Policarpo summoned to Vatican for his statements on the ordination of women priests

A cordial exchange between the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, and the Lisbon Patriarch took place a few days ago

Andrea Tornielli
The Lisbon patriarch, José da Cruz Policarpo, who during a recent interview stated that “no fundamental obstacle” exists, from a “theological stand point,” to the ordination of women priests had an exchange with the Papal Secretary of State Bertone, after he received a letter from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, cardinal William Levada, who invited him to clarify his position.

This is according an article by António Marujo published by the Portuguese newspaperPublico. The Vatican Insider has also written about it, reporting the clarification published by the Portuguese cardinal.

It has just been confirmed that the seventy-five year old patriarch of Lisbon, will be serving another two years as leader of the diocese in the Portuguese capital. During a long interview with the monthly publication “OA”, the Portuguese Law Society magazine, discussing the topic of women priests, states that “John Paul II at one point seemed to have settled the controversy.” Reference is made to the apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994), one of the shortest documents written by Wojtyla, with which the Pope, after the Anglican Communion’s decision to open the ordination of women, confirmed that the Catholic Church would have never done it.

“I believe,” cardinal Policarpo said, “that the issue cannot be settled in these terms. From a theological stand point there is no fundamental obstacle (to women priests, Ed.); there is this tradition, let’s call it that way; it was never done any other way.”

In response to the interviewer’s question, intrigued by the cardinal’s statement that no theological reasons exist against the ordination of women, Policarpo answered, “I do not think there is any fundamental obstacle. It is the fundamental equality right of all members of the Church. The problem is rooted in a very strong tradition, which originates from Jesus and the ease with which the reformed Churches allowed women to become priests.”

A few days after, the cardinal disclosed a letter in which he clarified his thoughts, stating that he never “systematically analyzed the matter.” “Reactions to this interview forced me to ponder on the matter with more attention and I realized that, by not paying due attention to the statements of the teachings of the Church on the matter, I helped trigger these reactions.” Policarpo then added, “It would be painful for me if my words were to create confusion in our obedience to the Church and to the words of our Holy Father.”

Now, the Portuguese daily paper reveals a behind the scenes description of what happened over the past weeks, stating that the Lisbon patriarch was summoned by the Papal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. The conversation took place in Castel Gandolfo in the first half of July, while the Portuguese cardinal was in Rome to participate to a plenary session of the newly formed Papal Council for the new evangelization. Publico writes that Policarpo was treated with extreme kindness “because the Vatican was afraid he would react negatively to a strong reprimand.”

On July 2, a few days before the meeting with Bertone, Policarpo had received, through a papal nuncio in Lisbon, a letter by cardinal William Levada, prefect of the former Holy Office. According to a testimony obtained by Publico, the letter apparently had him very worried. For this reason, on 6 July, the patriarch wrote a clarification statement. The Portuguese daily paper, however, highlights that this was not the first time Policarpo had made statements of this kind about women priests: however, it was the first time that his words had been reported by the international press.

António Marujo’s article provides several of the cardinal’s statements as examples. In 1999, a year after his appointment as Lisbon patriarch of the diocesan center, Policarpo led people to believe that the matter of women priests had not been settled at all and that what was needed, was a period of maturing of the communities and the Church, since today the idea of “women carrying out duties that were unthinkable thirty years ago is now accepted within the Church.”

On May 2003, in Vienna, the cardinal responded in a similar fashion to a question during a press conference in which mention was made to a letter sent by Pope John Paul II in 1994 and the Congregation’s subsequent clarification of the Doctrine of the Faith. Policarpo explained that in his opinion the matter “is not settled that way; from a theological point of view, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let’s call it that way… it was never done any other way”. In that same interview, the Lisbon patriarch stated that at the present time it was not appropriate to raise the issue because it would have triggered “a series of reactions,” but he concluded saying that “If God wishes it to happen, and if it God’s plan, it will happen.”

The document of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to which reference is made, was the answer to a doubt published by the former Holy Office (at the time led by cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who had archbishop Tarcisio Bertone as his right hand). It asked if “the doctrine, according to which, the Church cannot ordain women priests, as proposed in the apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis” had to be “deemed definitive” and “part of the deposit of faith.” The answer, approved by Pope Wojtyla, was “affirmative.” The Congregation at the time explained that “this doctrine requires a permanent confirmation because, based God’s Word, written and constantly kept and applied in the Tradition of the Church since its origins, it was infallibly proposed by the ordinary and universal teachings of the Church” and thus, “it must be followed always, everywhere and by every faithful person, since it belongs to the deposit of faith.”

