|Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J|
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.
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