It would be far too easy to focus on the plank in the Anglican eye without first putting a finger in the eye of, er... examining the behaviour of those misguided souls who share much in common with their European and North American Anglican sisters. Those souls being the group most frequently serving up scandal, i.e., Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are, indeed, women. They are not, however, Roman Catholic nor are they Catholic priests. They are far closer to Anglicans than they are to the Church of Rome. For one, they believe they can vote on doctrine that simply may not be altered. That they believe they can alter what Christ has established is really a most dangerous kind of pride.
—Why is it that dissenters do not have the courage to leave the Church when, clearly, they hate the Church and behave like wrecking balls? Why is it that groups like Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWPs) insist on spreading half-truths to bolster their claims and in so doing mock the Church founded by Jesus Christ?
Let's have a look at what RCWPs say about themselves.
"Roman Catholic Womenpriests are at the forefront of a model of service that offers Catholics a renewed priestly ministry in vibrant grassroots communities where all are equal and all are welcome. The voice of the Catholic people---the sensus fidelium---has spoken. We women are no longer asking for permission to be priests. Instead, we have taken back our rightful God-given place ministering to Catholics as inclusive and welcoming priests."—from the RCWPs website.
The example set by Christ and the Church's model of nearly 2000+ years of continuous theology and practice points to an obvious reality. Obvious, that is, to any faithful Catholic: only baptized males can be ordained.
- Priestly ordination, which hands on the office entrusted by Christ to his Apostles of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful, has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone. This tradition has also been faithfully maintained by the Oriental Churches.
- When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: "She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church.
—St. John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis."All are welcome."
Contrary to what the RCWPs statement implies, all ARE welcome in the Catholic Church. While there is plenty of room for all kinds of sinners in the Catholic Church, not all kinds of behaviours are appropriate for christians. Certain behaviours—e.g., fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, contraceptive intercourse—are not to be praised. We are called to turn away from sin and embrace the soul-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church offers the Sacrament of Penance to those who fall short of the Gospel. Which is to say, all of us from time to time. Men and women experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA) are no less welcome in the Church than heterosexuals. The gay lifestyle cannot, however, be blessed.
"The sensus fidelium has spoken."
- "The nature and location of the sensus fidei or sensus fidelium must be properly understood. The sensus fidelium does not simply mean the majority opinion in a given time or culture....The sensus fidelium is the sensus fidei of the people of God as a whole who are obedient to the Word of God and are led in the ways of faith by their pastors. So the sensus fidelium is the sense of the faith that is deeply rooted in the people of God who receive, understand and live the Word of God in the Church." Pope Benedict, Address to the International Theological Commission.
- A better way to think of the sensus fidelium is in terms of what Catholics have always and everywhere believed, even when this belief had yet to be defined by a council or a pope.
- There are many doctrines of the Church that fit into this category: teachings never defined formally, but which have always simply been part of the patrimony of the Church. John Paul II asserted, for example, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that the reservation of the priesthood to men was one such teaching. It was affirmed by what is sometimes called the “universal magisterium of the Church.” It had never before been formally defined, but it was always and everywhere taught and accepted as de fide (a matter of faith).
- Consider this claim in light of what would have happened if a bishop had taken a “poll” of American attitudes on this question in, say, St. Petersburg, Florida, or Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
- The sensus fidelium cannot merely be a slice of Church opinion right here and right now, because the Church is not merely the Church of right here and right now. The Church extends throughout the world, across cultures, and throughout history. She looks always to the future coming of Christ, grounding her present choices in the wisdom passed on to us in Scripture and Tradition in fidelity to the Spirit who continually guides her.
Randall Smith, The Proper Sense of the Sensus Fidelium. The Catholic Thing.
- The sensus fidelium as Pope St. John Paul II made clear, “does not consist solely or necessarily in the consensus of the faithful. Following Christ, the Church seeks the truth, which is not always the same as the majority opinion.” “The Church values sociological and statistical research,” continues the pope, “when it proves helpful in understanding the historical context in which pastoral action has to be developed and when it leads to a better understanding of the truth.”
- CLICK HERE: Vatican theologians: don’t confuse sensus fidelium with majority opinion/Catholic Herald, UK.
RCWPs—"Yes, we have challenged and broken the Church's Canon Law 1024, an unjust law that discriminates against women. Despite what some bishops may lead the faithful to believe, our ordinations are valid because we are ordained in apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church."—from the RCWPs website.
- Can. 1024 A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.
- Can. 1025 §1. To confer the presbyteral or diaconal orders licitly, it is required that the candidate, having completed the period of probation according to the norm of law, is endowed in the judgment of his own bishop or of the competent major superior with the necessary qualities, is prevented by no irregularity and no impediment, and has fulfilled the prerequisites according to the norm of ⇒ cann. 1033-1039. Moreover, the documents mentioned in ⇒ can. 1050 are to be obtained and the investigation mentioned in ⇒ can. 1051 is to be completed.
- §2. Furthermore, it is required that he is considered in the judgment of the same legitimate superior as useful for the ministry of the Church.
RCWPs have appropriated authority that does not belong to them and never belonged to them. RCWPs do not address the fact that the law of the Church is a reiteration of the precedent established by Jesus Christ. Were they to attempt to attack the precedent set by Christ, they would—if they rejected Christ's precedent—be seen as dissenting from Jesus Christ, which would render their position obviously at odds with the notion that they are faithful disciples of the Lord. Instead, they have chosen to create a false dichotomy between Christ's precedent and the teaching of the Church in order to reduce the Church's doctrine to mere opinion, which then becomes easily deconstructed as just one opinion among many. The RCWPs opinion is, apparently, the only opinion which carries any force. Contrary to the position of the RCWPs, their opinion is irrelevant.
- 2. The Declaration (Inter Insigniores, Paul VI) recalls and explains the fundamental reasons for this teaching, reasons expounded by Paul VI, and concludes that the Church "does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination."(3) To these fundamental reasons the document adds other theological reasons which illustrate the appropriateness of the divine provision, and it also shows clearly that Christ's way of acting did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to his time. As Paul VI later explained: "The real reason is that, in giving the Church her fundamental constitution, her theological anthropology-thereafter always followed by the Church's Tradition- Christ established things in this way."(4)
- In the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, I myself wrote in this regard: "In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time."(5)
- 4. 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 (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.—St. John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
RWCP—"The Catholic people have accepted us as their priests and they continue to support us as we grow from the seven bold women first ordained on the Danube River in 2002. Ordained women are already ministering in over 29 states across the country. We are here to stay."—from the RCWPs website.
The rapid decline of mainstream protestant denominations, e.g., Anglicanism, Lutheranism and the United Church of Canada, groups that share most of the same church-ending doctrines as RCWPs, should be a mirror in which the RCWPs should be able to view what's in store for them and any group that embraces the spirit of the age. Sadly, like those entranced by what the Mirror of Erised shows them (Erised=Desire spelled backwards), the mirror in the Harry Potter series, the leaders of RCWPs have become ensnared by a vision of themselves and now only see what they want to see.