Revised Vatican Norms Cover Sex Abuse and Women's Ordination

From CNS: Revised Vatican norms to cover sex abuse, attempted women's ordination

Friday, July 9, 2010 By John Thavis Catholic News Service.  VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is preparing to update the 2001 norms that deal with priestly sex abuse of minors, in effect codifying practices that have been in place for several years.At the same time, it will include the "attempted ordination of women" among the list of most serious crimes against church law, or "delicta graviora," sources said.

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Sexual abuse of a minor by a priest was added to the classification of "delicta graviora" in 2001. At that time the Vatican established norms to govern the handling of such cases.  The revisions of those norms have been in the pipeline for some time and were expected to be published in mid-July, Vatican sources said. While the changes are not "earthshaking," they will ultimately strengthen the church's efforts to identify and discipline priests who abuse minors, the sources said.

The revisions will be published with ample documentation and will be accompanied by a glossary of church law terms, aimed at helping nonexperts understand the complex rules and procedures that the Vatican has in place for dealing with sex abuse allegations. The revisions were expected to extend the church law's statute of limitations on accusations of sexual abuse, from 10 years after the alleged victim's 18th birthday to 20 years. For several years, Vatican officials have been routinely granting exceptions to the 10-year statute of limitations.  The revisions also make it clear that use of child pornography would fall under the category of clerical sexual abuse of minors.  In 2009, the Vatican determined that any instance of a priest downloading child pornography from the Internet would be a form of serious abuse that a bishop must report to the doctrinal congregation, which oversees cases of sexual abuse.  In addition, the revisions will make clear that abuse of mentally disabled adults will be considered equivalent to abuse of minors. In the law on the sexual abuse of minors, the term "minors" will include "persons of who suffer from permanent mental disability," sources said.

When Pope John Paul II promulgated the norms on priestly sex abuse in 2001, he gave the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith juridical control over such cases.The revisions incorporate changes made by Pope John Paul in 2003; those simplified some of the procedures and gave the doctrinal congregation the power, in some "very grave and clear cases," to laicize without an ecclesiastical trial priests who have sexually abused minors.

In April, the Vatican placed online a guide to understanding the church's provisions for sex abuse cases. That guide mentioned the revisions under preparation and said those revisions would not change the basic procedures already in place. The sources said the Vatican was not preparing to publish other documents on priestly sex abuse. Although some have argued that some of the strict sex abuse norms adopted by U.S. bishops in 2002 should be universalized, the sources said there was no imminent plan to do that.  Pope John Paul's 2001 document distinguished between two types of "most grave crimes," those committed in the celebration of the sacraments and those committed against morals. Among the sacramental crimes were such things as desecration of the Eucharist and violation of the seal of confession.

Under the new revisions, the "attempted ordination of women" will be listed among those crimes, as a serious violation of the sacrament of holy orders, informed sources said. As such, it will be handled under the procedures set up for investigating "delicta graviora" under the control of the doctrinal congregation.  In 2008, the doctrinal congregation formally decreed that a woman who attempts to be ordained a Catholic priest and the person attempting to ordain her are automatically excommunicated. In 1994, Pope John Paul said the church's ban on women priests is definitive and not open to debate among Catholics.  --CNS

Bryan Cones at US Catholic comments: "It is an outrage to pair the two, a complete injustice to connect the aspirations of some women among the baptized to ordained ministry with what are some of the worst crimes that can be committed against the least of Christ's members.”

James Martin, SJ

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Peter Lakeonovich
7 years 5 months ago
Good work out of the Vatican.
Dale Rodrigue
7 years 5 months ago
I've given up hope that there is anyone in the Vatican that can show evidence for brain waves.

Bryan Cones at US Catholic comments: ''It is an outrage to pair the two.

I wholeheartedly agree.

If it involves women and sex, the church leaderships two biggest neuroses, then they consider it ''delicta graviora''.

Any 6th grader can tell you pairing the two will be viewed critically.

