware that it is in greatest decline in areas most accepting of the dissent you advocate. Parishes and diocese that put more focus on fidelity to Catholic teaching have not seen the same kind of decline and have in places even seen an increase. That is the whole point of looking at the rates of vocations, conversions and sacraments.

            And while the Anglican Communion is not an exact reference point, it is illustrative. Despite embracing the progressive agenda you propose, their attendance has dropped even more precipitously. And while they are not directly analogous, they are very similar in many points of theology and liturgical practice, so their experience is relevant. When combined with the experience within Catholicism, there is strong reason to conclude that the trend would translate. If capitulating has not brought Anglicans back, or Methodists, or Lutherans, or any other progressive Christian body, or slowed their rate of decline, it is irrational to assume it would in Catholicism. Especially since the impact of such capitulation in Catholicism’s sacramental theology, ecclesiology and soteriology would be so much more severe.

            “You disdainfully refer to them as milquetoast Catholics, but their principled stands make them look more like genuinely moral people who are unwilling to be associated with an immoral Church. ”

            A principled stand would be to practice the faith and work for change. A principled stand would be to severe ties with the Church entirely. Staying home on Sunday while still calling yourself Catholic is not a principled stand.

            “the people who are staying, the conservative minorities – it’s a safe bet that these are the older members.”

            This reveals your ignorance of the state of the Church. Of practicing Catholics, progressive dissent is a feature primarily of the older members, the Boomer generation. Fidelity to Catholic teaching is something far more common in the young. So, when a neighboring parish to ours got a “traditional” priest who emphasized Catholic teaching, the bulk of the older people left and they got a sudden influx of young families. Millennials seem to be much less interested in hollow identity.

          • Korou

            I’m sorry, but the facts just don’t bear you out.

            Check any of the research on why Catholics are leaving the Church and you’ll find that it’s younger ones who are dissatisfied with Catholic teachings. Take a look:
            http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/27/faith-in-flux3/
            “Almost half of Catholics who are now unaffiliated (48%) left Catholicism before reaching age 18, as did one-third who are now Protestant. Among both groups, an additional
            three-in-ten left the Catholic Church as young adults between ages 18 and 23. Only one-fifth who are now unaffiliated (21%) and one-third who are now Protestant (34%) departed after turning age 24. Among those who left the Catholic Church as minors, most say it was their own decision rather than their parents’ decision.”
            “Majorities of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated also cite having stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings overall (65%) or dissatisfaction with Catholic teachings about abortion and homosexuality (56%), and almost half (48%) cite dissatisfaction with church teachings about birth control, as reasons for leaving Catholicism.”

            Or here:
            http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/had-it-catholics
            “Patty Fitzpatrick spent years wrestling with Catholicism, mustering the will to show up at church with her husband and two children, pushing back against teachings she didn’t agree with and attitudes about women that made Sunday Mass a weekly occasion for anger. Pope John Paul II’s pronouncement that women would never be ordained and that Catholics were
            forbidden to even think or speak about such an eventuality sent her over the edge…The Fitzpatricks fit the profile of the “had it” Catholics who are
            leaving the church and either dropping out of organized religion
            altogether or finding refuge in other denominations.”
            “…a great deal of the drain from Catholicism is occurring among those who
            are much younger than Vatican II-era Catholics and their long-standing
            debates over the direction of the church.”

            Or here:
            http://americamagazine.org/issue/5138/article/why-they-left
            “…At the request of Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., of Trenton, N.J., we
            surveyed nearly 300 non-churchgoing Catholics in his diocese.”

            If you go there you can see that typical responses are very much what we have been talking about. Gays, divorce and a comment which I think it particularly pertinent for us: “If the Catholic Church does not change its archaic views on women, it is going to become a religion that survives on the fringe of an open-minded, progressive society.”

            So I’m sorry, but if you think that it’s young Catholics who want the Church to be stricter and more conservative, you couldn’t be more wrong. At this point, I have to wonder about how honest you’re being with yourself. It seems quite apparent that you have already decided that the Catholic Church must be in the right, and that any facts must be filtered through that assumption, no matter how much they need to be twisted.

            The facts are quite clear: Catholics want the Church to change, and they are leaving because it isn’t. Can you admit that?

            You say that Catholic parishes decline the most in areas that are the most liberal, but this claim is quite hollow – because the Church does not allow parishes to be liberal. Whatever small changes they may make on their own account are nothing compared to what is asked of them – genuine fairness in dealing with women, gay people, family planning, and so on. And by the way, yes – I do think that the liberal Catholics are taking a stand. Unwilling to abandon their religion because they consider it to be the true one, they are doing the only thing they can: refusing to support it with their attendance until it changes. Which it will, although the stubbornness of the Church very probably take a high toll before it faces reality and decides to bow to it.

          • Korou

            “You need to stop just uncritically accepting these kinds of things.”
            And you need to stop automatically assuming that the Catholic Church will always be fair and just (it won’t) and that any criticism will always be invalid (it isn’t). In this case, if you don’t realise that the moral thing to do would be to allow anyone who wishes to leave an organisation to do so, and that the Catholic Church wishes to make it as difficult as possible to do so, then you are deluding yourself.
            Take a look at this letter, written to a person who wished to leave the Catholic Church. Although it tries to make it look as good as it can, as the writer says, it says that “you can’t defect anymore, but they’ll remember that I want to defect.”
            http://www.technomancy.org/catholic-defection/

          • wineinthewater

            “What would be sexist would be saying that women are not fit for motherhood, just as its sexist to say that is the only role they should aspire to. That was the argument that was made against women who wanted the vote, that was the argument that was made against women who wanted equal opportunities for education and careers, and that is the argument that you have resurrected to deny women the chance to be priests.”

            You have a whole army of straw men at this point. I never said that mother was the only role for women. I have repeatedly listed a whole array of roles open to women. But you have denigrated the role of mother, belittled its dignity in order to make your claim of inequality.

            “All I will do, then, is reiterate that the United Nations review not only condemns the Church in the strongest possible terms for what it did, but also for its present condition, that of showing absolutely no contrition or intention to change for the better.”

            Have you read the review? How about any of the reviews of the other countries? It is scathing indeed. It states such specific crimes as maintaining boarding schools and refusing to condemn all forms of corporal punishment. It also criticizes the Vatican for not setting up a global, multi-lingual, multi-cultural call help line for children and engaging in a global, multi-lingual and multi-cultural outreach program around it. Oh the inhumanity.

            It also criticized the Vatican for not handing over all records of allegations. This would be difficult as it would require changing canon law and individually preparing a multitude of dispensations from the vows of secrecy. But it would not be impossible, and this seems like a very valid critique. But then, most of the signatories have failed to meet this requirement. Even the US, where these records have no confidentiality complications and are already collated, failed to meet this requirement.

