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».

http://tinyurl.com/6z3nxsj

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.

http://tinyurl.com/4xq3kct

 

Bishops Empower Themselves Not to Report Abuse Allegations, Catholics Speak Out

Statement from Call To Action Regarding

Bishops’ 2011 Spring Assembly:

Bishops Empower Themselves Not to Report Abuse Allegations, Catholics Speak Out

After this year’s revelations that the Philadelphia Archbishop and Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop failed to report sexual abuse allegations to their review boards and to civil authorities, Catholics of good will expected the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to revise their sexual abuse policies at this week’s Spring General Assembly.  Today, the bishops conclude their gathering without making any substantive changes to their sex abuse policies.

The bishops did manage to authorize work on a new preaching document, issue a policy statement and approve new musical translations of the new liturgy to begin in September.

However, when it came to changing and further strengthening the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its related Essential Norms, they added little and made minor tweaks to dates and numbers.   One bishop even suggested that some of those who have abused should be able to return to ministry. Equally egregious, the bishops did not add a section to the charter that would mandate Bishops share sexual abuse allegations with their own diocesan review boards and, thus, potentially keep known abusers in ministry.

As a result, the power to keep a pedophile religious leader away from children continues to rest in the hands of the bishop–the same place it has always rested. Based on the last fifty years of scandal, we know this only leads to additional abuse victims and greater harm to the Church as a whole.

Call To Action encourages fellow Catholics to continue to speak up about any signs of abuse and direct their concerns, not only to church authorities, but to civil authorities. For assistance, contact SNAP, the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests, http://www.snapnetwork.org

Bishops Won’t Focus on Abuse Policies

Despite recent cases in which Roman Catholic bishops failed to report or suspend priests accused of child sexual abuse, the bishops head into a meeting in Seattle on Wednesday proposing no significant revisions to the abuse prevention policies they passed in 2002 at the height of the scandal.

The bishops had promised that they would take a hard look at their policies in light of new accusations in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Mo., that have shaken many Catholics, not just in those dioceses, but across the country as well. The incidents have led some Catholics to question whether bishops are complying with their own policies, and whether there is any accountability for bishops who do not.

In the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Robert W. Finn admitted last month that he allowed a priest who had taken pornographic pictures of parish girls to continue celebrating Mass and having access to children.

http://tinyurl.com/6kr8zb4