Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"Vatican's Doctrinal Prefect Reaffirms Ban on Women Priests, calls Teaching 'Definitive'" May 29, 2018 by Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, My Response, Scholarship Supporting Women Priests in History of Church by Dr. John Winjngaards and Dr. Gary Macy

A picture of Bishop Theodora. Note the “Episcopa” above her head in St. Praxedis Church in Rome.

Bishop Theodora, eh? Sounds like women clergy to me. To make matters worse, the reigning pope at the time, Pope Paschal I (reigned 817 – 824), built the church of St. Prassede and, according to the records of that time, had the chapel with Theodora in it built to honor his mother Theodora. One historian, in writing of this mosaic, claims “We have papal authority for a woman bishop and an acknowledgement by the pope that he himself was the son of a woman bishop!” (Thomas F. Torrance, “The Ministry of Women: An Argument for the Ordination of Women“, Touchstone [Fall 1992]).

My Response: The head of the Vatican's doctrinal office's reaffirmation of the Catholic Church's ban on women priests is another major blunder that trots out the same lame sexist arguments that have been refuted for decades. Jesus did not reserve priestly ordination to men. He did not ordain anyone at the Last Supper. He washed feet shared a meal and asked us to remember him by celebrating this special meal/Eucharist. According to all four Gospels, the Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles and not to Peter. St. Paul refers to Junia, a woman apostle, in Romans 16:7. There are more than 12 apostles, two of whom are women.
Gary Macy, professor of Theology at Santa Clara University, author of The Hidden History of Women's Ordination said until about the mid-12th century, women were ordained as deaconesses, served as bishops, distributed Communion and even heard confessions. "Women were considered to be as ordained as any man... they were considered clergy."
The Vatican's so called "definitive" teaching- banning women priests- is defective and should be discarded in the dustbins of history along with the church's affirmation of slavery and selling of indulgences--none of which belongs to the "deposit of faith." Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org, #womenpriestsnow

Women Priests in the Ancient Church

"Notes on the Female Priesthood in Antiquity", by Prof. George Otranto in Journal of Feminist Studies 7 (1991) no 1, pp. 73 - 94.
‘The Problem of the Ordination of Women in the Early Christian Priesthood’, by Prof. George Otranto, paper of USA lecture tour, 1991.
Letter of Atto, Bishop of Vercelli, to the priest Ambrose.

For more ancient times read:
‘The Fractio Panis and the Eucharist as Eschatological banquet’, by Damien Casey in the Mcauley Electronic Journal 2 (2002).

See also:
The ordination of St. Brigit of Kildare as a bishop (6th cent. Ireland; ascribed in a legend to an ‘accident’ inspired by the Holy Spirit)
2. Women in pastoral leadership roles

There are also examples of women involved in a variety of pastoral ministries.
In the second-century ‘New Prophecy’ movement, which was originally not a heresy, Prisca and Maximilla were leading prophets. See the article by Anne Jensen.
Both in East and West sacramentally ordained women deacons served the parishes.
An overview of women in the West serving in ministries can be found here.
In the early sixth century, three bishops from the region of Lugdunensis (present-day Lyon ) in France: Licinius of Tours, Melanius of Rennes, and Eustochius of Angers, attempted to restrain two Celtic priests who encouraged the participation of women in the liturgy.
Until the 16th century, in the Basque regions of France and Spain, socalled soreras or freilas exercised a female ministry that is probably a remnant of the early women's diaconate.

John Wijngaards

Vatican Report: Joshua McElwee, NCR Article

ROME — "The head of the Vatican's doctrinal office has reaffirmed the Catholic Church's ban on the ordination of women as priests, writing in a new article that the teaching has a "definitive character" and "is a truth belonging to the deposit of faith."

In a short essay available online and that will be published in Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano May 30, Archbishop Luis Ladaria also states that expressing doubt about the barring of women from the priesthood "creates serious confusion among the faithful."

Ladaria, who is to be made a cardinal by Pope Francis in June and is the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says Jesus decided to reserve the sacrament of priestly ordination "to the twelve apostles, all men, who, in turn, communicated it to other men."

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"The church has always recognized herself bound by this decision of the Lord, which excludes that the ministerial priesthood can be validly conferred on women," he continues.

Ladaria's article is given the headline "The definitive character of the doctrine of 'Ordinatio sacerdotalis,'" referring to Pope John Paul II's 1994 apostolic letter that outlined the reasoning behind the ban on the priestly ordination of women.

The archbishop, who specifies several times in his essay that he is writing only about priestly ordination, says he decided to write "in response to doubt" about John Paul's teaching.

The prelate opens his two-page essay with a short reflection on the church's understanding of the sacrament of ordination. He then notes the debate that has occurred in recent decades over the character of John Paul's letter, especially the question of whether it is to be considered an infallible papal teaching.

Ladaria argues that although John Paul did not formally proclaim the teaching ex cathedra -- as outlined by the First Vatican Council document Pastor aeternusas part of the process of a pope declaring something infallibly -- the pope "formally confirmed ... what the ordinary and universal magisterium considered throughout the history of the Church as belonging to the deposit of faith."

The prefect says "it is a matter of serious concern to see the emergence in some countries of voices that question the definitiveness of this doctrine."

"To hold that it is not definitive, it is argued that it was not defined ex cathedra and that, then, a later decision by a future Pope or council could overturn it," he states. "Sowing these doubts creates serious confusion among the faithful, not only about the Sacrament of Orders as part of the divine constitution of the Church, but also about the ability of the ordinary magisterium to teach Catholic doctrine in an infallible way."

Francis has reaffirmed John Paul's ban on the ordination of women to the priesthood on several occasions. In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after his trip to Sweden in November 2016, the pontiff was asked if John Paul's teaching would continue forever.

"The last word is clear," the pope said then. "It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains."

However, Francis has also created a papal commission to study the history of women deacons in the Catholic Church. Details of that commission's work, instituted by the pontiff in August 2016, have not been made known.

The women deacons commission, which has 13 members, is led by Ladaria. The archbishop is one of 14 prelates Francis announced May 20 that he will be making cardinals in a Vatican ceremony June 28."

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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