Wherein Fr. Z has a little fun with Jesuit mockery

council of jerusalemA few days ago Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese, who had been relieved of his post as editor of America Magazine when Card. Ratzinger was Prefect of the CDF, and who now writes for the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) came out with a piece at the same NSR in support of Phyllis Zagano’s notion about women deacons.

He also came out in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood, as do many who support ordination of women to the diaconate (even if they don’t admit it).

Thus, Reese…  HERE

If there were women deacons in the past, the arguments goes [sic], there is no reason we could not have women deacons today.

I find that argument convincing, but frankly, even if there were not women deacons in the past, I would still argue for ordaining women deacons today, just as I would argue for ordaining women priests. [linkage!] True, Jesus did not pick any women for the Twelve Apostles, but he did not pick any Gentiles either. We would really have a priest shortage today if the priesthood was limited to Jewish Christians.

See what he is doing there?  He is mocking the argument.  Ho ho ho, ain’t he funny?

Even though we know that liberals don’t have much of a sense of humor, let’s have a little fun with this ruderous Jesuit mockery for a moment, since Reese set the tone.

Follow this my own autoschediastic presentation if you can.

In AD 50 the Apostles gathered in what is universally recognized as the first Council, the Council of Jerusalem.  Read about this in Acts 15 (with Acts 10) and probably Galatians 2.  The Apostles, in their Council, deliberated about the question of admitting Gentiles to the Church, that is, to baptize them.  They decided affirmatively.   This was a Conciliar decision – nay rather – the Apostles “walked together” in a synodal process.  And though the Gentile Question was not as momentous as admitting the divorced and civilly remarried to Holy Communion, in a mere matter of hours they determined that Gentiles could indeed be baptized.  NB: Taking the decision didn’t require two synods over two years only to arrive at an ambivalent answer.

This decision to baptize Gentiles subsequently led to their being admitted to ordained ministry.

Since the Apostles consciously reflected on the baptism of Gentiles, they opened the possibility of Gentiles being admitted to the priesthood.

Here’s the next move.

The decision that male Gentiles could be ordained was, in effect, made by the Apostles. There is no indication that either the Apostles or their successors entertained the idea of admitting women, Jew or Gentile, to ordained ministry.

In other words, we know from Scripture that the Apostles decided that they were authorized by the Lord to admit Gentiles to the Church. This would eventually mean that priesthood would not be limited to Jewish Christians. However, there is no evidence inside of or outside of Scripture that either the Apostles or their successors considered themselves authorized to ordain women. In fact, there is evidence that they did not.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    But Father, But Father: You just hate Vatican II and don’t think the most dogmatic Council document of all time, Nostra Aetate, has any value. You’re such a judgy judger. Don’t you know that being a woman is just as culturally mediated and accidental as being goy?!? If goy is okay for the Apostles, who are we to judge?

  2. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Ontology’s not Fr. Reese’s strong point, I gather.

  3. deo_volente says:

    Fr. Z, thank you for such an astute analysis, but I fear your erudite use of history, scripture, theology, and logic, all mixed in with a healthy dose of magisterial authority, is only likely to confuse them.

  4. Mike of Arkansas says:

    Fr. Z: “Follow this my own autoschediastic presentation if you can.”

    I could not. I got stopped cold by that fifth word. What an amazing (but extremely non-pastoral) way to say “offhand”.

    [Being ridibund, and therefore not a liberal, the chance to use abditive phraseology provokes in me great adlubescence, especially when pulling apart the rannygazoo these dissenters spin at the theological yogibogeybox called the Fishwrap. Anyhow, making an occasional paraffle of fun words isn’t a complete mataeotechny. Moreover, if I made you look up a word, that’s blogosphere-pastoral, and eminently so. And that’s no footle.]

  5. gracie says:

    To defeat a Jesuit you have to attack his basic assumption. Maleness isn’t something one does – like being a carpenter. Nor is maleness a product of culture i.e. being a Galilean. A male is who you *are* – not what you do or where you’re from.

    Why is that difference seminal to this argument? Sex is integral to our identity. How many of you men would like a woman to portray you in a movie? How many of you women would like a man to be you in that same film? The answer is none of us would because this would not give the audience an accurate picture of who we are. A priest re-presents Christ to human beings and that re-presentation is only complete if the priest is male. God is male. Maleness is integral to the identity of the Holy Trinity. It is part of Who He is. Christ chose only men because God’s maleness is integral to His revelation – through the priest – of Who *He* is. For women and men to object to this is to object to God being Who He is. These same people presumably have no objection to their fathers being male or their brothers being male. Well, God is male and Christ is asserting that reality through the male-only priesthood. The priesthood is God’s creation and He has every right to have His maleness acknowledged in it. If we want God to accept us for who we are then we need to return the favor and accept Him for Who He is.

  6. scotus says:

    I thought the Council of Jerusalem debated the issue of whether or not baptised Gentiles also had to be circumcised, not whether they could be baptised.
    In chapter 10 of Acts we read Peter saying that Gentiles may be baptised.
    And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34-35)
    While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, [Start reading closely here:] 47 “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. (Acts 10: 44-48) [Gentiles were admitted to baptism.]
    And then, at the Council of Jerusalem we read in Acts 15 that the issue was to do with circumcision.
    But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. (Acts 15:1-2) [And so, could Gentiles, circumcised or not, be admitted to baptism? Yes. Ultimately, this is about who could be admitted to the Church through baptism and what they had to do (be circumcised or not, abstain from what was offered to idols, etc., or not). What’s the sign of new covenant? Circumcision or baptism? Rabbit hole closed.]