Keep rearranging those chairs on the Titanic.
James Lindsay
7 years 5 months ago
You know change is imminent on ordaining women when the old bulls up the ante. Their time will soon be over and there will not only be discussion, but action. Ratcheting up the rhetoric won't help them escape the inevitability of their own demise.
Winifred Holloway
7 years 5 months ago
I agree with Dale and Michael.  Truly, they do not know what they do.  They're in that hole and they just keep digging. Pairing these items together in this way is outrageous. 
John Stehn
7 years 5 months ago
No surprise that regular readers of America would sympathize with Mr. Cones over at US Protestant.  If you want priestesses, then by all means head on over to the ever-shrinking Protestant sects that will accommodate you.  Better hurry though, because the priestesses and bishop-ettes don’t seem to be able to keep their “faith communities” from going the way of the dinosaurs.  This whole issue will soon disappear, as soon as the Catholic baby-boomers move on, and younger Catholics like myself start to mop up the mess that was made after Vatican II.  
Simulating a Sacrament is an act of violence against Our Lord, who is the Author of the Sacraments, and of disobedience the authority of his Vicar on Earth.  That is a “delicta graviora” if there ever was one!
 
Tamzin Simmons
7 years 5 months ago
I'm in disbelief. While I applaud the attempts to clarify Canon Law re: the sexual abuse of minors, the codification of the attempted ordination of women among the 'delicta graviora' seems at best ill-advised and at worst, downright insulting to women.
I realise the Roman Catholic Church has a long history of opposition to the concept of ordaining women for various reasons. I'm not trying to contradict that here. (I don't actually believe the Catholic Church is ready at this point for the ordination of women, however much anyone might wish otherwise...) I also understand the need in such a large institution for efficient codification of laws and guidelines, but I really wish that the Vatican would carry out their codifications and clarifications differently...
It seems to me (although I'm not a canonist so have no idea what arguments can be made for putting the two things into the same legal category) that the attempted ordination of women is a minor problem of ecclesiastical discipline compared to the sexual abuse of minors which is a grave sin against the dignity of the human person.
 
Vince Killoran
7 years 5 months ago
John writes that "If you want priestesses, then by all means head on over to the ever-shrinking Protestant sects that will accommodate you" but I wasn't clear about his point:  does he have evidence that there is a causal link between the ordination of women and the drop in church attendance?  Except for the Catholic Church & religious extremist of all faiths(Islam, Jewish, Christian, et al.) which denominations forbid the ordination/ministry of women? I understand that many evangelical Christian congregations permit this.
 
As for the "whole issue will soon disappear" I'm sorry but the polls show that younger Catholics support women's ordination.
Dale Rodrigue
7 years 5 months ago
Jesus COMMANDED that we love one another.  The two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor. Right from the mouth of God.
When I hear the so called ''young catholics'' who claim they are faithful to the church, sacraments, vicar of Christ but who cannot wait for other Catholics to move on and their lack of love toward their neighbor then I question their traditional conservative ''Mel Gibson'' type of nasty faith. 
I am reminded of the above command of Christ and how far off they have strayed.  Faithful to the church but unfaithful to Christ.  Some fruit of their labor.
 
John Stehn
7 years 5 months ago
There have been numerous polls showing that, world-wide, Protestantism is shrinking.  Those sects that ordain women and open homosexuals are shrinking the fastest.  Whole groups of Anglicans are in negotiations with the Holy See, in anticipation of entering the Roman Catholic Church, the one “ark of Salvation”.  The tipping point has been, as I understand it, the counter-Scriptural positions that the Anglicans have taken on women’s ordination (particularly Episcopal ordinations) and homosexual acts.  The Roman Catholic Church will never ordain women because it has no authority to do so.  In the history of the Church, it will be a short-lived error, due to the fact that it is a non-issue, like arguing with a mathematician if 1+1=3.  Jump up and down all you want, and call the mathematician all the names that you can, he will still tell you that you are wrong.  It is also a generational error.  It finds the greatest traction with older Catholics.  Younger Catholic women are much more orthodox than their elders.  They chose to be homemakers rather than business women, and natural family planning over contraception, etc.. 
How can anyone who encourages, directly or indirectly, those poor souls who fall into this women’s ordination trap claim to “love” their neighbor.  After all, to love, as St. Thomas teaches, is to “will the good of another”.  By encouraging this evil, you are willing the exact opposite of their good. 
 
