A good one-liner

I can’t resist giving an excellent one-liner a little more visibility.

Over in the entry about the dissident Maryknoller and excommunicandus Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a deluded optimist and one of our snarkier regulars had this exchange:

Chris: Mark my words, the Holy Spirit will win and the Catholic Church will ordain women before I die (I’m 20)

RBRown: Your comment is the religious version of: I’ve invested all my money with Bernie Madoff.


Well done.

Let us all keep firmly in mind that the Church cannot and will not ever ordain women.  Those who cling to this idea are deluding themselves.  Those who push the agenda are harming the Church and endangering their souls and those of others.

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  1. PNP, OP says:

    What I find interesting about Chris’ comment is the complete lack of understanding it reveals about how the Holy Spirit has already decided to operate in and through the Church: the infallible magisterium.

    Chris, the Holy Spirit has already “won.” No women priests, ever.

    If I had a euro for every time I’ve heard dissenters juxtapose the Holy Spirit and the magisterium, I could keep the state of Texas eating fresh gelato ’til the Second Coming.

    Fr. Philip, OP

  2. Lori Ehrman says:

    Jesus Christ chose men for the priesthood out of love for us. I don’t need any further information other than that. It is so weird that some people take offense at us telling them that. It is true love that forces us to tell women that they will never be priests. Do they want us to lie to them?

  3. Iosephus says:

    “the Church cannot and, therefore, will not ever ordain women . . . .”

  4. little gal says:

    I would like feedback on an experience I had in returning to the Church that dovetails with this issue. I preface this with stating that I completely accept Church teaching that only men can be ordained; I simply don’t know what to make of the experience that I had, in light of Church teaching.

    I had been an inactive Catholic for over 20 years and felt compelled to attend Mass at a particular church. The first two times that I attended Mass, the pastor had two religious sisters give the homily. Their homilies were outstanding. During one of these Masses, I had a specific religious experience that I will not go into here. This experience started the process of returning to the Church-even though I was very opposed to it; it was my ‘experience’ at one of these Masses, that drove my return- and that was five years ago. I frankly don’t understand how to assess how something so positive could result out of something contrary to Church teaching. Note: I no longer attend this parish.

  5. Lcb says:

    God works through human sinfullness, even nuns who are giving homilies.

    St. Dismas may never have made it to heaven were it not for the thievery that earned him crucifixtion next to Jesus. That doesn’t justify the theft, but shows that God worked through it to bring about a greater good.

  6. TJ Murphy says:

    What a great way of looking at the story of St. Dismas as stated by Lcb. Reminds of the quote about God writing straight with crooked lines.

  7. RichR says:

    If I had a euro for every time I’ve heard dissenters juxtapose the Holy Spirit and the magisterium, I could keep the state of Texas eating fresh gelato ‘til the Second Coming.

    As a Texan, I am compelled to urge you on in this venture.

  8. Augustine says:

    This guy needs to be reminded that any Catholic bishop who “ordains” women instantly puts himself outside of Catholic Christianity. It is an apostasy.

  9. PNP, OP says:

    Little Gal, I hear you loud and clear! During a very tumultuous time as a seminarian in a less-than-always-orthodox seminary, I simply gave up and decided to leave. I called my best friend and asked to stay with him while I found a job. That next night the students and faculty celebrated the feast of St Catherine of Siena with a beautiful sung vespers. One of the lay profs of the faculty preached. To this day, I credit her homily with saving my vocation. She was and probably still is a Big Liberal, but she spoke with the voice of the Holy Spirit that night. Should she be ordained b/c she can preach better than a lot of the friars? No. Priesthood is not about function; it is about being Christ, the Head of the Church. I’m delighted that you found your way home! Welcome back. Fr. Philip, OP

  10. Subvet says:

    “Your comment is the religious version of: I’ve invested all my money with Bernie Madoff.”


    I wouldn’t slam an outhouse door that hard!

  11. Sieber says:

    At our seminary for a large Western archdiocese, which welcomed Douglas Kmiec, the the oft heard professorial remarks are, “In my personal opinion there is no reason why women can’t be ordained.” “It’s still in dispute by theologians” and of course the perennial,”it won’t happen under this pope.”
    They then carry this to parish lectures to “update” the clueless faithful and catechists.