            But it’s harshest criticisms are reserved for “continued crimes” – examples of which are all at least 30 years old – and for not abandoning Catholic teaching about gender, homosexuality and abortion, or agreeing to systematically violate the seal of Confession. It is also based on a fundamentally flawed interpretation of Church governance. The Commission wanted the whole Church to meet the requirements, but the Holy See’s authority is over spiritual matters, and most of the requirements were secular in nature. The Church would have to return to the days when its spiritual and temporal authority were blurred – not a positive development in my mind – in order to enact all the requirements in the whole Church and not just in the Vatican State, who is actually the signatory to the treaty.

            And this is all quite telling. The UN commission’s criticisms were built largely on a flawed interpretation of Church governance, treating it instead as if it were a secular authority, and focused significantly on past crimes and the Church’s refusal to capitulate Church teaching on moral issues. And in all of it, the Commission relied heavily on input from the National Secular Society – hardly an unbiased source – giving them private hearings and depending on them to assemble evidence. In the end, it’s an ideologically-driven hit piece. It very well may have some very valid criticisms – and that would not surprise me, the Church has done a lot to address this issue, but needs to do more – but it gets lost because the Commission decided to go after the Church instead for its heresies relative to the orthodoxy of UN ideology.

            “The scandal of the Catholic Church is not that children were abused; it is that their abuse was systematically covered up according to official policy of the organisation as a whole – something which cannot be said of public schools.”

            Nor for the Catholic Church. Despite your protests to the contrary, your interpretation of the instruction is deeply flawed and that flaw is born out by the reality that it never resulted in the widespread and slam dunk cases of conspiracy against Rome that your interpretation would justify.

            And the reality is that public schools have had just as much of an informal policy of systematic cover-up as the Church did. It was so bad and well known within the education world that it even had a name: “moving the trash around.” Accusers were bullied, slandered and paid off. Perpetrators were simply transferred along. The reality of this shows that we are dealing not with a “catholic problem” but a societal problem. And quite frankly, the unwillingness of so many people to not tackle the wider societal problem and instead just keep focusing exclusively on the Church is putting children at risk. It demonstrates how little care for children motivates and how much animosity for the Church does. Our outrage needs to chase this problem into every corner of society. Certainly into the Catholic Church. But also into all other churches. Into schools and day cares and sport teams. Into British boarding schools where what we now deem sexual abuse was commonplace practice treated with a wink and a nod. Into Pashtun “dancing boy” practices. Into Hollywood where the abuse of child actors and “casting couch” assaults was systematic. Everywhere.

            “It started when I said that making such a change would be a small step towards the Church becoming a force for good in the world; you said that it was the largest contributor to charities in the world; and I responded that it would take an awful lot of charitable contribution to make up for its history of child abuse.”

            Ah, so it was ad hominem, I thought so.

          • wineinthewater

            I want to treat this separately.

            “Nonsense. The Church was guided by a thoroughly Catholic attitude: the Church is always right and cannot be seen to be wrong.”
            You can read a pdf of this document here, linked at the top of this article.
            http://www.theguardian.com/wor…”

            You have obviously not read the document with any care and are just going off of the hasty reporting of pieces like the Guardian’s. The vow of secrecy imposed applies only to the canonical legal proceeding and only to what is learned as a part of that proceeding. This sort of secrecy is common in legal proceedings, including secular proceedings, especially those involving the victims of crimes of a very sensitive nature. Among other things, it protects the victim from having the details of their victimization trotted out in public by other parties.

            There is nothing in it that would prevent victims from going to the authorities and filing charges or going to the public and revealing what happened to them. The only limitation is that they cannot reveal what they do not know first hand that they learned in the course of the canonical proceedings. Further, the canonical proceedings do not begin until after the accusation has been made, so the vow of secrecy would not prevent anyone from revealing or reporting what they had learned before the canonical proceedings began. And considering that part of the instruction that you linked actually requires the superior to gather information and assess the credibility of the accusation before the proceedings even begin, there is plenty of time and opportunity for them to report the crime.

            Keep in mind also that the instruction imposes the penalty of excommunication for *not* reporting the crime to the Church.

            Also, all reports indicate that most bishops weren’t even aware of the instruction, that its confidential nature also made it rather obscure. In fact, if the instruction had been better followed, abuser priests never would have been moved from assignment to assignment with a little bit of therapy and a wag of the finger. The instruction considers the abuse of children to be so bad that it must be treated the same as the great crime of using the confessional to solicit sex. If the instruction had been followed, accused abusers – and nearly all of them would have been accused because failure to accuse when you knew about abuse was an excommunicatable offense – would have gone to canonical trial where they would have been removed from ministry if not defrocked entirely. This is just another example of how the moving of priests from one post to another and sweeping the abuse under the rug is a violation of Catholic teaching.

          • Korou

            No, actually I have read the document with considerable care, in the several debates I have had with Catholics about it. I would suggest that you have simply assumed that the Catholic Church cannot have been in the wrong, and so are forming rationalisations about the document, which is clearly designed to protect the reputation of the Church, with little or no regard for the victims involved.
            To address your points:
            1. The vows of secrecy are clearly designed to ensure that nobody outside the people directly involved in the trial ever hears about the abuse. If you assume that this is to protect the victim, it makes no sense that they should be bound by a vow of secrecy. Indeed, it dos not even make sense that the other people involved should be so bound, since this will directly ensure that the police can never find out about their findings. If, however, you assume that their intention is that the police – and society itself – should never find out, the reasoning behind it makes perfect sense. You say that this is comparable to secular courts. But the Church is not a secular court; it has no right to set up its own rules to make sure that evidence will be withheld from the police.

            2. “Keep in mind also that the instruction imposes the penalty of excommunication for *not* reporting the crime to the Church.”

            I certainly will; it strengthens my case considerably. Once again, the intent of the Church is plainly apparent: to make sure that nobody outside the Church – and as few as possible inside – ever hear of the abuse taking place. The reputation of the Church must be preserved, and anything which tarnishes that reputation must be treated with – as the document says – “in a most secretive way”.

            3. You contend that most bishops hadn’t heard of this document. What a strange thing to say! First, because they acted in accordance with this document they were apparently ignorant of. Second, you seem to have a touching faith that a society of people who have just been found guilty of sheltering child abusers are now going to be completely candid about their role in it! And third, even if it was a secret from the bishops themselves their superiors no doubt knew about this document, coming as it did from the Vatican itself, and so their actions were guided by it.

            4. If you review the document you will see that the penalties applied to priests who were found guilty were extremely light, especially if they had the good sense to admit their guilt and to say that they repented of it. They would then be set penance and be forgiven.