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 5 months ago
Any midset that puts child abuse and women's ordination in the same bin is very psychologically distant from a normal mindset.  It is institutional thinking at its worst.  ANd it's an an attempt to smear women's ordination with the filth of pedophilia.  Documents like these make me wish interstellar travel were already possiible, so I could be a Catholic in some other star system far away from the Vatican.
 
Peter Lakeonovich
7 years 5 months ago
John Stehn, you are the salt of the earth.  Thank you for having the courage, as a younger Catholic, to speak the truth, and to confidently defend your faith and your Chruch amidst all the noise in here.
"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  You are the salt of the earth."
John Stehn
7 years 5 months ago
Tamzin:  Don't you hate that, when someone asks you for something that you have seen so many times, and you just don't have it at your fingertips?  Anyway, I found this pretty quick:
 
http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=bdb2b64e-9663-4921-972a-fb792964b8bd&p=1
 
This type of information is all over the web.  They're contracepting themselves right out of existence!
Homemaking is not the THE determinant in whether or not a young Catholic woman is orthodox, but is is part of a trend that has been growing for some time now, particularly since the have the miserable example of so many woman that bought into the whole "liberation" lie and chose careers over family who, now in their 50's are desperately looking to artificial means to have children.  Look at the more traditional and orthodox orders of women religious (who are not in trouble with the Holy See).  They have large numbers of young women entering as novices precisely because they are orthodox.
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 5 months ago
Stay-at-home wives are a luxury these days.  Both spouses must work to support the family, to survive.  It's a fact of our modern ubercapitalist system.  As far as those of my baby boom generation are concerned, where the husbands had good jobs, the women stayed home and raised the kids and they DID have kids.  Most of my friends were catholic but, at the same time, they didn't present as EWTNkopfs.
Vince Killoran
7 years 5 months ago
Easy with the over-the-top compliments Pete: it doesn't take that much "courage" to participate in a blog. It reminds me of when callers phone in to right-wing talk radio and the host and caller congratulate each other for being "a great American."
 
John must have sent us all the wrong link because the article proves absolutely none of his claims.  This EDMONTON JOURNAL article was about the declining numbers in Canada's Anglican Church. This is not news.
 
This much is true: there is a small but vocal group of young conservative Catholics who have-through raw self-assertion-taken it upon themselves to speak for all Catholics under 40.  


 
I was asking for empirical studies that support your assertions that younger Catholics support, more strongly than older Catholics do, the Church's refusal to ordain women. The world-wide shrinking of Protestant denominations is news to me but seems off-point.  I would argue that calling the emergence of gender equality in the last half-century "a miserable lie" is downright insulting. In 1960 women did not have equal pay, they were marginalized in higher education, there were no laws banning sexual harassment, they needed to secure their husband's signature for a credit card, etc. etc. 
 
 
Angela Murphy
7 years 5 months ago
This report truly saddens.  As a woman, I am offended that women's ordination is placed in the same category as pedophilia.   I know that the ordination of women is extremely controversial.  But, to place this on the same paralell as a true crime against humanity is beyond any semblance of reason.   There is a real sexism in Rome that flies in the face of the command of Jesus that we love one another.
John Stehn
7 years 5 months ago
Sorry Vince, but I was (courageously) responding to Tamzin with that survey about Protestants.  Search Google, studies like it are all over the place.
 
As far as young orthodoxy, Colleen Carroll's "The New Faithful" is a good place to start. It covers all "Christians", including the evangelical faith communities.  And I know Georgetown has done studies regarding younger priests, as well as younger laymen and women, being more orthodox that their elder piers.
 
I have never seen any study that targets the issue of women's ordination like you are asking for.  But the orthodoxy of the younger Catholics tells me that they will accept the solemn judgement of the Church on the matter, regardless of what they think.  After all, if they are willing to accept the solemn judgment of the Church on something as personal as contraception, then women's ordination is a no brainer.  Right?  I mean this is really a baby boomer issue.  I don't know of anyone who even talks about this issue.  We talk about how to bring back the pre-Concilliar triumphalism and how to teach ourselves Latin!
 
Regarding "the lie", check out "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children", by Sylvia Hewlett.  It caused quite a stir among feminists when it debuted in 2002.
Pax tecum!
Vince Killoran
7 years 5 months ago
I now see that Pete & you meant to be humorous with the "courageous" comment. Funny stuff. I think I missed your comedic use because, when I was younger, that label was applied to individuals who put their livelihood and lives on the line to defend a just cause. We used it sparingly back then.
 