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72 Responses to Policarpo summoned to Vatican for his statements on the ordination of women priests

  1. rebrites says:

    “clarification,” eh?
    I think that is what happens after you shoot off your mouth too loud and pop calls you in to the big Vatican woodshed. I wonder what was said or done to set him straight? How do they so suddenly bring such unfashionable 1970´s-era theology into the 16th — er, 21st century?

    At least they let him see out his job. They won´t get any more trouble out of this one, I bet.

    Like

  2. kathleen says:

    Yes Rebrites, Cardinal Policarpo – as the shepherd of many souls, including bishops and priests – was asked by the Vatican (where he was treated with extreme kindness) to “clarify” such seemingly unorthodox views. Do you have a problem with that? It seems like he did so satisfactorily, and was left only with worries that his comments might have “triggered off reactions that could have created confusion….” That’s the wonderful thing about the Catholic Church; it’s built on a rock, the solid rock of Peter, never wavering in its fidelity to Truth.

    So how do they deal with issues such as this one in your Episcopalian church? Does anything go, or do you have set doctrines and teachings?

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  3. toadspittle says:

    .

    .….” That’s the wonderful thing about the Catholic Church; it’s built on a rock, the solid rock of Peter, never wavering in its fidelity to Truth.”

    Then how come the Church changed it’s mind about Limbo? And when Toad was a mere tadpole, he was taught that the Jews killed Jesus. Now, apparently the Romans did it. What’s up with that? And, what has ‘truth’ got to do with whether or not women can be priests? If the Church doesn’t want women priests that’s one thing. But it’s surely not a question that hinges on ‘truth?’

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  4. kathleen says:

    Toad, the Church has not in reality “changed its mind” about the concept of Limbo (as Baptism is still necessary to enter Heaven) but it has recently defined the teaching of the whereabouts of unbaptized infants: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702216.htm
    In a document by the Vatican’s International Theological Commission:

    “The church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said.
    But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and “wants all human beings to be saved,” it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for “the little ones,” it said.
    “Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered … give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision,”

    In your second point about who killed Jesus; no ethnic group is responsible. It has always been taught that it was OUR SINS ie. the sins of mankind, that crucified Our Saviour.
    I’m surprised you were taught differently! Perhaps you should chase up your old teachers and put them right ;-).

    And what I was referring to when talking about ‘truth’ and ‘women priests’ is simply that the issue has been discussed and wholly rejected by the Catholic Church. It is no longer a topic for discussion Bl. Pope JP II said. It’s what I meant by saying that one knows where you stand in the Catholic Church.
    That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other subjects which can be discussed and debated……. that’s what we do on CP&S, (and to use one of your favourite words), innit?

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  5. toadspittle says:

    .

    “I’m surprised you were taught differently! Perhaps you should chase up your old teachers and put them right .”

    Toad fears that chasing up his old teachers will have to wait for the hearafter, Gertrude, as they would all be over 100 by now and if not actually dead, then deaf.

    However, Toad is surprised at your response re the Jews. It was such common knowlege back in the 40’s and 50’s, it was scarcely even considered worth discussing. I heard it from the pulpit and in the classroom.
    I’m sure others can confirm this, if they wish.

    Still, it was a long time ago.

    (Toad sees the type face for writing has been improved. Tip top, innit!)

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  6. toadspittle says:

    .

    Whoops! Sorry Gertrude and Kathleen, Toad laxity again. More aeons in Purgatory.

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  7. Gertrude says:

    Never mind Toad, these things happen as the years advance! I fear though, my teachers too would be long gone.

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  8. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    My mother is very old and was not taught these things about the Jews. The previous Catechism of Trent denies such a charge too.

    You have to remember Catholicism is universal and is not bound to just what some countries hold for whatever reasons, political or otherwise.

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  9. Srdc says:

    “The problem is rooted in a very strong tradition, which originates from Jesus and the ease with which the reformed Churches allowed women to become priests.”

    Is he this ignorant.?

    Only Catholics and Orthodox have a priesthood. The reformed churches rejected the sacrament of Orders.

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  10. Gertrude says:

    srdc: The praying for the Jews was part of the Easter liturgy in the 1962 missal. It was also said at other times (though perhaps not quite in the liturgical form of Easter) I am fairly certain it was one of the solemn collects on Good Friday. (between all the ‘flectamus genua’s!). I do not know if it is still said in the Extraordinary Form – somehow I would think it is.

