For some reason, some people think it’s a devastating blow to me…

For some reason, some people think it’s a devastating blow to me… December 16, 2013

that Francis won’t be naming any women cardinals.

As I just mentioned, I find ecclesial politics numbingly dull.  In the past I have mentioned that there is basically nothing to stop the Church–except for its own human and mutable canon law–from creating lay (and therefore women) cardinals if she chooses.  I mentioned it for two reasons–because I like theological trivia and because lots of people freak out as though the Church has denied something integral to the faith whenever the pope or the bishops make some little tweak (such as proposing five more mysteries for the
Rosary) to something they are perfectly within their rights to tweak if they like.  It’s important to know the difference between what can and cannot be changed in the faith, as well as the difference between the development of doctrine and the mutation of doctrine.

That said, I have no personal interest in whether or not the Church ever creates lay or women cardinals.  I can see advantages and disadvantages to it.  But basically, I don’t care and certainly have no sense of disappointment that Francis has no interest in it.  I suspect that it will likely happen at some point in the future, but my worthless opinion and five bucks will get you a cup of Starbucks.  If it never happens, meh.  If it happens tomorrow, meh.  Only if it happened tomorrow, the paroxysms of freakoutery from Reactionaries would be a sight to behold.  But it won’t.  So it’s far more important to pay attention to Jesus in the real world than to waste time obsessing over curial politics which are, I repeat, numbingly dull in my view.

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  • Rosemarie


    To me, this is just more evidence that the news media and progressive Catholics were unrealistically projecting all their hopes and dreams for change in the Church onto Pope Francis. Female cardinals is just one of those things, and now it turns out their speculations were groundless. I love the way the pope says, “I don’t know where this idea sprang from.” It obviously didn’t come from him. It’s just too bad that these wild flights of progressive fantasy needlessly spooked some other Catholics, making them fear the worst about this pontiff.

    Yet again, the lesson is don’t trust media reporting on the Holy Father, go straight to the source. Read what Pope Francis is actually saying rather than the MSM’s carefully culled sound bytes taken out of context and misinterpreted.

  • The Pope is, not surprisingly, against women becoming “clerics.” He understands that in the way it is being put, becoming a cardinal means becoming a cleric. Perhaps he would have had a different reaction if he’d been asked if there could be lay papal electors (men and women). Because to me, that is the real question being raised – except for those who are floating the idea because they are bent on women becoming priests. A few weeks ago, I wrote a bit more about this here:

    • ivan_the_mad

      Excellent! I think I shall frequent your blog, now that I have discovered it.

      • Thank you! I welcome mad people. I am right at home with them 🙂

  • It’s important to know the difference between what can and cannot be changed in the faith

    I was running a class on the New Evangelization in my parish, and we were in the middle of a discussion about the church “back in the day” before Vatican II, and I made this point. And the old people in the class, all together (and with a sense of irony) chorused: “No! Every single rule is to be obeyed. Nothing can be changed.”

    They said they were given no ability to judge between the various practices and teachings of the faith. It was just one big mass of rules. It was a fascinating insight into the attitudes of pre-Vatican II New England Catholics.

    • Fr. Denis Lemieux

      That actually sheds quite a bit of light on the confusion and chaos that reigned in the post-conciliar years. If people were so badly taught that they believed nothing could possibly change, then when some things did in fact change (because they could) it threw the whole system into question. Bad catechesis: a time bomb that went off somewhere around 1970.