Women’s ‘Ordination’ [and the Church’s Granting a ‘Mission’ or Faculties] Never [or Not Yet], but Dialogue With Vatican [and Lifting of Their Excommunications] OK

Women’s ‘Ordination’ [and the Church’s Granting a ‘Mission’ or Faculties] Never [or Not Yet], but Dialogue With Vatican [and Lifting of Their Excommunications] OK

More on the recent Vatican “dialogue” with the “womyn’s ordination” movement: I have made bracketed additions to the title of the article based on the possibility “that the the Vatican could come up with a reason to lift [the excommunication of such “ordained womyn”] such as claiming … that some of those involved are ‘not really against the Church’s teaching’ or that ‘it’s a “matter of interpretation'” and continue “dialogue” with them but not yet granting them a “mission” or faculties – similar to the manner in which Pope Benedict XVI acted (and Pope Francis has continued) with the Society of Saint Pius X. – AQ moderator Tom


National Catholic Register

Campaigners for women’s “ordination” and for the lifting of excommunications on those who have participated in the outlawed practice today attended the Jubilee Mass for priests in St. Peter’s Square, celebrated by Pope Francis.

The group of campaigners, called Women’s Ordination Worldwide, were also due to protest near the Vatican on Friday, and earlier in the week reportedly had a meeting with a Vatican official in the Secretariat of State, according to the British weekly The Tablet. The group reportedly wants to re-open dialogue in the Church.

Pope St. John Paul II issued a definitive statement in 1994, firmly excluding the possibility of women priests. In the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, he drew heavily on Bl. Paul VI’s 1976 similarly clear declaration on the subject, and stated 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.”

But since 2002, around 150 women have been “ordained” and all of them have been excommunicated as a result.

The continued contempt for the Church’s authority on the matter led to Cardinal William Levada, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issuing a decree in 2008, stating that both a person who “attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order” would incur automatic excommunication.

Vatican officials therefore say there is no possibility whatsoever of women being ordained because it is against the faith and divine law as well as contrary to the Sacrament of Orders and therefore heretical.

The lifting of excommunications could be possible but only if those who are excommunicated no longer “persist” in the delict (against faith).

But by continuing to campaign for women’s ordination and protest against the Vatican on the issue, it suggests the delict is ongoing and therefore any lifting of the severe penalty is unlikely.

According to a Vatican official, it is possible that the Vatican could come up with a reason to lift them, such as claiming, for example, that some of those involved are “not really against the Church’s teaching”, or that it’s a “matter of interpretation”.
But he stressed that would not mean women could then be ordained, and even if the excommunications were lifted, it’s probable they would commit the delict again and then incur re-excommunication.

Furthermore, the lifting of these excommunications would not be as straightforward as that of the four bishops belonging to the Society of St. Pius X in 2009 because the Society desisted from ordaining new bishops against the Pope’s authority, an act that led to the excommunications in the first place. The SSPX were able to satisfy the Congregation for Bishops that they did not intend to contravene any truth of faith nor the authority of the Pope.

The Vatican official stressed that allowing such a campaign group to meet a Vatican official is not surprising. In fact, he said, it is to be expected. “It’s important to keep talking with such a group and keep the channels of dialogue open,” he said. “You cannot convert them if you’re not talking with them, so having such a meeting is not a bad thing in itself.”

“Of course, considering times we’re living in, you’re always worried what’s coming next,” he added, but stressed that often it’s “just the curial way of making sure things don’t escalate, that the door remains open, that channels of communications remain open. It’s a way of pricking the balloon.”

As during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, the Vatican under Pope Francis is seeking ways of increasing women’s participation in the life of the Church but some in the Vatican are concerned that any attempt to appease such groups as Women’s Ordination Worldwide would lead to creating areas of ambiguity that could take decades to correct, and place souls in danger in the process.

The Register contacted the office of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for comment on the issue and are awaiting a reply. But Pope Francis has already reiterated John Paul II’s clear statement and strongly ruled out women priests. Answering a reporter’s question on the issue on the way back from the United States last September, the Holy Father said:

“On women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the Church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.”

