Pope Francis: “On Women Priests, That Cannot Be Done”

Pope Francis: “On Women Priests, That Cannot Be Done” September 28, 2015

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During the Holy Father’s in-flight press conference yesterday, a reporter asked if we will one day see women priests in the Catholic Church? Here was his reply:

Third, on women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.

Theology of women is not the same as women priests.

You can read the official transcript of the entire interview here.

Image via Pixabay

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  • Scott W.

    He also upheld conscientious objection when asked about same-sex “marriage” and reiterated that valid marriages are indissoluble. Heh. He gave the US a week of soft sell and then tossed truth grenades out the plane hatch as it took off.

    • Tacitus

      What is a valid marriage? Newt Gingrich had no trouble getting annulments for two 18 year-long marriages, one with children, both of which he destroyed by committing adultery with younger women, in order to have his marriage to his Catholic mistress blessed by the Catholic Church.

      Leads me to think there is no such thing as an indissoluble marriage. Where there’s a will, there is always a way, even in the Catholic Church.

      As for the “conscientious objection” of Kim Davis. Since when did using the power of your government appointed position to deny the legal rights and services to local residents come to be regarded as conscientious objection?

      • Scott W.

        Hahahahha. Stop it. You’re killing me! Newt Gingrinch? srsly? 🙂

        • Asmondius

          Better yet, let’s bring up Nancy Pelosi……

      • Sigroli

        The marriage tribunal is concerned only with conditions as they were at the time the wedding took place and the vows were exchanged. The Catholic Church does not grant an “annulment”; she issues a Declaration of Nullity, which states that no sacramental marriage existed from the onset. The length of a putative marriage or the existence of offspring are completely irrelevant conditions.

      • accelerator

        The same time local ‘rights’ came to be seen to include pretending two men can make a marriage.

  • Mario Pacheco

    I recall that G.K. Chesterton also said that women were more important than men. Great to know his thoughts way back then were in line with the current Pope. Chesterton was always very prescient.

    • captcrisis

      GKC didn’t really mean that (he opposed giving women the right to vote) and Francis doesn’t mean it either.

      • Sarasi

        They always say those things when what they really mean is they are not as important. No one fooled here.

  • Athelstane

    Somewhere, Tom Fox and Jamie Manson are very sad.

  • Sarasi

    What is a “theology of women”?

    • LarryD

      Here’s an article from a few years ago that sheds some light on that.

      http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/cw/post.php?id=731

      Plus, I would suggest reading St Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Mulieris Dignitatem.

      http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html

      • Sarasi

        I’m all-too familiar with this content. When I asked, “What is the theology of women?” it was the rhetorical-question way of saying there can be no such thing, unless women are not part of humanity.

        • LarryD

          Oh I’m sorry! I mistook you for someone who was asking a serious question in good faith. I’ll make sure I don’t make that mistake in the future.

          • Sarasi

            What makes you think my question was neither serious nor in good faith? In fact, I find the subject to be of great seriousness. There can be no “theology of woman” unless there is a “theology of man” that is male-specific. What would justify such a thing when humanity already exists and we are all part of it?

            More feminine genius nonsense, I fear. Assertions made without evidence in windowless room by men who do not have to relate to women on a day-to-day basis.

          • captcrisis

            This is exactly right. For centuries of Catholic theologians, from the writers of some of Paul’s letters up through Augustine and Aquinas, men were the standard form of human and women were a special case, another species, different from (or at least a defective and inferior version of) men. That sense of women as “the other” endures among our celibate clergy.

          • Sarasi

            Thank you.

  • Scott W.

    I didn’t realize the Holy Father visited and encouraged Kim Davis. That’s in addition to visiting the Little Sisters of the Poor, the order that had the audacity of hope to defy Obamacare. For someone who supposedly hates women, that’s a lot of special effort. Note that he didn’t visit Doug “but for Malta?” Kmiec.

    • possibilitygirl

      Visiting Kim Davis has nothing to do with supporting women, and everything to do with supporting homophobia (as the Catholic church is very invested in doing)

      • Scott W.

        U mad bro?

        • Tacitus

          *She* doesn’t sound mad to me. It was a perfectly sensible response to the very weak rationalization you made.

          • Scott W.

            haha. Great leg pull.

