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James Martin, S.J.June 15, 2012

Update: I asked Brother DeThomasis, through his publishers, whether he was worried about the Vatican's response to his book, particularly since he is speaking against the official teaching on women's ordination. He replied: "Of course, given the recent punitive actions by some Church prelates against  those seeking open discussion on topics that they deem inappropriate, a certain amount of human fear is inevitable. However, the true tradition of the Church calls upon the faithful to follow their conscience and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Magisterium with free, candid, respectful and open dialogue. To suppress questioning and insist that some topics are forbidden to be discussed certainly is not what I believe the Catholic Church supports. The Church prides itself in its rich academic and intellectual tradition. Therefore, I believe each faithful Catholic must be prepared to expect recriminations from those in authority who have become ideologues rather than loving pastors supporting and leading the faithful as we all seek Jesus and his Gospel in our transforming world." 

The original post follows.


Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, a Christian Brother for 40 years and the president of St. Mary’s University in Minnesota for 20, currently runs the Christian Brother Investment Services Global. He has written a new book in which he calls for, among other things, the ordination of women as part of an overall metanoia (change in consciousness) that must, he argues, be brought about in the church.  “Is the institutional church dying?” he asks. “Yes, fortunately.”

“It is fortunate because this death can be the occasions for a metanoia in the church,” he writes in Flying in the Face of Tradition: Listening to the Lived Experience of the Faithful (Acta). “Sexual abuse, corruption, authoritarianism, lack of transparency, and cover-ups have all been collapsing into and on top of the institutional church….The 'tipping point' has been reached, and the moral authority, honor and respect that the institutional church once elicited from most peoples and secular institutions around the globe no longer exists.”  

Brother DeThomasis, now 70, views this as a positive spiritual development.  “However, if there is metanoia and transformation within, then there will and can be a 'resurrection' for the institutional church."  His brief book (102 pages) touches upon what he calls the “subversion” of Vatican II, the proper use of tradition and what is bound to be the most controversial topic: the ordination of women.  “After listening to the arguments put forth by the institutional church that Jesus would demand anything other than the full complete and total equality of all persons in his church and finding those arguments completely unpersuasive and often silly," he writes, "we the faithful believe that the ordination of women not only should take place, but must take place soon."

What is perhaps most surprising about this book is not simply that Brother DeThomasis is challenging church teaching on certain matters (e.g., the ordination of women) or even strongly criticizing the hierarchy in general, but that he writes from within the heart of the institutional church, as a member a large religious order, after many years in a leadership role (he served as president of St. Mary's from 1984 to 2005) and still in active ministry; he works and lives in Rome.  (Acta is also a well-known lay-led Catholic publisher, which publishes books and offers parish resources on church history, religious education and prayer.  One of the books it distributed last fall was Pope Benedict XVI.)  Apparently, Brother DeThomasis is not cowed by the prospect of running into someone working in a Vatican dicastery on the street: "The amateurish solutions proffered by the institutional church in response to the current crisis to lead anyone with a modicum of common sense to question the presence of the Holy Spirit in Rome or in most chancery offices today." Here are a few more quotations from Brother DeThomasis's book:

The leaders of the institutional church do not really believe in the Catholic concept of tradition, properly understood. They are in effect flying in the face of tradition.

The recent efforts of a few bishops in the United States to regulate and withhold the cup from most Catholics most of the time is an example of an effort at control that has run amok.

In more than thirty years serving in Catholic education, both on the secondary and university levels, I have seen the church lose many generous young people because the institutional leaders do not give them the “spiritual space” to question, dialogue, doubt, and challenge.

The institutional church is dying, not the church we Catholics belong to.

Many church insiders, as they increasingly feel themselves under siege, are now saying that the church will have to get smaller and only allow the “true” and “faithful” (in their minds) followers of Jesus to remain. This type of argument does not come from the Holy Spirit.

No one, no authority and no institution, can prevent or stop people from seeing the facts before them and using their rational abilities to seek the truth of the reality they perceive.

The institutional church is no longer representing its Good News to a docile and receptive audience that is passively waiting to be told what to think and do.

It is unjust for anyone to judge that we who are not in lockstep with all the outward signs of behavior that the church prescribes are therefore “less Catholic.”

We'll be curious to hear what some of his Roman neighbors have to say about his book. 

