Women Cardinals?


#1

Now that it is finally becoming clear to radical feminists that women can not be Priests, they are looking into other ways for women to be included in the traditional Church hierarchy. One idea that I have read/heard is that women should be admitted to the College of Cardinals. They argue that since some female Saints have been named Doctors of the Faith it should not be out of the question to name some respected and influential Abbess (for example) to the College.

My question: is this a theological possibility? I know that laymen used to also sometimes be appointed Cardinals, so that is certainly possible as it has to do with the temporal government of the Church, and not her doctrine, but does this mean that it is theologically possible for a religious or laywoman to be named Cardinal? Is it a dogmatic necessity for a Cardinal to at least be physically able to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders?


#2

anybody have some nominations, in addition to Mother Angelica?


#3

[quote=Neithan]Now that it is finally becoming clear to radical feminists that women can not be Priests, they are looking into other ways for women to be included in the traditional Church hierarchy. One idea that I have read/heard is that women should be admitted to the College of Cardinals. They argue that since some female Saints have been named Doctors of the Faith it should not be out of the question to name some respected and influential Abbess (for example) to the College.

My question: is this a theological possibility? I know that laymen used to also sometimes be appointed Cardinals, so that is certainly possible as it has to do with the temporal government of the Church, and not her doctrine, but does this mean that it is theologically possible for a religious or laywoman to be named Cardinal? Is it a dogmatic necessity for a Cardinal to at least be physically able to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
[/quote]

I may be wrong here but I understood that a Cardinal must be a Bishop.


#4

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I may be wrong here but I understood that a Cardinal must be a Bishop.
[/quote]

This is an ecclesiastical rule, and could be changed by the Pope at any time.


#5

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I may be wrong here but I understood that a Cardinal must be a Bishop
[/quote]

You’re not wrong; a Cardinal must be a Bishop. But this is only since (I think) Pope John XXIII made that a rule. It is also not a matter of doctrine, but ecclesiastical discipline (i.e. it can be changed). In fact the entire College of Cardinals is a matter of ecclesiastical government. I’m wondering if it is *theologically *possible for women–since it *is *possible for laymen–to be admitted.


#6

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I may be wrong here but I understood that a Cardinal must be a Bishop.
[/quote]

As of 1917 you are correct. Since 1917 only priests may become cardinals: Canon 351 s1: Cardinals must be priests; those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration. So this means women cannot be cardinals, not because of doctrine, but because of canon law.

Yours in Christ,
Thursday

EDIT: Neithan, you got it first.
EDIT2: sorry, didn’t see your post, Catholic2003! I feel slow.


#7

[quote=Neithan]I’m wondering if it is *theologically *possible for women–since it *is *possible for laymen–to be admitted.
[/quote]

It is theologically possible.

We had a longer discussion of this topic on this thread.


#8

[quote=Catholic2003]We had a longer discussion of this topic on this thread
[/quote]

Ah, sorry! I did a quick search on this but somehow didn’t see it :o


#9

[quote=Neithan]Now that it is finally becoming clear to radical feminists that women can not be Priests,
[/quote]

I’ve spent a lot of the past ten years around feminists. I assure you that any feminist who is even open to considering the possibility that women can’t be priests is not “radical.” I’d question whether the word “feminist” would even apply to such a person–but unquestionably she would be an extremely moderate feminist!

Edwin


#10

Good point! Although I specifically remember seeing a news story on CTV a few months back where a woman (I’m going to say, a feminist) discussed her disapproval of the ‘Church’s decision to ban women priests’ (paraphrase) but went on to discuss how they should ‘at least’ be admitted to the College of Cardinals, since the Church has no ‘doctrinal excuse’ to exclude them.
I suppose you’re right though, a ‘radical’ feminist probably wouldn’t even be Catholic in the first place!


#11

Cardinals existing is a matter of cannon law not theology.


#12

[quote=puzzleannie]anybody have some nominations, in addition to Mother Angelica?
[/quote]

I nominate Puzzleannie!:smiley:


#13

“Theologically” there is NO SUCH THING as a “Cardinal.” The whole idea of a “Cardinal” was ‘invented’ by the Magesterium. The Magesterium has decided to define a “Cardinal” as something like a mega-Bishop (so you must first be a Bishop, which precludes women). But there’s no reason why a “Cardinal” could not also be a Mormon woman who pumps gas in Utah (or an infant in France - or a poodle in Moscow, for that matter, or a tree in Brazil). The Church invented this distincion (for Her own purposes) and She may define (and change) the qualifications any way She pleases.