        • possibilitygirl

          Nope. (I’m not Catholic anymore, so I honestly don’t care much about the Pope’s whereabouts or bffs). Just pointing out an interesting and important distinction 🙂

          • Scott W.

            People who really don’t care don’t come to Catholic blogs and spout the usual brain-dead falsehoods. Calumny is a sin.

          • possibilitygirl

            So are a lot of things. Not that it should matter, but the reason I’m no longer Catholic is that I refuse to support an institution that actively protected the man who molested my brother, and those who victimized thousands of other vulnerable children. Maybe the Church should be examining the plank in its own eye before weighing in on the perceived moral failings of others.

          • Asmondius

            The majority of molestation in the Church was due to homosexual predation.
            .
            Perhaps you should consider that before promoting homosexuality.

          • possibilitygirl

            Homosexuality and pedophilia are NOT the same thing, and you should be ashamed of yourself for making that implication.

          • Asmondius

            Abuse of adolescent boys by adult males is not ‘pedophilia’.
            .
            Pederasty and pedophilia are NOT the same thing and you should be ashamed of yourself for making that implication.
            .

          • Korou

            Homosexuality and pederasty are not the same thing either.
            And as for being ashamed of anything, the Catholic Church has no right to say that to anyone else. It has too much to apologise for first.

          • Asmondius

            ‘Homosexuality and pederasty are not the same thing either. ‘
            .
            Of course not – but the fact is that only homosexuals practice pederasty, and pederasty was the main venue of abuse in the Church. Makes you wonder why some have been so anxious to become involved with Boy Scouts
            .
            And yes, the Church has already apologized for letting predators molest so many boys.

          • Korou

            It sounds like you’re saying that “homosexual = child molester”. If so – and that is indeed what many Christians have both implied and outright stated before – it is a vile slur on gay people, and demonstrably false.

            Also, maybe saying “the church has a lot to apologise for” was the wrong way to put it. It would be better to say that the Church has a lot to atone for. On investigating the Vatican the United Nations had this to say:
            “The Committee takes note of the commitment expressed by the delegation of the Holy See to hold inviolable the dignity and entire person of every child. 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.”
            See http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/keith-porteous-wood/vatican-child-abuse_b_4774147.html for considerably more. The Catholic Church, having admitted (after it was found out, not before) to having committed gross injustices is hardly in the position to say “But that’s all behind us now; trust us! Now, let us get back to telling you what is morally right and wrong about sex…”

          • Asmondius

            The rationale you’re trying to use is similar to saying that The United States has no moral authority because some United States citizens engage in criminal activity.
            .
            That’s nonsense.

          • Korou

            No, it’s not like that at all. It would be like that if I were saying that some members of the Catholic Church have engaged in criminal activity, which the Church itself deplores and condemns. Unfortunately, the criminal activity was aided and abetted by the Church itself, with several Popes themselves ordering that priests who sexually abuse children were to be protected and every effort was to be made to make sure that nobody found out about the abuse.

            In addition, as the UN found, the Church itself “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.”

          • Asmondius

            Give me just one example of a Pope ordering a predator to be ‘protected’.
            .
            As for the UN:

            ‘A report released today by the UN Secretary General on the recommendations of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations includes important recommendations to prevent further sex abuse scandals. These include the creation of rapid response teams, mechanisms for local communities to complain and in-country trials.
            .
            However, the report falls short of calling for an important deterrent – asking the UN Secretary-General’s annual report must include full details about cases, including trials and sentences.
            .
            “Sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers threatens to discredit the entire UN system if it goes unpunished. Unless people are held to account, other reforms will fade into irrelevance. Every time someone wearing the blue beret commits an abuse and gets away with it, another piece of trust in the UN is chipped away,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.’

            – Amnesty International, September 2015

          • Korou

            Crimen Sollicitationis, valid from 1962-2001. If you’re not familiar with it, it contains detailed instructions as to how accusations against priests should be handled, including bishops being able to transfer any priests they have suspicions of, all parties to investigations – including the complainants – being sworn to secrecy – and as to how a priest who has been found guilty should be “sentenced” by the Church.

            As to the UN – rather than saying “they do it, why shouldn’t we?” they would do better to keep silent.