James Martin, SJ

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10 years 1 month ago
Glen, Yes, you understood correctly, I did advocate women jn the Deaconate, as part of a short listing of women of the future in Church ministries. According to Blessed John Paul II the Great, Deaconate is not part of the priesthood but a charism something altogether other. Within that frame I see nothing odd about women as Deacons. Many may disagree, but that is my opinion, right. or wrong. Thanks for reeading my post - it may contain some truth, I hope substantial truth and not just theoretical hogwash! Peace!  Bruce
Jim McCrea
10 years 1 month ago
Speaking out individually is admirably.  However there is more strength, influence and credibility when large numbers of the ordained and vowed religious males speak out collectively.  Ireland.  Austria.  Germany.

Sooner or later job security and pensions need to take second place to integrity.
Fred Close
10 years 1 month ago
What a hilarious title!  Flying in the Face of Tradition our good author is, and accusing the Church of it! How sad! How pathetic! How tragic!
Thomas Farrell
10 years 1 month ago
Fr. Martin:

Did you see the story titled "African theologian questions church's exclusion of women" at the NCR website on June 8, 2012?

The African theologian in question is a JESUIT from Kenya, Fr. Orobator.

He spoke at the CTSA meeting in St. Louis.

Perhaps you could ask Fr. Orobator to write a piece for AMERICA based on his speech in St. Louis.
Barbara Finan
10 years 1 month ago
I am encouraged that Brother Louis has the courage to say what so many of us faithful Catholics think.  I am eager to read his book.
ed gleason
10 years 1 month ago
The tipping point is very close when we see the CDF poised to accept SSPX back with a fake accommodation.
Gerelyn Hollingsworth
10 years 1 month ago
Thanks, James.  Looks great.  Just bought it for my Kindle.  ($7.55.)
Stephen Kusterer
10 years 1 month ago
Just wow.  I mean, many of us may share and discuss many of these same thoughts among ourselves, but to see them actually in print in a book - by a religious, no less?!?!  I think someone's going to be getting a CDF notification soon...

Thanks for pointing out this book.  I'm looking forward to reading it.
Thomas Silva
10 years 1 month ago
I do understand that Jesus conferred the priestly powers to His 12 apostles at the last supper. Does that mean that women can never perform this office, stretching forever into the future? The Lord chose the body of a woman, his blessed mother, to deliver his human body to the world.  Is it really essential that we all believe that women cannot serve as the conduit of the Holy Spirit and administer the sacrements as well as men ? 1 of the 12 men handed him over. 10 of the 12 men ran off while he was dying. His mother, a woman, stayed by Him. Women were the first to report to serve Him in the tomb.  I think a woman could hear my confession.

The Red Sox won a world series, and the Bruins won the Stanley cup before I died. I can only pray I'll see a woman priest before I go to meet my Lord. 

I won't quit on the church I love, but I worry that it has quit on me...
Glendon Cheshire
10 years 1 month ago
I think perhaps the Jesuits here at America magazine might need to employ their hefty educations in reading and understanding the following:

Prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Approved for Publication by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, October 28, 1995

Responsum ad Dubium Concerning the Teaching Contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: In the affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, 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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger

Tarcisio Bertone
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

Why, praytell, are this and Ordinalis Sacerdotalis such difficult documents to understand?  Willful ignorance? Impugnation of the known Truth? Spiritual blindness perhaps?
Catherine Rogers
10 years 1 month ago
OK, let's get this straight. Only men were present at the Last Supper, where Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Therefore, only persons of the same sex as those present at the Last Supper can receive Holy Orders. Check.

Only men were present at the Last Supper, where Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Therefore, only persons of the same sex as those present at the Last Supper can receive Holy Communion.

By what authority has the Church changed the practice of Christ by extending Holy Communion to women?


Then by what authority does the Church restrict the Sacrament of Holy Orders to men?
Tim O'Leary
10 years 1 month ago
So, Brother DeThomasis, a ''leader'' in the institutional Church for 30 years asks: “Is the institutional church dying?” Then he says: “Yes, fortunately,” “viewing this as a positive spiritual development.” Is he talking about his order, or himself, having pretended to be a committed loyal Catholic for many years? Wouldn’t he have been more honest to have come out earlier as a disbeliever in the life of the very institution that he benefited from? Was he worried about his pension? They don’t make rebels like they used to.

