Pope Francis: Women priests? “NO.”

Women don’t have the capacity to receive the sacrament of holy orders because they lack maleness.  That is the case for both the priesthood and the diaconate.  Not male? No ordination.

During the during his flight back to Rome from these USA, Pope Francis was asked by a female reporter if there could be women priests.

Of course, the Pope said “No.”  He said “No.” again, of course.

Over at the non-Catholic National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap), there is a piece entitled: Francis again rejects women priests without specific reasoning

“Without specific reasoning”?

Here’s what Francis said:

On women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. [i.e., it’s not because women are not (fill in blank with “skilled, talented, able to get things done… capable”)] Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.

BTW… papal pressers will be eliminated during the upcoming reign of Pius XIII.  So will papal trips and virtually all audiences.  Pius XIII will be seen so rarely that the MSM will run stories that he may actually be dead.  But I digress.

So, if you listen to Francis’ “No.” on the impossibility of women’s ordination and want to know more, turn to the pontificate of John Paul II and read Ordinatio sacerdotalis.  (Spoiler: He said “No.”) Then you can read Card. Ratzinger’s explanation of Ordinatio sacerdotalis. (Spoiler: He said that the teaching which OS repeats is infallible).  And if you want, you can follow the footnotes and references back to Bl. Paul VI. (Spoiler: He said “No.”)

By the way, the chief task of the Roman Pontiff is to say “No.”  The same goes for bishops and priests.

Anyway, I bring this up because you might want to make some popcorn, put on some teflon bibs and gloves and eye protection, and go look also at the combox under that piece at NSR.  Some people are having a nutty.  Better yet, put on bibs and gloves made of BAM if you are venturing into the fever swamp that is the Fishwrap combox.  Blech.

You will notice, inter alia, that some are basically saying, “Well, he’s not an intellectual.” (Read: He doesn’t think that women should be ordained so he’s not very smart.)  Others suggest that referring to John Paul II was bad.  Their brass ring is, of course, the elimination of the Magisterium of John Paul II.  Others say, “He didn’t really mean it.” Uh huh.

Note well: Fishwrap adherents demand that you accept – without specific reasoning – everything Pope Francis utters about their pet projects.  But if he says something Catholic about the fact that women can’t be priests or that homosexual sex is a sin, gender-bending theory is harmful and that it’s wrong to redefine marriage… no no!… he apparently has to explain himself.   Still others are quivering over the word “capacity”.


Again at Fishwrap there are more irritated pieces about Pope Francis’ clear reiteration of Catholic doctrine on the impossibility of ordaining women.

Jamie Manson:

For all his beautiful words about equality, dignity, and not being “afraid to do new things,” Francis still cannot seem to connect his ideals with the church’s perpetuation of inequality, disempowerment, and sexism.



And then there is the wacky Sr. Fiedler:


But this pope — however great on other issues — just does not “get it” when it comes to women. And it’s not just women’s ordination, where his theology and thinking are way off base.

It’s his whole to approach to women. When he appointed five women to the International Theological Commission recently, he said they were like “strawberries on a cake.” Really? That sounds like something that may have been seen as a compliment in the 1940s or 1950s, but today, it’s an insult because of its triviality. But Francis apparently does not know that.

He says that women are more important than men in the church. Really? When they can’t even be deacons, let alone priests? I want to say, “Francis, be real!”

He uses the outmoded metaphor of the church as a “bride of Christ,” as if the whole community is somehow female. And he keeps talking about the need for a “theology of women,” as if we are some strange, odd creatures that need to be studied and put it our own theological niche.

Francis needs to meet with feminist theologians who can explain to him the realities of women in this world and this church.

Then — and only then — will he be a truly transformative pope.

Liberals will eventually turn on Francis.  They will be led by feminists.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Francis, Liberals, Priests and Priesthood and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Elizabeth D says:

    I’m basically willing to cooperative about potential global warming, welcoming immigrants etc and I think it’s fair that the fishwrap contingent should be willing to be cooperative about the decisive non-potential for “women priests” and the fact the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer Holy Orders on women.

