Australian priest publicly calls for women’s ordination

Here is the sort of thing we are accustomed to learn from the National Catholic Fishwrap.

Priest advocates ordination of women, expects dismissal
by Tom Roberts on Nov. 19, 2010

It would be difficult to imagine, as things now stand in the church, a more civil disagreement (and inevitable parting of ways) than occurred recently in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne when Fr. Greg Reynolds publicly endorsed ordination of women.

Reynolds says he was compelled by conscience to do so and [and this next part is one of the reasons why I think that the Fishwrap is actually supporting the priest…] even spared detractors the need to tattle when he mailed a copy of the homily to his archbishop. [If people report what the priest communicates in public, they are not “detractors”.  If they report heresy to the bishop, they are not “tattling”.] What happens next is yet unknown (he gave the sermon two months ago) but Reynolds says he expects to be dismissed.

”I am convinced in my heart that it is God’s will that we should have women priests … I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to share my position publicly, and yet very reluctantly,” the sermon said, according to a report on the Web site

I believe certain women are being called by God to the ministerial priesthood, [Get this… ] and our official church is obstructing the work of the Holy Spirit. I feel I can no longer sit back and remain silent.” [Fishwrap seems to delight in pieces that pit the “official Church” against the real, authentic, Spirit-guided church.]

He conceded that as ”an insignificant little parish priest” he lacked the profound theological training to contradict papal teaching, ”but some things you just know in your heart, in the core of your being”.

Isn’t that sweet?  He just knows.

Maybe he can give us a sense of when the Cubs will win the World Series!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TJerome says:

    Well if in his heart he knows he’s right, then, the Pope should call Vatican Council III and decree what is in this priest’s heart is right. What a nut

  2. Mrs. O says:

    Prudence has left the building.
    I think he should have talked with over with his spiritual director and/or bishop before he gave this talk.
    It would be akin to saying they took away burning heretics at the stakes too soon, I truly believe that in my heart….truly…..should burn heretics….at stake…..
    Not everything we truly believe in our hearts are worthy of speaking. Especially if it will cause confusion and/or division.

  3. Marc says:

    If we get at the crux of what this priest is saying, he is now the authentic interpreter of the Holy Spirit and he has become a Magisterium unto himself. How arrogant.

  4. danphunter1 says:

    ”but some things you just know in your heart, in the core of your being”.

    Yes indeed, like I know in my heart that God would want me to be with other women, as a married man, so I may show them love and understanding if they are lonely.
    I just feel so strongly about that!!!

  5. Martial Artist says:

    Fr. Z,

    You wrote:

    Here is the sort of thing we are accustomed to learn from the National Catholic Fishwrap.

    This prompts a question. Do you realize that, by emphasizing the source, you may be compromising one of our best sources of operational intelligence? If the NCFw realizes that every time they publizice one of these disobedient outbursts, they are giving aid and comfort (especially the aid part) to their opponents here at WDTPRS and elsewhere, they may start playing their cards closer to their vest so that it will not be as easy for these problem (flower) children’s efforts to be opposed, always in a loving and charitable way, by bringing them out into the light.

    [Wellll… lemme think about that… … … Nah! They can’t help themselves. They’ll write about it every time. They have an aging base to keep happy.]

    But seriously, has Fr. Reynolds no clue as to the identity of the spirit to whom he is listening?

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  6. RichR says:

    The “official” Church is a divinely-instituted office. Take your complaints up with the Boss, not the officials.

  7. The Cobbler says:

    Theological training doesn’t allow one to validly contradict the magisterium; it will, however, save you from thinking your private revelations in your heart trump said magisterium… I’m for giving this priest the profound theological training he admits he lacks, or for that matter some basic theological training such as lay kids like myself can get in their spare time if they care.

  8. wchoag says:

    ”I am convinced in my heart that it is God’s will that we should have women priests …”

    Let us recontextualize this…

    Chancellor Hitler in his effort to promote peace and prosperity for Europe was quoted as saying: “I am convinced in my heart that it is God’s will that we should inter Jews in special camps…”

    Truth and morality based upon funny, interior feelings is so holy, so just, so good…yeah…right….