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  11. Srdc says:

    Gertrude,

    There is a difference between praying for Jews and calling them Christ-killers. The good friday prayer, calls God to keep them faithful to the covenant he has established with them and bring them into the fullness of this covenant.

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  12. toadspittle says:

    .

    Toad, after reading about Srdc’s Mum, asked his 86-year-old friend Modesto in Moratinos, if he was taught back in the 1930’s, as a boy, that the Jews killed Jesus.

    “Of course who else?” was his reply.

    Which is why so many “Christian” countries have hated the Jews, and persecuted them relentlessly over the centuries.

    Of course, these countries might have had a point.

    But Toad thinks not. But then, he would, wouldn’t he?.

    Like

  13. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    I am not saying that this was not taught, I am just saying that the previous Catechism does not teach so. So it was not a part of official teaching.

    It however is a fact that Catholicism is closer to Judaism than any other form of Christianity, which is why it’s so sad. It’s like trying to kill yourself.

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  14. JabbaPapa says:

    Policarpo is just wrong – there’s no dogmatic obstacle to the ordination of women priests, but the theological obstacles are considerable !!

    The Church has in the past ordained women deacons, so that this is a more open question – but even here, there still remain some theological obstacles.

    Policarpo’s doctrinal mistake was to think that the Tradition and the Theology are somehow in opposition, whereas in fact they belong to each other 🙂

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  15. toadspittle says:

    .
    “–there’s no dogmatic obstacle to the ordination of women priests, but the theological obstacles are considerable !!”

    Toad, in his ignorance, would have thought it exactly contrariwise. What are the theological objections?

    Considering the church is dogmatically opposed to the idea, as others have pointed out on here before…

    Like

  16. Srdc says:

    Jabba Papa,

    Holy tradition is a person, whom the priesthood represents.

    “Underlying the priesthood is the belief that humans must give an accounting to God, especially for the shedding of blood. The priesthood is intrinsically linked to blood. The priest is the functionary who addresses the guilt and dread that accompany the shedding of blood.

    There are two types of blood anxiety: blood shed by killing and blood related to menstruation and birthing. To archaic peoples both types were regarded as powerful and potentially dangerous, requiring priestly ministry to deal with bloodguilt through animal sacrifice and to deal with blood contamination through purification rites.

    Not a single female in the Bible served in a priestly role. We can argue a case for women deacons, but the deacon is not intrinsically linked to blood. Despite the efforts of many to create an egalitarian reality, we find no basis in Tradition or Scripture upon which to argue for women priests. The Bible does not say that women can be priests because the binary distinctions that frame the biblical worldview make “woman priest” ontologically impossible.”

    http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-is-holy-tradition.html

    The late Fr. John A. Hardon said “It is impossible to exaggerate this identification. The Catholic Church exists mainly that the Sacrifice of the Mass may continue to be offered from thousands of altars every day, even until the end of time. True, Jesus died only once physically. But every time that Mass is offered, He is ready and willing to die and offer His life for the salvation of the world.”

    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Priesthood/Priesthood_003.htm

    The Mass is this literally participation in Calvary. It’s this accounting that humanity gives for sins committed to God.

    I know this takes more study, so I hope you will look into this.

    Like

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    toad, the Church is both doctrinally and theologically opposed to the ordination of women priests, but there is no central dogma per se to deal with that question AFAIK.

    If there were such a dogma, then any group ordaining women, such as the Anglican Church, would go beyond being simply considered as in schism and heresy, but they would need to be considered as actually non-Christian.

    Dogma is not only infallible, but it’s also generally immutable – infallible doctrines on the other hand, whilst they cannot be denied, retain the capacity to be clarified by future Divine Revelation, as witnessed and understood by the Church in toto. For example, Saint Bernadette’s visions contributed towards clarifying and changing some of the previous infallible doctrines concerning Mary.

    Does that make sense ?

    Nevertheless, the vocation to motherhood of women is a very very strong doctrine of the Church, and it is in direct conflict with any suggestions concerning not just women priests, but women deacons… this is just one example of the several doctrinal and theological and traditional obstacles.

    Like

  18. toadspittle says:

    .

    “Does that make sense?” says JabbaPapa. Well, not really to Toad, but he appreciates the effort. How a ‘previously infallible’ doctrine can change is a bit of a puzzler,
    A mystery he supposes. ‘Generally immutable,’ strikes him as being in the same semantic ball park as ‘more perfect’, or ‘slightly immovable’, or ‘almost immortal.’
    Oh, well.

