PODCAzT 139: 20th Anniversary of ‘Ordinatio sacerdotalis’, on the ordination of women

UPDATE: I adjusted a volume/balance problem.

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Today is the 20th Anniversary of St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, which removes all doubt about the impossibility of the ordination of women to the priesthood.

To celebrate this wonderful anniversary, I give you a podcast.

I read, for your edification, the Apostolic Letter, and then the CDF’s official Response to a dubium about the level of assent to be given and the level of teaching of the Apostolic Letter, and then the Commentary on the whole matter from the CDF which was surely penned by Card. Ratzinger, then the Prefect.

Here are links to the texts themselves:

In this you will hear the beginnings of different version of the Creed.  There is one by Gounod, Arvo Paart, Palestrina and Mozart.  Enjoy!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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9 Responses to PODCAzT 139: 20th Anniversary of ‘Ordinatio sacerdotalis’, on the ordination of women

  1. Matthew the Wayfarer says:

    I heard about this but never actually saw it or read it. Thanks for making it available. Now, why is this a secret? Why do some priests and even bishops claim the issue is still open for debate?
    Recording is lousy by the way. Keeps stopping and then starting over.
    Praying this message gets out 20 years after the fact.

  2. Former Altar Boy says:

    Father, you writ that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis “removed all doubt,” but do you believe it is infallible? I offer this this research:

    Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, “On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone,” is the definitive judgment by Pope John Paul II that, based on the witness of Scripture and Constant Tradition, the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women. Pope John Paul II intends this to be the last word on the subject of women priests and the ordination of women. The following is the last paragraph of the letter (emphasis added):

    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.

    The following is from the Baltimore Catechism , the contents of which have never been abrogated by the Church (emphasis added):
    Q. 531. What is necessary that the Pope may speak infallibly or ex-cathedra?
    A. That the Pope may speak infallibly, or ex-cathedra:
    1. (1) He must speak on a subject of faith or morals;
    2. (2) He must speak as the Vicar of Christ and to the whole Church;
    3. (3) He must indicate by certain words, such as, we define, we proclaim, etc., that he intends to speak infallibly.

    The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 1995 described this decision as unchangeably settled and “to be held definitively as belonging to the deposit of faith.”

    [I think that what the Commentary says is correct. The Church teaches infallibly that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood.]

  3. slainewe says:

    20 years later and a majority of Catholics who attend weekly Mass still want women to be “ordained.” Of course, this is no surprise since it took Rome 20 years to address this heresy.

  4. Juergensen says:

    “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” is infallible as an exercise of the magisterium of the Roman Pontiff. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

    “891 ‘The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith – he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals’” (CCC 891, quoting Lumen Gentium 25).

    Pope John Paul II, in promulgating “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”, very obviously tracked these elements of infallibility given in Lumen Gentium 25 (and restated in CCC 891):

    “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” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4).

  5. msc says:

    I’ll quote the Latin from the Dubium: “iuxta quam Ecclesia facultatem nullatenus habet ordinationem sacerdotalem mulieribus conferendi….” I love how that is phrased. It is not a matter of whether women can be priests (i.e., denying women the chance to be priests sounds like it is directed against women), but rather that the Church has no authority to do so. The difference is subtle, but powerful.

  6. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    With all due respect, why didn’t JPII talk about deacons? Or does the term “priestly ordination” include ordination to the diaconate?

  7. Geoffrey says:

    I wish the words “deacon” and “bishop” had been included somewhere, just to avoid the nonsense we currently hear regarding “deaconesses” now.

    You have to first be a deacon before being a priest and you have to be a priest before being a bishop. Also, the instituted ministries of acolyte and lector are open only to laymen. No doubt St John Paul the Great had all this in mind.

  8. Josemaria says:

    Slightly off topic, but Arvo Pärt writes amazing, timeless sacred music. Estonia wins again.

  9. JABV says:

    Thank you for the reading, Father! Your podcasts are great to listen to while I work.

    And echoing Josemaria, EXCELLENT choice to include some Pärt. He is a master. There is an interview he did with Bjork in which she asks him about the effects of his music, and he rambles a bit before pointing out (loosely), “Sound can kill you, know. But if sound can kill, then maybe it can do something that is the opposite of killing.”