The idea that the Church is dying is preposterous, and a direct denial of the promise of Jesus (Mt 16). By any serious statistical measure of the demographics, the Church is growing in the world. It was 500M at Vatican II, is 1.2 billion today, and will be 1.7 billion (another 500M) by 2050 (See Pop. Ref. Bureau). By the way, the Protestant reformers also expected the Roman Catholic Church to die out in a century. So did the Communists of C20. The opposite happened. But it is the liberal side of the Western Church that is dying, on a par with the birth dearth in the West. This is like the loss of North Africa to the Muslim conquests in C7. That area was also riddled by heresy.

Whenever one thinks the end of the Church is near, it is useful to read the 1840 essay of the famous Protestant historian, Thomas Babington Macaulay, no lover of the Church (please read full quote here: http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/macaulay/ranke1.html): “No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs…The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and is still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila…Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching…And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.''

This was writtin before the British Empire had reached its peak, and the British empire is gone, but the Church remains.
Gerelyn Hollingsworth
10 years 1 month ago
I'm one-third of the way through the book.  IT IS GREAT. 

So refreshing.  And reassuring.  And sane.

( . . . there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28.)

alan macdonald
10 years 1 month ago
Bro. Louis may or may not know it but he has left the Catholic Church and is now, doctrinally, fully in the Episcopalian Church.
Before I congratulate him, I must point out that the Episcopalian/Anglican Churches in the US Canada and the UK are not doing so well.
About three decades ago, they decided to be everything to everybody. Female ordination, gay marriage, abortion approval, whatever you got. They now, are nothying to nobody. Perhaps a social club, but a much diminshed, fractious club whose members have left in droves. 
This is the future of first world Catholic Churches who demand change.  
Michael Cherry
10 years 1 month ago
I recently discovered a document that may be relevant here.   The following is an excerpt from a letter by a Church official (whose name has been lost) to Galileo in 1633. 
My dear Galileo, 
Here is your copy of the Holy Office’s findings regarding your silly teaching about the Sun.  Perhaps you should use your hefty education to dwell upon this truth while under house arrest for the rest of your life:
Prepared by the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition
Approved for Publication by His Holiness Pope Urban VIII
Dubium:  Whether the teaching that the Earth is the motionless center of the world is, in fact, the absolute truth as revealed by God. 
Responsum:  Duh.
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been declared incontrovertibly true because everyone knows it is.
The Sovereign Pontiff Urban VIII has approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
Rome, from the offices of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, 1633. 
Praytell, Galileo, why is this so hard for you to understand?  Deliberate stubbornness?  Intolerance of the obvious Truth?  Scientific arrogance, perhaps? 

Glendon Cheshire
10 years 1 month ago
Hi C. Rogers,

See, Jesus CHOSE twelve men and then sent them out as His Apostles to preach, teach and administer His Sacraments to, after the Holy Ghost descended on them.  They were His chosen agents, who consecrated successors and new bishops, who would eventually ordain presbyters to assist them as the priests we know today.

I think what really burns you is that Jesus, God made man, managed, and manages, to love, honor, respect, and support women then, and now, without equating love with 60s feminism and the desire of grey haired Irish apostate nuns from the LCWR - Lapsed Catholics Without Remorse - to be men.  Or at least womynprysts.

Jesus surely would have chosen Mary His Mother and Mary Magdalen to be two of the Apostles, and most likely founded the Church on Mary, had He wanted women to be in leadership roles. But see, He didn't.  It's such a confused mind that thinks wielding some sort of perceived power is the only definition of success.  It's almost like Lucifer's preoccupation with wanting to be like God.  It also, BTW, spits in the face of the endless array of millions of good and Saintly nuns and prioresses and soon to be three Doctors when you define success as ''having what someone else has.''  It's actually interesting that the most resplendant creature ever created by God... IS A WOMAN.  She is the Queen of the Church, the Clergy, and all Christian souls, and yet, Jesus didn't see fit to make her His Vicar, nor include any other women amongst the ranks of Apostles.  I think we can only see the unfortunate downside to the feminisation of the clergy by looking at the stellar condition of the Anglicans and Lutherans.  Women priestesses have gone just gangbusters for them, hasn't it?

Hi M. Cherry,

Perhaps you should mock or ape someone after you've actually read history books, so that you don't sound both puerile and ill-informed simultaneously.  The difference between my actual mockery and your pretend mockery is that I referenced an actual document written by the now Pope, and maligned the editor for his lack of due diligence on the subject, whereas you attempt in vain to ridicule me over problems in the Church 500 years ago.  It was a clever attempt, however, to equate heliocentrism with women being Ordained, as if both were simply truth that was somehow being ignored by stupid old white men sitting around in pink robes and yamulkes.  Clever indeed are you, by half.