Thanks for your references to the Carroll piece. I have no doubt that there is a vanguard of young conservative Catholics-I see them in my own parish. They are enthusiastic, arrogant, and sometimes intolerant. I just chalk that up to being young. The ones that gather to talk in excited tones about the Tridentine Mass remind me of Civil War re-enactors. 
 
My question is: how much of the under-40 Catholic population do they represent? According to the studies I have seen (e.g., the 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life data) the answer is: not a majority. Maybe some other, more knowledgeable, bloggers can jump in and elevate our discussion past anecdotal stories and articles.
 
I know all about the Hewlett book (and many others).  There is a long and fierce debate on the issue.  My problem is both with the glib way your dismiss working women and the assertion that having a career means rejecting one's family.
 
This post is too long which means it's time for me to take a break and read what others have to say.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
If Catholics had any doubt that "evil" is running the Church. all they need to do is check out the lastest supposed declaration that ordination of a woman is equal to the illness of pedophilia.
7 years 5 months ago
David,
 
Young traditionalists are not asking for people to "change the Church my way."  Instead, they are asking for faithfulness to the Church - a request may progressives on this blog will only adhere to if their demands for acceptance of homosexual acts, female ordination etc. etc. are granted.
 
Great posts by John Stehn - very eloquent and substantive.
 
I agree that there is a large, organized grassroot movement of young Catholics striving to return to our traditions - and it seems that progressive clerics and older parishners (who are set and very comfortable in their ways - i.e., their power) seem determined to disrupt a union between Pope Benedict and us...
 
To bad that Truth, time and the Church are on our side.
7 years 5 months ago
"God never does things without good reasons, even when these reasons escape or elude us who—would you believe—sometimes want to instruct God".-John Hardon SJ
7 years 5 months ago
The mainline Protestant churches may have declining numbers, but so does the Catholic church.  According to the Pew Forum ...
 
"[...]  Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic."   ....  http://religions.pewforum.org/reports
 
Women's ordination ....
"Women Bishops:  A Response to Cardinal Kasper" by NT Wright ..... http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2006/20060721kasper.cfm?doc=126
 
"Why Not?  Scripture, history & women's ordination"  by Robert Egan SJ ...... http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_7_135/ai_n29481721/
 
Spiritual director William A Barry SJ on women's ordiantion ..... http://povcrystal.blogspot.com/2007/11/william-barry-sj-women-and-ordiantion.html
Tamzin Simmons
7 years 5 months ago
Thank you, belatedly, John, for your (very promptly supplied) link to that article. An interesting read but still didn't establish the causal link that you implied. I suspect there are very many causal links as to the shrinkage of certain Protestant Churches.
Regarding the trend you spoke of about the occupations of Catholic women, I can't speak for what goes on in the USA, but I don't particularly see that trend in the UK. There are young Catholic married women who stay at home when they have young children, equally, some choose to continue working, and I don't think the distinction between them can be drawn along ideological lines. Regarding your comment about the Religious life and the 'orthodox' orders of nuns and sisters who are not in trouble with the Vatican, I think there needs to be care taken not to define orthodox as merely not currently in trouble with the Vatican. (Btw, I'm not saying you were doing that, only that it is a temptation...) I'm reminded here of the example of St. Teresa of Avila, who had her fair share of trouble with the hierarchy in her lifetime, yet now she is venerated as a Doctor of the Church and a figure of unimpeachable orthodoxy.
Crystal, I read some of the article by Robert Egan that you linked to-fascinating, thank you for providing the link-I'll finish reading it later.
Brett, how easy it is always to appropriate to ourselves the noblest motives...You said that young traditionalists are asking for nothing but faithfulness to the Church. Progressives, young and old would say the same thing. It depends on the form we see that faithfulness taking. There is always an element, for all of us, we're human, of wanting to change the Church 'my' way, but although we are called to love the Church as the Body of Christ, we cannot afford to idolise either the Church or our own conceptions of it because to do so would mean that we do not love God as we ought.
I'm in my mid-twenties, and a committed Catholic, but speaking personally, I'm much less bothered about an ideological union with Pope Benedict, much as I admire him and his love for the Church, than I am about adhering to Christ. (I should add that I do that very imperfectly.)
I apologise for the length of this post...
 