  2. Robbie says:

    It’s funny you mention papal pressers, papal trips, and papal audiences will be eliminated or reduced in the upcoming reign of Pius XIII (we can dream, right). I said something similar to my Father about this just today. After seeing all of the attention Pope Francis received on his trip to the US, I suggested to him popes are becoming overexposed and the gravity and importance of their words are being lost.

    I suggested to him the popes need to be seen and heard from far less. That’s not because we shouldn’t want to hear from them, but because of the saying that “less is more”. It’s sort of like what happened to Obama after he was inaugurated. In January 2009, he had an approval rating near 70%, but by the Fall of 2009 his approval had dropped to 50% or so. Much of that was probably due to his policies, but I would argue it was also because he felt the need to comment on everything that happened every single day. Many got tired of listening to him.

    When popes speak less and are seen less, it increases the gravity of the words when they do speak and it increases the aura of their presence when they do appear in public. At least, that’s what I think.

  3. Veritatis Splendor says:

    In the same interview, which was possibly the clearest statement I have ever seen him make, he fully reinforced the idea of the indissolubility of marriage and clarified that the annulment process reforms do not institute Catholic divorce. He also said that the Kasper proposal is “simplistic” which I read as a Jesuit form of condemnation. Hopefully he was clear enough that the world will actually see what he actually is talking about. There was no line that could be easily taken out of context and used to promote a heretical agenda that I saw. In all, I am a very happy camper right now.

  4. rafferju says:

    im sorry Veritatis Splendor but the new annulment process is divorce, simplistic to me does not mean a condemnation just something to be built upon. things can be taken out of context easily except of course statements on immigration, the environment and death penality.

  5. downesfam says:

    I’m sure Pope Francis has at least as many, and likely more, ” handlers” as Obama, and many are or should be fluent in English, so IMO he was never “misquoted.” And with all of his supporting staff, it is totally implausible that he was misquoted as many times as some Catholics believe he has been.

    He should say clearly, and unambiguously, “Yes” or “No” (Truth is in fact Black or White, not Gray) to the Church’s position on SSM, homosexuality (call it what it is, not the PC term “disordered” or some other sanitized euphemism meant to not offend) , indissolubility of marriage which includes no “drive-thru” or “quickie” provision, and women as priests. Sheep like myself want “Yes” or “No” from our shepherds, not some squishy and wishy-washy explanation.

    And to Sr. Fiedler, please check your Pride at the door. It is not about You, but about Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on Him, and not what you see in the mirror. And please explain to me how Truth can be changed by time, by popular vote, by what’s trending in the secular world, or by any “transformative” Pope. Repeat after me: Truth does not change and cannot be transformed. And Truth does not and should not be changed based upon “realities of women in this world and this church.”


  6. acardnal says:

    Father Z, you need to cross the International Dateline more often. It really sharpens your wit.

  7. A.D. says:

    I’ve just reviewed one of the articles in the NC Reporter. I forgot to wear eye or mind protection, so I got slimed. I need a good face scrubbing and some sleep before I attempt any further reviews.

    I have used the first two sources you cited over and over when this topic comes up. I’m beginning to believe some people can read words but cannot connect them together in simple comprehension of the meaning. How much clearer could Pope St. John Paul II have made it? How much firmer could the follow-up “Affirmative” have been?

  8. Johnny Domer says:

    “On women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly.”

    How I wish he could just repeat that same sentence, only with the words “women priests” replaced with “giving Holy Communion to civilly remarried divorcees.”

  9. Gabriel Syme says:

    Pope Francis (and his successors) should simply cease to engage with these endless “revolving door” questions where the same question is asked again and again by dissenters/liberals.

