no theological reasons for excluding women from the priesthood

There will be women a priest «when God wills», for the moment it is better «not to raise the issue». But there is «no fundamental obstacle», from «a theological perspective», for women to say mass on the altar. It is, instead, a «tradition» that dates back from the time of Jesus. This was said by Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, seventy-five year old Patriarch of Lisbon, who has just been confirmed for another two years at the head of the diocese of the Portuguese capital.

Polycarpo released a lengthy interview to the monthly «OA», the magazine of the Portuguese Order of Attorneys. He explained that with respect to women priests «the position of the Catholic Church is very much based on the Gospel, it does not have the independence of a political party or a government. It is based on fidelity to the Gospel, to the person of Jesus and to a very strong tradition received from the Apostles».

«John Paul II – continued Polycarp – at one point seemed to settle the matter». Reference is in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994), one of the shortest documents of John Paul II, with which the Pope, after the decision of the Anglican Communion to open to women priests, reaffirmed that the Catholic Church would never do so.

«I think – said Cardinal Polycarp – that the matter cannot be resolved like this. Theologically there is no fundamental obstacle (to women priests, ed.), let’s just say that there’s this tradition: it has never been done otherwise».

When asked by the interviewer, curious of the affirmation made by the cardinal that there are theological reasons against women priests, Polycarpo replied: «I think that there is no fundamental obstacle. It is a fundamental equality of all members of the Church. The problem is a strong tradition that comes from Jesus and the ease with which the Reformed churches have granted priesthood to women».

The Patriarch of Lisbon also explained that he believed the demand for women priests is a «false problem», because the same girls that pose the question, when he retorts if they would be willing to become priests, shake their head.

The statements made by the Portuguese Cardinal are intended to cause discussions. A year after the letter of John Paul II a question was in fact posed (dubium) to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and secretary Tarcisio Bertone.

He wondered whether «the doctrine according to which the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women, proposed in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, was to be considered permanent, to be regarded as belonging to the deposit of fait». The answer, approved by Pope John Paul II, was «yes».

The Congregation explained that «this teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded in the Word of God written and constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church from the beginning, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium», and therefore «must always be kept, everywhere and by all the faithful, because it belongs to the deposit of faith».



Call To Action Names Leadership Award Winner

Call To Action is pleased to announce that Margaret Mary McBride, RSM will be the recipient of the 2011 Leadership Award at this year’s conference!

Sr. Margaret, an administrator at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, assisted in the decision to save the life of a patient who was pregnant and suffering from pulmonary hypertension.

Medical providers determined that death of both the 27-year-old woman and her 11-week-old fetus would occur unless the pregnancy was terminated.  Sr. Margaret, as part of the hospital’s ethics committee, agreed to the abortion that saved the woman’s life.

Call To Action’s board recognizes Sr. Margaret’s careful work with a complex issue, her courage in a time of censorship and public pressure, and her witness to the need to stand firm in the face of opposition while striving to protect life in all its venues.



Priest pleads not guilty to aiding jailed mobster

A Roman Catholic priest pleaded not guilty today to federal charges he tried to help Outfit hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. spirit a family violin away from the federal government after it had seized the imprisoned mobster’s possessions.

The Rev. Eugene Klein, 62, who wore a black suit and his priest collar, was released on $20,000 bond after he made his initial appearance in federal court in Chicago following the charges earlier this month.

After court, Klein’s lawyer ridiculed the government case as “preposterous.”



Jesuits remove popular Maryland priest

A prominent Jesuit priest has been permanently barred from public ministry for allegedly improperly touching a minor in the 1980s.

The Maryland Province of the Jesuits said Tuesday that it removed the Rev. James Glenn Murray from church work after an investigator hired by the Roman Catholic order found evidence supporting the allegation. Murray is living in a monitored Jesuit residence.

The Jesuits sent notice of their action to dioceses and high schools where Murray has served since his 1979 ordination.

Murray is a liturgy specialist who helped draft a 1990s document for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on African-American worship in the Roman Catholic Church.

The priest could not be reached for comment. The religious order did not release Murray’s location, but a spokeswoman said they would try to reach him.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/21/3717528/jesuits-remove-popular-priest.html#ixzz1Q15Vc6in



Archbishop’s Theology is Wearing No Clothes

Many readers of Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s blog think there is layer upon layer of deep theological thinking about natural law, church-state relations, and the like. I am here to assure such well-meaning colleagues that nothing of the sort lurks in these lines.

As New York State moves closer and closer to approving same-sex marriage, Dolan becomes, as Peter Montgomery points out, increasingly histrionic unto hysterical. His remarkable blog entry, “The True Meaning of Marriage,” will endure as the intellectual last wag of the dog’s tail on a question that has long been solved in the minds of many Catholics.

Timothy Dolan apparently subscribes to the Sarah Palin School of Research: saying it makes it so. Showing zero familiarity with the ample body of evidence that marriage is a changing institution, he pronounces the “undeniable truth” about what marriage means. One may not like that marriage has changed over time, and one may not think it ought to change over time, but these proclivities are not license to pass over the historical reality before us. Everyone understands and expects disagreement, but no one is fooled by truth claims that do not hold water.