            5. This is, of course, exactly what happened. If what you say is true, then there would have been no Catholic child abuse scandal. You say there’s nothing to have stopped bishops and victims from going to the police, that they should have gone to the police and that, ironically, this document permits and encourages them to! But they didn’t, did they? They kept quiet, or were kept quiet, and the priests who did the abuse were quietly shuffled around to new positions. That is exactly what the document was created to do, and it succeeded.

            I understand that it’s not easy to admit that you’re wrong in an online debate, but do you not think it would be wise to say “The document certainly seems to have some problematic issues. Because I want to be completely fair, I had better take some time to think it over.”

          • wineinthewater

            “No, actually I have read the document with considerable care, in the several debates I have had with Catholics about it.”

            I honestly don’t see how that is possible. The vow of secrecy explicitly says: “I promise sacredly, vow and swear, to observe inviolably the secret in all matters and details which will take place in exercising the aforesaid duty.” The secrecy only applies to the Tribunal. There is nothing in this vow that would prevent anyone from disclosing what they knew from outside the Tribunal. Additionally, even if you were to contend that the vow applies to everything, the vow is not taken until the Tribunal begins its work, and that follows after an accusation is made and the ordinary completes an inquiry (Title #1), so there is plenty of time to report the crime before the vow is ever taken, by accuser, witness or ordinary. And even then, there is no penalty if a witness or accuser breaks that vow (13), only if a member of the Tribunal or the accused breaks their vows (11&13). As an official policy of coverup, this would suck.

            Every canon lawyer that has weighed in on the document (of which I am aware) has come to this conclusion. Even Thomas Doyle, who once held your opinion, has since abandoned it. But perhaps the most compelling fact that shows the error of your interpretation comes from victim activists. If this document actually did as you claim, then cases brought against the Vatican for complicity in abuse would be absolute slam dunks. It would be the “nuclear bomb” that Daniel Shea claimed it would be. But this has not been the case.

            “If you review the document you will see that the penalties applied to priests who were found guilty were extremely light, especially if they had the good sense to admit their guilt and to say that they repented of it. They would then be set penance and be forgiven.”

            They lost the ability to say mass and hear confessions, all benefices and honors, the right to vote in Church affairs, and could be defrocked (61). They also would be imposed penances to complete (64). And confession did not allow them to get off lighter. If they confessed they would be forgiven, but the penalties would still apply (65). Since diocese do not have prisons, this is pretty severe for a priest.

            “If what you say is true, then there would have been no Catholic child abuse scandal.”

            That’s not what I said. I said that priests would not have been shuffled around. That was only one element of the scandal. Because if the instruction would have been followed, all of these accusations would have gone to trial. The guilty would have lost the ability to fulfill the obligations of a parish priest and so wouldn’t have been able to be simply moved around. But that’s not what happened. Church officials at many levels bullied accusers and witnesses and covered things up from the get go. The accused never went to trial, they were quietly moved around. These priests generally didn’t go to trial because the hierarchy was so set on sweeping it under the rug that they didn’t want it to go that far.

            “and that, ironically, this document permits and encourages them to!”

            I never said that either. I said that it allowed it. In fact, the greatest flaw in the instruction (and it is a flawed instruction) is that it did not require that the secular authority be involved. But considering the context, that may not have made much difference for most of the time the instruction was in effect. Our concepts about the sexual abuse of children are fairly modern. In the US, laws against sex abuse (outside of outright rape) writ large didn’t appear until the ’70s. In fact, in the 60’s “progressives” like Kinsey were advocating sex with children as a part of their childhood development. Failure to adequately protect children is a perpetual failure in every corner of our society.

            This secret document with its vows of secrecy may not be to blame, but the culture of secrecy that it represents is part of the problem. It encourages a mindset that wants to keep these things out of the light of day. But neither the document nor the facts surrounding it at support your assertion that it represents an official policy of cover-up.

          • Korou

            “Neither the document nor the facts surrounding it at support your assertion that it represents an official policy of cover-up.”
            You’d be in a much stronger position to argue that if we didn’t already know that there was a cover-up. The child-abuse scandals of the Catholic Church are well-known. So when we find a document like this one, I am amazed that you have the nerve to try to excuse it. You should be asking “could this document be responsible for the wave of scandals the Church is facing?” You should not be saying “this document does not forbid people from going to the police,” but rather asking “Where in the document does it say that people should go to the police?” The lack of any such detail is a damning indictment in itself.

            “The secrecy only applies to the Tribunal. There is nothing in this vow
            that would prevent anyone from disclosing what they knew from outside the Tribunal.”
            Really? Let’s think about this. Imagine you’re a bishop, and you’re faced with a priest who you suspect of abusing children. What do you do? The document tells you: transfer him. It’s quite clear in clause 4:
            “…this does not prevent Superiors themselves, should they discover that one of their subjects has committed a crime in the administration of the Sacrament of Penance, from being able and obliged to exercise vigilance over him; to admonish and correct him, also by means of salutary penances; and, if need be, to remove him from any ministry whatsoever. They will also be able to transfer him to another place…”
            In other words, it is a licence to do as you please and to get rid of problem priests by moving them around. So, no police will be informed before the trial. What about during the trial or after it? Is there any indication that the “trial” is considered anything less than sufficient? Show me something, anything in this document which implies that, once the priest has been found guilty the proper authorities will be informed. You can’t. And you can’t just say that it would have happened; it’s obvious that the proceedings are meant to settle the matter once and for all.

            “And even then, there is no penalty if a witness or accuser breaks that
            vow (13), only if a member of the Tribunal or the accused breaks their
            vows (11&13). As an official policy of coverup, this would suck.”
            Are you reading what you type? “There is no penalty if a witness breaks a vow” – breaking the vow itself is the penalty; it’s a serious matter, making a holy promise of secrecy. Are you suggesting that this would not weigh heavily on the person who made it?

            “They lost the ability to say mass and hear confessions, all benefices
            and honors, the right to vote in Church affairs, and could be defrocked
            (61). They also would be imposed penances to complete (64). And
            confession did not allow them to get off lighter. If they confessed
            they would be forgiven, but the penalties would still apply (65). Since
            diocese do not have prisons, this is pretty severe for a priest.”
            In that one paragraph you have summed up your argument and refuted it. As you say, there was no possibility of a prison sentence for a priest found guilty. Thank you for that admission. You apparently think that the “penalties” you describe are in any way a substitute for the stiff prison sentence child abusers should in fact be receiving.

            “That’s not what I said. I said that priests would not have been shuffled around.”
            And you’ve been proven wrong. Shuffling priests around is built into the document.