    In my opinion, this constant repitition is a major problem with the Church’s message and evangelisation in the modern day. The man in the street doesnt hear about Jesus Christ, or the need for conversion, but rather constant repetition about (eg) woman priests, homosexuality and sex abuse.

    It has been the same all my life; I am 37 and these issues have loomed large in the papacy of all of Francis, Benedict and John Paul II. Indeed from a secular perspective, it is probably seems as though these issues dominate the papacy.

    If anyone raises the matter, they should simply be refered to what has been said before. Part of the problem is Francis apparent need to always conceed something to his questioners. Eg he says no to women priests, but claims the Church is tardy with its theology of women. These concessions just feed the fire – as does his unhelpful talk of “new things” etc. Just say no and move on. Especially because the people who agitate for these things are not genuine Christians, but rather people who wish to remake the Church in their own image.

    Of course, the issue of dissent would be much less, had the Church actually taught anyone about Catholicism over the past 50-odd years.

    Robbie makes an excellent point regarding the over-exposure of Popes in the modern day. They should seek to be more distant figures, whose words carry weight. Twitter soundbites are unbecoming and fundamentally unsuitable for the Vicar of Christ. And these media-laden trips abroad, while obviously well meant, achieve little else than to give dissent a platform as well as to co-opt the Papacy into the support of everything from marxism to immigration policy.

  10. oldconvert says:

    Sr Fiedler seems to be able to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time (is she a lawyer)? On the one hand, she asserts “[The Holy Father] keeps talking about the need for a “theology of women,” as if we are some strange, odd creatures that need to be studied and put it our own theological niche”. But on the other, in order to correct this, the Pope needs to be instructed by “feminist theologians” (my italics).

    Unless the role of the feminist theologians is to explain that they are an irrelevant and unnecessary add-on to theology itself?

  11. johnnys says:

    Families quarrel, sometimes plates can fly – Pope Francis

    Jesus better duck Sr. Fiedler is throwing plates again.

  12. Scott W. says:

    Also, he upheld conscientious objection when asked about same-sex “marriage”. So no women priests, valid marriages are indissoluble, and the right to fight SSM. The Holy Father gave the US a week of soft sell and then basically lobbed truth grenades out the plane hatch as it took off.

  13. SanSan says:

    Will someone get the “hook” for 94yr old AB Emeritus John Quinn of Sacramento……he’s pushing for ordination of women and communion for the divorved and remarried. He has done so much damage for so many years…….especially in San Francisco back in the day when he was AB here.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I am shocked by Sr. Fiedler’s insensitivity to Hispanic culture, and her denigration of the household culinary culture invented and controlled by Hispanic women. See if she gets invited to dinner anytime soon.

    Strawberry-coated cakes are a big thing! We are not talking shortcake; we are talking huge cakes! (Search on “fresa” and “pastel” or “torta” if you don’t believe me.)

  15. Peter Stuart says:

    Will someone please explain to me, in non-gushing terms, why the Holy Father made an exhausting trip across the ocean to make so few direct, unequivocal statements to those in power (except, naturally, about global warming and the death penalty)?

    I tremble in dread to think about what AmChurch is about to dish out to the faithful in the wake of the Pope’s visit.

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  17. Federico says:

    This is not a magisterial moment, so let’s not fret.

    Nevertheless, I would love to know what Francis’ actual words were and in what language. Canonically, capacity is a term of art; ability is a term of art. The use of the word capacity, if it was indeed the word, is a very poor choice — it is a loaded word indeed. If Francis had written in an official document in Latin something along the lines of mulieres capaces sunt I would be troubled indeed.

    Habiles…. ah, that’s an entirely different thing — and I suspect that’s what he meant anyway. Important note to self (if you’re pope): don’t speak off the cuff.

  18. Southern Catholic says:

    Peter Stuart,

    I believe Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of the previous two Popes. Neither made “direct, unequivocal ” statements in the past in the English speaking world. (I am thinking of Pope Benedict in London, and the last time Pope St. JPII came to the states).