    But you might take a look at his question, re the Assumption, and his sinful animals on that post a day or so ago. He’d very much like to hear a cogent explanation on that. One of his dogs has developed a complex about it.

    Interesting to hear that Anglicans and Episcopalians are no longer Christians, though. If they ever were.

    Like

  19. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    Development of doctrine, is coming to a better understanding of the same teaching. This is different from inventing something new about it.

    The early church held views on the assumption, original sin etc. We have come to a better understanding of these things and will on other subjects as well.

    Like

  20. toadspittle says:

    .

    The early church held views on the assumption, original sin etc. We have come to a better understanding of these things and will on other subjects as well. says Srdc.

    Well, you’d better, thinks Toad, and as soon as possible!
    Be fascinating to know if Srdc has any idea of what any of
    the ‘other subjects’ might be?
    Women priests? No way!
    But there will always be ample room for even more understanding on any particular topic.
    The ‘better understanding’, being, naturally, a bit different over time.
    ever since
    Bit of ‘relativism’ here?

    Which is where the notion of ‘absolute truth,’ so beloved of Catholics, takes a bit of a nose dive. (Thinks Toad.

    However: Does nobody care about Toad’s dogs being “sinful” and responsible for death and corruption, re the “Miracle Assumption” post the other day? Nothing to say,

    Joyful? Kathleen? Gertrude?

    Well, maybe not. Cat people, probably.

    Stil, Toad didn’t believe about Douglas Fir trees being sinful either.

    And he has now convinced Rosie that she’s not too hopeless a sinner.
    Jumping on Toad’s bed to sleep at night is only venial, after all.

    Like

  21. Srdc says:

    “Women priests? No way!”

    This was discussed in the early church. Only pagans had priestesses, not Jews and Christians.

    “But there will always be ample room for even more understanding on any particular topic.
    The ‘better understanding’, being, naturally, a bit different over time.
    ever since Bit of ‘relativism’ here?”

    It’s not different, it’s a deeper understanding of the same. Relativism is the idea that all values are subjective or of equal value.

    Like

  22. toadspittle says:

    “Relativism is the idea that all values are subjective or of equal value.”

    No so, Srdc. According to Toad’s American Heritage Dictionary,

    Relativism: A theory that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute, but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.

    So that youself, for example, may not see moral issues as would a 14th Century Aztec.
    And nobody thinks that “all values are of equal value”, or ever has.

    Otherwise, a handful of diamonds would be worth no more than a handful of gravel. (Although, on Mars, perhaps, it is.)

    That is why Catholics do not have to share the same values as Mormons. Or contrairiwise. And, as the definition carefully points out, it is the the conceptions that are not absolute, not the truths.

    :

    Like

  23. joyfulpapist says:

    Oxford, however, says: “relativism: noun. the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

    And Collins: “any theory holding that truth or moral or aesthetic value, etc., is not universal or absolute but may differ between individuals or cultures.”

    Wikipedia has quite a nice article on different types of relativism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativism

    Like

  24. toadspittle says:

    .
    Well, Toad has no problem with either of Joyful’s definitions.

    Surely there is no problem? Five hundred years ago the approved way to deal with heretics was to burn them. Now it isn’t. Relativism at work?

    Like

  25. joyfulpapist says:

    What values did the Church seek to support by sending heretics to the stake? (As a last resort rather than the approved , incidentally.) Community cohesion, I guess; saving other people from being confused. Also, if the writings at the time mean what they say, charity – since they thought they were saving the eternal life of the heretic by putting him/her through intense pain while giving him/her time to repent and seek God’s forgiveness.

    Now we think that particular way of promoting community cohesion and of practicing charity was downright twisted, quite apart from unsuccessful. But we still hold the same values.

    Like

  26. toadspittle says:

    .
    (As a last resort rather than the approved , incidentally.)

    Very much a ‘last resort’ for the poor old heretic!

    Like

  27. golden chersonnese says:

    Probably putting my foot in it, but I would like to understand better what the Patriarch meant by ‘theological’, as in there was no fundamental ‘theological’ obstacle to the ordination of women. I tried to find out more about what he meant by clicking on the links above but they seemed spoiled.

    Theology, as far as I understand, is concerned with the rational systematization of faith, it is not the faith itself. And there are various schools of theology in the West in addition to those of the East, various ‘theologies’ I expect you can say.