  9. pfreddys says:

    I get the sense that this man just WANTS to be dismissed…he’s probably not up to the rigors of being a priest and this is his way out.

  10. Seraphic Spouse says:

    I feel….deeply…. convinced in my heart….that I need another cookie.

  11. Fr Matthew says:

    Alas, emotion and sentiments dominate so much of Western culture! (I know, this was in Australia, but culturally I think they’re closer to the West than to Asia…) If it “just feels right” and you have a “gut feeling” you just need to “follow your heart” – and if you are opposed, you are a martyr, persecuted and misunderstood because of your authenticity. You simply “follow your conscience” wherever it leads, without the bother of constantly forming that conscience in right principles of faith and reason. The individual conscience has become the “norma normans” instead of a “norma normata.” Like saying that my personal wristwatch is the one true timepiece by which all others should be set, not even setting my own first by some objective standard, and regardless of the actual position of the sun in the sky or any other indication that my watch might be off.

    Perhaps worse, many people, in order to avoid conflict and/or permit certain kinds of behavior, are setting their conscience “watches” according the time that particular segments of the population would like it to be, without even using their own judgment, and sometimes without even realizing what they are doing.

    Whatever the case may be with Fr Reynolds, we need to pray for him and for the members of the flock he is leading astray by his words and actions.

  12. Dr. K says:

    The Spirit is telling me this priest should be suspended.

  13. Fr Matthew says:

    Someone left a “bold” tag open in their post. Lets see if this helps.

  14. Magpie says:

    This gets really boring after a while. The exciting thing is that the tide has turned, and nothing can stop it.

  15. Fr. Basil says:

    \\but some things you just know in your heart, in the core of your being”.\\

    The Bible says that the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things.

  16. Christo et Ecclesiae says:

    Alas, mine is still bolded… Anyhow,

    I wouldn’t always be so quick to discount the Spirit’s work in our hearts. I’m sure it is viable that “feelings” some get are indeed leadings of the Spirit if gone about rightfully and prayerfully. That being said, however, in cases as ridiculous as this, it is easy to disregard them. Holy Mother Church trumps all divine inspiration we may [think] we have.

    Magisterium >> “feelings” of a priest

    As one mentioned before, many a crazy person in history felt God “calling” him to do stupid/obviously wrong things. Though we still must respect the Spirit and pray for inspiration in our own lives!

  17. Agellius says:

    I didn’t know there was an organ of knowing called “the core”.

  18. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    Because I hear this all the time from my Protestant family members (this argument is a very Protestant one), I have let my knee jerk reaction get the best of me. So, I quote scripture.
    True to form and more for their acceptance than mine I have quoted from the King James Bible:

    Proverbs 12:20 KJV
    Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

    Jeremiah 14:14 KJV
    Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought , and the deceit of their heart.

    Jeremiah 23:26 KJV
    How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;

    ***Jeremiah 17:9 KJV***
    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked : who can know it?

  19. JosephMary says:

    This priest thinks so little of his priesthood that he will put it on the line to be disobedient and to cause public scandal. I am indeed sorry for his flock. What other teachings of the church has he jettisoned in favor of his own personal opinions?

  20. scarda says:

    No doubt Fr Greg Reynolds will find a warm welcome in the Anglican church, soon to be losing a number of fine priests to Rome. In the Anglican church he will even be able to feel in his heart a conviction that there should be women bishops. How harmonious.

  21. torch621 says:

    Forgive me for being crude, but I think the NCReporter is now only good either as toilet paper or lining a birdcage with. This is awful.

  22. Luvadoxi says:

    It’s so tiresome. What is wrong with acknowledging that the Catholic Church speaks for Christ? Like Joan of Arc said, they are the same thing. This is the heart of the issue. I may *feel* like women could be priests; I may *feel* that we should acknowledge committed gay relationships by letting them marry–these are issues that if I’m honest with myself, I *feel* something about it. But it’s so simple. The Church says no. Trust Jesus! It just gets so tiresome, and contrary to what many people say, I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Since becoming a convert to the true Faith in 2003, dissent has confused, upset, and made me physically and mentally unhinged. I’m trying hard to be kind, charitable, leave the judging to Christ–all of that–but I’m so discouraged; I’ve lost my initial zeal because it was just slapped down hard. I really don’t want to be “rocky ground.” Please pray for me. My challenge is to pray hard for those who really **** me off.

