• Subscribe to Crisis

  • The Catholic Left’s Latest Call for the Ordination of Women

    by Kenneth D. Whitehead

    NCR Endorses-Women-Priests-Movement

    In early December the independent and very liberal National Catholic Reporter weekly newspaper published a long, carefully reasoned editorial declaring that “The Ordination of Women Would Correct an Injustice.” If the Church were deliberately perpetrating an injustice in the matter of ordination, of course, it would be a serious matter. The NCR editorial was a response to the earlier “excommunication, dismissal, and laicization” of Roy Bourgeois, who as a Maryknoll priest had long and defiantly—and in spite of numerous warnings—engaged in what was officially described as a “campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church”—he repeatedly and obstinately engaged in public agitation in favor of female ordination.

    According to the NCR editorial, both the disciplining of Roy Bourgeois and the Church’s “failure” to ordain women constituted grave injustices that urgently need to be remedied. “The call to priesthood,” the newspaper wrote, “is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community”—not, significantly, by the Church, according to the NCR, but by the “community.” Characterizing the Church’s position of ordaining only men as “absurd,” while describing that position as being based on nothing more substantial than a belief that “anatomy is somehow a barrier to God’s ability to call one of God’s own children forward,” the editorial claimed that female ordination is not only favored by most Catholics today, but represents the true sensus fidelium, or “sense of the faithful,” of Catholic believers today.

    The conclusion of the NCR editorial was that that “exclusion of women from the priesthood has no strong basis in Scripture or any other compelling a rationale,” and hence the NCR editors issued a clarion call to the Catholic laity to oppose the Church’s teaching on ordination, both publicly and strenuously: the laity need “to speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations, and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels”—in other words, we should assume that Catholic teaching is established in the same way as political opinion in a modern democratic regime, that is, chiefly by political agitation and pressuring.

    When speaking before Catholic groups, I have often found that many Catholics today in fact do not understand why the Church does not ordain women. The NCR editors have hit upon a real sore spot here. Whether this indicates—or could—any kind of shift in the sensus fidelium, however, is another and very different question entirely.

    In a society such as modern American society today, where almost any kind of discrimination, or supposed discrimination, is almost automatically considered to be the worst of injustices—and where for practically a good half century now, feminists and their allies have been hammering away at the idea that women have been and still are being discriminated against in American society (as well as within the Church)—in this kind of climate, perhaps the surprise is that there are not more voices protesting the Church’s position of not ordaining women and, like the NCR, calling for a revision of the Church’s teaching in the matter.

    In view of what seems to be the widespread (but erroneous) popular opinion here, perhaps it is worthwhile briefly summarizing what the Church actually does teach about female (non)ordination.

    The principal current explanatory official Church document in the matter is the Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, Inter Insigniores, issued by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on October 15, 1976. The key statement in this document is the assertion that the Church, “in fidelity to the example of the Lord, does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination.” The NCR editorial quotes the second part of this statement about the Church not considering herself authorized, but omits the first part about this being “in fidelity to the example of the Lord.”

    Yet this is the principal reason offered by Inter Insigniores for the Church’s position: the Church does not ordain women to the sacred priesthood essentially because Christ did not include women among the select Twelve to whom he gave sacramental powers that were to be handed down in the Church to and through their successors, the bishops. The priesthood is acquired by means of a sacrament, the sacrament of Order. The bishops possess this sacrament in its fullness, which they share with their priests, and transmit to their successor bishops. If it is asked why they cannot also share it with women, the Church’s answer is that Jesus did not share with women membership in the group of the Twelve on whom he conferred sacramental powers.

    In answer to the further question of why Jesus did not share the sacrament of Order with women, Inter Insigniores quotes St. Thomas Aquinas, who explained that “sacramental signs represent what they signify by natural resemblance” (emphasis added). The ordained priest is a sacramental sign who acts in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ”). Anyone who acts for Christ in this way needs to have a “natural resemblance” to him. Christ was a man and thus the priest who acts for him—not just in his “name,” but in his person—needs to be a man.

    This explanation of why women cannot be ordained to the sacred priesthood seems deceptively simple on its face. Upon reflection, however, it should become clear that it is a rather profound theological explanation. The priesthood does not just entail a “function” that can be performed indifferently by anybody (standing at the altar, preaching, sitting in the confessional, etc.). Rather, it is a state of being with powers conferred by Christ and transmitted down through the generations in the Church. Think of the “indelible mark” you were told you acquired at baptism; what is acquired at ordination is similarly “indelible” (“You are a priest forever”!).

    It is not the case, though, that the priesthood could never have been, theoretically, conferred on a woman because of her supposed interior nature or something of that sort. That is emphatically not the Church’s view of the matter. In the Church’s view, women are fully equal to men in their dignity as human persons. But in point of fact, the apostles Jesus chose who were to be given his sacramental powers were all men.

    Inter Insigniores explains that Jesus did not limit his selection of apostles to men alone because of the culture of his times that did not admit women to leadership positions in society. The document affirms what the record of the New Testament attests to in any case, namely, that Jesus was in no way bound by the culture of his times. In fact, he regularly treated women as the equals of men. The New Testament record clearly shows that women formed a vital part of his following; and were the ones, moreover, who stuck with him at the foot of the cross—just as Mary Magdalen was probably the first witness of the Resurrection.

    Still, Jesus did not include any of them in the special group of apostles that he appointed, not even his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the human being whom the Church exalts above all others. Jesus seems to have believed that women and men, although equal in their human dignity, had somewhat different roles in the family and in society.

    However that may be, it is quite remarkable how both the early Church, and the medieval Church always consistently adhered to a male only priesthood. Scarcely any questions were even raised about it until modern times. Today, however, not only because of the rise of feminism with its numerous supporters, but also perhaps because most Protestant churches have accepted women as ministers, the question of possible female ordination has arisen and has become quite insistent. Inter Insigniores was issued precisely in order to deal with the question.