  12. Jayna says:

    That is one of the few things that most of my friends in my parish and I can agree on…sort of. Many of them don’t agree with it so much as acknowledge that it is Church law, but it certainly doesn’t prevent them from adding a “but” to the end of the argument. A lot of them are in that “it’s only a matter of time” mindset. Our clergy certainly aren’t helping things by constantly making sure that no gender specific terms are used whenever they can help it (for example, in the Creed, “men” is dropped from “for us men and for our salvation”). I know that specifically doesn’t have to do with the priesthood, but it fosters this idea that men and women can fill the same roles and that no one should be excluded from anything.

  13. Its just great to have orthodox Catholics making (surely with the help of the Holy Spirit) such smart comments.

    I’d like to share something sad with you: for some weird reason in the Portuguese online newspapers everytime there is a news related to the Church (it could be “Bishop X supports Charity”, doesn’t matter), there are dozens and dozens and dozens of hateful comments against the Church, against the Pope, etc.

    Is this usual in other countries/languages?

  14. joe says:

    Here’s something that has troubled/puzzled me about Chris and those who, like him, defend their positions with utterances such as his:

    How do they KNOW what the Holy Spirit wants? I only know what I know about the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit wants through Christ’s Church. I’m also of the opinion the only way to know the mind of the Holy Spirit is — exclusively — through said Church.

    So HOW does someone come to an independent knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s wants and desires?


  15. TNCath says:

    To those who believe the Church will one day ordain women, I refer them to that old song sung by Johnny Mathis: “The Twelfth of Never.”

    “And that’s a long, long time…”

  16. Irenaeus says:

    Little Gal, we evangelicals (though I’ll soon be Catholic) have a saying: God can make straight lines with crooked sticks. Lemonade out of lemons and all that. And Balaam’s ass spoke truth, so I suppose a nun could give a materially and formally good talk to good effect.

    More substantively, there are about 5 sources of theology: scripture, tradition, reason, culture, and experience. The first three are good, positive sources, but the latter two are sketchy since they can be so self-justifying. It’s true people have experiences of God, but one needs an authority (read: Magisterium) to determine if those experiences are of God in the first place, and what we’re supposed to do with them in the second place.

    Most great heresies in history have been started by those who put experience about sound church teaching: Gnosticism, Montanism, Albigensians, Luther, Thomas Muentzer, Jim Jones, Benny Hinn, ad infinitum.

    Most great saints subordinated their experiences to and interpreted them in light of sound church teaching: St Paul himself, St. Augustine, St. Francis, St. Padre Pio.

  17. Josh says:

    I pray for the day when the Holy Father will whip out some infallibility and proclaim that the Church cannot ever ordain women.

  18. My own snarky comment: When will the Church allow men to become nuns?

  19. RBrown says:

    one of our snarkier regulars . . .

    Don’t be too hard on me. I’m trying to get in touch with my inner Borscht Belt comedian.

  20. Megan says:

    No shame in that game, RBrown :) Nice comeback ;-)

  21. Will says:

    for some weird reason in the Portuguese online newspapers everytime there is a news related to the Church (it could be “Bishop X supports Charity”, doesn’t matter), there are dozens and dozens and dozens of hateful comments against the Church, against the Pope, etc.

    Welcome to the internet, Hugo. People do this around the world and on all subjects, unfortunately. The Church presents a particularly appealing target to these vandals who delight in mocking and insulting anything good.

  22. Fr. BJ says:

    I pray for the day when the Holy Father will whip out some infallibility and proclaim that the Church cannot ever ordain women.

    Josh: It has already been done. There is no reason to issue a weightier statement than Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Even if the Holy Father did write yet another document using even weightier language (which again, is not necessary), there would still be stubborn people like the one instigated this whole thread, who claim to know what the Holy Spirit is thinking about the Church, and so forth. They will always be with us.

  23. Jenny says:

    Irenaeus: “though soon I’ll be Catholic” – Praise God!….I’ve been praying for this since I saw one of your comments over a year ago…how many lives you will (continue to) touch when this happens!

