donna vescovo

                                Francis embraces Archbishop Antje Jackelen in Lund Sweden,                                                                           she is the presiding Archbishop of World Lutheranism




Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister 

07 feb 17

Latest From Santa Marta. Open Doors For Women Priests

[Emphasis and {commentary} in red type by Abyssum]

On August 2, 2016, Pope Francis instituted a commission to study the history of the female diaconate, for the purpose of its possible restoration. And some have seen this as a first step toward priesthood for women, in spite of the fact that Francis himself seems to have ruled it out absolutely, responding as follows to a question on the return flight from his journey to Sweden last November 1 (in the photo, his embrace with Swedish Lutheran archbishop Antje Jackelen):

“For the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last clear word was given by Saint John Paul II, and this holds.”

{In the pontificate of Francis there is no such thing as a “clear last word” theology and doctrine.  Through the use of the Jesuit methodology of “discernment” it is possible to discover truths hidden for 2016 years.}

But to read the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the question of women priests appears to be anything but closed. On the contrary, wide open.

“La Civiltà Cattolica” is not just any magazine. By statute, every line of it is printed after inspection by the Holy See. But in addition there is the very close confidential relationship between Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the magazine’s editor, the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro.

Who in turn has his most trusted colleague in deputy editor Giancarlo Pani, he too a Jesuit like all the writers of the magazine.

{Under Francis Jorge Bergolio, S.J.. Antonio Spadar, S.J. an article by Giancarlo Pani, S.J. in La Civiltà Cattolica has more importance for the Church than a decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

So then, in the article with his byline that appears in the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” Fr. Pani calmly rips to shreds the “last clear word” – meaning the flat no – that John Paul II spoke against women’s priesthood.

To see how, all it takes is to reread this passage of the article, properly speaking dedicated to the question of women priests, but taking the cue from there to express hopes for women priests as well.



{For many Jesuits, but thank God not all Jesuits, the “past” exists primarily to point the way to a new a glorious “future” which they will discover and reveal to us.}

by Giancarlo Pani, S.J.

[…] On Pentecost of 1994, Pope John Paul II summarized, in the apostolic letter “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,” the outcome of a series of previous magisterial statements (including “Inter Insigniores”), concluding that Jesus has chosen only men for the priestly ministry. Therefore “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women. This judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

The statement was a clear word for those who maintained that the refusal of priestly ordination for women could be discussed. Nonetheless, […] some time later, following the problems raised not so much by the doctrine as by the force with which it was presented, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was presented with a question: can “ordinatio sacerdotalis” be “considered as belonging to the deposit of the faith?” The answer was “affirmative,” and the doctrine was described as “infallibiliter proposita,” meaning that “it must be held always, everywhere, and by all the faithful.”

Difficulties with the answer’s reception have created “tensions” in relations between magisterium and theology over the connected problems. These are pertinent to the fundamental theology on infallibility. It is the first time in history that the congregation explicitly appealed to the constitution “Lumen Gentium” no. 25, which proclaims the infallibility of a doctrine that is taught as definitively binding by the bishops dispersed throughout the world but in communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter.

Moreover, the question touches upon the theology of the sacraments, because it concerns the subject of the sacrament of Orders, which traditionally is indeed man, but this does not take into account the developments that the presence of woman in the family and in society has undergone in the 21st century. This is a matter of ecclesial dignity, responsibility, and participation.  {There you have it!!!  “ecclesial dignity, responsibility and participation” provide the Jesuits with the ground for arguing that we must “accompany women” and “discern” their pain and suffering from being discriminated against in a patriarchal Church which has oppressed them for 2016 years!!!}

The historical fact of the exclusion of woman from the priesthood because of the “impedimentum sexus” is undeniable. {The fact that it was Jesus Christ who chose ONLY MEN to be his apostles is never to be mentioned, but it is also undeniable.}  Nevertheless, already in 1948, and therefore well ahead of the disputes of the 1960’s, Fr. Congar pointed out that “the absence of a fact is not a decisive criterion for concluding prudently in every case that the Church cannot do it and will never do it.”

Moreover, another theologian adds, the “consensus fidelium” of many centuries has been called into question in the 20th century above all on account of the profound sociocultural changes concerning woman. It would not make sense to maintain that the Church must change only because the times have changed,{this is a straw man that is then shot down; but that is precisely what underlies the push for the ordination of women – we feel their pain at being deprived of the priesthood and we must “accompany” them and “discern” the injustice the male dominated Church inflicts on them and have “mercy” on them and admit them to the priesthood} but it remains true that a doctrine proposed by the Church needs to be understood by the believing intelligence {that is so clearly manifested by us Jesuits}. The dispute over women priests could be set in parallel with other moments of Church history; in any case, today in the question of female priesthood the “auctoritates,” or official positions of the magisterium, are clear, but many Catholics {who are these “many Catholics”?} have a hard time understanding the “rationes” of decisions that, more than expressions of authority, appear to signify authoritarianism {there you have it, the new evil in the Church that Francis et al are going to fight, just as they fought it in the case of the Knights of Malta}. Today there is unease among those who fail to understand how the exclusion of woman from the Church’s ministry can coexist with the affirmation and appreciation of her equal dignity.” […]


In the judgment of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” therefore, not only should the infallibility and definitiveness of John Paul II’s “no” to women priests be brought into doubt, but more important than this “no” are the “developments that the presence of woman in the family and society has undergone in the 21st century.”

These developments – the reasoning of the magazine continues – now render incomprehensible the “rationes” for prohibitions “that, more than expressions of authority, appear to signify authoritarianism.”

“One cannot always resort to the past, as if only in the past are there indications of the Spirit. Today as well the Spirit is guiding the Church and suggesting the courageous assumption of new perspectives. {Such as we find in Amoris Laetitia.}

And Francis is the first “not to limit himself to what is already known, but wants to delve into a complex and relevant field, so that it may be the Spirit who guides the Church,” concludes “La Civiltà Cattolica,” evidently with the pope’s imprimatur.

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)


About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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