    However, it should immediately go without saying that not all of the demands of contemporary feminists have proven to be either true or just. The Church is in no way obliged just to go with the fashions of the times. She has her own ways of acting and operating, some of them literally going back to the time of the apostles. And as for the Protestant acceptance of women ministers, it should be recalled that the Protestants rejected the very notion of a sacramental priesthood, and thus they are not constrained in the same way as the Catholic Church (and the Eastern Orthodox Churches), acting “in fidelity to the example of the Lord.”

    In this perspective, the National Catholic Reporter’s call for agitation by the Catholic laity in favor of a change in the Church’s teaching on ordination must be seen as profoundly misguided. This is not how Catholic teaching is arrived at or verified. The same thing is true of the idea that women have some kind of a “right” to ordination, or that they are somehow being unjustly “discriminated” against by being excluded from it. These are ideas imported into the Church from the reigning secular liberal culture; they simply do not apply to the kind of sacramental ordination practiced by the Catholic Church. Similarly, the idea that a Maryknoll priest should be allowed to go on publicly agitating against the Church’s teaching can in no way be justified.

    But is the inability to ordain women to the sacred priesthood really a definitive Church teaching? In his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, issued on May 29, 1994, Blessed Pope John Paul II confirmed the teaching of Inter Insigniores, and, indeed, went beyond it, when making the following declaration:

    In order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s 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 confirm priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be held definitively by all the Church’s faithful.

    “No authority whatsoever…to be held definitively…” It would be hard to think of stronger language by which the mind of the Church could be made more clear, yet opposition to the Church’s teaching as well as arguments in favor of female ordination continued on then and continue on now. More than a year after Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on October 28, 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, over the signature of Cardinal Ratzinger, issued a Responsum ad dubium specifying that “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” (emphasis added).

    That’s “infallibly.” The teaching will not and cannot be changed. Women cannot be ordained. Yet none of this prevented the NCR from launching its campaign anyway, claiming all the while that its position represented the sensus fidelium. Such are the times.

    It is ironic that the NCR issued its claim to represent the sensus fidelium on December 3, 2012. For on December 7, 2012, four days later, Pope Benedict XVI, in an address to the International Theological Commission, in effect issued an “answer” to the NCR editorial (although the pope could well have been entirely unaware of it). The pope said:

    Today…it is particularly important to clarify the criteria used to distinguish the authentic sensus fidelium from its counterfeits. In fact, it is not some kind of public opinion of the Church, and it is unthinkable to mention it in order to challenge the teachings of the Magisterium, this because the sensus fidei cannot grow authentically in the believer except to the extent in which he or she fully participates in the life of the Church, and this requires a responsible adherence to her Magisterium.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

    Subscribe to Crisis

    (It's Free)

    Go to Crisis homepage

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Mgr Ronald Knox had this to say of the sensus fidelium: “The salient difficulty of any consensus fidelium theory is surely this, that, if the test is to be a real test, the term fideles must have a definite meaning in extension. And while we look in vain for any other definition of their extent which will not be a merely circular definition, the Roman Catholic has a ready answer. The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. No doubt, in the long run this means the people who are so orthodox that Rome has seen no reason to excommunicate them, so that unity and orthodoxy still react upon one another. But the fact remains that the Roman theory does give a test for defining the fideles without the question-begging preliminary of ascertaining who the fideles are, from an examination of their tenets.”

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      My question is why, after what the magisterium has already definitively stated, we give exposure to the notion of women ‘priests?’

      If, after the Church has settled the matter, someone came up with the idea that Christ was not fully human, would that notion be given ‘air time?’

      Let’s stop treating these loons as if they were serious.

      • Alecto

        Deacon Ed, you’re trying to make sense of something nonsensical. If these “arguments” are not repudiated, they will mushroom. In this case, silence is assent.

      • http://www.facebook.com/scott.rogge64 Scott Rogge

        There were plenty of heresies that taught Jesus wasn’t human or wasn’t God, Gnosticism, Docetism, Arianism, we called those people heretics, however, technically these people would be schismatics – as the Church has taught why women cannot be priests, but has not said it was dogmatic as far as I know…however, the role of Priest as “in persona Christi” – basing the role of Priest on who Jesus is, come close to heresy.

      • msmischief

        Arians multiplied after the First Council of Nicea. It’s hardly the first time where the definitive teaching has multiplied its enemies.

        • katgurl

          A gender inclusive priesthood is not a heretical notion. Certainly, it gives great comfort to you to believe this and to find refuge in the arguments which arrive at this conclusion. Words can be made to say anything. Arguments can be constructed to defend any belief. Christ’s example, however, lies beyond the ability of your arguments. His ministry initiated the truth of gender empowerment which is coming to define the Church. Just as we look back in the history of the Church and bear witness to its mistakes of anti-semitsim and racism, we will too consider with sadness the corruption which perpetrated sexism. Thank God there are younger Catholics who are working to wash away this shame today.

          • ColdStanding

            Not a heretical notion? Oh, right, words can be made to say anything, as you say. But how am I to know with certainty that this is really what you are trying to say? Wait for it…it’s coming to me now…wait…now I get it! What you really mean to say is that a gender inclusive priesthood IS a heretical notion!

            A language lives by meaning. Stop killing it and tossing the butchered flesh into the sausage maker of your pet interests.

            • katgurl

              Excellent work Cold! And by the same twist of phrase you are actually stating that you believe in purifying the Love of Christ by purging it of your narcissistic appetite for male domination. Really now, “the sausage maker of pet interests..” surely you must have even chuckled at that bizarrely over-the-top metaphor yourself, perhaps even as you wrote it. Language lives to express meaning. Express truth and your foundation will not be so fragile.

              • ColdStanding

                Nope. Did not laugh. What ever meat goes into a sausage maker, comes out a sausage. You hear a clear and definite statement that should settle the matter and you grind it out as patriarchal domination, aka sausage.

