Vatican III?

So, opening up my NZ Catholic the other day for a quiet, post-Mass Sunday read, I was overjoyed to see that a local lay Catholic has called for a new Ecumenical Council.  How wonderful to see the flowering of well-formed, theologically literate lay people in our midst.

And the forum for this conciliar call, I hear you ask?  Not in a private letter to the bishop, no – nor in a parish bulletin even – but at the graduation ceremony for Good Shepherd College, our local theological institute (the one of some repute) in Auckland, on 3 June.  Mrs (Ms?) Nadja Tollemache (an ombudsman – our first female one, apparently) was the guest speaker.

So the article says, she began by speaking about the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as the result of which women got to have a bigger role in society.  Disappointingly for Nadja, this has not been reflected in the liturgy (which of course does not reflect society, but I digress).  You see, they don’t get to do enough, it seems.  This is, of course, silly.  In the brave new church of the 21st century, where women can be anything from servers to EMOHCs, with everything in between (literally – lectors, ushers, sacristans, cleaners, porters, flute-tooters, representatives of the apostles on Holy Thursday even), this complaint sounds hollow.  One wonders whether she believes it herself.  But, naturally, this leads into the tired old chestnut:

She read out the first conclusion of the theological reflection group convened by Bishop John Mackey in 1990, which requested the New Zealand bishops keep alive the reflection on the ordination of women.

Of course.  What an excellent moment to bring this one up.  A captive audience, the bishop there, a number of monsignori – an excellent opportunity to rail against chauvinism and misogyny to your heart’s content.  It isn’t that women don’t get to do enough, they don’t get to be the circus ringleaders of the parish liturgies (unless they’re lucky enough to be in the Wellington, Palmerston North, or remoter parts of the Auckland, dioceses).

But it didn’t end there.  The article tells us:

But an elephant in the room, that the Church has shied away from, is the issue of population, especially with increasing costs of fuel threatening modern methods of food production and distribution, she said.

An elephant?  Does she mean there are others?  How many has she identified?  How big is this room, and if there are that many elephants how comfortable can they be?  What are the other elephants concerned with?  Maybe Catholic schooling, although she didn’t get onto that.  Maybe liturgical abuse, and it seems she got onto that in her own way.  But population was mentioned…looks like HV is in the firing line then.

But what I like best is the beautifully vague and senseless conclusion:

We probably need a new Vatican II-type council to take a fresh look at all the ethical issues that have arisen in the last half century and that is where I hope some brilliant theologians will reassess the old answers that no longer answer the new, different questions.  After all, the Church has managed to do this before.

Why would old answers answer new questions?  For goodness’ sake, the questions are probably different.  I’d love to know what these new questions are, I really would.  Holy Mother has already answered the women’s ordination one, and the birth control one – are they simply being asked in a different way?  Is that what she means?  Perhaps she just wants to change the answers, although the questions remain the same.

And why a Vatican II-type council?  What was wrong with Vatican I – you know, that one about the primacy of the pope.  Or Trent, or Ephesus, or Nicaea?  What’s really meant here is the ol’ spirit of Vatican II stuff – do what you like, primacy of conscience and subsidiarity, destruction of traditional Catholic culture, modernism rampant…brilliant, sounds like a heterodox dream.

Well, at least we can applaud the ‘courage’ it took to do this.  The bishop and clergy said nothing in response (nothing new there, although it could have been a good opportunity to reaffirm Church teaching in a few areas).

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    Comments: 21

    1. bamac June 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      Marty,

      Just two quick questions …. who would have invited Nadja to be the guest speaker ? Her opinion on a number of aspects of Church teaching must surely have been known by the Good Shepherd powers that be?

    2. Helens Bay June 29, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Marty
      Seems the good lady may have an ally in this Cardinal!
      “Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo of Lisbon, Portugal, a veteran European prelate at one point considered a contender for the papacy, reportedly has said there’s “no fundamental theological obstacle” to the ordination of women as priests in the Catholic church.

      According to the text of an interview with a legal publication in Portugal called Oa, Policarpo said that women’s ordination will happen only “when God wants it,” although not in our lifetimes, and that now is not the time to raise the question.

      “Theologically there is no fundamental obstacle,” Policarpo was quoted as saying. “We could say there’s a tradition, because it’s never been done.”

