Catholic Church lacks power to ordain women

To further dialogue and a true understanding of a controversial topic, a few refinements must be made in reference to statements in the letter, “Time to stop excluding women from the priesthood.”

Admittedly, rejection of women priests by simply stating, “it is not in the divine plan” is unhelpful; better articulation is needed. While it’s probable that Pope Francis may not use such wording, any hope that he may sometime allow female priests would be unfounded. Francis is on record as maintaining the church’s stance, which is not about banning women from the priesthood on the grounds of “inferiority,” but because the church lacks the authority to ordain women – a crucial distinction.

The writer mistakenly assumes that no females were called as apostles because had Jesus “invited even one woman to be an apostle, the Hebrews would have been scandalized, and Jesus would have been arrested,” preventing fulfillment of his ministry. The Gospels clearly report that Jesus boldly challenged the status quo by teaching women, by freely traveling with them, by healing on the Sabbath and by sharing fellowship meals with sinners. Obviously, conformity to the “cultural context” didn’t hinder Jesus’ actions; so if he wanted female apostles/priests, he would have called them. Furthermore, Jesus saw his provocative activity as the very thing leading to his arrest, crucifixion, death and resurrection – the very crown of his “ministry.”

God is changeless and so is truth. In these matters, the scripturally sound approach is to take stock of what God accomplished in the past. Using that as a basis allows the church to stay true to the mind of Christ as it addresses new situations.

The Rev. Richard Poblocki

Pastor, St. Josaphat Church