 
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
In my 40 years of ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, there has never been a time when I could confidently and boldly declare that ''justice'' and ''service'' were the Church's hallmarks.  The latest moronic declarations from Rome about women's ordination are the icing on the cake.  There isn't a single religous order, bishops' conference, or clerical institute that has ''gotten things right.''  For example, I sat in on a meeting a while back with a clergy abuse victim and the NY Province of the Jesuits.  I am the victim's advocate.  When I asked the Jesuit in charge of sexual abuse allegations when the victim can begin therapy on the Jesuit's dime, he told me, ''That's not the way we do things.  We don't offer therapy after an allegation is made.''  When I expressed my shock and dismay at such an insensitive policy (one that even the US Bishops would think is unfair), the Jesuit simply blew me off.  The victim to this day has never been offered therapy even though the Jesuits discussed a financial settlement wtih the victim.   
Therapy is the key to healing for abuse victims, and the NY Province of the Jesuits, unlike their brothers in Chicago, for example, do not offer even the basics of recovery when an allegation is reported.  So, let's not think that the Vatican is the only place from which moronic policies are promulgated.
It's time, I think, to dismantle the whole clerical operation and begin anew, perhaps with women in the lead.  They couldn't do any worse than the men.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
Brett Joyce:  Did I read your entry correctly?  You claim that young traditionalists want to be faithful to the Church?  And you interpret being faithful to the Church as being opposed to homosexuality and women's ordination?  Unfortunately, what these young traditionalists are being faithful to when they condemn homosexuality and women's ordination is the Papacy and not Jesus Christ.  Especially in this day and age, the two are mutually exclusive, and they have always been mutually exclusive (sorry to burst your bubble about the Pope automatically being "just like Christ").  There is little coming from the Vatican that speaks of the Gospel and Jesus Christ.  So, if young traditionalists wish to be "faithful" to the Church, they had better focus on the life and works of Jesus, not the lives of Popes, Cardinals, and Bishops, most of whom have little or no connection to Jesus at the present time.  How do I know?  Well, a Pope who is truly following the lead of Jesus would "never" consider a woman who is ordained a priest in the same category as a priest who sexually assaults a child.  Jesus was very clear about mistreatment of children and the penalty for such (a millstone tied around one's neck and the person is then heaved into the depths of the sea).  On the other hand, Jesus had women disciples with him all the time, and many had the same powers of teaching and healing that he had.  Check the record!   
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 5 months ago
I prefer to go back 2000 years to the 150 or 450 of the so-called traditionalists.  There was a lot going on after Vatican II that felt as if we had.  There was life.  The thing is, you can never go back.  The Church of the 50's was quite alive, too.  However, the desire to reconstruct what was is not healthy.  It would be like me, a 61 year old man, trying to be the 20 year old I once was.  It would take massive brain damage to do that, forgetting all that happened in the meantime.
Having been a lifelong Catholic, the present efforts to reverse Vaican II seem like an effort to attain such an amnesia.  The so-called reforms will reconstruct something that looks like the Church in the 50's, but without the life of it, a simulacrum.  Life proceeds through time, and can only go forward.
John Stehn
7 years 5 months ago
Stanley:  Not to reverse Vatican II but, for the first time since the Council, to implement it properly and in continuity with the Tradition of the Church.  That is what John XXIII wanted.  That is what Paul VI wanted.  And that is what Benedict XVI is doing.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
John Stehn:  You believe the current Pope is trying to implement Vatican II?  Are you serious?  The evidence is right before you.  Do you need more proof than Benedict's disdain for collaborative leadership and subsidiarity (one of Vatican II's principle accompplishments), his desire to face the wall when he says Mass in Latin, and his mistreatment of women's gifts.  These three items alone would disqualify him from induction into the "Papal Hall of Fame,"  Benedict is and has been an abject disaster.
7 years 5 months ago
Bob, while I enjoy your creative revisions and personal interpretations of the Gospels - they are just that, biased personal musings.
 
Jesus Christ came to FULFILL Jewish law not to destroy it:
 
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
 
Jewish law was very specific about volations against the law of God and homosexual acts was one of these violations...
 