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5 comments on “Women’s ‘Ordination’ [and the Church’s Granting a ‘Mission’ or Faculties] Never [or Not Yet], but Dialogue With Vatican [and Lifting of Their Excommunications] OK

  1. Against Sacramental Transgenderism

    BY STEVE SKOJEC ON JUNE 3, 2016 @ 1P5


    A glimpse of our future? Nope[?]

    Members of Women’s Ordination Worldwide [WOW] — that’s the name of a group promoting the “ordination” of women — have been in Rome this week, where rather than being shunned, as is appropriate, they were granted an audience with an official from the Vatican Secretariat of State. Hearing their appeal on behalf of some 150 women who have been “ordained” since 2002 (all of whom have been excommunicated), this unnamed official, according to The Tablet, “agreed to give a petition to the Pope calling for the excommunications to be lifted.”

    I don’t know how many signatures this petition has garnered, but history has taught us that numbers alone don’t guarantee results. With nearly 900,000 signatures, including hundreds of Catholic prelates, the Filial Appeal to Pope Francis (and the heartfelt concerns of the faithful it represented) was summarily ignored.

    But the little ladies at WOW got a concession beyond the promise of a hand-delivered grievance letter. The Tablet reports that “For the first time the group has been given official permission to hold a public demonstration in the gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo”. But not just on any day. Oh no. The protest took place today, “the day that the Pope celebrates a jubilee mass for priests in St Peter’s Square. Members of the women’s ordination group have also been given tickets to attend the Mass.”

    The National un-Catholic Reporter ran a story recapping today’s events just a little while ago:

    “We thought that the Jubilee for Priests was a perfect time to really give an offering and a celebration for all women called to priesthood,” said Kate McElwee, co-executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, the U.S.-based member of WOW. “We really wanted to have this as a celebration and a serious conversation of women in the church.”


    Pope Francis’ recent announcement that he would create a commission to study the history of female deacons in the Catholic church — a hot button topic among members of the church — was also brought to the table Wednesday, June 1. Flannery offered only positive feedback to the announcement. If women eventually are ordained as deacons, he said, parishioners will no longer distinguish between males and females performing liturgies on the altar. “They wouldn’t see a significant difference. I think it would be a big step forward.”

    Panelist Jamie Manson, who is NCR’s book editor and a columnist, offered a different perspective. “The establishment of women deacons, I think, runs the risk of being a compromise that ends up trapping women in a role in which they will continue to be subservient to men, particularly in service to priests,” she said.

    Panelist Marinella Perroni, a professor of the New Testament at Pontifical University of St. Anselmo in Rome, offered three points during her introduction Wednesday, including the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, which “brought to light the necessity of re-thinking the theology of Catholic ministry,” she said.

    “I was always convinced that the church of Vatican II must come to de-clericalize ordained ministry, liberating it from the weight of sacrifice. Instead, the terror of a possible Protestantization of the Catholic church has blocked the reception of Vatican II and radicalized the theology of ministry as the stereotypical post-Tridentine ones,” Perroni said. “Personally, therefore, I would prefer that women would aspire to ordained ministry rather than priesthood.”

    “Liberating” the priesthood “from the weight of sacrifice” sounds like what most of us have experienced in the parishes in the decades since Vatican II, though I’d be lying if I said I had any idea what it means to “de-clericalize ordained ministry” or to “aspire to ordained ministry” in a way that is distinct from the priesthood. (Could it have something to do with turtlenecks?)

    A bunch of radical progressives engaged in small group fantasizing, as entertaining as that no doubt must be, leaves aside the issue that really chafes: how did the protest at the Mass itself turn out? The Reporter has that answer, too:

    About 20 people gathered Friday in Piazza Pia at the far end of the boulevard that runs into the plaza outside St. Peter’s Basilica, where a Mass for the Jubilee of Priests was beginning. The Women’s Ordination Worldwide supporters dressed in purple stoles — a symbol of women’s ordination — and carried signs that read, “Women priests are here.” They also had a cardboard replica of a telephone booth that was labeled, “Door to dialogue.”

    WOW organizers had a permit for their demonstration, making it, they say, the first legal demonstration for the group in Rome.