    My point being, when the Patriarch (who has a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian and was dean of theology at the Portuguese Catholic University) said there was no theological objection, did he mean that, after surveying the whole historical corpus of Latin-rite Catholic theology, he could find nothing explicitly and specifically opposed to the ordination of women. If this is the case, then what he said could well be so. Latin theology has never really had to deal with that question because it was never before a problem so there isn’t anything much about that problem in it. And it was never a problem probably because tradition always was that only men were ordained and was unquestioned.

    If I’m not wrong, the Church’s teaching on a male priesthood rests on scriptural and traditional foundations rather than theological ones.

    You have to tweak those scriptural foundations if you want a uni-sex priesthood, which is where modern theologians would come in, and indeed HAVE come in, most vociferously, as we see..

    There seems to be no scriptural foundation for women in the priesthood, only comparatively recently devised ‘theological’ ones.

    Jabba, srdc,anyone, have I gone off the right track here? Do you know of any historical theologians who did actually deal with the question of female ordination?

    Like

  28. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    You have opened up a whole new subject for debate. Burning at the stake was introduced by the germainic tribes who were actually pagan as a punishment for oath breakers. It was also sanctioned by the state, since heresy was seen as a crime punishable by law.

    This would fall under the category of the death penalty and what qualifies for it.

    Historians estimate that more people were actually killed by the state than by the church.

    I would agree with Joyful, that it was not charitable, the same way many execution methods today are not.

    Like

  29. Srdc says:

    Golden,

    The revisionists confuse equality in dignity with equality in function.

    You can check the church fathers on this issue.
    http://www.catholic.com/library/Women_and_the_Priesthood.asp

    The best present day arguments that I have come across, are from Prof. Alice. C. Lindsay. She was a priest in the Episcopal church and is now Eastern Orthodox. She is also an anthropologist, and has an entire blog dedicated to the subject of female priests.

    According to her studies, there never was a female priest in any culture or religion, since the priesthood, was always associated with giving an account for sins committed and for blood shed.

    For. example why did the incarnation have to be male?

    The Protestants in the absence of the Mass, have missed this.

    http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2008/06/index-of-topics-at-just-genesis.html

    Like

  30. toadspittle says:

    .
    “She was a priest in the Episcopal church and is now Eastern Orthodox….
    According to her studies, there never was a female priest in any culture or religion, “

    Well, Srdc, was the poor woman ever a priest or not? Or was she originally a man?

    And, as to Germaniac pagans introducing burning for heresy – what has that got to do with anything? Except, presumably, the Catholics saw it as a peachy idea, and took it over.
    At least we’re agreed it wasn’t charitable.

    .

    Like

  31. Srdc says:

    “Well, Srdc, was the poor woman ever a priest or not? Or was she originally a man?”

    The point she is trying to make is that church has totally misunderstood the concept of priesthood. Prayer books have been re-written too. The Catholic-lite are now Protestants in denial.

    “And, as to Germaniac pagans introducing burning for heresy – what has that got to do with anything? ”

    It was state law, before Christianity is the point.

    “the Catholics saw it as a peachy idea, and took it over.”

    Human rights, freedom of conscience, religious freedom and pluralism were concepts that grew out of experience and maturity of society and through doctrinal maturity.

    Now if your question, why can’t the same apply to the sacraments, you are forgetting that one was a social construct, the other is a theological/moral one, that existed in the early church, before Christianity was even in Europe.

    So it was clearly the deviation from the early church, which was corrected in the council of trent.

    Like

  32. golden chersonnese says:

    Hello, srdc, and how are you?

    (3 posts back) Thanks for the link to the Church Fathers

    I’ve had a look and it seems yet again that the Fathers are objecting to women acting as priests only on scriptural or traditional grounds (or on grounds of the straight-out loopy heresy of some early sects). I don’t see any purely ‘theological’ objections there.

    Still looks like the Lusitanian patriarch could be right in his assessment of the historical-theological situation regarding the ordination of women (not that he is right in his apparent permissive attitude to the ordination of women).

    Perhaps this crowd could set up an ‘ordinariate’ for him and his sympathisers.

    http://www.anglicancommunion.org/tour/province.cfm?ID=Y4

    Like

  33. golden chersonnese says:

    As for my points above, this seems to confirm them:

    The Congregation at the time explained that “this doctrine requires a permanent confirmation because, based on God’s Word, written and constantly kept and applied in the Tradition of the Church since its origins, it was infallibly proposed by the ordinary and universal teachings of the Church” and thus, “it must be followed always, everywhere and by every faithful person, since it belongs to the deposit of faith.

