January 11, 2013 by mattfradd
In a recent interview I did with ABC (Australia), I was asked:
“Influential men in the Catholic Church have used their power over centuries to prevent women from becoming priests, so how is that behaving with integrity toward women?”
Many people think that the Pope, if he wanted to, could wake up tomorrow (or any day after that) morning and with a flick of the pen put an end 2000+ years of “sexist tradition”. Exhibit A:
For a terrific response to the “sexist” slur, I’d highly recommend listening to Peter Kreeft’s talk Women and the Priesthood.
In this post I’d like to stick to addressing the misunderstanding that it’s within the Church’s power to make such a decision.
in 1994 Pope John Paul II formally declared that the Church does not have the power to ordain women:
“Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.
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 (Luke 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” (OrdinatioSacerdotalis 4).
In 1995 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in conjunction with the pope, ruled:
“[This teaching] requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 25:2)” (Response of Oct. 25, 1995).
To my lady readers, what’s your take on all of this? Do you perceive the Church as sexist? Why/Why not?