    Josh: “I pray for the day when the Holy Father will whip out some infallibility and proclaim that the Church cannot ever ordain women.”
    I would not think this necessary as the sacrament itself was instituted by Christ and therefore does not need the stamp of infallibility of the Pope – it is already infallibly there, no? When is the Papal Bull “necessary” – I’m not being flippant, I’m really asking this. It seems if it was necessary it would have been done by now.
    Now, getting those who do not “know” their faith to understand that women will never be ordained simply because it was instituted in this way by Christ, is something else.

  24. Jenny says:

    oops, my comment went into cyberspace black hole before Fr. BJ’s comment for Josh – glad to see him chime in.

  25. Mike Walsh, MM says:

    At a meeting once, fed up after hearing several speakers make remarks along the lines of Chris’s above, I stood and asked God to strike me down if I ever attempted to blame my opinions on the Holy Spirit. One still hears this sort of thing all the time in meetings of relgious communities.

  26. LarryD says:

    Funniest thing I’ve read all day. This is going on my blog (with all due reference, of course!)
    And Happy New Year!!

  27. Nancy Reyes says:

    the problem is a disturbing error that the Holy Father brought up last week when he mentioned the dangers of accepting gay marriage: A modern confusion about sexuality.

    My dear old mother said it in a nutshell: Men can be priests to make up for the fact that they can’t be mothers. Biology is not “destiny”, but each sex brings to life it’s gift of gender.

    The modern error is a denial that gender has a basis in biology, and the rejection of societal roles that are well near universal that allow women to have babies.

    The utopian dream of women is to be “free”, but the reality is loneliness, and rejection of motherhood.
    And the modern lie preached to men is that sex is a guilt free, responsibility free act…the end result is loneliness and rejection of responsibility.

    And the end result is no families, only the state to provide for you in life and death…which is why euthanasia will be the ultimate “self choice”.

  28. Last I checked, confusing the Holy Spirit and the Magisterium is something that has been around for a long time. As far as I am concerned, the Church spoke out about women’s ordination in the 1970s and it has spokenout over and over again. Apparently, though, certain persons have not heard the message. Therefore, it is imperative that we have another document come out that says that ordination of women is not right. Period. End of discussions.

    Anyway, it’s just my opinion.

  29. David2 says:

    Brother Juniper,

    JPII declared the question closed in 1994, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which His Holiness said:

    “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance…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.”

    What’s Benedict XVI going to say: “What my predecessor said, with bells on, sugar, and infallibility attached!”?

    I really think that what needs to be done to wield the excommunication stick a bit more readily. Get rid of a few hundred Chittisters, and people will eventually get clued in!

  30. David2 says:

    Oh, and in 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clarification, explaining that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, though “itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church…. This doctrine belongs to the deposit of the faith of the Church. It should be emphasized that the definitive and infallible nature of this teaching of the Church did not arise with the publication of the Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”. Instead, it was “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,” and for these reasons it “requires definitive assent.”

  31. Carolina Geo says:

    “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance…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 implication, of course, is that whosoever does not concur with this judgment cannot be considered to be part of the Church’s faithful. Some, at least, have the intellectual honesty to say that they do not agree with the Church and are therefore going to call themselves protestants. Some – those who are intellectually dishonest – need the force of excommunication to come to that end.

  32. Ok, I know Bernie Madoff had something to do with the Ponzi scheme but can someone please explain the reference Chris made? I’m rather slow when it comes to references I don’t know….

    Thank you for your charity.

  33. David2,

    Thank you for letting me know about the JPII document, I had heard about it, but I didn’t know what the contents were.

    Yes, the excommunication stick is probably the best to be wileded in this circumstance. However, I also believe that it is not a bad idea if the Vatican issues strict guidelines that say to the priests that if they deign to ordain a woman, their faculties will be immediately suspended and that they will be excommunicated from the Church.

    I don’t know if any of this is reasonable. It’s just an opinion.

  34. Andrea Maciejewski says:

    Have you ever talked about an issue, such as women priest’s, voting pro-choice, pro gay unions, etc. with a so called “lib” – [read: not Catholic so much] and they patronizingly put a figurative arm around you and say “Well, thank you for bringing this to my attention but people are coming from different perspectives…” or some such worldly statements, and you want to just stick ’em in an adoration chapel and lock the door from the outside for a good hour?

    I have, but the problem is, we can’t approach it in this way.