                • katgurl

                  Well, you should have laughed. I mean really, you can imagine big long sausages as you write in defense of Christ, and you are comfortable with that?

                  • ColdStanding

                    Case in point I’d say. Somebody says sausage, it must mean penis.

                    • katgurl

                      Wow….now the Cold implosion is complete. You are writing about penises. I wish I could claim responsibility for dancing you into this regrettable tar pit trap, but I’m afraid you fell into this sausage/penis quicksand all on your own. Stand still. Don;t post more drivel. You’ll stay afloat longer.

                      • ColdStanding

                        You can thank me latter.

                        But off comes the mask. I am intentionally wasting your time. Pointlessness for pointlessness. Be at peace with me, I plead of you. I don’t agree with you, but I will apologize for my rudeness. Sincerely.

                      • katgurl

                        Oh, I love you. Really! I am on vacation….net adventures are never a waste of time.

              • savvy

                This is called emotional politics. What do you want a priest for?

                • katgurl

                  No Savvy, it is not. It is a theology of sorts.

                  • savvy

                    Nope, it’s emotional politics.

          • Peter Nyikos

            katgurl, You speak of anti-semitism, yet the Jews, unlike many neighboring peoples, never had women priests, and their priesthood went all the way back to Aaron, the brother of Moses. Do you think it was pure accident that Jesus was a Jew? Did he not “perpetrate sexism” by your definition of the words, by choosing twelve male apostles and conferring only on them and those appointed by them the power to forgive sins?

            • katgurl

              You seem wise Peter, but how do you know that his disciples were all male? Clearly the emphasis on the ’12′ came later. His house help a special place for women and that can’t be denied.

              • Peter Nyikos

                I didn’t say “disciples,” I said “apostles”. It is they to whom Jesus said, “whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven.” Yes, there is a special place for women, and there is even a scriptural warrant for deaconesses, but as the old joke has it, “Vive la difference!”

                • katgurl

                  This is the first ‘almost kind’ response I have received here on the board. Thank you.

          • Bruce

            You must be awfully lonely. The only young Catholics I see, and we are numerous, are ones that are extremely traditional and orthodox. You are an anomaly if you really are young. The odds are against that, however.

            Regardless, the matter is closed. You’re wasting your time. You might as well fight the sun from rising.

            • katgurl

              You are young? You sound ancient and defeated. Perhaps you have few years, but your spirit is worn. ALL of the young people I know think in opposition to you Bruce. Our time is not wasted in the least. Your children will ask, “Where were you when they fought the sun and increased the Love of Christ on Earth?” You will say, “I was too busy being old, orthodox and obedient”

              • Bruce

                LOL. Again, you must be very lonely. Absolutely no one under 30 that I roll with thinks like you. Your philosophy is the same tired 1960s stuff spewed by aging hippies. Nice try, but we’re not buying. Oh, and we actually reproduce and teach our children the truth about human beings, sexuality, the priesthood, and marriage. That probably frightens you….good! We’re not defeated…we’ve already won.

                • katgurl

                  Teaching your children to hate and discriminate in the name of a god is the oldest trick in the book, bruce….and you think you are winning when you do that? Thought you said you saw the world with youth…your soul is a geriatric creature with a flatline heartbeat.

                  • Bruce

                    LOL. Your schtick is as tired as your philosophy. Not buying it and certainly not convinced. We have already won. You’re still invited to our victory party.

                    • katgurl

                      No, statistically we have won. New converts and younger Catholics are much more liberal in their outlook. Enjoy your schism bruce.

                • savvy

                  Yes, I am woman under 30 and I agree.

                  • katgurl

                    That is sad, but I understand then why you might need a priest.

                    • savvy

                      Cheap shot.

          • savvy

            You arguments are deeply political. Why do you want a priest, if you can’t figure out what it stands for.

            • katgurl

              I know exactly what a priest is for. I know why I need a priest. Do you?

              • Peter Nyikos

                A priest is needed for two things [three if you count confirmation, but that's a function usually reserved for bishops]: the sacraments of Penance (Reconciliation) and the Eucharist. Both of these functions were given to the twelve apostles, all male.

                [sarcasm on] A priest is also needed to serve as a scapegoat for all the sexual abuse in our society. [There is more of it in the public schools, but those get close to a free pass in our secular media.] So we are doing women a favor by not making them share in the attacks leveled at priests. [sarcasm off]

                The other sacraments, except for holy orders, can be administered by deacons. I don’t know what the hangup is about not ordaining women deacons, but I hope it ends eventually.

                By the way, katgurl, I hope you do get a chance to talk to your rabbi before long about the questions I raised.

                • Guest

                  #1 Except that all deacons ordained by the apostles were men. (Please don’t regale me with comments about deaconesses. It’s been clearly spelled out elsewhere who they were).

                  #2 Your understanding of sacramentology needs some work. Baptism: ordinary ministers of this sacrament are bishops, priests and deacons (for infants) but an extraordinary minister (in cases of imminent death of a child) can be any layperson – even an atheist; Matrimony: the couple themselves are the ministers of the sacrmanet and it is witnessed by a deacon, priest or bishop to be valid; Anointing of the Sick: only bishops and priests – never by deacons because it involves the forgiveness of sin.

                  #3 And let’s remember one essential fact in all this disucssion: NO ONE is ever entitled to be ordained. I could never presume myself to be “called” to the clerical life. That call comes only from the Church and acknowledged by the bishop. Check out the rite of ordination and the part referencing ‘the calling forward.”

                  • Peter Nyikos

                    It has been alleged that deaconesses were the equivalent of subdeacons; on what basis, I haven’t the foggiest idea; do you?

                    But the distinction doesn’t bother me all that much. Some of the most powerful people in the Church in the middle ages were subdeacons. Just as the married deaconate was revived a few decades ago, perhaps the feminine subdeaconate could be revived as well, and the ancient title of “deaconess” revived along with it.