As for ordainded women - Christ placed 12 apostles to preach to the world and they were all men - just as Christ himself was a man.
 
I am sorry that the revelation of the Gospels is inconvienent for your particular brand of "social justice" - but that is the truth.  As John said above, once the set-in-their-ways baby-boomers are out of the way, the youth can deal with their decadence and misdirection of the church...
 
PS - Benedict was a leading figure in Vatican II and understands/implements the true spirit of the council - as opposed to the perversions of it.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
It amazes me, Brett, that in 2010, people are still arguing against homosexuality by quoting Scripture.  Did you know, Brett, that the Old Testament approves of slavery?  Are you in favor of slavery because it is in the Old Testament?  You are STILL arguing in 2010 that only men can be priests because the 12 apostles were men?  Brett, Jesus did not call the 12 apostles priests.  Jesus did not institute a formal priesthood, so maybe we should get rid of the institution known as priesthood and return to Jesus' idea that we are all "disciples" and "followers" and NO ONE should lord it over anyone else.  Did you read this weekend that even the Presbyterian Church is recognizing homosexuals as people?  And numerous Christian sects are ordaining women.  I suppose you would call them renegades...or worse?
Brett, if you found out that several Popes were homosexual, womanizers. adulterers, pedophiles, thieves, marauders, and the like, would that change your mind?  Because many Popes wer 
7 years 5 months ago
Bob, comparing slavery and acts of homosexuality is like comparing apples and oranges!  Homosexual acts, like the act of adultery, were acts of personal morality that were specifically outlawed under Jewish prophecy and law.
 
There is truth and right and wrong in human behavior/society.  Progressives only think only in terms of individual rights - not in terms of God-given laws against infractions that harm humanity and society as a whole.  Progressive relativism is willful disobedience in the name of "tolerance" or "equality." 
 
We are no longer fooled...
 
PS - those with homosexual attraction are, first and foremost, children of God and they are NOT defined by sexuality alone as you wish to do.  The Church, as has always been said, condems the sin but still loves the sinner...
 
PS - I know about the history of the popes - they are human beings occupying a divine office, so it is not something new.
7 years 5 months ago
PS - I recommend a book called "The New Fundamentalists" by Daniel Brandenburg (LC) to anyone interested in understanding and fighting against modern/progressive attacks on philosophy and the traditional understanding of human nature.
 
Regarding Fr. Martin's last post, it should be said that the "new clericalism and new fundamentalism" is of liberal origins, btw.  "Tolerance" is is obtained by leveling all human associations that limit individual actions (i.e. tolerance is obtained by attacking and destroying traditional Chrisitan morality and anyone who subscribes to it)
 
Again, look at the court ruling in CLS v Martinex for the most recent attack on religious traditional association in the name of "tolerance" and the supremecy of the individual.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
Brett:  Comparing slavery and acts of homosexuality is like comparing apples and oranges....mmmm.....so you admit that all of these issues are open to interpretation on an individual basis?  So, homosexuality may be fine. according to the "apple" or "orange" you are comparing? 
 
7 years 5 months ago
Nope, Bob, both are immoral.
 
I am saying that you are trying to compare the two without appropriate historical and social contexts in regards to the scriptures.  Slavery was an immoral economic system prevalent arcoss the world during this period.  Homosexuality was immoral personal/social act.
 
In any case, both are still wrong - and I have a feeling that I am arguing with a modern Sophist.
7 years 5 months ago
Jesus did not institute a formal priesthood says Mr. Hoatson. Really?????. I am sure the Bishop of Rome would be intersted to know this.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
So, there are historical and social contexts for some of the ''practices and traditions'' mentioned in Scripture?  Why would Scripture consider slavery to be an acceptable practice and homosexuality not?  Could it be that there were societal and historical reasons for such?  And, in 2010, we are much more ''informed'' about sensitive and fair treatment of our fellow human beings?  What would you do, Brett, if one of your children annouced to you that he or she were gay?  Would you tell him or her that you will love them as long as they have the ''condition,'' but your love would end if he/she were sexually active? 
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
Maria:  The Bishop of Rome appears not to have any desire to be educated about much of anything.  If he did, the Church might be energized and attractive to all those who are fleeing in great numbers.
Jim McCrea
7 years 5 months ago
I personally don't believe that women or married men should be ordained until the current clericalist mindset simply dies out.  THEN  and only then can the church/people of God devise a better more service-oriented structure that is collaborative, humble and not prone to set-aside attitudes, appearance and behavior.  Then married and single people of both genders can bring a new fresh approach to what has become unworkable.
 