  23. Shadow says:

    @torch621: Amen to that!

  24. SimonDodd says:

    “He said … that he is a loyal Catholic who believed in loyal dissent: the church needs people who speak the truth.” I’m glad that we have Mr. Reynolds to tell us the truth. And what is this supposed “loyal dissent”? What does that mean? How is it distinct from disloyal dissent?

  25. Supertradmum says:

    The priest has stepped into the Protestant fold. Sad day.

  26. St. Louis IX says:

    I still look forward to a boycott on the National Catholic Reporter. At the same time Promoting Catholic Papers and magazines Faithful to Rome .
    Several come to mind, but maybe Father Z has some he prefers. Perhaps more long standing bloggers on this site would like to suggest some.

    There is certainly a need and duty to support Good Catholic media. I think we would do well to shrink the audience of the NCR as much as posible.

  27. Tony Layne says:

    Just to add another Scriptural proof-text to MaranathaMaranatha’s collection:

    Matthew 15:18-19 KJV
    “… [T]he things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings ….”

  28. Norah says:

    I live in this archdiocese and would imagine that a large number of priests feel as Reynolds does but the free bed , board and medical expenses will keep them quiet until they retire on their pension.

  29. Hans says:

    You may recall recent the case of the priest here in the Archdiocese of Chicago who did something similar, along with petitions and a letter to a local newspaper. It was even mentioned here at WDTPRS. He made a very public retraction recently.

  30. Thomist says:

    [Fr Greg Reynolds:
    Homily…”it was God’s will for the church to have women priests and that, by refusing them, the church was obstructing the work of the Holy Spirit….He said he was a loyal Catholic but believed in loyal dissent: the church needs people who speak the truth.”]

    As Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 1994 (Apostolic Epistle) on male-only priests, contains an infallible doctrinal definition, to remove all doubt, his malformation, or willful dissent, is clear.
    Donum Veritatis (The Instruction On The Ecclesial Vocation Of The Theologian) [DV] emphatically rejects any rejection, even by a theologian, of even a non-infallible doctrine – “public opposition to the Magisterium of the Church” (DV # 32).
    “…even if he “FEELS he cannot give his intellectual assent, the theologian nevertheless has the DUTY to remain open to a deeper examination of the question.” [DV 31].

    Donum Veritatis (DV), CDF 1990:
    It is worthy of note that “In any case there should never be a diminishment of that fundamental openness loyally to accept the teaching of the Magisterium as is fitting for every believer by reason of the obedience of faith….” (DV 29)….”

    Dissent is totally untenable.
    There has never been, and is no, “licit dissent” as Pope John Paul II has confirmed: “It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a ‘good Catholic’ and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the bishops of the United States and elsewhere.” [Meeting with US Bishops at Our Lady Queen of Angels Minor Seminary, Los Angeles, Sept 16, 1987].

  31. teomatteo says:

    I think this priest has got ye ‘old: “I’m Spiritual just not religious” bug…

  32. irishgirl says:

    This is really tiresome…what part of ‘NO FEMALE PRIESTESSES’ doesn’t this priest understand? Was he in a cave when Ordinatio Sacerdotalis [spelling?] came out in 1994?
    He’d be very welcome in the Anglican Church after the good ones cross the Tiber.

  33. robtbrown says:

    Thomist says:

    As Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 1994 (Apostolic Epistle) on male-only priests, contains an infallible doctrinal definition, to remove all doubt, his malformation, or willful dissent, is clear.

    Actually, it’s not a definition even though it is infallible.

  34. robtbrown says:

    IMHO, the Abp in Melbourne should give the priest the option of publicly recanting his views or of suspension.