    For the record, I am a 35 year old Catholic woman who would have loved being a priest. That being said, I love being a mother and no priest can ever be that. I have studied the documents of Pope John Paul II and am currently studying Summa Theologiae with my women’s group, and I find it much better to lead them in with honey. My friends and I simply invite – “We have this great group of girls that meets to get away from the grind, and we offer great snacks and drinks!” And boom – another sister learning more about our Faith! I think the Bible calls it Charity, or let’s just say, love the dissenters.

    Put yourself in their place and reach them in love- The Pope will do what the Pope will do, as well as the Bishops, but we can only shepherd those that are thrust in our lives by God’s grace. We have to trust in prayer (and really pray!) for the rest. Remember, as Our Pope seems to make quite clear – God is in charge, not man (Thank goodness!)

    I believe that God’s grace will be answered by many, and then the veil will lift just a little bit more, and they’ll be able to understand the beautiful complimentarity between husband and wife, then Christ (And His priests representing Him) as the Bridegroom of His Bride the Church (all of us, men and women!!!)

    So joyful to walk the journey with all of you, On our way to our one True Friend – I still believe all good roads lead to Rome, then Home!

  35. Grovetucky Ann says:

    Andrea, I wish I could be in your group! I like your attitude.

  36. Andrea Maciejewski says:

    Thanks Ann!

    If your archdiocese offers it, I highly recommend checking out an ENDOW group in your area. (Education on the Nature and Dignity of Women). You can find it on endowonline.com as well.

  37. Angela Berla says:

    The Vatican may not ordain women! But God does. The evidence is none other than the Virgin Mary herself!

    Many saints, theologians, bishops, priests, popes…and especially the faithful have known this. Why even Pope Pius X attached an indulgence to the invocation of Mary as Priest!

    One theologian — St. Albert the Great, so eminent he is now revered as a Doctor of the Church —is one of the teachers who taught us about Mary as priest.

    As you well know, Albert the Great was one of the early scholastics who helped build up the systematic approach to theology that would revolutionise theology in the Middle Ages. St. Thomas Aquinas was one of his disciples!

    Although the Virgin Mary did not receive the sacrament of ordination (she didn’t need to. She was ordained by God.) in his writings Albert the Great highlights the fact that although Mary did not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, she possessed the dignity and power contained in Holy Orders equivalently and to an eminent degree.

    St. Albert explains his reasons at length and states emphatically that there was no grace, power or dignity possessed by any ecclesiastical minister, including the Pope, that Mary did not possess to the highest degree.

    He taught that Mary can rightly be called an Apostle, Prophetess, Evangelist and Pastor and furthermore points out how Mary acted as a sacrificial priest!

    From Mariale Super Missus Est (written at ca. 1245 AD), published in B. Alberti Magni, Ratisbonensis Episcopi, Ordinis Praedicatorum, Opera Omnia, ed. Augustus and Aemilius Borgnet, Paris 1890-1899, vol. 37, pp. 62 – 246. Here Question 41, pp. 79 – 80; Solution pp. 84 – 87 we read St. Albert’s words:

    ” After this there is the question about the sacrament of Orders whether the perfection of the most Blessed Virgin comprises also that grace which is conferred by the Sacrament of Orders.

    And it is seen that it is so:

    l. For Orders are for the spiritual multiplication of the faithful, but spiritual multiplication pertains to the spiritual mother: now the blessed Virgin is the spiritual mother of all the faithful; therefore she herself had to possess the Sacrament of Orders.

    2. Likewise among Orders various degrees of dignity are distinguished in the Church, as is seen in the Pope, Archbishops, etc. But the most blessed Virgin possesses the highest dignity; therefore she also possessed the highest Order.

    3. Likewise the hierarchy of the Church has been formed on the model of the celestial hierarchy; but in the celestial hierarchy, as Dionysius says, all the superiors possess the characteristics of their inferiors, and more excellently; therefore in the ecclesiastical hierarchy it will be thus; but the blessed Virgin was the supreme and most worthy person in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Therefore she will possess the dignities and proprieties of her inferiors, and she will possess all Orders.”

    And further…

    “Question 119

    Whether it is fitting that the Blessed Virgin should be an Apostle?

    Next there is a question about those graces which are found in the letter to the Ephesians IV,11: And he made certain people Apostles.