                    Thanks for the correction on Anointing of the Sick. And I do agree with you about no one ever being entitled to be ordained. The talk elsewhere in these voluminous comments about women who believe otherwise after a great deal of “discernment” is absolute hogwash. People who lay that much store by “discernment” are hardly better than those who make their God in their own image.

              • nrsaxman

                katgurl – I am a young Catholic and an orthodox Catholic. So are most I know. But that’s besides the point. The biggest crux of our faith is faith in the magesterium and apostolic succession. If we don’t believe in this doctrine, our faith goes out the window, as do the Sacraments (if you don’t believe me, look at Protestantism). The current ‘liberal’ Catholic teachings undermine the authority of the Church and the Sacraments. I’m not going to repeat the arguments that Mr. Whitehead made in this article, but I am going to pose a question to you: What if Christ did intend for the priesthood to be male? If the Church acted against Christ’s will and ordained women priests, the sacraments would be invalid. Even if Christ somehow made a mistake and forgot to reveal in Divine Revelation (which as Catholics we believe is complete) that women actually were allowed to be ordained, would you really want to take that chance? The Church SHOULD NOT ordain women because we have no evidence other than fallible human feelings of “injustice.” Should we really risk sacramental validity on a mere whim, a mere “feeling?”

          • Olivia

            Katgurl, you are wise! I am another young woman who supports a gender inclusive priesthood. I have an uncle who is a priest. He is also supportive of women in the priesthood, as are many of his colleagues. Forgive those who abuse you here. White men are losing the power they believe they’re entitled to, and they sometimes react with pouting and tantrums. The transition will take time. Try to be patient with the poor dears.

            • savvy

              Olivia,

              This is not about male or female power. What do you what a priest for?

              • katgurl

                What is your obsession with this question? Have you some personal issues with needing priests? Our Faith makes it abundantly clear why we need a priest.

                • savvy

                  Then answer the question. If you know what the priesthood stood for , you would not support a female priesthood, since no such thing exists.

            • katgurl

              May God bless you. Your wisdom and big-hearted kindness are illuminating.

      • gregoryvii

        Deacon Ed, we must, however, remember that the personage of Christ is divine, and only divine, with two natures, one divine, and one human. But Jesus is a divine, not human person. Sadly many Catholics were not instructed in this.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          Yes. I didn’t mean to imply that Jesus was other than a divine person. I was making a quick reference to the early Church heresies. My point was that when the bishops rule on matters of faith and morals, it is settled dogma. No more need to rehash it – even if loons want to posit otherwise. The same goes for the matter of ordaining women as priests. The Supreme Pontiff, named John Paul II, stated clearly that even if he he wanted to, it would be imposssible for him to ordain women. It is as simple as this: the necessary matter would not be present. For those unfamiliar with Thomism, it is the same reason why we cannnot use milk in place of the wine at the consecration. The necessary matter is not present. For priesthood, the necessary matter is a male of the species. I am afraid that too many of our priests who attended seminary during the 60′s and 70′s slept through these classes on sacramental theology.

        • Casey

          Very interesting. I’ve never heard this, at least articulated, before.

      • Bemkapeace

        Hi Deacon Ed,

        You know the “problem” with you? You are Catholic and they are not! I still find it strange that people come into the Church and want to “make it into their own image”! What of the image that first attracted them? But they tell me it’s because I am “Catholic”!

        The “air time” is sometimes necessary to avoid a disconnect, so let it go on. What the writer tacitly put forward is that there is no education of the faithful. I’d bet you not many priests have “bothered” to read the relevant documents – and hardly do seminaries study Aquinas again! – even though Vatican II’s GRAVISSIMUM EDUCATIONIS, OPTATAM TOTIUS, and PASTORES DABO VOBIS all state and restate that St Thomas should serve as a guide! That quiet finger pointed therefore needs to be followed to help our people in the path of the right direction!

    • Alecto

      We’ve arrived at a point in time where even morality is decided by majority vote. One look at the “majority” illustrates how far it’s sunk into the mire, the muck. It is no longer capable of seeing clearly. That is why the Catholic church must respond with consistency of historical and objective truth to arguments for female ordination, gay marriage, etc…. I’m still aghast that I live in a country where someone with a serious mental disorder believes he/she can change his/her “gender”? If this society believes that it can vote to change chromosomal makeup, why would it not support such “innocuous” truths as women priests? Brave New World, indeed.

    • poetcomic1

      Through intercourse with ‘the world’ the Church has acquired a spiritual ‘AIDS’ that has virtually destroyed its immune system of disciplines. What is extraordinary about the Roy Bourgeois case is that it IS extraordinary.

    • Pingback: The Catholic Left’s Latest Call for the Ordination of Women | Catholic Canada

    • http://twitter.com/gailfinke Gail Finke

      I found Sr. Sarah Butler’s short, concise book on this subject to be extremely persuasive. And she did too — she began writing it with the idea that there was no proof supporting the Church’s position on ordaining women, and ended up deciding there was definitive proof for it. One line of reasoning I find particularly strong is that the Catholic priesthood was not created by Christ, but is a continuation of (and from a Catholic perspective, the perfection of) the Jewish priesthood. So we are not talking 2000 years of unbroken custom here, but much, much longer than that. The Jews had a system of all-male priesthood for many centuries, and they stuck to it among all sorts of pagan “priesthood” arrangements, just as they stuck to monotheism and other beliefs that we continue today. They could easily have “found” a lost book in a cornerstone somewhere saying whatever changes they wanted were commanded by God — but they didn’t. We are a continuation of the Jewish people, that’s essential to understand about Christianity. Now, some types of Jews today ordain women rabbis, but that is just as much an aberration as “women priests.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/scott.rogge64 Scott Rogge

        Hi Gail, many would say that the Jewish Priesthood was based on a misogynistic patriarchal society, therefore it is not enough to say the Catholic priesthood is based on Judaism. The fact is, there were many religions of the time which had women priests, therefore, the Jewish priesthood was different that most ancient pagan religions, but why? Because the Priest represented God’s Fatherhood – and His role as Husband. For Christians the Priesthood represents Jesus – as he acts “In persona Christi” as the bridegroom, and God the father. A priest is a spiritual “father”, a woman cannot be a priest anymore than I could be a “mother”.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

          “Misogynistic patriarchal society” is a secular and feminist term, therefore completely inapplicable in this discussion. It is criteria like this one that got us into this mess in the first place.