Have a nice day, and may the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on the ignorant and ill-willed. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Glendon Cheshire
10 years 1 month ago
BTW Father Martin, nothing in your article about the Sacred Heart had anything to do with actual devotion to the Sacred Heart and its purpose. Given that America's Catholics are cellar-dwelling on belief in Transubstantiation and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at about 25%, maybe America and the Jesuits ought to serve up some actual preaching on devotion to the Sacred Heart in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, instead of interesting tangents on how Jesus the social agitator was motivating us to love one another better.  Sacred Heart devotion is about unification of humanity with Divinity in the hypostatic Union, and the negligence and contempt lukewarm souls have for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as He continually offers Himself freely and gratuitously and we return that love with indifference, contempt, or even sacrilege.
Kang Dole
10 years 1 month ago
Whatever editor struck my Simon the Cananean joke can rest assured that it was probably the last Simon the Cananean joke he'll ever encounter, so the loss is his. He also has not changed the fact that what I said was pretty an undeniably fair paraphrase of the sort of argument that Glendon and so many others make.

My experience leads me to think that no small amount of doctrine that purports to be biblically-based is the fruit of exegesis by water-boarding, so it's not as though I see the afore-mentioned argument to be any sort of freak or sport-but it is, I think, one of the more egregious examples of smacking the Bible around until it says what you want it to say.

Michael Cherry
10 years 1 month ago
Dear Glendon Cheshire,

Thank you for your response.  I was just trying to point out that sometimes even the Church changes its mind, although it may take hundreds of years.  Although I did not use an actual document because I do not have time to do extensive research for the sake of a blog post, I think my pretend document does accurately (albeit humorously) represent the Church's position in 1633.  

Your actual document proves only that Pope John Paul II and his Vatican agreed with the view that women's ordination should not occur.  Some of us believe that this should not be enough to end the debate.   A pope was definitely wrong in 1633; another pope might have been wrong in 1995, and another pope might be wrong now. 

Please note that I meant to challenge your argument, not to mock you personally.  I sincerely hope that you have a nice day, as well.
Glendon Cheshire
10 years 1 month ago

Huh? Could you explain, or perhaps find a more genteel way to make your Canaanite joke?

M Cherry,

Thank for the clarification.  I thought it was a slap and I'm sorry I took it that way if you were just trying to illustrate a point or be thought provoking. Mea culpa.

I think it is safe to say Church fathers knew the earth was not the center of the universe during the Galleleo affair, but a determination about the natural sciences is not an apples to apples comparison with a doctrinal pronouncement about the Ordination of women.

The formula is stripped down compared to the one used by Pius XII for the Assumption or Pius IX for the Immaculate Conception, but the form is nonetheless there and was reiterated by Cd. Ratzinger (now obviously Pope) that it was an infallible declaration.  It is common now for the Vatican to skip formal forms, just as was done in an almost off the cuff remark about the infallibility of Papal elections.

Because women will never ever under any circumstance be priests, and this is held to be a definitive and binding judgment, its done.  I'm mean done, like a well burnt steak.  Done to the point of having no ''undo'' button around.  No future Pope will ever be able to fanagle their way out of this because the point is settled.

I appreciate this generation's desire to indulge in intellectual dalliances.  I mean our fare Dick wrote a whole history of Catholicism as a personal dalliance.  But just because Fr. Dethomasis and others like our good friend Dick like to pontificate on issues because they don't feel issues are settled is just intellectual vanity.

There is no such thing as objective truth for this generation of priests (boomers largely, and no, I'm a Gen Xer, not a boomer) so everything is fair play and nothing sacrosanct.  Dick and others, perhaps the entire staff of AM, may be willing to burn a village to the ground to save it in their Rahnerian Teilhardian zeal for destruction and evolution, but other more enlightened Catholics who actually don't believe the Church began in 1965, but instead in roughtly 33 AD, beg to differ.

It's ok.  My generation gets it.  Boomers are in charge now, full of vim and vigor, thinking they are like unto God and can refashion Catholicism in their own image.  We deal with it.  We accommodate you to a point, but attempting to fundamentally redefine everything about Catholicism as Pentecost II/Reformation II is enough already.

If you want to make a religion in your own image an likeness, do so.

The mechanism is already in place, and its called ''Protestantism.''

BTW, M Cherry, this minor rant was at AM in general.  Not you in particular.  You're funny.  God bless.


