Did John Paul II speak infallibly on the issue of the male-only clergy?


#1

Looking at the Apostolic Letter of His Holiness John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which was issued on May 22, 1994, one can come to the conclusion that the late Pontiff invoked the Extraordinary Magisterium on this issue.

Lets look at the pasage in question (bolded points added by me):

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.

Is this an infallible statement, and if so why is the issue still up for debate? Has not Rome spoken?


#2

I am curious as to whether people think otherwise, as I have seen the debates too. But I think you are correct, especially when you read the even more specific follow-up by Cardinal Ratzinger:

COVER LETTER TO BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE PRESIDENTS Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger November 8, 1995The publication in May 1994 of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was followed by a number of problematic and negative statements by certain theologians, organizations of priests and religious, as well as some associations of lay people. These reactions attempted to cast doubt on the definitive character of the letter’s teaching on the inadmissibility of women to the ministerial priesthood and also questioned whether this teaching belonged to the deposit of the faith.
This congregation therefore has judged it necessary to dispel the doubts and reservations that have arisen by issuing a responsum ad dubium, which the Holy Father has approved and ordered to be published (cf. enclosure).
In asking you to bring this responsum to the attention of the bishops of your episcopal conference before its official publication, this dicastery is confident that the conference itself, as well as the individual bishops, will do everything possible to ensure its distribution and favorable reception, taking particular care that, above all on the part of theologians, pastors of souls and religious, ambiguous and contrary positions will not again be proposed.
The text of the responsum is to remain confidential until the date of its publication in L’Osservatore Romano, which is expected to be the 18th of November.
With gratitude for your assistance and with prayerful best wishes I remain,
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
** CONCERNING THE TEACHING CONTAINED IN ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS RESPONSUM AD DUBIUM
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
** October 28, 1995
Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.
Responsum: In the affirmative.
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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect
Tarcisio Bertone
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli


#3

Pope John Paul II spoke infallibly, but not through Papal Infallibility. He was speaking from the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium, in other words simply restating what was already to be understood as infallible due to its constant common teaching in the Church.

Peace and God bless!


#4

Isn’t the issue of male ordination a doctrine? If so, would it matter if Pope John Paul II spoke infallibly or not since doctrine cannot be changed?


#5

That all doubt may be removed:

[size=]Responsum ad Dubium[/size]
Concerning the Teaching Contained in *Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
*October 28, 1995
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: In the affirmative.

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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

[RIGHT]+ Joseph Card. Ratzinger,   Prefect
                                       + Tarcisio Bertone,   Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli, Secretary[/RIGHT]

[RIGHT][LEFT]
It is infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium, not through an infallible ex cathedra teaching. Hence, it cannot be changed and must be held with divine and Catholic faith.

God Bless,
RyanL
[/LEFT]
[/RIGHT]


#6

I’m not really sure where there is any debate. The Apostle Paul was pretty direct about this also in 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians Paul is referring to celebration of the Mass. He teaches about speaking in tounges, how to behave, and in verses 33-37, he is referring to women officiating at Mass, not a general admonishment for women to be silent, but a restriction on women from inclusion to the ministerial priesthood.

[quote=www.drbo.org] 1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? When you come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation: let all things be done to edification. 27 If any speak with a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and in course, and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him hold his peace in the church, and speak to himself and to God. 29 And let the prophets speak, two or three; and let the rest judge. 30 But if any thing be revealed to another sitting, let the first hold his peace. 31 For you may all prophesy one by one; that all may learn, and all may be exhorted: 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33 For God is not the God of dissension, but of peace: as also I teach in all the churches of the saints. 34 Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith. 35 But if they would learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Or did the word of God come out from you? Or came it only unto you? 37 If any seem to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him know the things that I write to you, that they are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if any man know not, he shall not be known. 39 Wherefore, brethren, be zealous to prophesy; and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40 But let all things be done decently, and according to order.
[/quote]

Rather like the old joke about the 10 commandments. When God judges us will He ask “and exactly what part of, “thou shall not”, did you not understand???


#7

Correct. It is not the 10 “Suggestions” :rolleyes:


#8

My guess is that most of us will have had trouble with the “thou” part of “Thou Shalt Not”. . .IOW, I ‘understand’ that Mr. X or Mrs. Y ‘shalt not’ lie, but hey, “I” might have a very good reason to lie. So I will hold Mr. X and Mrs. Y responsible and call them sinners for lying, but me? My ‘conscience’ will tell me that it was just a little lie. . .or it wasn’t really lying because I was trying to spare someone’s feelings, or it didn’t count because I was ‘forced’ into it by society, etc. etc.

This is what happens when our elevation of things good in themselves, like being an ‘individual’, or having ‘rights’, becomes elevated beyond anything else, to the point of idotatry.

It is amazing the contortions and distortions we can make in ourselves trying to avoid the ‘straight and narrow’. . .:wink:


#9

I am just curious if this could be considered Dogma because of the language though-

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.

John Paul II seems to have used language that would suggest he was officialy defining a matter of faith and morals (hence declaring a Dogma).

Any thoughts? And once again, why exactly do some seem to think this issue is still up for debate?


#10

For the sake of arguing the opposite view: it is unreasonable for any pope, as it has been unreasonable of any pope, to state that no woman, now and forever, should ever be ordained a priestess, why?