In the meantime I'm sure that the remaining clergy and laity can find some way of hastening the invevitable.
Jim McCrea
7 years 5 months ago
Brett:  Even Unholy Unmother the Former Church doesn't say that homosexuality is immoral.  By making that statement you are conflating alleged behavior with being.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 5 months ago
To those who are arguing here against women's ordination: would you be in favor of the Church making women cardinals?  There is no reason the Church could no tdo this: it's something that does not touch on doctrine, but only on Church practice/discipline.  The position of cardinal is not sacramental, was not instituted by Christ, etc., and in the past, there were a few non-ordained cardinals; we could change canon law to allow it.  Why not allow female cardinals?
 
Better yet, why not have ONLY female cardinals, such that popes would be elected solely by women?  It's often said that many people who support women's ordination are sadly confused, and suffer under the mindset that the Church is denying power or equality to women, whereas the priesthood is not about power, but about service.  Well, what better way for Holy Mother Church to demonstrate that to the world, than by having male priests and bishops surrender the power to select popes, and give that entirely to women cardinals?  After all, men and women are different, and complement each other: what could be more complementary than a system in which women, in their unique feminine genius, become the ones who select the male pope, while the male pope selects the female cardinals?  In fact, perhaps the cardinals (all women) could be put in charge of deciding who will be made bishop as well. 
 
Let's also not forget that it is part of women's unique feminine genius to be nurturing, to create a home, etc.  So how fitting and most profitable to the Church it would be if the bishops and male ex-cardinals could give their mansions to the female cardinals as the ideal home to live in?  (That is, unless we were to do something else, such as selling those mansions before daring to close a single Catholic school.)  That's not to say that the bishop could not live in that home too - after all, who's going to do the female cardinal's laundry?  Surely not a nun, as it has often been, since that wouldn't be complementary: why, it should be the male bishop who looks after the female cardinal, or at least a male priest or brother.  After all, the priesthood and episcopacy are about serving; it is the misguided nature of radical feminism that sees everything in terms of power which would say otherwise.  And since bishops love nothing more than serving, why could they not serve the female cardinals by cleaning their bathrooms?
 
Obviously what I've said above is dripping with irony and satire, and as I look at it, I see that it may unfairly tar all bishops with the same brush; some are very much about serving, etc.  But anyway, while certainly I used irony and satire, I am indeed very serious about making female cardinals, and I think it actually could be a very good idea to entrust the power of selecting popes and bishops entirely to an all-female college of cardinals.
 
If the teaching on not ordaining women is really not about power, and is really not about denying equality between men and women, then what possible reason could there be not to make female cardinals?
 