    “We walked down the pilgrim’s path toward St. Peter’s and joined the Mass for priests,” McElwee toldNCR. “However, the women priests with us had their stoles and signs taken away, as well as our leaflets and pins.”

    Well at least someone at the Vatican recognized that their little show was inappropriate. Good on them.

    All of this, however, points to the frustrating necessity of a larger discussion on a matter that should have already long-since been put to rest. Anyone who has given even a cursory glance to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is aware that the issue of women priests is a dead letter, despite what advocates of The Hermeneutic of Perpetual Innovation (and/or polyester pantsuits) would like us to believe. So since the Church needs women priests like a fish needs a bicycle, why are we still talking about this 22 years later?

    I suspect that the real reasons are as complex and varied as the reality of fallen human nature. But if you want to point your finger at the underlying problem that keeps this whole debacle from dying on the vine, I suggest you turn your agitated gaze upon the wholly inappropriate presence of women in the sanctuary.

    It is more than a little ironic to note that just two months before the promulgation of Ordinatio Sacerdoatalis, in which Pope John Paul II stated definitively “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”, he ordered the publication of another little document, with the purpose of establishing the practice of female altar service.

    Liturgically speaking, this is akin to the man who tells a young lady that he’ll never marry her, but they should at least continue to make out. It is an ecclesiastical tease, the invitation to those of an impressionable age to flirt with a vocation they will never be called to — all while making it that much less likely that boys will continue to take an interest. It’s a completely manufactured and multifaceted vocations crisis all rolled up into one incredibly bad idea.

    Some young women see it for the dead end it is. I’ll never forget how one of my female cousins, a number of years ago, was asked by a visiting deacon why she wasn’t serving at the altar with her brothers. She looked at him like he had been dropped on his head as a child, and stated flatly, “Because there’s no future in it.” She must have been about ten years old at the time. It was a proud moment for her parents, and a score for sensible people everywhere.

    Today’s demonstration in Rome, however, makes clear that not all the ladies got the same memo.

    Of course, it’s not just the presence of female altar boys that send a mixed message. Our sanctuaries are needlessly cluttered with Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (to whom St. Thomas Aquinas would fervently object) and many of these are women. Our pulpits are routinely (and in some cases exclusively) visited by Lectors and Cantors with unmistakable X chromosomes (and in the case of the latter, inexplicably upraised palms). As Benedict Constable argued in a piece published in these pages last year, that this is permitted does not in any way mean it is wise:

    To ignore differences of sex or to pretend that such differences make (or should make) no difference in the fulfilling of liturgical roles is surely to ignore, and probably to contradict, the “theology of the body” given to the Church by Saint John Paul II. Especially in our times, when confusion about sexuality is rampant, how we conceptualize and implement male and female roles in the Church cannot fail to have huge ramifications in our theological anthropology, moral theology, and even fundamental theology, extending all the way to the inerrancy of Scripture and the trustworthiness of apostolic Tradition.


    The Apostle declares to the Corinthians: “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church” (1 Cor 14:33–35). Moreover, the same Apostle says to Saint Timothy: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent” (1 Tim 2:11–12).

    In accordance with this apostolic judgment, the Church, for nearly 2,000 years, did not permit any woman to exercise a liturgical ministry in the sanctuary. Thus, the Council of Laodicea (365 AD) stated in Canon 44: “Women may not approach near the altar.” But the Church, being guided by the Holy Spirit, cannot err in the pleasing worship of Almighty God. Therefore her constant customs indicate a divine disposition, and all discordant novelties are to be rejected.

    […]Hence, the now nearly universal custom of women reading at Mass deserves to be abolished as the historical aberration and theological danger that it is. Such a restoration of ancient discipline would be one more way to celebrate and consolidate the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which did not breathe a word about opening up liturgical ministries to women, and which expressly stipulated: “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them” (Sacrosanctum Concilium,23).