            “In fact, the greatest flaw in the instruction (and it is a flawed
            instruction) is that it did not require that the secular authority be
            involved.”
            Yes. It is.
            “But considering the context, that may not have made much
            difference for most of the time the instruction was in effect.”
            It would have meant that the Catholic Church did not have a great many extremely grave sins upon its conscience. Come on, now – you’ve admitted your Church’s guilt. The argument is over.

            “This secret document with its vows of secrecy may not be to blame, but the culture of secrecy that it represents is part of the problem. It
            encourages a mindset that wants to keep these things out of the light of
            day. But neither the document nor the facts surrounding it at support
            your assertion that it represents an official policy of cover-up.”

            An official document.
            Sent to all dioceses around the world.
            From the head of the Catholic Church.
            Encouraging bishops to transfer suspected priests.
            Laying out an entire process which, from beginning to end, is designed to avoid anybody finding out about it, most especially the proper authorities.

            At this point, there’s nothing more to say. If you choose to deny it, then that’s up to you. It can join a long list of things that we’ve covered in this conversation which you have refused to accept being proven wrong on.

          • wineinthewater

            “You’d be in a much stronger position to argue that if we didn’t already know that there was a cover-up. ”

            And you’d be in a much stronger position if the natural consequences of your interpretation had ever played out. Such an official policy of cover-up would have made prosecution of Catholic hierarchy all the way up to the pope for conspiracy child’s play. But that never happened. And it never happened because the document is not an official policy of cover-up.

            What we had was an unofficial culture of cover-up. It’s not much better and is still a gargantuan failing, but it is something different. If the bishops had followed Church teaching and Church policy – even as flawed as it was – the problem would not have been as bad. If the bishops had lived up to their responsibility as shepherds of souls, the problem would not have occurred at all. There was a massive injustice, I only disagree with your characterization of the nature of it.

            I don’t disagree that the instruction is fundamentally flawed, only that it creates an official policy of cover up. You can willfully misread my comments – e.g. I never said the punishments were sufficient, only that they weren’t light – of the text of the instruction – e.g. it never instructs bishops to move an accused around, it only permits it, and since they would be deprived of their faculties, they wouldn’t be able to function as a priest anyway – but that just fits into your long pattern of straw men. You say you’ve refuted my arguments, but your refutations rarely actually directly address my arguments. You attribute to me attitudes and stances that I have not taken and have mischaracterized the stances I have taken.

            At this point, I have to conclude that you are not arguing in good faith and it’s just not a good use of time for me to constantly have to respond “that’s not what I said” or to show how your arguments are built on straw men.

          • Korou

            It’s good to see that you are willing to admit to that much. You just can’t bring yourself to face the truth, though: an official document from the head of the Catholic Church makes the policy of cover-ups official. All you can do is say “strawman, strawman” without being able to say what the strawmen actually are; you can’t, because it’s there in black and white. I am not in the mood to say “let’s just agree to disagree” and let you go. You are very much in the wrong, and you know it. You think that so long as you can answer criticisms of the Church they don’t count – no matter that your answers are specious and besides the point.

            For example: you misread the document. It does indeed say that bishops have the authority to transfer any priest they have suspicions of, an action, quite separated from penalties. The document also describes quite clearly what happens to priests found guilty of child abuse – and the word “punishment” can hardly be applied.

            You seem to think that the Church has the right to judge and penalise priests as it wishes, and that it has no obligation to respect the laws of society. The Church does not have the right to decide which information should and should not be kept secret when a crime has been committed, and it certainly does not have the right to say, in effect, “Oh, you needn’t bother about them. We’ve already taken care of it. No, you can’t see what we did or found. It’s against our law.”

            You say that the tragedies which occured were as a result of not following Church teachings and policies. Nonsense. Church teaching and policy is exactly what this document is. It outlined policy and explained to the bishops what they should do. Since it was secret it was unknown in many quarters, but that is unimportant – it was communicated to all heads of the Church throughout the world, and came from the Pope himself, and so it guided official Church policy. Having admitted the huge injustices that were committed within the Church, however, you now have no grounds at all to criticize the United Nations report. But that’s been the Church’s policy all along; “No, it wasn’t our fault; and anyway, we’ve fixed it all now. What is all the fuss about?”

            Sadly, we do not live in a world in which criminals are promptly and immediately tried, especially when they are world religions with their own country. The fact that Popes have not yet been imprisoned for their crimes does not mean those crimes were not committed. You yourself admit that crimes were committed, even if you maintain
            that it was individuals rather than the Church itself which were responsible. Why have those individuals not been arrested, then? Saying “All criminals are arrested; officials in the Catholic Church have not been arrested; therefore, they are not criminals” has a flawed premise; all criminals do not, in fact, get arrested, especially when they have positions other than merely being private citizens.

            In sum, cutting and running is probably your best option. The evidence is there in front of you, and if you don’t have the moral courage to admit it then you may as well just shout “Strawman” and leave.

          • Korou

            PS – fun fact: did you know that the Vatican is the only nation in the world which does not allow women to vote?

          • wineinthewater

            Fun fact: did you know that *none* of the laity can vote in Vatican City.

          • kathyschiffer

            Vote on what? Vote for Pope? for bishops? There is no “vote” on matters of faith, nor on personnel… This is a non-issue.

          • Korou

            Perhaps it is. Nice to see that there’s one thing the Catholic Church can’t be blamed for.

          • Korou

            The arguments you use are nothing new – in fact, they’re quite old, and have a venerable tradition of being used against feminists. It’s no surprise to find Catholics recycling them to use against women’s ordination.
            If you follow them through, however, they make no sense.
            Look:
            “People will never all have access to the same experiences, benefits or trials. A system of equality built on sameness will always lead to
            inequality. Those who are not as strong, or smart, or beautiful, or
            capable or whatever valued characteristic, will never be equal because they will never be the same.”
            Bravo! Giving equal status, rewards and responsibilities to everyone is ridiculous. If you’re not one-legged you will and should be disqualified from playing basketball. If you’re bald, nobody’s going to take your side if you fail to get employment advertising shampoo. And if you’re a man, you’re not going to be able to get pregnant for a very good reason. All of these are things that these people are unsuited to do. and the same thing works with women who want to be priests. Women can’t be priests because they aren’t able to…
            …what exactly? Give sermons? Hand out wine and crackers? Listen to people’s secrets? Abuse children?

            Could it be that that’s the answer? It’s true, abusing kids is one of the few things priests are famous for that women actually wouldn’t be capable of doing. A vulgar and ridiculous answer, true, but the only one that this line of fallacious reasoning permits.

            Or perhaps you can tell me which of the duties of a priest a man is equipped to do that a woman is not?