  35. TJerome says:

    robtbrown, I recall that a priest in the US, maybe in the Louisville Diocese, was forced to do just that recently by his bishop. I think it was reported here. Best, Tom

  36. Jack Hughes says:

    ”I am convinced in my heart that it is God’s will that we should have women priests” – Father Renolds

    “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis “We 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” – Pope John Paul 2

    With all due respect to his Priestly dignity as an Alter Christus, I would advise Fr Renolds to take a long retreat and brush up on his theology before publically recanting

    “I am convinced in my heart” – Yeah my mom was telling me this morning how she ‘respected’ a Priest and a Religious Sister from my diocese who ran off together (this was nearly 20 years ago) for being ‘true to themselves’, I told her I viewed it as a case of two people dumping their Spouse to run off with another person.

    Personally I can’t understand wacky Priests, laicised Priests and wacky Religious of both sexes; but then again I don’t understand adulter either.

  37. Thomist says:

    “Actually, it’s not a definition even though it is infallible.”

    As define means to determine, and the pope has proclaimed this doctrine in an absolute decision, “his DEFINITIONS are rightly said to be irreformable by their very nature” (Lumen Gentium, 25).

    Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 4:
    “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.

  38. Stvsmith2009 says:

    According to a friend of mine from South Australia, this is not “new thinking” there. She related the following heresies in her own parish, and in the Archdiocese of Adelaide:
    1. They have a very ‘modernistic’ movement, which embraces God as ‘God the feminine spirit’.
    2. Parishioners are also encouraged to do away with ‘traditional’ Bibles in favour of ‘inclusive language’ Bibles.
    3. One Priest believed we originated from apes, and also stated that our Early Church Fathers had got the idea of ‘Christianity all wrong’.
    4. Our next priest, thought that Jesus had only one nature and that was solely a human nature and not divine.
    5. This same priest wanted to substitute the Our Father with ‘Our mother’, with the parish nun in
    total agreement so we can recognise & celebrate the ‘feminine god’. (They both stated that they knew the implications involved and felt if they did this it may create a ‘domino effect’ and other priests would follow suit. I disagreed strongly with them, but they decided they would take the consequences, so i told them both I would report them the next day to the Archbishop which I did.)
    6. When Pope John Paul II banned the 3rd form of confession (general confession and general absolution) our Priest started a petition to Rome, which every parishioner was encouraged to sign and it would then be sent to Rome. What was our ‘confession’ before? People would write their sins on a piece of paper, they would then hand it over to the priest and he then placed it in a mobile furnace placed in front of the Altar, this was done three times a year, and that was the extent of our confession.

    And those are just a few of the examples she gave. Abuses are rampant throughout the Church, and are not relegated to any one geographical area. This is why we see so many people confused about what the Church teaches. People who don’t understand the Real Presence, are confused about The Rite of Penance and Reconciliation, and disreagrd in general the Church teachings on faith and morals. It is not a case so much of western culture as it is rampant and willful disobedience. It is a case of being attached to the world and not being attached to God and His Church.

  39. robtbrown says:



    Theologically, “define” has a very precise meaning, referring to new dogma. That is why both Munificentissimus Deus (Imac Conc) and Ineffabilis Deus (Assumption) both use the word Definimus. On the other hand, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, whose principal author was one of my Angelicum professors (and an old friend), does not use Definimus but rather Declaramus. The reason for the use of Declaramus is that the document points to the infallible Ordinary Universal Magisterium.

    Definimus and esse definitive tenendam are not the same thing. Everything that proceeds from a Definimus also is to be held definitively (cf. esse definitive tenendam). But not everything that is to be held definitively proceeds from a Definimus.

    Did you follow the link to the explanation by Cardinal Ratzinger?

  40. Thomist says:

    I agree that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis contains a definitive, infallible doctrine without being a defined dogma.

  41. abiologistforlife says:

    Stvsmith2009: “3. One Priest believed we originated from apes,”

    While all those other things are clearly against Church teaching, this may not be, depending on what he meant by originated.

    From Humani Generis:
    “36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter”

    The biological evolution of humans is compatible with Catholicism; it is the denial of the soul (which some derive *from* that) that is not.

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