      • katgurl

        Careful Gail….Christ rebelled openly against the Jewish priesthood, the Temple and many purity laws…. and asked that we do the same.

        • ColdStanding

          So, by applying your reasoning to other things that Jesus Christ taught us, when he prayed in the garden before his passion…we should NOT pray for strength from God before being called to carry a cross? We should NOT love one another? We should NOT follow his two greatest commandments but in point of fact, rebel against what he taught, because by your reckoning, his true teaching was to rebel against everything?

          • katgurl

            No, you are confused. My case was a specific response to Gail. you have taken it far into the ether and away from meaning. But, you are very entertaining!

            • Bruce

              Not really, for he simply took your philosophy to its logical conclusion.

              • katgurl

                Logical? Okay…..you are entitled to your opinion.

                • ColdStanding

                  How generous of you.

                  • katgurl

                    Anything for a pendejo of your stature!

                  • Peter Nyikos

                    For once I must agree with katgurl: you were way too heavy-handed with the satire.

                    • ColdStanding

                      Ridiculousness paid back in it’s own coin.

                      • katgurl

                        You are the mint of the ridiculous currency around here Cold. You should pay us with sausages.

        • Peter Nyikos

          katgurl, where do you get the notion that Christ rebelled against the Jewish priesthood? He “rebelled against” the money changers and those who made his Father’s house a den of thieves. He also called attention to the failure of priests to live up to their calling by having one of them pass by the robber’s victim in his parable of the Good Samaritan. And he told his disciples not to imitate this failue of many priests of the time.

          But if you think all this is tantamount to calling the very concept of the priesthood into question, you will have to abandon your practice of issuing proclamations without arguing for them

          • katgurl

            Really Peter?….start with John the Baptist. Why did anyone seek him or seek to live with him? Why was he living in the ‘desert’ far from the Temple?
            Why did he use the Jordan and not the Temple as a context for purity?

            • Peter Nyikos

              What’s John the Baptist’s prophetic ministry got to do with open rebellion? You might as well claim that the prophet Jeremiah rebelled against the priesthood because he did not become a priest himself.

              • katgurl

                As I understand John, as he ws explained to me by a rabbi, his whole ministry was a defiance of the Temple, of mainstream Judaism, of the Priests and of Temple-interpreted/ritual centered ‘Law’. Thus, to know that Christ sought John and lived with him…..

                • Peter Nyikos

                  Christ lived with John? Hardly. They met briefly, and after they parted, John even had second thoughts about his enthusiastic reception of Jesus, sending his disciples to ask whether Jesus was really the Christ or whether they should look for someone else. And even today, there is a Gnostic sect called the Mandaeans that trace themselves back to John the Baptist and reject Jesus.

                  Your rabbi friend is either reading a lot into scripture that isn’t there [Pharisees and Sadducees are not the same thing as priests, and John does not preach against rituals in the Gospels] or he is relying on extra-scriptural sources–the writings of the Mandaeans, perhaps?

                  • katgurl

                    Rabbi, as you might imagine, has an abundance of extra-scriptural sources which attempt to explain the John phenomena and which find parallels in the Christ/John message which would have been most possible if the ‘visit’ had lasted much longer. There is a relationship here which begs exploration. I understand about the Pharisees etc, that is Judaism 101. This much is fact; John’s existence in the desert was an affront to the Temple. His baptism in the Jordan was a rebellion. Christ deliberately places himself in the midst of this. Why?

                    • Bruce

                      You know very little about Scripture and theology, yet talk as if you did. It is sad to watch.

                    • Peter Nyikos

                      “This much is fact,” you say, but it is not fact as recorded in scripture. Which of the rabbi’s sources does he draw on for the “affront” and “rebellion” business? The Quran? Mandaean writings? other Gnostic writings? Bahai writings? the Wikipedia gives us quite a menagerie of “sources” for John the Baptist, some contradicting others.

                      Or is your rabbi simply taking the word of some Jewish scholars that anyone who baptized in those days was guilty of “rebellion” against the Temple? And what about rabbis themselves? Was not their work also an affront to the priesthood? Why did rabbis and priests not cooperate to preserve both the priesthood and the rabbinical ministry after the Roman victory ca. 70 AD?

                      • katgurl

                        I don;t know….I will find out and then discuss more factually. Those are good questions. Would you be open to dialoguing here about it?

                      • Peter Nyikos

                        Absolutely. I’ll check back here every couple of days. Bear with me if I take more than a day to read and reply.

                      • katgurl

                        Like wise…thanks. I will pass along what I learn/am told and look forward to your insight and wisdom. Thanks for your kindness.

        • Bruce

          And He came to fulfill the Law, not destroy it. Careful katgurl, your ignorance of Scripture is showing.

          • katgurl

            Challenge accepted bruce- gladly. Your ignorance of 1st Cent Judaism is showing. Barefoot into the residences of strangers, healing without permission and in anonymity, finding purity beyond the mikvehs of the Temple… do Christ’s words, as written by authors long after his death, match his actions when examining an absolute conviction to keep the Law and not destroy it?

            • Bruce

              You lose. These are His words. :) Nice try, though, but ignorance rarely wins battles like this. In fact, it never does.

