Archive for the ‘Women Priests’ Category

C.S. Lewis on the Vatican Website – Priestesses and a Fourth Trinitarian Person?

April 22, 2013

C.S. Lewis, in an article at the Vatican website, states:

The Middle Ages carried their reverence for one Woman to a point at which the charge could plausibly made that the Blessed Virgin became in their eyes almost ‘a fourth Person of the Trinity.’


Wondering why an article by C.S. Lewis is being posted on the Vatican website? The topic of the article is “Priestesses in the Church?” It was written in opposition to the introduction of priestesses into the Anglican church.

Are his arguments sound or usable by Roman Catholics? I think they are not:

That this reaction does not spring from any contempt for women is, I think, plain from history. The Middle Ages carried their reverence for one Woman to a point at which the charge could plausibly made that the Blessed Virgin became in their eyes almost ‘a fourth Person of the Trinity.’ But never, so far as I know, in all those ages was anything remotely resembling a sacerdotal office attributed to her. All salvation depends on the decision which she made in the words Ecce ancilla [Behold the handmaid of the Lord]; she is united in nine months’ inconceivable intimacy with the eternal Word; she stands at the foot of the cross. But she is absent both from the Last Supper and from the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. Such is the record of Scripture. Nor can you daff it aside by saying that local and temporary conditions condemned women to silence and private life. There were female preachers. One man had four daughters who all ‘prophesied,’ i.e. preached. There were prophetesses even in the old Testament times. Prophetesses, not priestesses.

a) There has been a big push within Roman Catholicism to describe Mary in terms of being a mediatrix or “co-mediatrix,” which places her in a priestly role.
b) Mary was absent from the Lord’s Supper, but only the Lord is the Priest of the Supper, the apostles were beneficiaries not priests.
c) Moreover, women are free to participate as beneficiaries even though Mary was not at the supper.
d) There doesn’t appear to be anything particularly priestly about the distribution of extraordinary gifts at Pentecost. After all, the sign gift of prophecy also came to Philip’s four daughters.
e) Prophecy doesn’t necessarily involve preaching. We’re not given any details about what kind of prophecy the daughters of Philip had. It may have been simple seeing, as with Agabus, who foretold Paul’s bonds. On the other hand, it may have been like Huldah’s prophecy:

2 Chronicles 34:23-28
And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same.

That communicates a lot more information, and comes closer to preaching, although it is obviously not preaching in the sense of expounding or exhorting in a derivative way.


"Call Me Maybe" Meets Women Priests

January 5, 2013

Carla Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe,” has sparked a number of take-offs and covers, none more amusing than this:

The Lyrics:
(Stanza 1)
I had a dream as a girl, | It wasn’t a divine vision.
like Therese of Lisieux | Her visions also weren’t from God.
I need to give this a whirl | Such a serious “reform,” this.
So I can lead the way | Unlike Therese, by the way, who (it seems) mainly wanted to be left alone.

Woman priest is my call | All Christians are priests, although I realize that’s not what you mean.
Women preaching for all | Women aren’t called to be preachers.
Don’t listen to St. Paul | Paul spoke what Jesus revealed.  Why not just say, “Don’t listen to God”?
Cause I can lead the way | We will see.

(Chorus 1)
My ministry’s growing | How is that?  Numerically? It’s not growing in reverence for Scripture.
Excommunication? I’m still glowing | Excommunications aren’t infallible, naturally, and they can be reversed – look at SSPX.
M. Div. Chasuble Flowing | Chasuble is a robe worn during the mass, for Protestants who don’t know.  And getting an M. Div. doesn’t qualify one for the ministry.
Where d’you think the church is going? | That’s an interesting question. It could go almost any direction.  Look at SSPX.

(Chorus 2)
Hey, I was baptized | This appeal to Baptism is interesting.  The point, I guess, is that Baptism is unremovable.
and this is crazy | We can agree on that.
But God just called me | No, he didn’t.
So ordain a lady | This would follow from the premise, but the premise is wrong.

(Chorus 3)
Justice doesn’t look right | She’s referring to the modern concept of “social justice.” It’s one of those “red flag” words that you’re dealing with a non-traditionalist Roman Catholic.
with only male priests | What about only male husbands and fathers?
but God just called me | (see chorus 2)
So ordain a lady | Why should the appearance of social justice be a good enough reason?

(repeat of chorus 2)

(Chorus 4)
All the other churches, | My church isn’t interested in ordain women preachers, miss.  She points to an Episcopalian church sign.  Interestingly, the Anglicans narrowly avoided women bishops, although they have women priests.
try to schmooze me, | We’d like to evangelize you, but not have you come preach for us.
but I’m a Catholic, | You’re a Roman Catholic by baptism and confirmation (and as to a number of beliefs), but you’re exommunicated.
so ordain a lady | Is this because otherwise you might leave?  I think the current leadership might be ok with that.