    (from the Vatican Insider report on the matter
    http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/world-news/detail/articolo/policarpo-sacerdozio-6779//pag/1/).

    Scripture and tradition trump theology, I think it means. And why wouldn’t it?

    Like

  34. toadspittle says:

    “…it was not charitable, the same way many execution methods today are not.

    Opines Sdrc. Toad is hard-pressed to think of a method of execution that is “charitable”.

    Like

  35. joyfulpapist says:

    There is the story of the man who -having been condemned to death – was granted the mercy of choosing the means of execution. He chose ‘old age’.

    Like

  36. Srdc says:

    golden chersonnese,

    Thanks for asking about my well-being. I hope this message finds you well too.

    You might find this useful too.

    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1996/9601fea3.asp

    Like

  37. golden chersonnese says:

    I am well, srdc, and even better after reading the article you linked.

    I feel as though I should be charging the writer of that article (or the mentioned Mr Novak) a royalty as he seems to be poaching all the points I made earlier on this thread.

    Catholic writer Michael Novak has written a moving and thoughtful article on the Church’s need to further clarify and articulate the theology which maintains a male-only priesthood ( First Things, April 1993, 25-32). He points out that “the theological reasons for the reservation of the Catholic priesthood to males have lain dormant and unarticulated over many centuries,” mainly because, like so many theological questions, the doctrine was never challenged.

    Novak correctly noted that this issue did not even arise at the Second Vatican Council. Rather, it is the result of recent attitudinal changes in Western culture. The main question, according to Novak, is whether the Church, which at many times in its history was called to be “countercultural,” even has the authority to give in to the dominating secular culture on this issue.

    Thus I feel it’s a bit norty of Cardinal Policarpo to use as an argument the fact there is no theological objection in historical Catholic theology to the ordination of women when that question has, of course, never arisen before in the entire historical corpus of Catholic theology.

    It’s a bit like saying that historically there is no theological obstacle to ordaining Toads too, no slight intended (either to Toads or women).

    Like

  38. golden chersonnese says:

    As for the Patriarch’s ‘no theological objection’ gambit, Capuchin Fr Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine at the U.S. bishops’ conference (and an ex theology professor at Oxford) made this germane comment, though in another context.

    Much of what passes for contemporary Catholic theology often is not founded upon an assent of faith in the divine deposit of revelation as proclaimed in the sacred scriptures and developed within the living doctrinal and moral tradition of the Church.

    http://ncronline.org/news/people/bishops-staffer-doctrine-rips-theologians-curse

    Like

  39. Mr Badger says:

    golden chersonnese, he’s done his mea culpa already! 🙂

    Like

  40. golden chersonnese says:

    But rebrites still seems underwhelmed, Badger 😳

    Like

  41. JabbaPapa says:

    “Does that make sense?” says JabbaPapa. Well, not really to Toad, but he appreciates the effort. How a ‘previously infallible’ doctrine can change is a bit of a puzzler

    “infallible” means that Catholics may not contradict it, but God Himself is of course not required to obey this rule, so that He may provide new Revelation changing previously held beliefs. (To be fair, this is not exactly a frequent occurrence – but the Virgin did for example some provide some clarifications of a doctrinal nature via the visions she provided to St. Bernadette of Lourdes 😉 )

    Also, “infallible” does not mean that future Councils of the Church and so on cannot modify any existing doctrines – some doctrines are so central to the Faith that nobody can change them, but these are only in a minority of doctrines.

    Like

  42. toadspittle says:

    .

    “..but God Himself is of course not required to obey this rule…”

    ..which makes trying to make sense of it all, shall we say – questionable?

    Like

  43. JabbaPapa says:

    Probably putting my foot in it, but I would like to understand better what the Patriarch meant by ‘theological’, as in there was no fundamental ‘theological’ obstacle to the ordination of women. I tried to find out more about what he meant by clicking on the links above but they seemed spoiled.

    Theology, as far as I understand, is concerned with the rational systematization of faith, it is not the faith itself. And there are various schools of theology in the West in addition to those of the East, various ‘theologies’ I expect you can say.

    I don’t think that’s right GC, Theology cannot be limited to its scientific and theoretic components only — even though I tend to make that exact same mistake myself !!!

    Theology partakes of Tradition, Pastoral care, Parish life, and all other fundamentals of Catholic life just as much as it partakes of doctrines and dogma.