              • katgurl

                No bruce, as is always the case with your tired old soul, you lose. Your response makes no sense at all.

                • Bruce

                  That was a non-rebuttal. It is nice to see you concede the fact that you are wholly ignorant of Christ and Scripture.

        • rich

          right!!! so why didn’t he continue to rebel and ordain woman!!! can u tell me?

          • katgurl

            Well, rich, there was the whole issue with his crucifixion….

            • Peter Nyikos

              Are you suggesting that Jesus’s work on earth was not finished, that the crucifixion was an unplanned event? What then do you make of Jesus’s words in the Agony in the Garden–do you think the Father ignored his words and left him erroneously thinking that the crucifixion was the will of the Father?

              • katgurl

                Interesting questions Peter. I have a question: what do you mean by “left him erroneously thinking that the crucifixion was the will of the Father?”

                • katgurl

                  Are you suggesting that his work was finished?

        • Olivia

          LOL! You’re way too smart for this crowd, Katgurl!

          • savvy

            If you are so smart. Please tell me what is a priest? Why are priests ordained?

      • Peter Nyikos

        Great comments, Gail! I should like to add one clarification: priests and rabbis played a completely different role in Judaism, and it is even misleading to speak of “ordination” of women (or men) rabbis. The priesthood died out in Judaism very soon after Christianity ceased to be a branch of Judaism, but in the thousand-plus years it lasted, it was responsible for sacrifices, while rabbis have never had that role, but only a teaching role. It is no coincidence that Catholics consider the Eucharist to be a sacrifice.

      • savvy

        Judaism, no longer has a priesthood. A Rabbi is not a sacrificial priest nor does he/she play a sacramental role.

    • J G

      I think that NCR is becoming more hysterical. They know this isn’t going to happen and that they have essentially lost the war over who gets to interpret Vatican II. In a way it is their death wish. Young people either don’t care who is ordained because they don’t care period or they are with the Church and view the NCR crowd as aged hippies.

    • Howard Kainz

      The NCR “fishwrap,” seems to believe that ordaining priestesses will make people scramble to join or re-join the Church. The example of Anglicans, with women priests and bishops, indicates otherwise. It’s an exciting novelty at first, but after a while, “why bother?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/scott.rogge64 Scott Rogge

      Women cannot be priests anymore than I could be a mother. It’s not a matter of gender equality it is a matter of roles; the Priest has always represented the Bridegroom – and the Church is the bride. Of course this same organization, I’m sure is confused as to why same sex couples cannot marry.

    • Jadie Matthew

      It is sad that our society has come to the conclusion that those who agitate loudest and most vigorously must be right. To my knowledge, the Church has never ordained women in its entire history. Why people feel that the Church must “change with the times” escapes me. The times change, the Church is eternal.

      I also find it most interesting that groups such as this ignore what many might say is an even graver injustice, the barring from ordination of married men. All the arguments they use for the ordination of women apply even more strongly to married men, and historically married priests and bishops were common in the early Church (St. Peter would be the first example.) Yet as a married Catholic, I realize that this is not my role. I am happy to accept the teachings of the Church in this area, as I wish to be obedient to those appointed over me and recognize the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their actions. Yet this point is much more arguable than the ordination of women.

      Finally, I would suggest that, rather than try to change the 2000 year practices of the Church, those women who wish ordination find a church that suits them better. The Episcopalian Church immediately comes to mind. Although I wish to see no one leave the Church, if they can’t be happy or content here or support the teachings and traditions of the Church, they could move elsewhere.

      • John Kennedy

        FYI, Peter had a mother-in-law. No where is it recorded that he had a living wife. He may have been a widower.

      • Peter Nyikos

        The case of ordaining married men is, as you suggest, on an entirely different footing than the case of ordaining women. It is a matter of custom, like communion under only one species by the laity was one for centuries. Somewhere in between the two is the issue of allowing priests to marry. The Orthodox have never allowed it, even though they do ordain married men as priests. And while the Roman Catholic Church does ordain married men deacons, it does not allow them to marry again if they become widowers.

    • John

      Do we really need to waste time on this? Isn’t it simply a matter of ego and not what God has
      ordained? These folks do not deserve the attention of serious Catholic Christians.

      • katgurl

        What happened to loving our enemies?

        • ColdStanding

          What happened to “thy will be done”? Clearly you are attempting to get God to do your will, not the other way around. In charity, I would recommend for you less theological speculation and more spiritual exercise (and I do not mean the Centering Prayer ).

          • katgurl

            “Clearly you are attempting to get God…” Okay you win the hyperbole award on this thread! I ask that John LOVE and you thrash yourself into a tizzy. In charity and sincerity, I will suggest that you heed your own advice, but looking into the mirror we make for others is a hard task sometimes, is it not?

        • Bemkapeace

          Love does not condone wrong – it corrects it.

          • katgurl

            It would be nice if you had actually read John’s response before you ‘knee jerked’ words at me. John says that there are people who do not deserve the attention of Catholics. Christ called us into EVERYONE’S life – especially those with whom we disagree. My comment was complete in its appropriateness and gentle in its correction. I never mentioned condoning, Bimpka, only loving and including. Nobody can disagree with that.

            • Bruce

              You don’t get to speak for Christ, that is the job of His Church – the Catholic Church. If you don’t believe that, fine for you, but it just makes you wrong. :)

    • Jeff

      “More than a year after Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on October 28, 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, over the signature of Cardinal Ratzinger, issued a Responsum ad dubium
      specifying that “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” (emphasis added).”

      A careful reading of this passage makes clear that it is NOT saying that Pope John Paul made an infallible definition about the ordination of women. Had he done so, it would have been set forth infallibly by the EXTRAORDINARY Magisterium of the Church. That’s what infallible definitions DO.