(Stanza 2)
My call is a fact, | No, it’s your imagination.
But some pope in a hat | Why do you want authority in your church, if you think so little of authority in your church? But I will certainly agree that there is not (to my knowledge) any recent infallible papal teaching on the subject.
closed discussion on that | But you don’t just want discussion – you demand a change of policy.
and now he’s in my way | He is an obstacle to you fulfilling your desires.

I pray, sing and I feel | Bragging about one’s devotion is never wise.
at first communion its real | Does your excommunication also feel real?  Do the illicit women masses feel real?   I guess the point is just more of insisting that she’s a “good Catholic.”
but I refuse to kneel | let her finish the clause …
to Patriarchy’s way | Do those prayers include the “our Father”? Why not submit to patriarchy, given that you recognize it is the teaching of Scripture?

(repeat of chorus 2)
(repeat of chorus 3)
(repeat of chorus 2)
(repeat of chorus 4)

(Chorus 5)
With women priests in my life | When exactly was this?
I was so glad | That concern about the sex of your priests doesn’t look very “social justice” friendly, by the way.
I miss them so bad | Should I offer my condolences?
I miss them so so bad | Just because they were not male?

(Chorus 6)
With women priests in my life | (see chorus 5)
I was so glad | (see chorus 5)
We want our church back | It is interesting how every sub-group within Rome thinks Rome belongs to them. If it’s not going their way politically, the church has been stolen from them.  Compare the similar comments from the ultra-traditionalists.
We want it all, all back | I assume this is just repetition for the sake of fitting the tune.

(repeat of chorus 3)
(repeat of chorus 2)
(repeat of chorus 4)
(repeat of chorus 5)
(repeat of chorus 6)

Note on the credits.  It’s interesting that it happens that the editor, with his name at the top of the credits, is a male.  There is also at least two male dancers augmenting the nine or so young ladies and one baby who has a “Mommy for Pope” shirt one, while his mother(?) dances with him wearing some kind of mitre.

The video appears to have been shot at St. Thomas Episcopal Church (mentioned in the credits) in Washington, DC, despite the supposed resistance to “shmoozing” by other churches.  While the group that produced this video is relatively small and silly, they are serious – and they are not alone amongst self-identifying Roman Catholics.


Test Case of the Infallible Magisterium: Ordination of Women

September 23, 2010

Here’s the Official Roman Catholic position on the ordination of women:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

November 8, 1995

The publication in May 1994 of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was followed by a number of problematic and negative statements by certain theologians, organizations of priests and religious, as well as some associations of lay people. These reactions attempted to cast doubt on the definitive character of the letter’s teaching on the inadmissibility of women to the ministerial priesthood and also questioned whether this teaching belonged to the deposit of the faith.

This congregation therefore has judged it necessary to dispel the doubts and reservations that have arisen by issuing a responsum ad dubium, which the Holy Father has approved and ordered to be published (cf. enclosure).

In asking you to bring this responsum to the attention of the bishops of your episcopal conference before its official publication, this dicastery is confident that the conference itself, as well as the individual bishops, will do everything possible to ensure its distribution and favorable reception, taking particular care that, above all on the part of theologians, pastors of souls and religious, ambiguous and contrary positions will not again be proposed.

The text of the responsum is to remain confidential until the date of its publication in L’Osservatore Romano, which is expected to be the 18th of November.

With gratitude for your assistance and with prayerful best wishes I remain,

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

October 28, 1995

Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: In the affirmative.

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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger

Tarcisio Bertone
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli


It’s pretty clear. Ratzinger (then prefect/puppeteer of John Paul II) was alleging that the Roman Catholic Church’s position on the ordination of women is an infallible, irreformable teaching, despite the fact that there is presently (or at least certainly was) dissent within the heirarchy as to whether the failure to ordain women is proper.

Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the group formerly known as the Inquisition), and Bertone (Emeritus Archbishop) clearly are teaching this doctrine. Ratzinger is now pope. Furthermore, Ratzinger alleges that John Paul II approved this document. So, it virtually has the approval of two consecutive popes.

But here’s the rub.

The document itself is not an exercise of papal infallibility. The document merely alleges that the teaching is something “set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.” But this document itself is not the ordinary and universal Magisterium. This document is fallible.

So it is possible (whether or not it is likely), that some future pope’s prefect may decide that Ratzinger erred. The practice of non-ordination of women is just something culturally conditioned and a long-standing discipline … and hey-presto, this document ceases to have any authoritative weight against the new document.

Worse yet (for the traditionalists), some future pope may infallibly define that both women and men may be properly ordained. If he does, what will be the use of this document!

As many folks know, the women priests movement continues to be active despite the opposition of the current papacy (link to recent example article).


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