Aaron Amram
10 years 1 month ago
Ok, ok, Glendon-sure, Jesus defined who is a priest. That's very special. Now, would you like to work on a puzzle, or do we need to call over Nurse Rached?
10 years 1 month ago
Let’s call the oldest, tallest and most beautiful Cedar of Lebanon in the assembly of the woodlands of the Earth, the “Supreme Pontiff” of all the trees. Suddenly some Maples decide they would like to produce acorns like the Oaks and in turn some Oaks let it be known that they would like to produce Maple Syrup, like Maples do. The Supreme Pontiff of the vast arboreal assemblage announces that “authority” to do so does not exist anywhere in the assembly of trees. Furthermore that declaration must be accepted as “definitive” and as “belonging to the deposit of faith” of what Maples and Oaks are intended to be. This creates much controversy in the woodlands. The “woodlands” filled with many trees is the Church. The” Maples” and “Oaks” are women and men who are pushing for the ordination to the priesthood of women, trying to create an unauthorized species of “tree” impossible to create according to Pope John Paul ll and explained in “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” which confirms that the Church does not have the “authority” from Christ to ordain women as priests, a decision that must be “held definitively” and understood as “belonging to the deposit of the faith.” What could be clearer than that?
We must comfort thr "Rock," not rock the "Boat!"

 Relative to the above however, how true the adage, “There is nothing new under the sun!” In 494 another Pontiff, Pope Gelasius l, ordered an end to the priestly ordination of women which had crept into the Church in Southern Italy and Sicily, unauthorized. Also, Canon Xl of the Fourth Century Laodicean Council forbade the practice of ordaining women to the priesthood. Somehow, currently, the respected Christian Brother Louis De Thomasis travelling around the ecclestical world in 102 days (pages) has written a book he called “Flying In The Face Of Tradition” searching for an illusive, even non-existent metanoian Utopia. I have not read his work, so everything said here is based on Jesuit James Martin’s review, always excellent, on AMERICA website.

 Speaking personally while respecting Brother De Thomasis’s good intentions and unquestioned scholarship, I think he’s “barking up the wrong tree” so to speak! This post focuses only on the book’s aspect dealing with the ordination of women to the priesthood, which Brother thinks should happen immediately. It’s not going to happen as the Vicar of Christ has ruled.

 So then, how do women exercise the Eternal Priesthood of Christ? Now I offer my untested opinion, that, apart from sharing in the priesthood common to all the Baptized, women are also intrinsically priestly by way of gender, ordained biologically and spiritually in the heart simply by being a woman! How so? I suggest that along with the Blessed Virgin Mary their prototype, feminine ordination is in reality rooted in Mary’s Incarnational “Fiat.” In due process therefrom, by way of the natural linkage between mother and child called the “umbilical cord,” biological and (or) spiritual, nutrients and blood-supply transubstantiates between mother and child, between Mary and Jesus. And so, “Mary could proclaim, “His is my body, His is my blood,” and the Lord responds, “Yes, This is my Body, This is My Blood,” Mary’s Mass, the feminine priesthood in practice. All women are participators by gender, by womanhood, effectively contingent on Baptismal identity through which they share in the benefits of membership within the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church and indeed, they and they alone own it as described. Women are God’s specially chosen priestly people! Perhaps this is wild speculation as I’m no theologian and so heads far wiser than mine may easily refute my premise. So be it, thankfully

 Let me conclude with an imaginary look down the pike, dealing with how women may serve the Church of the future? I see along with Religious Sisters, laywomen and lay men becoming principal advisors to the Pope, along wih Bishops, Deacons and priests, I mean called to membership in the College of Cardinals! They will also serve as Papal Nuncios too! And in light of the teaching of Pope John Paul the Great that the Deaconate is not part of the priesthood, they will serve as Deacons side by side with men at the altar! None of these requiring priestly ordination. Yes, I believe the Holy Spirit will thus instruct some future Pope and the Maples and Oaks will be happy being exactly as they are! As the Prophet Ezekiel might add, “Thus says the Lord God, I, too, will take from the crest of the Cedar … a tender shoot … it shall put fort branches and bear fruit … .” The Lord knows!
Anne Chapman
10 years 1 month ago
Some of these posts are quite interesting - and very revealing. It seems there is panic setting in, not only in Rome, but with many ''ordinary'' men. The very idea of women, made in God's image, having access to all seven sacraments instead of only six clearly strikes terror in some hearts.  The lengths (now we're being compared to trees????) many will go to in their attempts to say that misogny and patriarchy are God's will, rather than simply the ancient, self-serving interpretations of scripture by a patriarchal system that is slowly giving way are getting more interesting all the time. The closer to the edge they come, the more desperate the measures and the claims and the rhetoric of frightened men trying to hang on. 

