Does Church Suppress God’s Will? That’s Wicked, Right?

Like Mark Shea, I too thought the National Catholic Reporter had endorsed female ordination years ago. I actually had no intention of writing about it for my First Things column, today.

Yet somehow — and though I had intended to write more about Calah Alexander and the idea of a Ministry of Succor to young mothers, I ended up at female ordination, asking a few questions about NCR’s stand:

The overbearing men of Rome, most particularly Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are depicted as keeping the good people down and—in this case—suppressing the will of the Holy Spirit.

The Reporter does not explicitly make that last charge. In fact, the editorial does not mention the Holy Spirit, or “God’s will” at all, but if we accept that God is All-Justice, then in arguing that church teaching on this issue is “unjust” the paper is making an implicit suggestion that the church has been working against the will of God.

To suppress the will of the Holy Spirit—to suppress the will of God—is a wicked thing. To charge the church with doing so is to make a serious accusation of wickedness—one bound to have repercussions lasting beyond the heat of a moment. It is to label the church as antichrist.

So the Reporter does not do it. Instead, the editorial board rests the crux of its argument on the wisdom of Roy Bourgeois, the recently laicized Maryknoll priest:

Bourgeois brings this issue to the real heart of the matter. He has said that no one can say who God can and cannot call to the priesthood, and to say that anatomy is somehow a barrier to God’s ability to call one of God’s own children forward places absurd limits on God’s power. The majority of the faithful believe this.

Stipulating that the majority of fourteen year-olds might believe this, and that much of society appears to have a case of arrested development that has seriously impacted their ability to reason a thing out beyond the twin tyrannies of sentimentalism and utilitarianism, one has to acknowledge the extraordinary speciousness of that argument which boils down to, “you’re not the boss of us, and who died and made you popes, anyway?”

I have more questions.

If “no one can say” who God can and cannot call to the priesthood, then why do we have interview, testing, and discernment processes? Why can’t we all just be priests, any time we want? If corporeal anatomy is completely unconnected to a human being’s essential nature (and this is an argument put forth by feminists and the gender-fixated, who will often pronounce it in one breath only to promote the “sacred feminine” in the next) then why did God design differences at all? By doing so, he created boundaries and barriers, which are clearly unwanted things. Why didn’t God fashion just one human type, without limits to what that type can do, in order to free humanity from the constraints of form and function which impact “God’s [own] ability to call one of God’s own children forward . . .” to do the things they really want to do, whether the church thinks they ought to, or not?

Golly, I think the Reporter is arguing that God should stop making rocks so heavy that He can’t lift them. Or something.

Anyway, read the rest, here.

May anger begin to abate with gratitude?

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!


About Elizabeth Scalia