Let me close this post by also registering my disgust at the pairing of attempted women's ordination with clerical sex abuse.  Regardless of how you feel about women's ordination, what idiot came up with the public relations disaster of treating these two issues at the same time?  Is that going to help us re-evangelize the west?  Also - I really do think that Benedict is fundamentally a good and holy man, not to mention a brilliant scholar: but please, someone explain to me why he has chosen to make women's ordination a "delicta graviora," while also choosing to allow Cardinal Law to be at St. Mary Major, not to mention a member of the Congregations for the Oriental Churches,  for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for Bishops, for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the Clergy, for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and for Catholic Education?  Can someone explain why Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, held dissenting theologians accountable, but as pope has not done the same for Cardinal Law?  Why was prayer and penance not enough for Roger Haight? (I disagree with Haight, but still.)  And can someone explain how our new efforts to re-evangelize Europe are going to explain that to people? 
John Stehn
7 years 5 months ago
Brendan:  The 600 pound gorilla standing between your feminist fantasy about women Cardinals and reality is the testimony of Holy Scripture (1 Corinthians 14:34, Timothy 2:11-12) and the Magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Both the proximate and remote rules of Faith are unanimous and firm on this.  Pope John Paul II’s letter on this is crystal clear. The Church is faithful to Christ’s teaching, and She has no authority whatsoever to deviate from this solemn teaching.  Like I said earlier, cry, scream, pout, insult…it doesn’t matter.  Because 1+1 will never equal 3.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 5 months ago
John - I think you might be misunderstanding what I mean by female cardinals: I don't mean ordaining women; being a cardinal is something distinct from Holy Orders.  The priesthood, episcopacy, and papacy are divinely established and pertain to doctrine; the cardinalate is not.  It is technically possible, were canon law to be changed back to the way it used to be, for someone to be a cardinal without being ordained.  I.e., the use of the college of cardinals as a means of selecting the pope is a matter of Church discipline/practice, not doctrine; it can be changed, just as it was changed to establish the system of the cardinals selecting the pope in the first place.  It would be perfectly possbible to establish a system whereby the pope chose a group of women who would be the ones responsible for selecting who would be the next pope, who would be ordained a bishop, etc. 
Brendan McGrath
7 years 5 months ago
Oops, sorry; I guess I forgot to add my last name to the previous post.
Stephen SCHEWE
7 years 5 months ago
Brendan,
Irony aside, I love the idea of making women cardinals.  As you point out, the office evolved in the Middle Ages, so there's no Biblical precedent.  The current canon laws restricting the franchise to priests and bishops is less than 100 years old; apparently, there was a cardinal from a minor order (in effect, a lay cardinal) as late as 1899.  What else could be done to decentralize power in the Church and broaden leadership?
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 5 months ago
Women cardinals, lay cardinals, either one would break the incestuous feedback loop we have going now.  It would be great.  Of course, the chances of this happening are nil.  Outside the incestuous feedback loop there is no salvation.
7 years 5 months ago
Fr. Hardon tell us: "His authority is called the papal primacy. This means that he has supreme authority to teach and govern the universal Church. This authority is not merely nominal, but real. It is not merely honorary, but binding in conscience on everyone who belongs to the Catholic Church...Christ waited until the end of the first century before He solemnly declared that His Church rests on visible authority which is the papal primacy. Since the close of the first century, this has been the final test of whether a person who calls himself a Christian is also Catholic. Every break in Catholic unity has been based on the rejection of the papacy...There is nothing on earth that is more desperately needed to reunite Christendom than to recognize the Pope as the Vicar of Christ on earth".
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
Maria:  You actually believe that your Catholicism rests in recognizing the Papacy?  How about the Popes who were married, pedophiles, womanizers, fathers, etc?  We are not obliged to follow anyone who is not following the Gospel. 
This is the kind of thinking that created the Holocaust! 
7 years 5 months ago
"This is the kind of thinking that created the Holocaust!"
 
Bob you sound like a crazy person, honestly...how about taking a break and getting some fresh air?
 
PS - the Chair of Saint Peter was established by Christ...and the human problems that have come and gone over the years in no way changes this fact.
7 years 5 months ago
I acknowledge the Vicar of Christ. I subordinaete my will and and honor his authority to teach and govern the people of God. The capacity to assent to Papal Primacy is a litmus test and aptly described by Hardon SJ as the final test separating those who call themselves Catholic from those who do not . This is what we believe.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 5 months ago
Maria - I agree with the substance of the quote from Fr. Hardon, though I dislike its style and tone, and am puzzled by the line about how Jesus "waited until the end of the first century," etc.  I also think the passage needs to be qualified (as perhaps it is in the original source) to allow for a person to disobey the pope if the pope told them to do something sinful, such as covering up the sexual abuse of children.  I would also want it to be acknowledged that, as Bob said, there are popes who have been "pedophiles, womanizers, fathers," etc. and who have not followed the Gospel - but that since we are not Donatists, such sin is not an obstacle to the Holy Spirit's working through such popes (and the Church as a whole) in infallibility, doctrinal authority (as opposed to corrupt policy-making authority, such as living in mansions while closing Catholic schools), the sacraments, etc.
 
I would also point out that one can agree whole-heartedly with the quote from Fr. Hardon and still support the creation of female cardinals as I suggested.
robert hoatson
7 years 5 months ago
And what if the Vicar of Christ is corrupt?  Do you follow evil?  No wonder we can't get the laity to condemn clergy sexual abuse en masse.
 

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