The ordination of men only is categorically a teaching of concern only to faith. What is this word “faith”? What is this word “moral”? Faith is trust in God’s existence. Trust in God’s existence may never be contingent upon gender: this would contradict the meaning of the Catholic Church in the word “universal” and its meaning: that all people, at all times, and at all places may always come to know God, and to be holy, to become saints and therefore, neither any male, nor any female is ever at anytime excluded on the basis of gender from being one among the faithful.

What is this word “moral”? Morality is simply doing what is right.

No matter to what extent the Sacrament of Holy Orders is for women only, whether we reference either our Catholic traditions, or our Judaic traditions of the Old Testament—what can we accept about this as a teaching: can we accept it as a teaching concerning either faith, or morals, or both faith and morals?

While I have to admit, while arguing this opposite view: that I am not knowledgeable enough about the substance as it concerns both the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and those traditions pertaining to it; I am, nonetheless, able to reason broadly, that we cannot teach others the following: it is wrong for women to bless others, (the primary function of a priest, or hypothetically the priestess), through the means of grace that are the seven sacraments of our Roman Rite. Therefore, what infallibility could possibly pertain to morality as a basis of exclusion, with respect to women being ordained priestesses?

It would seem that the controversy of women being ordained priestesses is relevant only to faith.

On what basis may anyone reason, that women infallibly must be declared impossible to ordain as priestesses, with respect to faith? Perhaps there is none. How then can I, or you, argue on the basis of faith, that women must never be ordained as priestesses? The only answer that I may give you at this time; is this: “infallibility” as a word must be interpreted in accord with what is contained within the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)—there is nothing within our faith, that may be contradicted by science. An integral element of science is logic. Within logic the conjunction “and” is interpreted in the following manner: where two elements of an argument are joined by the word “and”, both those elements must be true in order for the entire statement to be true, (PLEASE: keep in mind that I am arguing this point from an introductory to logic course point-of-view, which I passed with a grade of “C”.), otherwise the entire statement is false—no matter that one element was God’s truth and therefore, since a declaration of infallibility is contingent upon its pronouncement with respect, not to either faith, or morals, but to both faith, and morals—it is, consequently, fallacious to reason that women on the basis of faith, and morals must never be ordained priestesses, because as stated earlier: there is nothing immoral about a woman being ordained a priestess; however true it may be that as a matter of faith, women must never be ordained priestesses, which to my understanding is a genuine article of faith, because it does require trust, that the Holy Spirit, infallibly, allowed for the writing both of the Old Testament, and the New Testament to be written, without any reference to any woman being ordained a priestess, among Jews; that is “legitimately”, which must be used somewhat loosely as a consequence of the fact, that Jesus himself; formally was never ordained a priest, which would of lowered his stature: being the Messiah a more superior position of authority, than the inferior position of being a priest, which does necessitate, that a priest imitate Jesus.

Most sincerely,

Kristopher

P.S. It is of course, right to reason that scripture alone is not a teaching of Catholicism, but of Protestantism and therefore, any evidence to the exclusion of Holy Scripture demonstrative of a fact, that women within Judaism once were ordained priestesses, would substantiate any arguement, that the ordination of women as priestesses must no longer be excluded, as an article of faith. Women have been ministers. Women have been prophetesses. Have women been priestesses?


#11

No, the ordination is not a teaching of concern only to faith. Many women have greater “faith” than men. Doesn’t make them “less” because they aren’t priests.

Elements of truth and lie. Where does it say a priest has the most faith? There have been MANY saints who weren’t priests, and there have been many priests who are not saints. Your objections fail in your assumption that a priest must be the one with the most faith or morals, both incorrect. I doubt any Catholic could use the gender card considering the reverance we give to our mother Mary. Anyone out there think we consider the parish priest above Mary??? Anyone…?

What we can accept is the Word of God. We don’t need to find a way around it, simply obey. Does it matter if it’s faith, morals or both? Again your argument fails when considering the honor we bestow upon Mary. Show me the Catholic who thinks their Catholic Priest is more moral, or more faithful than Mary!

Again where exactly does it state blessing someone is the “primary function of a priest, or hypothetically the priestess”? It doesn’t.

No, it hasn’t escaped me that your point is that only those things related to faith and morals are guaranteed under the popes infallibility. As your next statement makes clear it isn’t “only” faith or morals that the ordination of women is relevant.

Scripture, as I’ve previously posted.


#12

One element of our faith is written Scripture, which as you know, can be confusing. The meaning of any give verse of Scripture is that which the Catholic Church describes. That’s one of the guarantees Jesus gave us before His departure from earth. An example would be the quote from 1 Corinthians previously posted. Does it mean women should be silent in Church? We have women read the daily Scripture readings, are we disobeying Gods Word? Certainly not. What Paul is referring to (in context to his entire Epistle) is women leading the Mass.


#13

You brushed the truth here, Jesus was never formally ordained a priest. The ordination does not mean the person is anyway superior (or inferior) to anyone else, it simply reflects the persons calling from God. Mary was far more “moral” and Faithful” than the best priest out there. Faith and morals are NOT the only prerequisites of the priesthood.


#14

Thread topic is duplicate being discussed here.
Thread closed.


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