    It seems at first that it would not be fitting for the most blessed Virgin to be an Apostle:

    1. For this work is ministerial, as it is added in the same place, v.12: for the work of ministry; but ministry does not fall in the operations of all people; therefore neither the apostolate.

    2. Also, regarding a passage of Dionysius: “Hierarchy is divine order, knowledge, and action [S.dionysius, Lib. de Caelesti hierarchia, cap.3]”, the commentator says, that having an office without its operation is negligence; but the most blessed Virgin did not practice the action of preaching; therefore she ought not to have had the office.

    3. Also, Luc. VI, 13: He chose twelve from those, that is, his disciples, whom he called Apostles : therefore the gift of the apostolate is not appropriate for the most blessed Virgin.

    On the contrary, this is what I say:

    1. John [the Baptist] said about himself, John I, 23: I am the voice of one crying, etc. As if he should say: I preach not so much with the voice of my mouth, but my whole self is my voice; thus all of me—my life, my food, my clothing, my place—preaches penitence. But just as everything John was preached penitence, so did everything the blessed virgin Mary was preach innocence. If therefore John has grace and the gift of preaching, who is the voice of one crying out in the desert, therefore more emphatically by far does the blessed Virgin have the gift of the apostolate; therefore she is the voice of one crying out in the heaven.

    2. Also, the special property of the Apostles is that they are the light of the world; but the most blessed Virgin illuminated the world the most; therefore she practiced the office of preaching the most.

    3. Also, the duty of Apostles or preachers is to reconcile sinners; but this is fitting for the blessed Virgin to the extreme; therefore she possessed the apostolic office to the extreme.

    4. Also, the Lord says, Joan. VI,16: My teaching is not mine, attributing it to the one [=God] from whom he had his being. But just as he had divine nature from the Father, so did he have a human nature from his mother. Therefore just as his teaching inasmuch as he was God was from the Father, so was his teaching inasmuch as he was human, from the mother. Therefore the mother preached to us everything that the Son taught.

    5. Also, the Lord says about the Holy Spirit, Joan. xvi, 13: For he will not speak from himself ; therefore just as the Spirit speaks from the one from whom he comes, so the Son will speak from the mother insofar as he is human. Other things as above in the section on preachers. [For the solution to objections, see below after Quest. CXXII.]

    Question 120

    Whether it is proper for her that she should be a Prophetess?

    It follows: Others he made prophets [Ad Ephes. IV, 11]. Gloss: “Explicators of Scripture”; but note:

    1 Mary herself is the explicator of the whole Old Testament; therefore she is the prophet or prophetess to the highest degree.

    2. Also, John [the Baptist] is called a prophet, and more than a prophet [Matth.,XI, 9 and Luc., VII, 26], because he pointed to God with his finger; but she herself bore him and thus pointed out with her body that she was his Mother and the Virgin; and thus she pointed him out as the Son of the Virgin promised in the prophets and scriptures by her body and work, and thus she was the greatest prophetess.

    3. Also, it is clear that sex is non obstacle here, because there were prophetesses in the Old and New Testaments. Whence, Luc. II, 36 mentions the prophetess Anna. The Acts of the Apostles, XXI, 9, mentions Philip who had daughters who were prophesying. Other things as above on prophecy.

    Question 121

    Whether it is proper for her that she is an Evangelist?

    It follows: Others he made Evangelists [Ephes. IV, 11].

    Luke, II, 51 says: And his mother, that is Mary, preserved, etc. So that when the time came for preaching or for describing the incarnation, she was able to explain all events just as they had occurred.

    Other things as above in the passage on preaching.

    Question 122

    Whether she had the gift of being a Pastor?

    It follows: But others he made pastors [Ephes. IV, 11]

    In what way the most blessed Virgin had this gift, seek in the treatise on the Sacrament of Orders, and in what way she fills us with wonder, in the treatise on the Beatitudes regarding the degrees of poverty.

    Thus, then, the most blessed Virgin also had this quaternary of graces [=of being an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist and Pastor].

    Overall Response to questions about gratuitous graces and freely given graces.

    From these it is clear that the most blessed Mistress had the universality of gratuitous and given graces; we believe this to be true in every way.”

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