Why so much fear?

#13 - thanks for the smile. What some seem to overlook is that it didn't matter whether or not the church was ''competent'' in science. They weren't. But the heresy trial wasn't about science - it was about church teaching and the church's official, but wrong, interpretation of scriptures. Galileo had to fight for his life because he was going against official church teaching - that's what heresy trials are all about. Was the church wrong? Of course. Then and many other times.  It doesn't matter now to Galileo that he was eventually vindicated. Just as it doesn't much help those who were burned at the stake for ''heresy'' (or burned for being witches!), or tortured and killed because the church didn't, ....ahem, think much of religious freedom for Jews and Muslims, nor did the church's much delayed concessions help those who were excommunicated when criticizing church corruption - Luther did not intend to start ''Lutheranism'' or launch the "Protestant Reformation" (in caps) - he was rightly pointing out where the church's leadership had gone wrong and was sometimes corrupt. And, as it turned out, centuries later, Rome conceded he was mostly right, but due to their pride and arrogance at the time, they refused to say that they were wrong on anything and that Luther had a point. If they had, perhaps christiandom wouldn't have splintered. But, humility is not and never has been part of the Constantinian model of church.  So, maybe it was God's will that protestantism should happen? Maybe God knew that if there was to be progress in thought, in understanding, there would need to be more freedom than that available in a system led by some who are so full of pride that it can claim that which belongs only to God - a church that dares to claim infallibility - putting itself in God's place. So Rome's certain righteousness did not allow it to concede the truth of many of Luther's criticisms because of a form of pride and absence of humility. The same sin of pride seems to underlie the ever more desperate words and actions of Rome when someone dares suggest that denying a sacrament to women due to their gender is not God's will -  only very desperate men would claim that supporting women's ordination is as evil as sexually molesting children!  ONLY the male celibates of Rome, removed from ordinary contact from real women in equal rather than subservient roles, could think such a thing.
Glendon Cheshire
10 years 1 month ago
Amran #19,

Ridicule and derision are only worth 3 points each in this game.  If you want to score more points, you have to come up with more expansive attacks.

Bruce Snowden #20,

The distinction you bring up that Pope John Paul makes is splitting a hair that isn't there.  Women are forbidden from Orders. That includes both major and minor orders.  Your argument has no merit from a Sacramental Theology point of view.  You are inventing a new conception of Orders to suit your argument that simply doesn't exist outside of the realm of fantasy.

Anne Chapman #21,

Panic? Uh, where?  Yeah, cause you know them darn phemenysts are just so right in their triumphant cause to rid the world of yet another unjust social structure.

Feminism isn't Christianity.
Communism isn't Christianity.
Protestantism isn't Christianity.
Socialism isn't Christianity.
Liberalism isn't Christianity.
Conservatism isn't Christianity. (weren't expecting that one, were you?)
Nationalism isn't Christianity.
Modernism isn't Christianity.
About 10892 other ISMs aren't Christianity...
Catholicism is Christianity.
Genuine, perennial Catholicism is Christianity.
Unchanging and tried Catholicism is Christianity.

So here we have another phobia to toss around with homophobia. Let's be coy for a minute and define it.  What shall we name this new ''phobia'' you speak of?

Lesbyteraphobia? Nah, to risque. Feminiraephobia? Nah, way too Latin.  Thilikapresbytaphobia? Not catchy, but hey, let's go Greek.

Fear of female presbyters: Tilicka-presbita-phobia.

Why is it leftists toss around phobias when they have no real arguments?  Answer:

''Well, you could not possibly be rejecting my arguments since they are so pure and true, so you must be an unintelligent, unenlightened tilikapresbytaphobic dullard that is simply scared of my brilliant ideas and logic.''

Anne, you're like VIKI in I, Robot.  ''My logic is undeniable. You will comply, or I will eliminate you.''  Yeah right. Good luck with that one.

The Spirit of Vatican II crowd is sterile... both figuratively and literally.  It has no vocations, no vision, no faith, and no future, and barely more than 1.5 children, if you manage to stay married long enough to have 1.5 children.  It's a million grey haired heretics and a few lukewarm Gen-X and Yers hanging around until they wise us and go Episcopalian, where you have all the look and feel of Catholicism without the actual content and commitment.