    It is curious to see Pope Francis make stronger statements as the trip progressed. Starting with the UN speech and there after, he spoke strongly about family issues.

  19. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Then — and only then — will he be a truly transformative pope.”

    How can someone transform the Truth? If you want to be transformed, then with all due respect Sr. Fiedler, you might want to transform yourself into an Anglican. And we can see how well THAT transformation is doing for them, can’t we?

    As for me and my household, we will keep an iron grip on the Lord.

  20. Stevetop815 says:

    [He uses the outmoded metaphor of the church as a “bride of Christ,”]

    I’m really struggling to understand this. The ‘metaphor’ is both biblical and explicitly explained as a reality not a metaphor. This isn’t something Aquinas came up with. I don’t know where you get the audacity to tell Jesus that his relationship is an ‘outmoded metaphor’. To think that you are more enlightened than Scripture itself is seriously out of wack

  21. Gerard Plourde says:

    As Fr. Z knows from my self description in my sign-up, I probably qualify as a liberal reader of this blog. My preferred form of the Mass is the Ordinary Form. I regularly receive the Eucharist in the hand from Extraordinary Ministers of Communion. I do these things not out of any belief that they are superior to the Extraordinary Form but because I accept the authority of those entrusted with leadership within the Church to allow these provisions and because I am able to be more focused, present and spiritually nourished by the Mass in the Ordinary Form. I also accept as infallible teaching that the priesthood is exclusive to men because Our Lord made it so.

    One of the things that concerns me about those who advocate for the ordination of women is the belief that it will “empower” them, that is, that it will allow them to work the levers of control in the Church. This attitude speaks to a misconception of what Holy Orders actually entails. Our Lord was very clear that those called to His service in the priesthood were to be servants and their greatness measured according to their service. (Lk. 22: 24-27) It also speaks to a basic misconception of where ultimate control in the Church lies. The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, not by the plans and ideas of men.

  22. Michael_Thoma says:

    All in all, pleasantly surprised as I had low expectations – I didn’t see any altar girls, there was plenty of use of Latin, not ridiculous amount of multilinguistic gymnastics (some not as much as I expected), chant was employed even in English, no use of EMHCs — can’t complain over all. Although with the Congressional speech, I thought he was going to say “abortion” and even though death penalty was expected, not at that moment; but I suppose it’s better to start at death penalty, get these nutters to understand why and then extend the argument to abortion (instead of the abortion argument first, which these extremists get defensive and closed minded about).

  23. robtbrown says:

    Gerard Plourde says:

    As Fr. Z knows from my self description in my sign-up, I probably qualify as a liberal reader of this blog. My preferred form of the Mass is the Ordinary Form.

    By Ordinary Form do you mean vernacular, versus populum?

  24. Magash says:

    There is no mystery here when it comes to these issues. Sr. Fiedler and her ilk do not hold with Magisterial teaching on a host of subjects. Women ordination is merely the level of power for them. The Church’s refusal to ordain them is preventing them from achieving the positions of power in the Church hierarchy that will allow them to overturn all of the teachings of the Catholic Church with which they disagree, like their hero Katharine Jefferts Schori did with TEC.
    Because for them the Church is not the Bride of Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit with the mandate of preserving the true teachings of God. It is a temporal organizations of incredible wealth and power which they seek to control using Alinsky inspired political tactics primarily for reasons of obtaining both personal power and validation of immoral behaviors.
    The reason they don’t leave is they aren’t interested “personal transformation” or even the kind of theological points which caused Luther or Calvin to leave the Church. They are interested in control of the assets held by the Church (and, in the case of the dissident religious, maintaining control of the assets they already control.)

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  26. THREEHEARTS says:

    Growing up in this wonderful Church, I remember reading of Cardinal Daneels who annoyed he was not elected Pope used the Charismatic Movement in Belgium to establish a power base. The women who were very strong in that group told him how hard done by women were and he went of to put this right. He did not and the Charismatic pentecostals dropped him like a hot brick. Is this right I am sure this can be proved to be yes or no.