      Rather, John Paul–rather oddly–proposed without invoking his own infallibility that the ordinary teaching of the Church was such that the teaching was infallible. A fallible teaching that something is infallibly taught by the ordinary magisterium leaves us in the position of believing in John Paul’s teaching for the same reason we believe in any other binding non-infallible teaching.

      • Olivia

        But how can this signature have full credibility if it is only signed by men? White men who make decisions without input from other groups make mistakes, which is why the 13th and 20th Amendments to the Constitution were necessary. I understand that there are those who feel comfortable accepting what they believe to be authoritarian rules. For some of us, that is not the case. We are led by God to bring about changes. With all that the all-male priesthood has recently perpetrated — abuse of children and adolescents, along with a widespread coverup — of course we need to examine this issue in more depth. It is my sincere hope that a solution can be found without another schism. I feel confident that this will only be a matter of time.

        • Peter Nyikos

          The hierarchy gets plenty of input from women; who do you think Mother Angelica is, and who Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa of Avila were? The latter two have even been named Doctors of the Church.

    • Mark

      The sign above this article reads “Ordain Catholic Women”

      Why must the women be Catholic?

      • ColdStanding

        Why must you be so intentionally obtuse? It’s all just a big mystery.

        • katgurl

          Catholics, by your example, seem to be very exceptionally angry and judgmental. They enjoy name calling and smug put-downs.

          • ColdStanding

            Umm, you claim to be a Catholic, no? Does your rejoinder not then self-disparage? I would also point out that you are reading my words with your own voice. I have not provided sufficient material for you to discern my tone of voice or emotional disposition (hint: you can’t hear me) I will leave you to your psychology textbooks to figure that one out.

            • katgurl

              Note to Cold; as I noticed your penchant for slicing up the soul and connotation of posts which cause you concern, I took the liberty to use the word ‘seem’-this gives you an ‘out’ Cold. You see, maybe, just maybe, you are not the pendejo your posts ‘seem’ to depict you as. Show me the kindness Cold!

              • ColdStanding

                I totally do not understand what you are trying to say.

              • Peter Nyikos

                Two wrongs don’t make a right, katgurl. You used the word “They” for Catholics, and now you are ducking Cold’s question about whether you are one yourself [I would have asked whether you consider yourself to be one].

                • katgurl

                  Geez Peter-I was starting to trust you. I was attempting to draw a generalization about Catholics (hence ‘they’) from Cold’s remarks which I hoped he would find repugnant, in an attempt to spotlight his somewhat heavy handed and mean spirited responses. I am proudly Catholic. Latin American Catholic. Mary statues Catholic. Mass three times a week without being forced Catholic.Wonderfully and proudly Catholic.

                  • Peter Nyikos

                    Thanks for the explicit answer, katgurl. What’s your comment about “trust” all about?

                    • katgurl

                      No harm meant. My apologies for being trite.

                  • savvy

                    In that case, why are your arguments political. What do you want a priest for?

    • Pingback: The Church's Future is Bright | Big Pulpit

    • Phil

      Christ also didn’t include the physically disabled, the rich, or the Chinese in his group of Apostles. Does that therefore mean that men from these groups also are barred from the priesthood? There were plenty other groups that were excluded from the Apostles as well; the question we need to ask is why only the gender exclusion has been singled out.

      • katgurl

        This is a wonderful point. Perhaps the answer is because sexism is a shame most people need. It creates cultural identities and hierarchy. The need some people have to define and protect social structure is inherently more powerful than the need they have for matters of faith.

        • ColdStanding

          Oh, my! A generous serving of Marxist analysis to finish off! You really are trying to soil us.

          • katgurl

            More name calling from Cold…sad and …typical. Soil the dust? I think not.

            • Bruce

              And she returns eye for eye. Hypocrisy, thy name is katgurl.

        • Mark

          You are Lilith and through your estrogen, I will build my Coven and the gates of heterosexual male Western Civilization shall not contaminate your caldron..

          • katgurl

            You are funny Mark!

            • Peter Nyikos

              So are you, in your proclamations, your slogans devoid of reasoning. You speak of faith–but do you have faith in a God that is not of feminist creation?

        • savvy

          Do you have ANY non-political arguments?

      • savvy

        It has to do with the nature of the priesthood itself. The priesthood was founded on the person of Jesus Christ, the high priest, whose supreme timeless sacrifice is re-acted at every Mass, and bread and wine, transformed into his body and blood.

        Sacramental signs have to perceptible to the senses. I cannot put up a picture of Phil and call it Katgurl.

        • Olivia

          Savvy, you’re saying that the most important thing about Jesus Christ’s ability to cause substantiation is his sex. It’s a common view, I suppose, but a very illogical one.

          • savvy

            The two natures of Christ are not separate. Christ is fully God and fully man. This was resolved with the Arian controversy.

          • savvy

            Dear Olivia,

            I have been studying this issue for years. This is an attack on the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I have spoken to many Eastern Orthodox thinkers as well as continuing Anglicans, and they all agree.

    • Marilynn

      I think you have failed to think of one aspect of this issue. There are some very prayerful, very serious, truly Catholic women who after years of discernment feel called to serve God as a priest. Shouldn’t the Church very carefully look at these women and these calls to see if just maybe the Spirit wishes to act a bit differently in our world today? We should not put God in a box; God can call whom God wishes to call.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        I’d suggest that they get themseles some sliced bread, a bottle of good Merlot, a crystal goblet, throw some old tastelessly patterned curtains over their heads, pronounce the words of consecration and have a go at it. They and their liked-minded lesbian friends can them consume the bread and wine and in their deluded thinking profess to be eating the body and blood of Christ. Just one thing, though, please don’t burden us with a recounting of what you have done…as they used to say in good old 60′s, “It just ain’t relevant to the rest of us.”