The fantastical church you want is a fiction, and is a dead man walking.  If is you that are in a desparate panic, flailing about like a red giant about to collapse and go supernova, while the rest of orthodox Catholicism gazes on you with a mix of pity and disgust.  Liberalism, modernism and feminism are three dead me... well, two dead men and a dead woman walking.

And you don't ever realize it.  Too bad the victors right the history.  In which case, the sad, bloated, distructive era known as the ''Spirit of Vatican II'' and the post-conciliar era will be written off as an unpleasant reminder of when the inmates take over the asylum.
Aaron Amram
10 years 1 month ago
My name is Aaron, Glen. Amram was my father-Amran ben Kohath. My dad's name is Amran, so my name is Aaron ben Amran, just like my brother's name is Moses ben Amran.

Look, it's not like the earth swallowed you up-be thankful that you were just the object of ridicule.
Tim O'Leary
10 years 1 month ago
Glendon #22 Great post of mostly spot-on righteous outrage. Funny too. I enjoyed it.

Anne #21
I have to wonder where the left sees all the fear? There is no direct evidence of it above, and I certainly didn't ''feel'' fear when I wrote my post #10 above. You might have more correctly sensed triumphalism, which I could concede was a legitimate criticism. I think Glendon is correct that you prefer the ''phobia'' idea to avoid the weaker side of the argument. Isn't it more likely that we are dealing with some version of Christophobia, or at least Episcopalaphobia?

In any case, M. Cherry (#13) started a lot of historical misinformation by bringing up Galileo. Here is a good and concise review of what really happened.  Certainly not an example of an ex cathedra dispute.

Anne - one more point. All that drowning of witches you mention, was actually predominantly happening in Protestant Northern Europe, who were on the same anti-episcopal side of the spectrum you inhabit today.
Beth Cioffoletti
10 years 1 month ago
First of all, I was not aware that during his time on earth Jesus instituted a Church, complete with rules and laws.

Secondly, I think that when the priestly vocation becomes one primarily of serving others, this gender thing will straighten out.  Serving, as in making the coffee, cleaning the bathrooms, doing the laundry. 
10 years 1 month ago
Post #22 – Hi Glendon, Thanks for taking time to respond to my Post # 20 I assume you’re well trained in Catholic theology, maybe even a degreed theologian – I am not degreed, certainly not a theologian, but do have theological insight, perhaps a notch more than average. So, when a Pope says he has spoken “definitively” and what he’s said is part of the “deposit of the faith” I take that teaching to be formative and binding.

Thus, how can focusing on John Paul’s teaching limiting ministerial priesthood to Baptized males see “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” be “splitting hairs?” On the other hand “splitting hairs” is sometimes necessary, because within narrow confines truth often resides. But in my opinion John Paul’s teaches doesn’t involve “hair splitting” as it has longstanding authenticity not only in Tradition, but also in Scripture imaged in how Divine Truth chose Ministerial Old Testament Temple Priesthood, modeled by Jesus in the New Covenant. Theoretically Divine Truth could have chosen another way, but didn’t.

 Glen, I also don’t understand questioning the “Sacramental” theology of what I said, as the entire Post is rooted in the necessity of Baptism from which all priestly functions flow, be they at the all male ministerial level as the Church teaches, or as in a speculative theological way in which I proposed feminine priestly function to originate incarnationally through Mary, sharing with Jesus body and blood nutriently indelibilized in what I call “Mary’s Mass” an involvement shared by all women, as woman, and vitalized through Baptism. That speculation may be wrong but it is certainly “Sacramental.”

The “tree” thing in case you're wondering, was something of a poetic attempt preparatory to what I wanted to say and was kind of hooked into Jesus’s imagery, “I am the Vine, you are the branches …” Again thanks for taking time to express your view. I wish you peace and all that’s good!
Jim McCrea
10 years 1 month ago
"Unchanging and tried Catholicism is Christianity." I guess Roman Catholicism isn't Christianity, then.
Glendon Cheshire
10 years 1 month ago
Bruce #26,

I totally lost your point, because I thought you were advocating the allowance of women in the diaconate. Mea culpa. I had a hard time following it and so I'll re-re-read it.

Jim #27,

Care to elaborate?  Divine Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle.  Doctrine has developed, true.  This is only more clearly understanding what we've always believed. It isn't changing beliefs.