  27. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear robtbrown,

    Yes to both. That is how the Ordinary Form has been celebrated in my Archdiocese of Philadelphia under the administration of four successive Archbishops (three of them Cardinals) since 1970.

  28. oldconvert says:

    Gerard Plourde: if you are wondering what the NCR commenters think of Holy Orders, wonder no more! One of them laid it out for all of us to see:

    “Women are just as capable as men in presiding at the eucharistic liturgy. Presidership involves maintaining order in the assembly by following the rubrics and receiving the people’s gifts for offering to God in thanksgiving. Sexual difference has no bearing on this task.”

    There you go.

  29. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear oldconvert,

    One wonders where they get these things. It’s certainly not from the magisterium.

  30. Mariana2 says:

    Pius XIII’s Ivory Tower (but kick butt) reign – devoutly to be wished for : ) !

  31. Gerard Plourde says:

    When we think of a Pope confined to the Vatican we should understand that in the long history of the Papacy this was only the case from 1870 until the signing of the Concordat of 1929 recognizing the sovereignty of Vatican City. The Pope became a “Prisoner of the Vatican” to protest the loss of the Papal States and the seizure of Church property by the new unified Italian government. Prior to 1870, the Pope travelled freely in his Diocese and throughout the Papal States.

  32. Anthony says:

    This is a play directly from the liberals “Alinksy handbook”. It’s all about dialogue – meaning… we’ll keep bringing up the point… again and again, until you submit (usually out of weariness)

    They keep asking the same question “When will women be able to become priests?” and he keeps giving the same answer “Never”… Only this time, Pope Francis explained it in a very concise manner that provided a a clear and unambiguous continuum of theological thought.

    Unfortunately, liberals do not desire clarity of thought since it does not suit their purpose of “control via disinformation” So… you can expect this to be brought up… again and again.

    We must stand strong and pray for our priests and bishops!

  33. iamlucky13 says:

    “Only this time, Pope Francis explained it in a very concise manner that provided a a clear and unambiguous continuum of theological thought.”

    I wouldn’t call it clear and concise. The “no” was clear, but the rest was imprecise at best. “On women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long eflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity…”

    That last sentence in particular will confuse people, as is evident in the Non-Catholic Reporter’s comment section. One person translated that as overturning the Church’s lack of authority to ordain female priests and instead made it a matter of precedence. Another went further and opined that the reason the pope failed to accept female ordination as valid right then and there was because he wanted to avoid schism by the women haters.

    The comments on the NCR may seem unimportant, but remember that many of those people are in our parishes, making these arguments to their fellow Catholics, many (most?) of whom are poorly catechized and do not understand the reasons Christ instituted a male priesthood, or even realize how clear it is that he had the opportunity to include women in a priestly role but declined to. Not knowing the reasons why promoters of female ordination are wrong, many will accept their arguments.

  34. Andy Lucy says:

    OK. I went to the Fishwarp, and delved into the combox.

    Now, after my 30 minute decon shower, I still have no clear idea as to why logic is totally absent there. It is as though there is a naked singularity of illogic, and they have become trapped beyond the event horizon. And as we continue forward in time, they will remain forever trapped in the 1960s.

    The horror. The horror.

  35. oldcanon2257 says:

    The only problem with the reign of Pius XIII is: Where are we going to put him on that Pius clock???

    I pray that the upcoming of reign of Pius XIII will be a case of “The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner. This is the Lord’ s doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes.” If it pleases God, when the time comes may the cardinals elect the rejected one who had recently become the Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Being a renowned canonist, maybe he would bring back some good stuff from the Codex Iuris Canonici 1917 (the older Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law) if he ever ascends to the throne of Peter.

    We can dream (and pray), can’t we? Of course we shouldn’t dream while praying. Instead we should pray while dreaming. (In reference to a somewhat similar Jesuit joke)

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