It is possible for a woman (or a poodle, or a tree) to be a “Cardinal,” but only if the Church re-defines the requirements of that particular title (which She can do, at any time).


#14

[quote=Catholic2003]This is an ecclesiastical rule, and could be changed by the Pope at any time.
[/quote]

Indeed – Father Avery, Cardinal Dulles is not a bishop. It was offered to him and he turned it down. The Ven. John Henry, Cardinal Newman was not a bishop either.


#15

[quote=Neithan]Good point! Although I specifically remember seeing a news story on CTV a few months back where a woman (I’m going to say, a feminist) discussed her disapproval of the ‘Church’s decision to ban women priests’ (paraphrase) but went on to discuss how they should ‘at least’ be admitted to the College of Cardinals, since the Church has no ‘doctrinal excuse’ to exclude them.
I suppose you’re right though, a ‘radical’ feminist probably wouldn’t even be Catholic in the first place!
[/quote]

Well, of course it’s a matter of terminology. In many academic circles, any feminist who holds to basic Christian belief, or is even willing to identify herself as a Christian, is considered moderate!

However, my point was that the sort of “feminist” you originally described was one who was willing to accept the male-only priesthood. And that would be a very moderate feminist indeed. More truly “feminist” is the position you describe, of saying that the ban on women priests is clearly wrong but that female Cardinals are an easy first step. I understand why such a position would cause conservative Catholics to look on the whole idea with suspicion. But I think that would be a mistake. If indeed there are no doctrinal reasons not to have female cardinals, then this would be an easy way of showing that the Church’s opposition to female priests does not rest on misogyny. Speaking for myself, I find the theological arguments against female priests highly unconvincing (this is one of the reasons why I remain Episcopalian). But at the same time I would never say that I’m sure the Catholic Church is wrong on this point–I treat Catholic doctrine with great respect and I’m aware that it’s quite possible that my judgment on this matter is wrong. But when I see conservative Catholics rejecting even the mildest suggestions for expanding the role of women in the Church (the opposition to female altar servers is another good example), then it’s hard not to believe that the orthodox Catholic attitude toward women is indeed rooted in misogyny.

In other words, I think in issues like this that slippery slope arguments are not only wrong but the exact opposite of the truth. The more legitimate ground you concede, the stronger your position when you do need to take a stand.

Edwin


#16

[quote=David Zampino]Indeed – Father Avery, Cardinal Dulles is not a bishop. It was offered to him and he turned it down. The Ven. John Henry, Cardinal Newman was not a bishop either.
[/quote]

Cardinal Mazarin, Louis XIV’s first minister, was not a Priest or a Bishop - he was a Deacon. Every Cardinal has been a Deacon, Priest or Bishop. To be a Cardinal one must be able to receive Orders - Deacon , Priest or Bishop. Rather than change the nature of Cardinals, the Pope could, if he wanted, add non-Cardinal electors - including, I suppose, women. Early on the Pope was chosen by acclamation of the people of Rome - presumably including women. When that turned riotous, the Pope limited the election to the Sacred College. I will say from an Orthodox ecumenical perspective adding women electors would be another major stumbling block - so prudentially I would be against it.


#17

[quote=DavidFilmer] It is possible for a woman (or a poodle, or a tree) to be a “Cardinal,” but only if the Church re-defines the requirements of that particular title (which She can do, at any time).
[/quote]

I don’t think it quite polite, or even nice, to be comparing women to “poodles and trees.” If that is the comparison when discussing such a topic, which I think most women honestly think of seriously, I would re-think the “comparison.” Not that most women in the church want to see women Cardinals.

But what you are saying here is that women in the church are really regarded as basically “nothing.” I hope that is not the case because if it were, I’ll be reverting back to Protestantism.


#18

[quote=Contarini]Well, of course it’s a matter of terminology. In many academic circles, any feminist who holds to basic Christian belief, or is even willing to identify herself as a Christian, is considered moderate!

However, my point was that the sort of “feminist” you originally described was one who was willing to accept the male-only priesthood. And that would be a very moderate feminist indeed. More truly “feminist” is the position you describe, of saying that the ban on women priests is clearly wrong but that female Cardinals are an easy first step. I understand why such a position would cause conservative Catholics to look on the whole idea with suspicion. But I think that would be a mistake. If indeed there are no doctrinal reasons not to have female cardinals, then this would be an easy way of showing that the Church’s opposition to female priests does not rest on misogyny. Speaking for myself, I find the theological arguments against female priests highly unconvincing (this is one of the reasons why I remain Episcopalian). But at the same time I would never say that I’m sure the Catholic Church is wrong on this point–I treat Catholic doctrine with great respect and I’m aware that it’s quite possible that my judgment on this matter is wrong. But when I see conservative Catholics rejecting even the mildest suggestions for expanding the role of women in the Church (the opposition to female altar servers is another good example), then it’s hard not to believe that the orthodox Catholic attitude toward women is indeed rooted in misogyny.