    There exists in the Church a strong degree of opposition towards the ordination of women, which exists in and of itself despite the existence of some support for such an innovation, so that Policarpo was basically just wrong in his statement that “no fundamental obstacle” existed…

    The Catholic Church NEVER creates new doctrines or teachings that any significantly large enough group of the faithful would be opposed to, except by cause of a human error by the Magisterium – so that there is indeed a fundamental obstacle to the ordination of women.

    Pope John Paul II’s teaching that women are not to be ordained as priests is also a VERY strong obstacle — which could likely only be surmounted by the Will of God ; either via direct Revelation, or as expressed via a Universal opinion of the Congregation of the Faithful, by which I mean to say the entirety of the Church expressing general and nearly unanimous support for such a change. Because the Congregation of the Faithful, when it is unanimous, outranks all other Church Authorities — of course, the condition of unanimity is only extremely rarely achieved in practice for anything outside the teachings of the Magisterium. 😉

    Like

  44. JabbaPapa says:

    “..but God Himself is of course not required to obey this rule…”

    ..which makes trying to make sense of it all, shall we say – questionable?

    I don’t think it’s easily understood at all, no.

    To make a parallel – Not everybody has the charism of being able to read the Bible alone without errors spontaneously occurring ; similarly not everyone has the charism of being able to understand these more abstract doctrines without error. Error being typically that when confronted with something that is not understood – instead of simply accepting one’s own lack of understanding, one imagines something out of one’s own head to fill up the empty space, thus creating errors and false teachings.

    Does that help or is it still too abstract ?

    Like

  45. golden chersonnese says:

    Jabba said I don’t think that’s right GC, Theology cannot be limited to its scientific and theoretic components only — even though I tend to make that exact same mistake myself !!!

    Yes, jabba, I did at the time say that my question was to try and understand what the good Cardinal Patriarch meant by ‘theology’ when he made his remark. Was it the historical corpus of written Catholic theology that he was referring to or was it something more than that that he meant, possibly something like what you are saying about theology?

    If he meant the latter, saying that the collected tomes of Catholic theology have been silent on the ordination of women , then he was probably not saying much we could object to. But he could have left it unsaid, little good as it does anyone. Catholics are not, and never have been willing to ordain tables and chairs either, but there’s not much point in telling us that, is there.

    Like

  46. golden chersonnese says:

    . . . if he meant the latter the former . . .

    Like

  47. toadspittle says:

    .

    “Catholics are not, and never have been willing to ordain tables and chairs either, but there’s not much point in telling us that, is there.”

    Some might say that puts women squarely in ther place – among the brainless and insensate objects of furniture.

    But not Toad, of course.

    Like

  48. golden chersonnese says:

    But not Toad, of course.

    Of course.

    Like

  49. golden chersonnese says:

    But the point being, Toad, that there is no theological obstacle to ordaining Toads either, simply because no-one raised the question, or felt the need to.

    I hope that doesn’t make you feel marginalised, dear Toad.

    Like

  50. rebrites says:

    Theology, doctrine, bishops, patriarchs, tradition, yadda yadda yadda.
    In the Roman Catholic church, males are still very much in charge. Women, even the most able and talented, are still very much kept in their places. (well down the hierarchy).

    Like

  51. golden chersonnese says:

    Charming.

    I hear there are more and more women ‘theologians’.

    Like

  52. JabbaPapa says:

    There is no reason at all why a woman (or other non-clergy) can’t be a theologian.

    The position of women in the Church has varied tremendously down the Centuries, and whilst the medieval experiment of giving some Abbesses similar degrees of authority as Bishops (not actually ordaining them, but giving them power and authority over priests, even to the extent of hearing confession from them) probably went too far, it’s still a bit hard to see why we no longer have any women deacons — against which the theological opposition is VERY slight indeed (given that they are mentioned in the Bible) !!! (then again, some people are even opposed to altar girls, heavens know why) …

    Like

  53. Srdc says:

    JabbaPapa,

    I have to disagree with you. There can be no New Revelation. There can be development of what already exists in scripture and in tradition, but there cannot be a new revelation.

    Like

  54. Srdc says:

    GC,

    The sacraments have been instituted by Christ, which means the form and matter of the sacraments cannot change. So we cannot use any liquid in baptism, except natural water, or cannot use any other wine of juice in communion except grape vine or bread in communion except natural wheat etc.