          • possibilitygirl

            Thank you so much for trying to show that person some reason – your politeness is more than they deserve. My brother was molested by a priest who had previously been accused of abuse and who was protected by the Archdiocese (case hushed up, he was moved to a new church to abuse all over again). Anyone who defends the Catholic church’s stance on human sexuality (or even listens to it at this point) is delusional.

          • Korou

            I’m very sorry indeed to hear about your brother. I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that it was hushed up. I have to agree with you – anyone who cares what the Church has to say about sexuality – well, they probably believe that NOT believing what the Church says will have you sent to hell. Which is, of course, a very useful belief for the Church to foster.
            “Delusional”, though, is a perfectly appropriate word; one might add “wilfully ignorant”. I would not be surprised to hear Asmodeus try to defend Crimen Sollicitationis. I’ve heard other Catholics say “Oh, it only applies to the confessional” (no, it doesn’t) or “It doesn’t forbid anyone from going to the police” (which rather misses the point, that it is designed to make sure that nobody ever thinks of going to the police) or “Nobody knew better in those days” – of course they did, else they wouldn’t be working so very hard to keep it secret.
            To borrow a line from Christopher Hitchens: “The Catholic Church has agreed that abuse of children is a bad thing, very bad indeed; but not quite as bad as letting people know that it happened.”
            Again, I’m very sorry your family was victimised by this.

          • Asmondius

            Yes, I am very familiar with it. That’s how I know you are shooting the breeze.
            .
            Here’s a few facts for you regarding Crimen Sollicitationis:
            * It is a canonical document, which means it only concerns the internal law of the Church – it is not a document dictating administrative or public policy
            * It pertains only to solicitation of immoral acts – not abuse
            * It pertains only to solicitation in association with the Sacrament of Penance (confession)
            * The reason for secrecy within the canonical trial is because what is said during the Sacrament of confession is private and inviolate
            .
            Still waiting for a specific example of a Pope explicitly protecting a known child molester.

          • Korou

            Well, the moderator has asked us to stop discussing it, so I’ll leave it at that. It seems to me that discussion would be very unfruitful anyway.

          • Asmondius

            So be it. I wish you well.

          • Korou

            You too. See you later!

          • possibilitygirl

            LOL. Nice try. I sincerely apologize to any pedophiles or abusers of adolescents I may have offended. (that’s still not the same as equating relationships between consenting adults and abuse of a child by an adult – you’re disgusting)

          • Asmondius

            ‘Child’ is a subjective term which varies from place to place and time to time. ‘Adolescence’ is an objective term which refers to one who has passed puberty but is not yet a fully developed adult.
            .
            Abusers of male adolescents are homosexuals – not pedophiles.

          • possibilitygirl

            I mean, incorrect again, but thanks for playing. Why does it make you feel better to think that homosexuality is the boogie man? If it were true (it’s not), how would that change the fact that the church protected priests who abused a position of trust in order to victimize the vulnerable? That kind of mental gymnastics must be exhausting.

          • Asmondius

            The Church did not protect them – you are blaming a world-wide faith for the evil committed by individuals.

      • Asmondius

        Papaphobia!

  • niknac

    I’m not sure why any woman would want to be a priest. The institution as it currently exists is perverted, it does not have value or utility to the church or it’s faithful. It remains that women must have full participation in church life. All or nothing.

    • Tacitus

      Because they know they would do a better job than the men?

      • Paul Schultz

        If priesthood were only a “job”…

        • Scott W.

          Exactly. It’s also evident when the usual suspects act like the Holy Father is like the POTUS and that male-only priests is merely an arbitrary policy of the JPII administration. The media constructed a narrative of Pope Francis as secular-proggie cishet-shamer coming to turn the Church into an SocJus paradise (code for “burn it down”). Never mind that he already said it wouldn’t happen early in his papacy and also correctly identified same-sex “marriage” as a “machination of the father of lies”.

          But after this visit the silly media narrative is crumbling and I expect a trip to the grocery store I will see fewer and fewer magazine covers with the Holy Father on them.

        • Korou

          It is.

    • Bil Carter

      The institution of the priesthood is as holy as the day Christ created it. The offenses of the receivers of the sacrament of holy orders have no diminishing effect on the orders themselves. The priesthood is still holy.

      Women do indeed have full participation in Church life. It seems to me that the only women complaining are the ones you never see at Mass.