In other words, I think in issues like this that slippery slope arguments are not only wrong but the exact opposite of the truth. The more legitimate ground you concede, the stronger your position when you do need to take a stand.

Edwin
[/quote]

I guess I see a lot of the opposition you describe above as based on prudential decisions - which are always tough to get a handle on whether they are the best or even a good decision - e.g., female altar servers, etc. Of course the Catholic Church holds Mary, a woman, in regard as the most perfect creature. Also, the Church has named several female doctors of the Church. I too have difficulty understanding the theology that woman cannot be clerics. I accept it because the Church so clearly teaches it. I understand it in the context of the relationship within the Trinity - Father, Son and Spririt are one, separate and equal. Men and women are equal in dignity but separate. No man has any right to boast of being able to be a priest since he had zip to do with it. Likewise a woman is not diminished, as the Son is not diminished by not being the Father, by not being able to be a priest. Both sexes are called to understand who they are and their respective relationship to each other - equal and separate. I try and look at the whole thing as a living example from God built into creation. Likewise a man cannot give birth - while a woman can. Like the Spirit proceding from Father through the Son the icon of the Trinity is completed - imperfect but a living icon nonetheless. I do believe the hierarchy has much more it could do to work with women in the Church. They must also pay for their faults in this regard - humility is a terrible virtue. Women need to consider why the Church says they cannot be clerics and deal with the implications, and freedoms, that brings. In all I find it difficult and sometime wonder about my own rationalizations.


#19

:rolleyes: Not that I want this to degenerate into another ‘why can’t women be priests?’ thread, but I find the fact that anyone sees the clear theology that women can not (not *may not) *be priests unconvincing pretty confusing. It’s really, really simple and to allow women to be priests would be destroying dogmatic theology on the nature of the Sacraments, and we would be opening up our entire religion to new interpretations on pretty much every dogmatic issue. It basically would undermine the entire existence of the Catholic Church.

Contarini: are you of the opinion that any kind of solid food or liquid could be used in the Eucharist for the Body and Blood? It’s the same issue. Father Corapi said it best: “a woman can be a priest like I can consecrate a dill pickle at Mass.”

Not understanding why women can’t be priests is the same as not understanding why the Second Divine Person chose to incarnate Himself into a male body and reveal Himself as the Son of the Father. Why didn’t God incarnate into a female body and reveal (Her)self as the Daughter of the Mother? God is, by nature, sexless. The answer: I don’t know. It is the Divine Will. What we *do *know is that the Incarnation does not, in any way, lower or subordinate the dignity of women in the eyes of God… which is why a woman was so intimately a part of it (see: the Virgin Mary).

All the saints form up a priestly people, and we all offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. The ministerial priesthood, on the other hand, re-presents *Christ *as the eternal sacrifice. By the importance laid on physical substances in each Sacrament, the Sacrament of Holy Orders which endows a Christian to *physically *act *in persona Christi, *requires the same *physical *substance as Christ–a male human body.
If the Second Divine Person had incarnated into a female body, then only women could be priests, and not men. For some reason, known only to God, He chose to become a man.

It is also important to keep in mind on this point that sacred Tradition has always seen male/femaleness to run *soul deep, *as an intrinsic part of our whole identity. Christ not only has a male human body, but a male human soul. Vice versa with the Blessed Virgin.

Anyway, all of the above has been repeated ad nauseum, so I don’t expect that I will convince anyone who simply chooses to be unconvinced. But I will pray for your understanding! :slight_smile:


#20

[quote=Thursday1]As of 1917 you are correct. Since 1917 only priests may become cardinals: Canon 351 s1: Cardinals must be priests; those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration. So this means women cannot be cardinals, not because of doctrine, but because of canon law.

Yours in Christ,
Thursday

EDIT: Neithan, you got it first.
EDIT2: sorry, didn’t see your post, Catholic2003! I feel slow.
[/quote]

AND the requirement to be or become a bishop can be waived. HE Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, asked that it be waived when HH Pope John Paul II (of happy and blessed memory) elevated him to the cardinalate.


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