You know who should be here reiterating everything I'm saying?  Father Martin SJ.  The Jesuits are supposed to be the 11 year trained vanguard of the Church, with degrees out the wazoo, defending the Faith from attack... not questioning it and fulminating dissent. Saint Ignatius stands at the right hand of Christ during the personal judgment of every last Jesuit.  Don't disappoint Father. Saint Ignatius is no less amused at the state of things in his Society than His Lord is.

So Jim, point out belief changes to me. Don't bring up non-settled things like the death penalty or limbo or probable opinions as if they are settled, or for that matter discipline. Discipline isn't doctrine unless it has doctrinal elements, like the Mass.

Point out to me beliefs or even practices that are manifestly destructive of the faithful (please, some objective examples and not mere histrionics) that have persisted for more than 200 years.  There are none, because everything gets tried, and ultimately fails or succeeds because God gives His grace to it, or not.  By the Church's typical yardstick, the revised Sacraments that came out in the late 60s have to survive another 150 years largely unchanged before they will be considered immemorial customs.

That going to happen? Uh, no. I expect something of a rollback in liturgy over the next 50 years, so that something like the mid-60s revisions of the old Sacraments (across all rites) are the norm with some vernacular and rest the old languages (Latin, Koine Greek, Syriac, Old Slavonik, etc), practices ripped out in conciliar malappropriation restored, getting rid of tables and going back ad orientem, dropping laity running amok in the sanctuary, girl altar boys, Communion in the hand, etc.  This certainly seems to be the direction the Pope is going.  His idea is to continue true renewal along the lines of Saint Pius X and Dom Gueranger, and slowly purge the ''renewal'' of the flotsam and garbage of the post-conciliar era.  He just this very day talked along these lines to conclude the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

The times they are a changin, but NOT the way los liberalissimos want it to changed.  Time for America to get with the in-crowd and pitch the 60s in the dumpster.  Reformation Pt II is dead.  French Revolution Pt II is dead.  Pentecost II never was.  It was a figment of the collective imagination of the era.

Every belief and statement we have has to have root and explanation in the light of Sacred Tradition.  No matter how much it has occurred recently, you aren't allowed to just make it up as you go along.  The Faith hasn't changed, because God hasn't changed.  Time is a function of creation, and He is independent of creation.  The Crucifixion happened a few minutes ago to Him.  And yet, His observation of our oh so quick falls from grace into sin last an eternity to Him, since He is the object of sin and is reminded of the agony of His Passion with every sin everywhere everyday.  It's a wonder He hasn't nuked us out of existence, but then again, He loves us, and wants only the best for us even if we don't get it.

It's so amusing how liberals think things evolve or change. Natural selection is true enough, but evolution, as if we morph from one thing to another, and yet are the same, is bilge-water.  Garbage.  Interesting factoid?  Darwin married his first cousin.  Father of modern atheistic evolution comingled his gene line with a first cousin. Doh!  Belief in evolution, especially as it pertains to Catholicism, is in fact amusing in the extreme, considering a long lived person, at 100, lives about one trillionth of a pico second in God's view of things.  People are exactly the same as they were 5000 years ago.  They'll be the same 5000 years from now.

Lastly, about discipline.  It changes, true, but it was always changed in tiny ways bit by bit to make worship and belief more perfect - not to change it.  It was always within the realm of the ''hermeneutic of continuity,'' whereas the recent Church changes have been development as rupture, to use another phrase of the Holy Father.

So, again, I posit that only tried and unchanging Catholicism is Christianity. Burst my balloon if you'd like.


Jim McCrea
10 years 1 month ago
A few belief changes over the years.  Yes, there WERE beliefs, as foisted on the masses, whether or not some Vatican factotum actually logged them into an approved book of doctinal absolutes:

    It was OK to own slaves.  In 1866 Pope Pius IX declared, “It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given.”
    Earning interest on loaning money was wrong. The church condemned usury at the Second Lateran Council in 1139, the Third Lateran Council in 1179, and the Council of Vienne in 1311.
    Anyone who wasn’t a Catholic was doomed to hell.  You know, the old “extra ecclesia nulla salus” thing.
    The 1864 encyclical "Quanta Cura" by Pius IX explicitly condemned freedom of religion.
    Almost anything the church said about Jews prior to Nostra Aetate.
    If you ate meat on Friday and died before confessing, you would go to hell because to do so was a mortal sin.
    You were not allowed to read the Bible without prior church permission.
    You were not allowed to read any book on the Index of Forbidden Books.

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