          • wineinthewater

            “Bravo! Giving equal status, rewards and responsibilities to everyone is ridiculous.”

            Strawman. An equality based on sameness necessarily results in the one-legged person, or the bald person or the non-pregnant man being less. If equality hinges on everyone being the same or even just having the opportunity to be the same, then equality will never be achieved because people simply aren’t the same. This isn’t about who can do what, it is about equal worth and equal dignity.

            “…what exactly? Give sermons? Hand out wine and crackers? Listen to people’s secrets? Abuse children?”

            What do mothers do that men aren’t able to do? nurture? feed? care for? love? teach? emotionally stunt their children? None of those. They cannot actually biologically give birth, but adoptive mothers are no less mothers for not having given birth to their children, so it is about more than just having a uterus. It doesn’t matter how good a man may be at the “tasks” of motherhood, he will never be a mother.

            The male-only priesthood isn’t just about tasks. Many women can and do fulfill the “tasks” of priesthood, often better than men. But just as motherhood is an engendered role, so is the Catholic priesthood. To act “in persona Christi” is a relational act. Jesus is the bridegroom to His bride the Church. Therefore His relationship is engendered. Just as a man can never be a bride, a woman can never be a bridegroom. So to act “in persona Christi” is to act in an engendered way.

            So when women advocate for ordination in the Catholic Church, they are not actually advocating for the Catholic priesthood, for as soon as they would be admitted, it would no longer be the Catholic priesthood, but something else. Huge swaths of Catholic theology would have to be upended to un-engender the nature of the priesthood.

            And above all, the male-only priesthood is not a rooted in sexism. It is not rooted in the notion that women are less, but that they are different. It is rooted in the notion that gender matters.

      • 1776Mariner

        Bottom line is Jesus did not ordain women. (BTW He said nothing about the vote 😉

        • Warren

          Jesus didn’t ordain Gentiles, either.

      • larry

        Jesus said nothing about women’s votes. His documented actions were to appoint 12 males apostles…not female. He then told Peter that “you are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my church”. Jesus did not say this to Helga or Brenda. There are other churches that have matriarchs as priests and you probably should check those out.

        • Korou

          It made perfect sense for Jesus to chose men as his disciples and the teachers of his new religion. Who would have listened to women? Jesus lived in a patriarchal age in which women had no power. We don’t live in that age any longer. Since the only real difference between men and women is physical, it makes one wonder: what exactly does a priest do that he needs to have a penis for?

  • pegleggreg

    the real reason: women have menses. the only blood allowed on the altar is the blood of Christ. Technically during the consecration the female blood flow would become the blood of Christ. This sounds bizarre but it has been the teaching of the church

    • Korou

      Is that really true? Can you show us some links to evidence about that?
      I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true, mind.

      • kathyschiffer

        Not to worry, Korou. It’s the silliest answer ever.

        • Korou

          I’d be careful about saying that around here. There’s plenty of competition.

          • Rob B.

            Says the all-time-champion of ridiculous assertions…

          • Korou

            Personal insults? Goodbye, then.

          • Rob B.

            See ya. You never add anything decent to these conversations anyway, so don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

          • Korou

            Oh, I’ll be around. Just not bothering to talk with you. Bye.

          • Rob B.

            I’m going to hold you to that…

    • JohnServorum

      That is absolute nonsense and is not true in any way, shape or form.

  • BotGregory

    One of the images that comes up when googling Ms. Sevre-Duszynskaper is a woman, presumably Janice herself, sitting next what appears to be an altar with a bun, some hippie pottery… and a tambourine. Truly, a picture worth a thousand words.

  • jlangfel

    It’s a Catholic thing. YOU choose not to understand. Please stop trying to change the Church into what YOU FEEL it should be. It is what it is and if you are bothered so much there is a plenitude of heretical communities that can support any notion of God that fits YOUR viewpoint.

    • larry

      I agree. There is Wicca, Unitarianism etc. Not sure (but there are many many) who state they are Catholic but work hard against Christ’s teachings and the Catholic Church.

  • ronwf

    Because the Church is not supposed to get with the times. The times are supposed to get with the Church.

  • SaudadePR

    First, no dogma of faith has been declared ever on women’s priesthood. The last dogma of faith declared was the Assumption of Our Lady. So the question of women’s ordination is still open to discussion. Also, checking the documents mentioned in this discussion, the fact that Jesus choosed only 12 men to be His Apostles is the only reason left for not ordaining women.
    But it seems that we always forgot that Jesus is both Man and God, and His human part played a role in his decisions and teachings. The Gospels say that he wanted to build a new Israel, and Israel was found by twelve tribes, the male sons of Jacob. But what about his daughters? By the time Jacob was alive, women were treated almost like animals: they had no rights, no dignity. They were a mere posession.
    By the time Jesus was on Earth, women were still treated that way. And women thought they deserve such treatment. In order to be a disciple, an apostle of Christ, women needed first to be free from such thoughts and recognize themselves as daughters of God in the same standing than men. Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene (the Apostle of Apostles) did exactly that, and they became like apostles. And Jesus acepted and aproved them, all the contrary the way the Church does today – if today we found a women with priestly vocation, we will reject her.
    And were was the first time our Lord Jesus became flesh and blood? In the womb of our Mother Mary. There are documents that testify an ancient devotion, Mary Virgin Priest, closely related to her roles as coredeemer and inmaculate. Images and holy cards on this devotion showed our Lady in priestly clothes. The last holy card of the Virgin Priest was aproved by Saint Pope Pius X in 1906. Unfortunately, the devotion was supressed or forbidden by the Holy Office around 1928.
    Theologians had arged that women were present in the Last Supper. The Bible does not mention the women, but the Last Supper was a Jewish Pascal Meal, in which men and women participate.
    There is also evidence that women were in fact ordained to priesthood, and specially as deacons, before the Popes began to speak against them. And take in consideration also that women were considered inferior to men, still attached to the original sin and barred from the altars because of menstruation.
    In conclusion, Jesus did not forbid women to become priests. We, His followers, forbade them because our superstitions, ignorance and hate.
    If you want to learn more about this, visit http://www.womenpriests.org and read with open mind.

  • lizzysimplymagic

    “… the priesthood is a call from God, a summons to serve Him in a special way.”

    And men cannot stand between God and those he calls, even those that are female.

    All the twelve apostles were Jewish too, so by the logic presented here we shouldn’t have had any gentile priests. Obviously, changes occur.

