Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Avant Garde Statement

Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J
Catholic theologians of note were making statements that went far beyond anything said in the aula of St. Peter’s. Fr. Jean Danielou, S.J., expressed himself as being in favor of the ordination of deaconesses “without delay and therefore before the end of the Council.” Avant garde as his statement may seem, it was not made in a theological vacuum. In 1962 Fr. Haye van der Meer, S.J., with Fr. Karl Rahner as his mentor, completed a doctoral thesis at Innsbruck titled “Theologische Uberlegungen uber die Thesis: subiectum ordinationis solus est mas” (“Theological Reflections on the Thesis: the male alone is fit for ordination”). The author considers the usual arguments for excluding women from ordination — arguments from Scripture and traditional theology — and concludes that there is no valid reason for continuing the exclusion. Moreover, he claims that Canon 968, Section 1, limiting ordination to a vir baptizatus, requires clarification. The canon has ordinarily been interpreted as forbidding the ordination of women, but it seems more likely that what it forbids is the ordination of non-baptizatus. Thus ordination of a femina baptizata was never contemplated by the framers of the canon; so they could scarcely have intended to legislate against it.

At about the same time that Fr. van der Meer was working on his dissertation in Innsbruck another Jesuit, Jose Idigoras, was pursuing a similar investigation at the Catholic University in Lima, Peru. Adapted excerpts from his doctoral thesis, “La Mujer dentro del Orden Sagrado” (“Woman in Relation to Holy Ordination”), were printed in the widely circulated Informations Catholiques Internationales in 1963 and 1965. Idigoras also examines the usual antifeminine arguments and, like van der Meer, concludes that the church not only may but must admit women to orders if it is to be true to the gospel and to St. Paul’s obviously doctrinal statement (opposed to the discriminatory disciplinary statements) that in Christ “there is neither male or female” (Gal. 3:28).

A North American, Fr. Charles R. Meyer of the Mundelein seminary faculty in the Chicago archdiocese, takes up in an article in a recent issue of Chicago Studies (excerpted in the popular Catholic Digest) the problem of whether, as Fr. Idigoras claims, some of St. Paul’s female assistants were genuinely ordained deaconesses — a problem which is crucial, since the Catholic Church regards admission to the diaconate as so related to ordination that women could not be capable of the diaconate unless they were also capable of the priesthood. Fr. Meyer’s study concludes:
We must, I think . . . admit that the theologians and canonists of our time have been . . . guilty of some dishonesty in treating the question of the ordination of women in the early Church. In their treatises on the matter there seems to be a selective presentation of the facts, if indeed any attempt at all is made to do other than merely repeat what their predecessors have said. . . . But the time for complete honesty is at hand . . . now theologians must make a careful and unprejudiced re-examination of the whole question. This is the least they can do.
Other theologians who have discussed this problem publicly are Fr. Hans Kung and Fr. George H. Tavard, who have said that they know of no valid theological objection to the ordination of women.
Link (here) to Womanpriests


Sawyer said...

Roma locuta est. Causa finita est. (cf. Inter Insignores et Ordinatio Sacerdotalis et Responsum ad Dubium 10/28/1995 concerning the teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)

Maria said...

Tony: Rome is just some pesky child that keep interupting their vain hopes and hopeless schemes. Thanks for the link. Militia est vita homines in terra ;)

Excerpt from "The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood" by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

“…Suppose we took the…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.

Elsewhere he states: 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 CONSECRTATION OR THE FORMULA OF ABSOLUTION!

Hardon at his best.

Anonymous said...

Roma locuta est. Causa finita est

Rome can speak--but we live and discern our faith. How many times has something been "final" only to be in process & change.

p.s. "Hardon at his best"?! Pretty thin gruel. His worst was his sanctioning a sexual predator.

Maria said...

"Proud people are always, memorize the adverb, they are always harsh."

PS "It is no coincidence, but profoundly true, that the first two capital sins are pride and lust. They go together as cause and effect, and they work mutually.
Pride leads to lust and lust leads to pride."

I know! Awful, aint' it?? ;)

Servant of God John Hardon SJ