  7. robtbrown says:

    Fr Reese and the Jesuits remind me of what was once a very good, very expensive restaurant. Today, the prices are still high, the Maitre D’ is still in a tuxedo . . . but the food is no good.

  8. bethv says:

    This article topic ties in beautifully with Mother Angelica’s video on Blasphemy, the Second Vatican Council, and World Youth Day in 1993. A true classic that was instigated by a woman portraying Christ during His passion. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCvX94US7SY

  9. Pingback: CATHOLIC THURSDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  10. Mike says:

    Moreover, if I made you look up a word, that’s blogosphere-pastoral, and eminently so.

    It’s certainly at variance with how the Company (alongside much of the rest of the mainstream Church) defines pastoral in the post-Vatican II era, which seems to boil down operationally to “not excessively disturbing people’s sinful inclinations that don’t interfere with our agenda.”

  11. PostCatholic says:

    I, for one, appreciate the persiflage in your luciferous logolepsy.

  12. Grumpy Beggar says:

    ” . . . especially when pulling apart the rannygazoo these dissenters spin at the theological yogibogeybox called the Fishwrap. Anyhow, making an occasional paraffle of fun words isn’t a complete mataeotechny. Moreover . . .”


    ” ‘True, Jesus did not pick any women for the Twelve Apostles, but he did not pick any Gentiles either. We would really have a priest shortage today if the priesthood was limited to Jewish Christians.’

    See what he is doing there? He is mocking the argument. Ho ho ho, ain’t he funny?”

    Oh Yeah . The guy’s a real scream. He’s so funny he made me fall right back into my chair again. He’s got to be worth at least a laugh a month. Yet his logic seems somewhat lost . . . comparing women to gentiles ?

    Could the problem be rooted in evidence that some Fishwrappers are faith-challenged when it comes to thinking outside the yogibogeybox ?

    How sad if they really are convinced that they write such drivel under inspiration of the Holy Spirit ; or that it seems possible for certain souls to actually believe some of their delusions to be even remotely Catholic .


    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

    750 -§ 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Ad Tuendam Fidem

    Usually when the above substantiation is presented, dissenters try to wriggle out of it claiming it isn’t a matter of faith and morals. So then, what is it , when attempts are made, in disobedience, to destabilize the priesthood of the holy Catholic Church ? . . .Treason, perhaps.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    gracie: I totally agree. Being a man or a woman is something you are, not a choice or a happenstance that is unimportant. Without any denigration of our commonalities as humans, men and women are different and have different (though equal) dignities.

    Recently, the science fiction writer Charles Stross (who is an idiot sometimes, bless his heart) declared that although his previous female sf spy character had been too much like a man, he now was going to write female characters as just humans with different gender software. Which of course made me desire strongly to slap him a good one in the face and another upside the head, because that was pretty much the most sexist thing I’d ever heard anybody say. I realized that he had absolutely no idea that he was insulting every woman and man who’d ever lived, but he managed it all the same.

  14. stuart reiss says:


  15. benedetta says:

    OK, so use logic & history and stuff?

    I’m just going to go out on a limb here but from what I’ve read of early Christianity, women’s dignity was not premised upon the ability/governmental right/mythical cultural dogma which states that women lack dignity unless they may, for any and all reasons, including whim or whatever, designate baby humans preborn for destruction by mothers. Rather, the ancient deaconesses, as I understand it, did not pit women versus the unborn next generation and call it vital rights or feminism.

    Fast forward, the culture being imported into this argument premises women’s dignity upon a “choice” to kill. To the tune of many trillions. This is not good news for the Church, Ms. Zagano obviously excepted. I’d like to see/hear more of the women’s religious contingent and the political factions of religious publishing in this country get more on board with advocating the rights of the preborn and even express respect for and show their edification from Ms. Zagano’s prolife stance, advocate for it within their party of choice. That would be much more consistent with historical Christianity if we are looking to orthodoxy straight up as our guide here.

  16. wmeyer says:

    “Being ridibund, and therefore not a liberal…”

    Oh, Father, I must beg permission to quote that often!

    I have been reading Malachi Martin’s book The Jesuits, though I have had to pause in that endeavor, as it is too disturbing to complete without some relief from other readings. So often I try to approach the writings of a Jesuit with charity, and so many times that charity is savaged by their writings. Yes, there are exceptions, but most which come to mind are no longer with us in this life.

  17. gracie says:


    Absolutely. To put it in Darwinian terms, there is the human species – male and female – and there is the God species – male only. The male-only God has created male and female humans and has given them an equal shot at Heaven or Hell. Men do not preferential TSA pre-check status at the pearly gates. In fact, going by the Gospels, Jesus seems to have far more sympathy for the women than the men He encounters.

  18. benedetta says:

    And, isn’t it time for all good Democrats to assent to greater diversity within the party — to let go of the triumphalist monolith fantasies and control. If this “election cycle” is proving anything it’s that the establishment propaganda of sacred cow billion dollar abortion cash business is not a grassroots desire within the electorate. Let the sunshine in! If we’re going to represent within the Church, partisan politics, then…let’s at least be a little more accurate about it or a reflection of the realities.

  19. mo7 says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who had to look up autoschediastic, but can you say it three times fast?

  20. scotus says:

    “But there is no proof that Peter held an unwillingness to follow the doctrinal decision of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:7ff.), in which Peter himself had taken the lead in agreeing with Paul that gentile converts need not observe the Mosaic law.” (‘Free From All Errors’ by Fr William Most. Page 97.)

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