  • Mark Chapman

    Why is anyone continuing to respond to Luis Gutierrez in the posts below? He has a hard and fast political-progressive agenda and is not interested in anything contrary to his opinions. And he is patently wrong. He has hijacked this discussion, because everybody seems to think they can set him straight. He is a heretic; he openly and defiantly rejects the defined, infallible teaching of the Church as well as the authority of the magisterium. That is the definition of a heretic. There is no positive value in arguing with heretics; they cannot compromise or admit to any little bit of their “beliefs” being wrong, because they know that to do so would require them to confess they are heretics. Quit responding to Luis Gutierrez. You are only feeding the beast.

  • Mark Chapman

    Okay — Now that Luis has taken up so much space, and we have kicked around a whole bunch of private opinions about a defined dogma (peace- Luis!), let’s talk about the real importance of the Church’s firm and constant position on an all-male priesthood. Almost all of the Protestant denominations with which the Catholic Church has been in ecumenical dialogue with over the past fifty years have, in that span of time, adopted the practice of the ordination of women to their pastoral ministry, and in some instances, their episcopacy. Every one of these decisions was made from the argument of “women’s rights,” “equality with men,” and “social justice.” No Protestant denomination ever asked what Scripture taught. As they do so often, they dismissed Scripture with the “no longer relevant in our context” ploy.
    This has brought Catholic ecumenical dialogues to a dead halt, the “ecumenical winter.” Because no matter how much we might agree with certain Protestants on particular doctrines — e.g., the Lutheran-Catholic agreement on the doctrine of justification by faith in 1999 — none of that matters because the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, some Baptists, the Reformed Church — all ordain women, and have done so for so long now, and have found the only way to keep their seminaries open nd solvent is to encourage women to enter the ordained ministry, that Ordination of Women is really the one, supreme, live or die, practice that matters to Protestants. From parish ministers all the way up to the national leaders of these denominations, ordained women are the norm. And because this action resulted from a “justice issue” and the “equality of women and men,” it is untouchable; it cannot be questioned — ironically, in exactly the opposite way that the Catholic all-male priesthood can no longer be debated or questioned.
    It is not the Catholic Church that has killed ecumenism. It is the Protestant churches all rushing in the 1960s to give women “equal rights” by opening the path to ordained ministry and encouraging as many women as wanted to follow that path. There is virtual competition between the Protestants as to who has the most women clergy. That only recently has been replaced by who has the most practicing homosexual clergy — an even bigger roadblock for Catholics.
    The Protestants broke away from us. The burden of proof for the validity of their continued existence vis-à-vis the Roman Catholic Church rests with them. The glut of ordained women, the diminution of ordination to a “right” and a matter of “justice,” the urgency to have women in episcopal or presidential positions, and now the added crisis of ordained practicing homosexuals must give Catholics the impression that these Protestant ecumenical dialogue partners have not acted in good faith, have not received any of the results of the ecumenical dialogues, have not been guided by a deep desire for the unity of the church, have remained the insular anti-Catholic ecclesial bodies they have always been, and believe they have the power to dictate to the Catholic Church both doctrine and practice.
    I think the ecumenical movement as it emerged throughout the 20th century is simply dead. The only real ecumenical dialogue partner for Catholicism now is the Orthodox Church. Even dialogue with Evangelical Protestants has been fruitful only because Catholics and Evangelicals agree on major social issues like abortion, cohabitation, sex outside of marriage, and homosexual marriage and the whole naturalization and normalization of homosexuality in our culture. But talk to Evangelicals about divorce and remarriage, or the number and nature of the sacraments, or papal primacy and authority, and the walls go up; they are self-consciously Protestants. Ecumenism — it was nice while it lasted, but clearly the Protestants’ heart was not in it.

    • larry

      True. And if the Bible does not suit you, it can be edited like with King James and the heavily edited Jehovah’s Witness Bible.

  • Lurker Lurker

    No Woman, No Cry.. No Woman, No Cry..

  • CalSailor

    It’s very interesting to follow the arguments about whether or not women can be ordained or not. Most of the arguments are based on a very thin reed, and one and two supposition are combined to create an entire structure of policy. For example:

    Jesus only ordained men, therefore only men can become priests. That puts a huge burden on one or two verses, and assumes that the Last Supper was, in effect, an ordination. But there is NO ordination anywhere in the gospels.

    The apostles are all men, therefore only men can become priests…well, as is clearly evident when you look at the biblical witness, you find there is a wholly different history of the word “apostle” and to whom it is applied. Paul, for instances notes a whole group of Apostles which do not match “The Twelve”, and does include women, such as in Romans 16. Junia is a well known woman’s name…it is not a man’s name misspelled. (Junius is an unheard of men’s name…). So, we have, supposedly, some action of Jesus, none of which we have from Jesus himself. In the 60s, 30 years after Jesus, we have a whole number of Apostles in the NT which are clearly not part of the 12…and then in the 80s, approximately, we have the gospel records of the Last Supper which some have applied to his disciples as an ordination, but is missing any liturgy suggestive of ordination…which also has to posit that no women were present at the Supper, which would be unique in Jewish reenactments of the Passover meal, which were clearly applied to whole families…men and women and children.

    We have the unique roles of “The Twelve” who were intended to be the Church’s leadership of the new 12 tribes of the new People of God, and were not replaced as they died off. How is this group the basis for the priesthood?

    There is more and more evidence coming to light that women WERE ordained in the early Church, and it isn’t until after Christianity and the Roman Empire came into relationship in the 4th century that women seem to be excluded from leadership. Surely, there is no question that in the first century, before offices were so strictly defined as later, that men and women were leaders of the church. The early church, as a small, struggling group first setting out, needed–and used–all the talents available.

    The Church says no one has the right to ordination. That’s true. It is a gift of God to the church to raise up leaders. But how do we know that women don’t have the right to have their vocation to priesthood tested? Men are given that right of having their vocation tested in seminary. Women are simply asking to have their vocations tested. In Lutheran and Anglican seminaries, which has a similar practice of formation and testing of vocations, men and women seem to measure up at about the same rates.

    Only vir can be validly ordained, according to Canon Law. Why? Is it because Jesus was vir? That only vir can model Christ? For the 50% or more of the world population who are homo but not vir, this comes perilously close to saying Jesus came as vir, not homo, and it puts into question his salvation of women. And yet the Creed says clearly, Jesus was homo, and that it was his humanness and not his maleness which brought salvation to all. In those Churches that do ordain women, and here I’m specifically thinking of Anglican/Episcopal and Lutheran Churches, the ones who follow the traditional Eucharist as the basic form of Sunday worship, congregations don’t seem to have any problem separating the minister at the altar…men OR women…and the Christ in whose image they lead in this Eucharist, proclaiming “This is my body”.