        • Marilynn

          Seriously….are you a Catholic deacon? And if you are….is that how you respond to people? Wow. I would hope that deacons who stand at the altar and pray with us represent Jesus in a much more prayerful, compassionate manner. I will pray for you and other disrespectful commenters here that you become much better witnesses of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. You can disagree with people – even dialogue with the worst sinners – and still treat them with respect.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            Using shame to convince others of the rightness of your position is not at all effective.

          • savvy

            It’s more like what these people want is not a priest. They can’t tell the difference between an ordained priest in Catholic/Orthodox churches and a Protestant minister. I think they are confused, about what they want.

        • Olivia

          You are a serious disappointment as a deacon, Ed Petier. You are an excellent example of why many women can do better than certain men in positions of church leadership.

    • Tim

      Can a Cardinal, that being Cardinal Ratzinger, declare what is and what is not an infalliable teaching? I’m asking a theological question here, not advocating for women’s ordication. My understanding is the Holy Father can only make infalliable statements.

      • Peter Nyikos

        The Holy Father very seldom makes infallible statements ex cathedra. There have been fewer than five since Papal infallibility was proclaimed in Vatican I.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kulinic Valentinas Kulinič

      “the apostles Jesus chose who were to be given his sacramental powers were all men”. And they all were Jews! Any conclusions? ;)

      • Peter Nyikos

        Gail Finke has some very nice conclusions that she posted more than a day before you said this. Have you taken them into account?

    • http://twitter.com/waywardson23 James

      The beautiful thing about being Catholic is that my opinion on women’s ordination is of no consequence whatsoever.

      Unlike my Protestant friends, who have to study the issue and decide for themselves, and worry about whether their denomination/congregation/etc. is following God’s will, I can simply trust that people smarter than I am who have studied the issue thoroughly and are being led by the Holy Spirit are making the decision.

      So I can do more important things with my life.

    • Bruce

      The case is closed: There is no such thing as woman “priests” and there never will be.

    • GaRY

      the church does have authorty ot ordain women. Jesus said to the apositles whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heave. Don’t remember which gospel or verse. people didn’t believe women in those days. the apositles did not believe Mary when she told them Jesus was risen.

    • Pingback: Anonymous

    • piotr2000

      Society of the DEATH.

      Society of SATAN.

      On many ways you contradict Jesus Christ and His teaching.

      You deserve something more then NINIVA, because Niniva people coverterd theirselves – you are NOT.

    • misplacedbook

      The current state of NCR is a sad one, and the tone I’ve seen some take on this website and others is equally sad. I take President George HW Bush as an example of how to act in these circumstances. His handling of the collapse of the Soviet Union being the one I’m talking about. Can you imagine what would have happened, had he acted like a smug jackass which was awfully tempting, considering the Cold War. Or Abraham Lincoln and the defeat of the South. These are secular examples, but even if you are in the right, character matters. How you treat an adversary is just as important to reflect on, if not more important than how you treat a friend. We have the Truth, but the blazing chariot Triumphalism is the last thing that we need to be doing. As time goes on and I look at the state of discourse today….I am of the opinion that, for all his brilliance….the Chesterton model of trading “witticisms” with your opponents has in the long term, been counterproductive and has played right into our enemies hands. Sarcasm is the refuge of the idiot, and one only has to look at our infotainment culture to see its fruits. We need more Father Barron, and a lot less Hilaire Belloc.

    • jacobum

      Not to be unkind, but when oh when are the Bishops going to quit playing footsie with the floosies? JP2 made the definitive statement on the subject in 1994. It’s long past the time to formerly sanction these groups and all the modernist/leftist in the Church fulminating their poison. At least Martin Luther had the decency to leave the Church. These groups don’t. They stay and tear it down from within. They justify everything under the name of “social justice” and “spirit of vatican 2″. They are nothing but of heretics. They are just like subterranean termites in South Florida. If you don’t fumigate them at the first sign you will eventually wake up in a collapsed house. Like enough already of the “Church Nice”. We are supposed to be the Church Militant. It’s long past time to start acting like we believe the One True Faith.

      • Olivia

        Probably for the same reason the Bishops play footsie with the corporatists who deny the Church’s teachings on social justice. And “floosies”??? My goodness, the sexism here is really ugly!

        • jacobum

          Spoken like a true liberal in or out of the Church. Can’t refute so you deflect and call names. Even money you are a former nun and/or a wannabe priest. As to social justice teaching of the Church? Again even money you don’t associate it with the Church’s teaching on “subsidiarity:” Look it up. It’s a far cry from what is being represented as “social justice” by modernist/liberals in the Church. Take care.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        jacobum, you are spot on! We need to keep on confronting these heretics every time. The days of mealy-mouthed Catholicism is over. One of the problems we have had is that those who are called to lead the Church – the domestic Church, as well as the diocesan Church – have been passive wimps who have taken their cues from the “let’s all hold hand now and sing Kumbaya and be nice to one another social justice crowd” that has brought the Church to Her knees. Time for this to end!.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kell.brigan.1 Kell Brigan

      “Anyone who acts for Christ in this way needs to have a “natural
      resemblance” to him. Christ was a man and thus the priest who acts for
      him—not just in his “name,” but in his person—needs to be a man.”

      Then why can white men be priests? Or, men with blue eyes? How can men over 33 years old consecrate the Host? Why is one particular biological detail (which we’re told unequivocally disappears once we’re in Heaven) blown out of proportion compared to all the other demographics about Christ? Men and women both are made in God’s image. Isn’t Jesus’ identity as God the most important “demographic” detail? Sorry, I’m just not buying the excuses currently being offered, and acting like this is a “settled issue” is simply ridiculous. And, let’s not forget that long list of saints who were at one or another time in their careers called “heretics” by the Roman Church, only to be canonized by that same Church a few centuries later. The Magisterium has got to do better than this. They just keep repeating the same nonsensical smokescreen over and over, and never answering anyone’s legitimate, pertinent objections. I’m calling BS.

    • Jess Holmes

      I feel that ordination should be open to more individuals in the catholic faith.