On ZENIT there is part 1 of an interview with His Eminence Mauro Card. Piacenza, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
I have heard Card. Piacenza speak several times and I was impressed. He has issued some good things as Prefect of Clergy, including the guide for confessors entitled The Priest, Minister of Divine Mercy – An Aid for Confessors and Spiritual Directors. I wrote about that here.
In the interview, Card. Piacenza tackles some good questions. Here are the questions.
- ZENIT: Your Eminence, over the past decades, with surprising regularity, the same set of ecclesial questions resurface in public debate like clockwork. How can we explain this?
- ZENIT: Is women’s ordination to be understood as a doctrinal question?
- ZENIT: So, is there no place for women in the Church?
- ZENIT: But can someone really participate in the life of the Church without having effective power and responsibility?
- ZENIT: Doesn’t Rome have too much power?
- ZENIT: Doesn’t this role that Rome plays hinder unity and ecumenism?
Let’s look at one of these with my emphases.
ZENIT: So, is there no place for women in the Church?
Cardinal Piacenza: On the contrary, women have a most important place in the ecclesial Body and they could have one that is even more evident. The Church is founded by Christ and we human beings cannot decide on its form; therefore the hierarchical constitution is linked to the ministerial priesthood, which is reserved to men. [Note anything missing?] But there is absolutely nothing to prevent the valuing of the feminine genius is roles that are not linked with the exercise of Holy Orders. Who would stop, for example, a great woman economist from being head of the administration of the Holy See? Who would prevent a competent woman journalist from being the spokesman of the Vatican press office? The examples could be multiplied for all the offices that are not connected with Holy Orders. There are tasks in which the feminine genius could make a specific contribution! [How would being a head of administration of the Holy See or papal spokeswoman be a manifestation of the “feminine genius”? One assumes that a woman would bring a different perspective.]
It is another thing to think of service as power and try, as the world does, to meet the quota for this power. I maintain, furthermore, that the devaluation of the great mystery of maternity, which has been the modus operandi of the dominant culture, has a related role in the general disorientation of women. The ideology of profit has stooped to the instrumentalization of women, not recognizing the greatest contribution that — incontrovertibly — they can make to society and to the world.
Also, the Church is not a political government in which it is right to demand adequate representation. The Church is something quite different; the Church is the Body of Christ and, in her, each one is a part according to what Christ established. Moreover, in the Church it is not a question of masculine and feminine roles but rather of roles that by divine will do or do not entail ordination. Whatever a layman can do, so can a laywoman. [Ummm… I know this is an interview and not a theological treatise. But a laywoman cannot be ordained and a layman can be.] What is important is having the specific and proper formation, then being a man or a woman does not matter.
It seems to me that we need greater insights into the connection of God’s design for the image of God as male and female and what the Sacrament of Holy Orders is which requires the “masculine genius” and excludes the “feminine genius”. Does it involve sacrifice and the shedding of a victim’s blood? But diaconate is not directed to sacrifice. Priesthood is. But diaconate, being a “grade” of Holy Orders, is open only to males.
In any event, I suppose sometime today, Monday, the second part will be released… if it hasn’t been already.