    All together, as one who is outside the Roman Catholic Church, but who has followed this issue for 40 years and more, it seems to me that the evidence is thin, and becoming thinner, as scholarship and artifacts come to light, as theologians, including Roman Catholic theologians, as well as people in the pews all over the world, come out in support of looking at this issue. This has become a text book case of “my mind is made up; don’t confuse me with facts”. What I see is that a church in desperate need of more vocations, because a church which is structured around the availability of the sacraments to the faithful is unable to provide enough priests under the current system to meet that need. I see a leadership that just doesn’t want to change, and is frantically trying to find an argument, any argument that will hold the day. I have heard repeated calls for the faithful to pray for vocations. And yet, there is the possibility that Christ is sending plenty of vocations, and the church is refusing to consider most of them. If that is the case, why would Christ increase vocations when the church rejects most of them sent?

    Pr Chris

    PS: The first classes of the US military academies to graduate with mixed classes were the graduates of the classes of 1980. The class of 1979 at Annapolis chose as their class motto: Omni vir. You can figure out where their heads were at. It is now 2015, and women have been attending the academies since 1977. There is virtually no one in the military knows anything but a mixed class structure at the academies, and it has become the norm. It might take the Catholic Church 40 years to make it “the norm”…but perhaps at the end of those 40 years, the men and women, married and celibate, could be sufficient in numbers that the faithful can again worship in Congregations with resident priests so that Sacraments, especially the weekly Mass, are readily available, and in which these congregations can be small enough that they are really a community and not just thousands of people crammed into churches to hear Mass said by a priest whom they don’t really know, simply because he is the only one available. A church in which priests can go back to being the pastors of a congregation, in which their ministry can be fruitful, and they can be a part of it, instead of being a circuit rider driving from place to place as a circuit rider, desperately trying to keep it all patched together. The people of God deserve better, and the Priests of the Catholic Church deserve better, too.

    • wineinthewater

      “such as in Romans 16. Junia is a well known woman’s name”

      This argument is based a error with grammatical parsing. Paul says that Junia is well known among the Apostles, but does not say that she is an Apostle. I am well-known among the teachers at my daughter’s school. That does not make me a teacher at my daughter’s school.

      “There is more and more evidence coming to light that women WERE ordained in the early Church, and it isn’t until after Christianity and the Roman Empire came into relationship in the 4th century that women seem to be excluded from leadership.”

      You’ll need to substantiate this. All the “evidence” that I am aware of requires a pretty strained interpretation. Additionally, here you need to differentiate between leadership and priesthood. We often saw women take roles of prominence and leadership in the early Church and that does not require them to be ordained. Not just women, but all the laity found fewer and fewer ways to lead in the Church. This is a common theme, the problem of clericism in the Church is easy to mistake for sexism since women are always members of the laity.

      “In those Churches that do ordain women, and here I’m specifically thinking of Anglican/Episcopal and Lutheran Churches, the ones who follow the traditional Eucharist as the basic form of Sunday worship, congregations don’t seem to have any problem separating the minister at the altar…men OR women…and the Christ in whose image they lead in this Eucharist, proclaiming “This is my body”.”

      Yet, when those churches say “This is my body,” they don’t mean what the Catholic Church means. It’s not analogous.

      • CalSailor

        Well, let’s see. I used for my resources, Fr. Brendon Byrne, S.J. the author of the Romans volume in the Sacra Pagina series (a Catholic Sponsored series) c. 1996. He cites, among many others, Fr. Joe Fitzymer (S.J.) outstanding commentary on Romans, published under the Anchor Bible series. Both read Junia as feminine. According to Fitzmyer, commentators up to the 12th century read it almost universally female; often taking Junia to be the wife of Andronicus. Fitzymer quotes “John Chrysostom even said of Junia, “How great the wisdom of this woman that she was even deemed worthy of the apostles’ title”. p. 738. Fitzmyer goes on to address the Greek phrase en tois apostolois as meaning not…well known among the apostles, but rather that as I stated above: Junia was taken to be among the women listed by Paul as an apostle. The Greek phrase otherwise is very strained (p.739-40, calling this reading a “strange connection” probably having been read into the text from other early documents.

        It is clear that Fitzmyer, one of the strongest of the recent Roman Catholic biblical exegetes reads the text as identifying Junia and Andronicus as a male and female pair (married or not) were, indeed “apostles”. (I studied Romans under Fitzmyer at The Catholic University of America in the 1990s.)

        As to the evidence showing that women were ordained in the early church, it was clear that although offices were not as well defined as in later centuries, there are some outstanding works now being written that sustain a strong argument that women WERE clearly in the leadership of the Church, and some were presiders at the Eucharist.

        You say: “Yet, when those churches say “This is my body,” they don’t mean what the Catholic Church means. It’s not analogous.”

        I think you are being pretty cavalier at what Lutherans and Anglicans mean by “this is my body”. They mean the True Body and Blood of Christ. When Lutheran Pastors celebrate the Eucharist, they mean exactly that: This is the true body and blood of Christ. The issue of whether or not a Lutheran congregation can discern the difference between the Sacramental and true Presence of the risen Christ, and the person of the celebrant…either male or female seems to be not an issue. It seems to me that Catholic congregations can probably do the same.

        Pr Chris

        • wineinthewater

          The Chrysostom quote is compelling. I’d defer to his rendering over what I had read before. (BTW, I grabbed the wrong quote, I didn’t mean to seem that I was falling into the trap of trying to make Junias into a male. That is a very weak argument.)

          But that to me still does not make the point. The New Testament is diverse in its use of “apostle.” And even later, Mary Magdalen was was called “The Apostle to the Apostles.” The New Testament uses it for both what we might call missionaries today, but also uses it for The Twelve (or The Eleven). We see examples of people in the New Testament who carry the title/description of apostle lacking what we would call apostolic authority today. We see both “apostle” and “Apostle.” The consolidation of the use around “Apostle” is both a Western and later development.

          We should be very careful about reading too much into honorifics and titles. Keep in mind that in the ancient church, when we still had married bishops, the wives and mothers of bishops were often honored with the title “espiscopa,” but that did not mean that they were bishops. Even today in the Eastern Churches, priests’ wives are honored with the title “presbytera,” but that doesn’t mean that they are priests.

          “As to the evidence showing that women were ordained in the early church, it was clear that although offices were not as well defined as in later centuries, there are some outstanding works now being written that sustain a strong argument that women WERE clearly in the leadership of the Church, and some were presiders at the Eucharist.”

          Leaders for certain. And that is something that the contemporary Church could learn a lot from. But I have never read of a solid example from within the mainstream Church of women filing the role of the sacerdotal priesthood in a normative or anything resembling widespread way. I’d be curious if you could point to some.

          “They mean the True Body and Blood of Christ.”

