When Pope Benedict deposed the Australian bishop of Toowoomba diocese, he reconfirmed the infallibility of the Church's teaching on reserving ordination to men. This is not new. He clarified the matter as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 1995 with a Responsum ad Dubium (Response to Doubt) that Blessed John Paul II had in fact declared infallibly that women's ordination was impossible.
I would like to ask WHY? What particular marks of the Holy Father's declaration Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on priestly ordination for men only is infallible? Not only because so many people still kick up the dust, hemming and hawing about an issue that is supposedly dead and buried, but also because I believe that it has the power to contribute to the healing of
the modern feminine identity.
Let's look at Blessed Pope John Paul II's declaration, but first, what are the marks of an infallible statement? The Second Vatican Council states:
"This is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,(166) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals." (Lumen Gentium 25)
There are therefore 4 marks of infallibility (these are also confirmed by Vatican I):
1. He intends to Teach all the Faithful
2. By virtue of his Apostolic Authority
2. Intends it to be held definitively
4. Speaks on a Matter of Faith or Morals
Okay, let's look at the Pope's declaration:
"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in
virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare 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."Clearly:
1. Teaching in "in order that all doubt may be removed"
2. "In virtue of his ministry of confirming the brethren"
3. "I declare" it to be "definitively held by all the Church's faithful"
4. "A matter of great importance" i.e. faith and salvation of souls
The simple answer is "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women." WHY?
THIS QUESTION IS HUGE - WHY? Ask it. Women need to ask it.
Why did God create the most perfect, sublime, holy, and immaculate human person as a woman and not make her the first pope or at least a priest? Why?
Why is the canon of saints mostly women? Why?
Why are churches around the world overflowing with women and none of them chosen by God to be priests? Why?
The answer to these questions must be sought for, because when women seek it, they will find a correct form of feminism which the same Blessed Pope John Paul promoted - Equal but different. Men and women are not the same, Alleluia! Hmm looks like an Easter entrance antiphon for a nuptial mass. Women cannot be men nor should they seek to be like them. Femininit
y needs a reinvigoration of what it means to be a woman. For this, I highly recommend a Apostolic Letter of Blessed Pope John Paul II, called "The Dignity and Vocation of Women." In it, the Holy Father asks the question, Why? Why did God choose a woman to be the instrument of Redemption for all mankind? Why did he give to woman the task of rearing the Redeemer and standing by him faithfully at the foot of the Cross.
The answer for some of the painful questions of feminists can be found in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the most accomplished woman in history, because she gave birth to the Savior and gave him to mankind. May Our Lady bring about this reinvigoration of what it means to be a woman. Ave Maria!