The Pope Clarifies

I have heard that members of the Church of England are still debating the thorny issue of women’s ordination. Just to help our brothers and sisters see the issue more clearly here is the teaching of Pope John Paul II on the issue:

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. — May, 1994 - Ordinatio Sacredotalis

roma locuta. causa finita.

So what’s all the fuss?

  • Deacon Tom Lang

    And of course let us not forget:

    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

    October 28, 1995

    Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

    Responsum: In the affirmative.

    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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). 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.

    Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

    Joseph Card. Ratzinger

    Tarcisio Bertone
    Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

  • flyingvic

    “The Church has no authority whatsoever . . .” – unless and until the Holy Spirit, in leading us into all truth, declares otherwise?

  • Dean

    Would that be considered an infallible statement by His Holiness?
    I’m not certain on the exact conditions required.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      In my opinion, yes.

      • flyingvic

        Which would mean, therefore, that the Holy Spirit has neither the power or the authority to change the Pope’s mind?

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          The Pope is led by the Holy Spirit who inspires the whole church. The Holy Father is the voice of the whole church which is the Body of Christ. Change in the Catholic Church most always comes from the grass roots level and that’s how it should be.

          • flyingvic

            That’s a No, then?

        • Fr. Cory Sticha

          To restate more accurately, the Pope has neither the power nor the authority to change the Holy Spirit’s mind. Infallible doesn’t mean “I’m the Pope, and I’ve made up my mind.” It means that God has revealed this unchangeable Truth through His Pope. Regardless of what the Pope wants or doesn’t want, even he can’t change God’s mind.