    This does not mean that we are discriminating against other forms of bread, wine, or water. It’s a difference between equality in function, with equality in dignity.

    Nobody questioned this before, because this is a given. It’s called common sense that water washes, bread nourishes, only a man can be a father etc.

    Dr. Peter Kreeft, dealt with this in his book, Why Matter Matters: Philosophical and Scriptural Reflections on the Sacraments

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Why_Matter_Matters.html?hl=cs&id=2M-yp_aWg58C

    I hope this makes sense.

    Like

  55. Srdc says:

    “I hear there are more and more women ‘theologians’.”

    Yes. And administrators and lay ministers, and teachers in seminaries.

    Like

  56. rebrites says:

    .

    ” I hear there are more and more women ‘theologians’ “ says Godlen.

    Let’s hope she hears wrongly. Women don’t need to add their numbers to the already oversubscribed farrago of a lot of bald old men fighting over a now-toothless comb

    Like

  57. rebrites says:

    .

    “So we cannot use any liquid in baptism, except natural water, or cannot use any other wine of juice in communion except grape vine or bread in communion except natural wheat etc.

    Declares Sdrc. What would ‘unnatural’ water and ‘unnatural’ wheat consist of?

    Like

  58. toadspittle says:

    Toad has been rebwritten again. The last two comments are his.

    Like

  59. Srdc says:

    rebrites,

    Bald-Old Men? You have not been out a lot have you?

    Like

  60. toadspittle says:

    .
    Due to circumstances beyond his control, Srdcthe “bald men” comment was made by Toad.

    Who, indeed, tries not to go out a lot in this Vale of Tears.

    Like

  61. Srdc says:

    “What would ‘unnatural’ water and ‘unnatural’ wheat consist of?”

    Water not mixed with any other substance.

    I meant only wheat bread, not barley or rye etc.

    Like

  62. toadspittle says:

    .

    “It’s called common sense that water washes, bread nourishes, only a man can be a father etc.” says Srdc, boldly.

    Total non-sequiter. It’s also common sense that other things than bread nourish, other things than water can wash and other animals – not only man – can be fathers..

    Like

  63. Srdc says:

    Toad,

    I feel for you. Some life you must have!

    Like

  64. Srdc says:

    “It’s also common sense that other things than bread nourish, other things than water can wash and other animals – not only man – can be fathers..”

    Yes, we are talking about the effects and properties of the substance being used here.

    Only male animals can be fathers.

    Like

  65. toadspittle says:

    .

    “Toad, I feel for you. Some life you must have!”

    Two things you might consider Sdrc,

    1: Judge not. (Lest ye be judged. Good advice.)
    2: While Toad does not judge Sdrc, whenever he reads a comment from her, The Scream, by Munch, springs to mind.

    He’s not sure why.

    (To reassure Srcd, Toad’s life is exceptionally wonderful. And he loves it so much, it worries him.)

    Like

  66. JabbaPapa says:

    srdc ; I have to disagree with you. There can be no New Revelation. There can be development of what already exists in scripture and in tradition, but there cannot be a new revelation.

    God and “cannot” are poor bedfellows.

    But maybe you’re just reading too much into those statements ? 🙂

    Like

  67. Srdc says:

    JappaPapa,

    I agree that with God all things are possible, but there are people who claim that the Holy Sprit is calling women to the priesthood etc.

    Perhaps, private revelation, would have been more apt.

    Like

  68. Gertrude says:

    I am intrigued srdc. Do you have aspirations to become a priestess? I believe the Episcopalians have been ordaining women for years.

    Like

  69. Srdc says:

    Gertrude,

    Where did you get that impression from?

    Like

  70. kathleen says:

    I think Gertrude meant to address Rebrites, not you Srdc.

    After Rebrites’s initial burst of anger on this thread, and then her mocking comment of our Church on 18th August at 9:26, I too was wondering if there were not some deep-rooted frustration within her to become a priestess.

    Like

  71. JabbaPapa says:

    I agree that with God all things are possible, but there are people who claim that the Holy Sprit is calling women to the priesthood etc.

    Perhaps, private revelation, would have been more apt.

    I cannot comment on other people’s claims of revelation, but this sort of deep change would in any case require a very broad consensus throughout the Church, which does not exist.

    Like

  72. Gertrude says:

    srdc: Insofar that it is possible to ‘read between the lines’ in the anonymity of a blog, I thought I detected a vein of sympathy toward those who, in all conscience, consider the ordination of women in Holy Church permissable. My apologies if I have misread you.

    Like

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