          Consubstantiation (whether of the Lutheran of Anglican variety, and despite later objections to the use of consubstantiation to describe Lutheranism’s “in, with and around”) is substantially (heh) different from transubstantiation. Keep in mind that the Book of Common prayer contains an explicit rejection of the Catholic vision of the Real Presence as do many Lutheran expressions of faith and Luther. And while they may intend the Real Presence, they don’t understand it the same way. “Body, blood, soul and divinity” in an actual, literal and physical sense is a meaningful difference from Sacramental or symbolic presence. So in short, no, Anglican and Lutheran clerics do not do what Catholicism means when they say “this is my body.” It might be something very similar, but it is not the same.

          • CalSailor

            I am not going to argue concerning Anglican statements on Eucharist, but I strongly object to your statements in regard to Eucharist and its understandings on the part of Lutherans. I would suggest that you look at the Lutheran Catholic ecumenical studies on Eucharist since Vatican II, and the various documents that have been issued in the last dozen years, and watch for what is coming up in the move to the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses.

            When Lutheran pastors celebrate the Eucharist; we use exactly the same liturgical prayers (well, except for the change from “The Lord be with You” “and also with you” to the current change in Catholicism “and with your spirit also” where we have kept the former) that are said in the Eucharistic part of the Mass. When we distribute the communion to our communicants we say “the body of Christ, broken for you” “the blood of Christ given (or shed) for you” there is NO qualification of any kind in the words, or the meaning assigned. That is the real Lutheran meaning of This is my Body. The Lutheran understand of “in, with, and under” the elements is simply that for many years the arguments among Catholics struck many Lutherans as akin to the how many angels…argument. We are satisfied with the clear and present statement that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present and are truly received by communicants.

            Part of my point in the first article was that you cannot identify early offices with “The Twelve” or the apostles named by Paul or others with a group of “Apostles”. The Catholic straight line from Jesus [sometime he supposedly ordained a group…up to the Gospels to the church straight throughout history to the 21st century] is swallowing a LARGE lump in the process. The early church IS very fluid; and it DID take leaders from both men and women. The slow diminishing women’s role in the Catholic Church’s history is not a clear word from Jesus; it is a historical development, which takes from a whole lot of topics; some scriptural, some historical and some based on theology of roles of men and women and the very status of women as lesser humans, and a variety of inputs. For the church to state that they have no ability to make any changes is something of an awkward situation, since it is the church’s own history which has put itself in this situation. Rome may have spoken…but learning how to change is going to be an essential tool in their tool kit if they wish to be as strong in the future as in the past. I think that flexibility in many ways is going to be essential, not just for Roman Catholics, but all Christians; indeed, people of all sorts of faiths, as we deal with the ever increasing speed of change in the world. Faith groups are going to have to learn to respond, without denying what is essential and what may have been nice in the past, but is now an unaffordable luxury. (and women’s ordination is not the only subject in Christian churches world wide.)

            I would be willing to argue that there are plenty of vocations to the church, men AND women, celibate and married. The church rejects by my count somewhere between 50% and 75% of the vocations available to it, and then asks the faithful to pray for vocations. Why should God send more vocations when it is sending plenty already, and the church doesn’t want to listen?

            PR Chris

          • wineinthewater

            “but I strongly object to your statements in regard to Eucharist and its understandings on the part of Lutherans.”

            That is fine. I have read many of the documents that have come out of that dialogue, on both this issue and that of Justification. I pray that increasing mutual understanding brings us even closer together, but I do not think that any of those documents support the notion that we have the same Eucharistic theology. I would still contend therefore, that Lutherans do not mean what Catholics mean. It might be extremely similar. And maybe one day our Churches will agree that it is a distinction without a difference. But to ignore the difference is, I think, actually lacking in charity. For you to say to us “we mean the same thing when we say the same thing” is to deny us the right to define what we mean.

            “and it DID take leaders from both men and women. The slow diminishing women’s role in the Catholic Church’s history is not a clear word from Jesus; it is a historical development, which takes from a whole lot of topics; some scriptural, some historical and some based on theology of roles of men and women and the very status of women as lesser humans, and a variety of inputs.”

            And yet and still, this has no bearing on the sacerdotal priesthood. The diminishing role of women as leaders within a Church that has only been recently and only slightly addressed is significant. But we also have to remember that in the early Church, priests were not the ultimate leaders of communities, the bishops were. And in many times and many places, the deacons were above the priests. Leadership and priesthood are not synonymous theologically, even if they are practically now. Frankly, the fact that the discussion of leadership and power in the Church cannot be divorced from the issue of ordination shows that there is a lack of coherence in the discussion. And still, I await all the examples of women serving in what we would recognize as the sacerdotal priesthood in the early Church.

            “For the church to state that they have no ability to make any changes is something of an awkward situation, since it is the church’s own history which has put itself in this situation.”

            Not really. The nature of the sacerdotal priesthood has changed in many non-essential (although still sometimes important) ways over the history of the Church. But there are other ways that it has not. And until the contrary is shown, one of those ways is that it has always been a male priesthood. There’s a very real difference between there being fuzziness around the edges while the Church figured out the details and the Church making fundamental changes.

            “Rome may have spoken…but learning how to change is going to be an essential tool in their tool kit if they wish to be as strong in the future as in the past.”

            This is a dangerous proposition. Decline in strength is the story of Christianity in the modern world, especially of the old mainline groups. But the denominations and churches that have embraced the kind of change you advocate here have not found this to be a cure for that decline. In fact, the poster child for progressive theology, the Anglican Communion, has seen their numbers decimated beyond any other Christian body. Empirical data stands against the notion that the Church must change or die since change has proven to be pretty deadly.

            “The church rejects by my count somewhere between 50% and 75% of the vocations available to it”

            Begging the question. This assumes that these are true vocations.

    • lizzysimplymagic

      Very well said.

  • larry
  • larry
  • Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson

    So I guess black men can’t be priests? I mean, Jesus didn’t pick any black men to be priests so if that’s the logic…

    • kathyschiffer

      That’s not the logic, Autumn, and you know that.
      Jesus promised that he would send his Spirit, the Paraclete, who would be with us until the end of time, protecting the Church from error. If you believe that the Catholic Church is the true church founded by Christ, and if you believe that the Pope is Christ’s emissary on earth, then you accord to the Church the right to establish law, even if you as an individual do not understand. You can read and study, and try to understand–but you cannot simply make your own rules. When you do that, you are not Catholic, you are Protestant.

      • Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson

        You’ve failed to answer the question. If women can’t be priests because Jesus didn’t pick any, then why can black men be priests if he only picked middle eastern and Greek disciples?

        • Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson

          Also, I am neither Catholic or Protestant.