Denying ordination to women is injustice

It has been suggested to me that the question of ordaining female priests has been “infallibly” resolved; therefore women cannot and shall not ever receive that sacrament.

In 1995 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), acting as the Vatican’s Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, asserted to all bishops that the exclusion of women as priests by Pope John-Paul II is an infallible doctrine. Is it?

Catechism paragraph 891 cites two possibilities for infallibility. First, the pope (not a cardinal) uses his authority to speak “ex-cathedra.” Second, bishops in Ecumenical Council and union with the pope solemnly define a teaching.

John Paul II made no claim of speaking ex-cathedra. The bishops were neither in council nor universally in agreement with the pontiff.

Cardinal Ratzinger was not pope at that time so he had no authority to speak infallibly. Hence by definition, it’s not an infallible doctrine, but simply an organizational ruling.

No scriptural text supports the claim that Jesus favored a ban on women priests.  Gospel stories do relate how Jesus rebuked professional religious leaders of his time for rules that worked hardships on the faithful in order to enhance their own aggrandizement. 

At issue isn’t simply addressing the worsening shortage of priests in our church. When the Vatican denies ordination to anyone based solely on her gender it is in fact a miscarriage of justice. The dark ages it seems ended everywhere but with the Vatican.

Larry d’Autremont

Davenport

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