Manfred Hauke in his book Women in the Priesthood concludes that the “degree of theological certainty” regarding the Church’s teaching that only men may receive Holy Orders is “at least” that of sententia fidei proxima. Could you please explain the meaning of sententia fidei proxima as it refers to degree of theological certitude?
In his book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma Dr. Ludwig Ott defines “sententia fidei proxima” as follows: “A Teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima) is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church”.
Since the publication of Hauke’s Women in the Priesthood (July, 1988) Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (May, 1994) confirmed that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women. (The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated in its Responsum (November, 1995) that the teaching proclaimed “has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium”.)