Who didn’t walk out on Benedict will stay for Francis

It was mere moments after Pope Benedict XVI left the balcony after pronouncing his first blessing as pope, and I perfectly recall the insta-drama-queening that commenced:

E.J. Dionne described himself as “petrified” of what a Pope Ratzinger might bring. Sr. Joan Chittister suggested that Benedict was so retrograde he represented the theology of the 13th century, and predicted, “[if women are not allowed ordination] . . . we’re going to lose an entire generation of young women and we’re going to lose them quickly.”

A wag might suggest that we’ve lost them to convents but Ratzinger is retired now; Pope Francis is proving himself wildly popular and, my goodness, if they didn’t leave during the papacy of bad-old Benedict, it’s not likely anyone is walking out on his much more sympathetically-covered and mercy-preaching successor. And yet…when it comes to the press, nothing has changed, as Ed Morrissey notes:

Will ordination doctrine drive a “mass exodus of the faithful” from the Catholic Church? So says my colleague at The Week, Damon Linker, in an essay predicting that all churches would need to change doctrines to keep up with the modern world, especially the Catholic Church. Refusing to adapt doctrine to modern thought will force an exodus of people from their faiths, Damon writes, especially the Catholic insistence that ordination is limited to men…

It’s starting to sound really stale, particularly when the argument is made with a Protestant flavor and some convenient omissions. Writes Ed:

First, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the office of Pope. No Pope can change doctrine; the entire structure of the office aims to preserve and defend doctrine. Anyone looking for changes of “doctrinal substance” from any pontificate is doomed to disappointment, including ill-informed Catholics.

Damon claims to represent “the argument in its entirety,” but he’s in error. The argument offered is one of the points in defense of the doctrine of ordination, but it’s not even the main argument. He then demands a Scriptural reference, which hints at a sola scriptura approach, a theological position which of course the Catholic Church rejects anyway. The truth is more complicated, and requires people to understand the nature of the Mass and the priest’s role within it. This could fill books. . .but I’ll offer a relatively brief explanation.

He does a fine job with that. Go check it out.

RELATED: You know what the biggest problem with feminism is? It has intentionally devalued women by identifying masculine measures as the ideal. It’s a great, self-loathing irony. Mollie Hemingway has some thoughts on that.

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