Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Declare That The Church Has No Authority Whatsoever To Confer Priestly Ordination On Women

“No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident,” says Canon 749.3 of the church’s Code of Canon Law. Jesuit Fr. Ladislas Orsy, professor of law at Georgetown University here, cited that canon almost immediately when NCR asked him if Pope John Paul II’s 1994 teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis “that the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church’s faithful” is infallible. Orsy, a leading canonist well-known for his theological expertise, acknowledged, however, that the question of which church doctrines are taught infallibly is “extremely complex.” Another leading Jesuit theologian, Fr. Francis Sullivan, said he thinks recent events have made it clear that the church is now presenting as infallible the teaching against women priests.
Link (here) to the ultra-leftist National Catholic Reporter.


Maria said...

Doctrinal Principles
The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Presented at the Canon Law Convention,

We now come to the third part of our analysis, the doctrinal principles. There are two ways that these principles can be handled. One is to evaluate on doctrinal grounds the arguments offered for the ordination of women to see how sound they really are. This is possible and needs to be done. May I suggest a few approaches?

Any ambiguity on the nature of the priesthood in the Catholic Church is sure to lead into doctrinal error. To so stress the ministerial or service function as to minimize the cultic and ritual is to reduce the priesthood to a functional ministry. I remember serving as consultant to a theological commission of the American Baptist Convention, which was studying the advisability of discontinuing all ordinations in that denomination. My advice to the convention was to retain ordination, even though no sacrament was believed to be conferred and no sacred powers to be received. But that is not the faith of historic Catholicism.

Most proponents of ordination of women in the Catholic Church concentrate on the ministerial or pastoral benefits to be derived. They are remarkably silent about the advantages of a woman (and not only a man) pronouncing the words of consecration or the formula of absolution!

Any implication that the Catholic priesthood is a later development of the Church by the Church, and not a sacrament of Christ instituted by Christ, is an invitation to doctrinal chaos. If, contrary to the explicit teaching of the magisterium, it was not Christ but the Church which established what we call the priesthood, then the ordination of women is a minor issue and almost of trivial consequence. In that case, the Church could not only ordain women, but could redefine ordination to exclude the power of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice, of transmuting bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood and, in fact, could, if it wanted to, discontinue ordination altogether.

On a more positive level, however, our doctrinal principles tell us some sobering facts that reduce the ordination of women to what it really is—fervent speculation and zealous, but unfounded, anticipation.

The plain fact of salvation history is the selectivity of Christ and the early Church. It is known did not hesitate to contravene the Law and sociological customs of His times. Yet He selected only men as His apostles, on whom He conferred the priestly powers at the Last Supper.

From the beginning, and all through its history, the Catholic Church has done the same. The unbroken practiced Tradition of the Church has excluded women from the Episcopal and priestly office. Theologians and canonists, building on the teaching of the Fathers, have been unanimous in considering this exclusion absolute and of divine origin.
We therefore conclude that this constant tradition and practice is of divine law, and is of such a nature as to constitute a clear teaching of the infallible ordinary magisterium of the Church. Though not formally defined, it is irreversible Catholic doctrine.

Maria said...

Doctrinal Principles
The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Presented at the Canon Law Convention

From another perspective, suppose we took the opposite position, advocated by proponents of women’s ordination. If the choice of men by Christ and by the Church has really been only time-conditioned and changeable, then indeed very unpleasant consequences could be drawn.

This attempted solution proceeds from the idea that Jesus, if He had lived in another time and in another land, could have also chosen women. This theory thus grants that there could be another time (or place) in which women could be completely appropriate for the fullness of the hierarchical and sacerdotal office.

But then what follows? It follows that the Catholic Church and its supposedly divine office of mediation of grace stand fixed in a social ethos—that of the first century—which stands diametrically opposed to the ethos of the century in which the Church now lives.

Grant this hypothesis and no single teaching of the Christ or the apostolic Church remains normative for all times. Instead of transcending time, Christianity would become the slave of time. The Beatitudes and the whole Sermon on the Mount, the precept of monogamy and the prohibition of adultery would become –as not a few are now urging—moral archaisms that had meaning and relevance in former days but are no longer meaningful and certainly not mandatory in our day.

If someone objects that the ordination of men by Christ and the early Church was simply a contingent fact; that it could have been otherwise, I grant the observation. But since when are Christians to stand in judgment on why God did what He did, like become man, when the world could have (absolutely speaking) been redeemed without the Incarnation; or why God does what He does, like nourish us with His own Body and Blood when our spiritual life could (absolutely speaking) be sustained by other means if He had so chosen?

One of the great blessings I see coming from the present discussion about the ordination of women is our deeper realization of God’s wisdom in providing for a variety of ways He can be loved, and a bewildering diversity of ministries by which He can be served.

It is for us to stand in awe, and not in judgment, on the ways of God who chose a woman and not a man by whom to enter the world. If this was selectivity, and it was, it was not discrimination. ***God never does things without good reasons, even when these reasons escape or elude us, who—would you believe—sometimes want to instruct God***.

Thanks, Fr. Hardon.

Trash Man said...

I think your mad that Women are smarter than you, and can spell st. Robert Bellarmine's name right, Man up coward, and let women into your life you demon!

Trash Man said...

I think your mad that Women are smarter than you, and can spell st. Robert Bellarmine's name right, Man up coward, and let women into your life you demon!

Anonymous said...

@Trash Man -- I believe you MEANT to write 'you're mad'...

TonyD said...

Lots of arguments about infallibility. The many comments in the article were interesting.

The one thing they seemed to agree on is that the Church may present something as infallible teaching even though it isn't.

Perhaps the important thing to notice is that each of us is responsible to God for what we believe. Some choose to regard the Magesterium or Saints as infallible, while others don't. Some choose to consider their position as unconditionally correct -- and forget the importance of humility or the importance of their neighbor's values.