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider has echoed this theme in his own work on liturgical reform:

    All those who exercise an active role in the liturgy, such as lectors, or those announcing the prayer of the faithful, should always be dressed in the liturgical vestments; and only men, no women, because this is an exercise in the sanctuary, close to the priesthood. Even reading the lectionary is directed towards this liturgy which we are celebrating to Christ. And therefore only men dressed in liturgical vestments should be in the sanctuary.

    Constable delves more deeply into the male/female symbolism in the liturgy here.

    The priesthood is, and has always been, an inherently masculine office. The priests of the Old Testament were types of Christ; the priesthood as a sacrament, as it was established on Holy Thursday, took this intimacy with the person and mission of Christ to a whole new level. There may be thousands of Catholic priests in the world, but there is only one true priest and one true priesthood. Christ’s priesthood subsumes and animates the sacerdotal actions of the recipients of Holy Orders. Father Smith does not offer the Mass or absolve sins because he has been gifted the power to do so. Rather, by acting in persona Christi, the priest becomes a literal proxy for the action and power of Christ the True Priest – an action and power the priest makes present by observing, by means of the office bestowed upon him to do so, the matter and form of the sacrament. Each ordained man partakes of this one power of the priesthood. Like the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, all priests share in the supernatural abundance of this priestly power, and there is enough for all. And in order to act “in the person of Christ,” the ordained must bear an actual likeness to Christ on a fundamental level. Christ came as a man — not as a woman, not as a hermaphrodite, but a man. And it is only men who can fully represent Him in the power of His priesthood.

    To mistake this is to misunderstand what it is, in the eyes of God, to be a man or a woman, a father or a mother, a priest or a nun. Gender is not merely a social construct, but an ontological reality. And for this reason, women no more belong in the sanctuaries of our churches than men belong in women’s restrooms. We seem to understand this latter concept, so why is the former so difficult for us?

    There are those both in society and in the Church who seek to deny these things, in law and in custom. It is important to remember that even where they prevail in introducing some change in praxis or policy, they cannot change the very fabric of reality itself. No matter how we cross-dress it up, sacramental transgenderism is a lie. And until we come to our senses on this matter, only confusion and difficulty will result.

  2. Just another Protestant sect.

  3. Vincent,
    Actually I would regard this as far more evil than just another Protestant sect.
    These are what I call the sisterhood of Satan. They are diametrically opposed to the true, God revealed, understanding of the nature of women, as revealed in Holy Scripture and the 2000 year tradition of the Catholic Church.
    I won’t start on what is wrong with their teaching because that has been stated and re-stated over and over again, ad nauseum.
    They don’t care. They don’t care one jot what God has said.
    They are the principal egotists. They are the direct descendants of Eve’s rebellion against God when she listened to Satan instead of to God.
    Truth means nothing to them.
    And to cap it all off, they have had the advantage, unlike most Protestants, of having been raised in the Catholic Church, so they can truly be said to be without excuse when they defy God’s s teachings.
    What really should raise alarm bells is that anyone in Rome is heretical enough to give them one minute of time.

  4. Quote: “But since 2002, around 150 women have been “ordained” and all of them have been excommunicated as a result.”

    They have not been “ordained” in any real sense of the term. Any lunatic or heretic can participate in fake religious ceremonies intended to imitate Catholic rites, including that of ordination. This does not result in the person being ordained. The parody of Catholic priestly ordination and the claim to being a priest (or priestess) are considered sacrilegious, blasphemous, and heretical. It is also a crime in Rome, Italy, to dress up as a priest or to claim to be a priest in public (when the person is, in fact, NOT a priest). Episcopalians or Anglicans may claim to “ordain” women as their ministers and clergy. No woman has ever been “ordained” as a Catholic priest. The lack of the matter for the sacrament (maleness, being a man) is not present so the sacrament cannot be performed ontologically. In addition to being a man, a valid candidate for Catholic ordination to the priesthood must be a Catholic in good standing, in full communion with the Church, assenting to all of the teachings of the Catholic faith, and in full possession of the faculties of reason. Since these conditions are not met when a disturbed woman presents herself for a fake ordination, no valid ordination occurs. Even if a crazy heretical modernist bishop presided over such an ordination ceremony it would still be invalid and no “ordination” in the proper sense would have taken place in such a travesty.

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