    • Korou

      I do wonder if the Catholic Church would have suffered so much from its various scandals if it wasn’t so patriarchal.

      • Asmondius

        Yes, Victoria and Cleopatra were gems!

    • Asmondius

      er, there’s a Protestant church of any flavor you like right down the street…..

      • David M Laz

        Give up the one Church with the fullness of God’s teachings just because I can’t get my way?

  • Scott W.

    One of the funnier moments on Amazon book reviews for me was a review of a book by a nun defending male-only priesthood. The reviewer said he accepted male-only priesthood and ordinatio sacerdotalis, but guess what? Male-only priesthood was still an open question because the Church hasn’t infallbly defind maleness. It was positivism to the point of insanity. As has been noted before, refusal to accept Church teaching isn’t a problem of the intellect, it’s a problem of the will. And when one is laboring under the hollow and self-refuting ideology of modern progressivism, his only option is stall, stall, stall.

  • Sophia Sadek

    There is no need for women priests in the Roman communion. After all, there are plenty of woman priests in the Anglican communion.

    • Scott W.

      Right and that has been a question I’ve been asked a lot: “Why don’t these dissenters leave for a denomination more friendly to their views?” There’s a couple of speculative answers I’ve heard. One is simple inertia. It’s hard for older people to make the effort to leave. Another is inflated sense of ego. That is, by staying in the Catholic Church, dissenters can indulge a puerile fantasy that they are poor little David Layperson facing down mean ol’ Goliath hierarchy. The other was coined by Dale Price called the Matthew Fox Effect. Namely, that when a prominent Catholic goes Episcoangliwhatnot, the press tends to drop them from their address books because Catholic malcontents make better copy. It’s kinda amusing that when Gene Robinson was made a bishop, there was an expectation that throngs would flock to the Episcopal Church. Well, it’s been years and as Chris Johnson put it, those throngs are either stuck in traffic or coming to church disguised as empty pews. 🙂

      • Sophia Sadek

        Matthew Fox was far more effective out of the limelight than he was within it. One of the things that fascinates me is how liberals who have left the Roman fold have gone gaga over pope Francis. It is as if they have not been paying close attention.

        • Scott W.

          Oh very true on the Francis love-fest which thankfully is starting to crumble under the rubric that if the world loves you, you are doing something wrong. Even among Catholics the denial was powerful that when he met with Kim Davis, I was able to identify the Five Stages of Kim Davis Derangement Grief:

          1. Denial “Except I shall see the pictures of the pope holding Davis’ hands, I will not believe.”
          2. Anger “Why would anyone take time to visit this cishet bigot!”
          3. Bargaining “Ok, he saw her, but he must have been duped! Yeah. That’s it!”
          4. Depression “I don’t understand. We won with Obergefell. Why am I still unhappy?”

          Which hopefully leads to:

          5. Acceptance “Oh well. Maybe she has a point and she really is a victim of an ascending fascist movement putting the boot on the throats of dissenters. Maybe not voting for enthusiastic abortionists will be a fresh start.”

          • Sophia Sadek

            I prefer:

            5. Acceptance: The wool was pulled over our eyes. Francis favors white power Pentecostals over faithful fags.

          • Asmondius

            Absolutely Brilliant.

  • Wally Noon

    Only a matter of time.

    • Korou

      But how much time does the Church have? The supply of male priests is rapidly running out!

    • Asmondius

      Another 2000 years?

  • Nerobyrne

    I wonder why women priests are so important to society. These are not political leaders. Yes the pope is important, but only because many people choose to listen. The workers put out of office by Margeret Thatcher did not get a choice. The people benefiting from the minimum wage passed by Angela Merkel’s administration did not get a choice. Women should absolutely be able to run for any political office, but the Catholic Church is a religion, not a state.

    Since you can leave this religion at any time, I see no reason to push them to include women in this office. Women have a strong voice in the church, and as we see with Mother Theresa, they too can become very important, respected individuals. Leave the church to manage itself, I’d say. There is no need to push your personal ideology on them, because they hold no power over you.

  • LarryD

    This back and forth on the sexual abuse crisis – on a post about women’s ordination, no less – has been dragging on for well over a week. Y’all are talking past each other, and no one’s position is gonna change. I’m *this* close to shutting down the combox and/or wielding the Ban Hammer if it doesn’t subside. Thanks, everyone.