      “There’s a fundamental equality among all the members of the church,” the cardinal said. “The problem lies in a strong tradition, which comes from Jesus and from the fact that the churches of the Reformation conceded the priesthood to women.”

      Those comments were highlighted over the weekend by “Vatican Insider,” a new on-line news source on the Catholic church operated by the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

      Policarpo’s claim that there is no theological bar to women priests would seem to be at odds with various recent Vatican declarations.

      In 1994, Pope John Paul II issued the document Ordinatio sacerdotalis reaffirming the ban on women priests. A subsequent clarification released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger asserted that the teaching on “has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium,” and therefore belongs to the “deposit of faith.”

      More recently, Pope Benedict XVI referred to the teaching as “infallible” in a letter informing Australian Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese that he had been removed from office, in part for raising the question of women’s ordination in a 2006 pastoral letter.

      Policarpo also reportedly said that the debate over women’s ordination is to some extent a “false problem,” because the same young women who put the question to him usually demur when he asks if they themselves would be willing to become priests.

      Policarpo, 75, has been the Patriarch of Lisbon since 1998. Although he has reached the usual retirement age for bishops, Benedict XVI recently confirmed him in office for another two years.

      A former dean of the theology faculty at the Portuguese Catholic University, Policarpo was considered by some a dark-horse candidate for the papacy during the late John Paul years. He is generally seen as a theological and political moderate, and a bridge-builder between the church in Europe and in Latin America.”

    3. Marty Rethul June 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Helens Bay,

      thanks for the heads up. One Cardinal, as the article you provide says:

      ‘Policarpo’s claim that there is no theological bar to women priests would seem to be [try IS] at odds with various recent Vatican declarations.

      In 1994, Pope John Paul II issued the document Ordinatio sacerdotalis reaffirming the ban on women priests. A subsequent clarification released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger asserted that the teaching on “has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium,” and therefore belongs to the “deposit of faith.”

      More recently, Pope Benedict XVI referred to the teaching as “infallible” in a letter informing Australian Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese that he had been removed from office, in part for raising the question of women’s ordination in a 2006 pastoral letter.’

      Even one Cardinal can get it wrong I suppose.

    4. Helens Bay June 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Marty
      There are many more only they don`t have the fortitude to speak out!
      However I`m sure the Vatican police will have him banished as well

    5. bamac June 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Helens Bay,

      You sound as though you hope that such discenting cardinals and others are right and that the Holy Father is wrong …why? Christ gave the Keys to St Peter ( his feast day today) Christ didn’t tell Peter to get copies cut …

    6. Marty Rethul June 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      Helens Bay,

      it is a great consolation to me, and to many others I am sure, to see how well informed you appear to be.

      With how many Cardinals do you have contact of a personal enough nature for them to have divulged their personal views on this issue to you? Do tell.

      Many Cardinals can, of course, be wrong. Lots of bishops were wrong at Nicaea – up to 80% of them, apparently.

      Lastly, there is no ‘Vatican police’ as you put it. I would have thought that you, with your contacts in the curia and elsewhere, would have known that! There is the Swiss Guard, but they don’t banish people.

    7. Voice in the wilderness June 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      An interesting post Marty. It seems that Catholic institutions around the world, from Notre Dame to GSC, struggle to get good guest speakers!!

    8. Nato-pie Brown June 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Could someone tell me what the point would be in having another Ecumenical Council.

      We are still trying to get the last one implemented properly. In fact there are still things since before Vatican II which haven’t been carried out like “tra le sollecitudini”

      Instead we have things that are expressly warned against in “Mediator Dei” e.g black no longer a liturgical colour or altars being reduced to mere table forms.

      I hope this lady does not get to speak at any other important catholic events, because she clearly is not of the same mind as Holy Mother Church.

      In regard to what she said about Pope Pius XII and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, she does not take in to account the fact that the Holy Father signed a document quite different from what it is now and so she cannot accuse the Church of doing a ‘U’ turn on what it had originally said.

      Although she claims that the Church is behind the times and should catch up…I honestly think that she is the one who is behind as she is still stuck in the 70s. Times have changed lady. I think one would find that the youth of today are more rigorous than ever about the need to “hold fast to the truths which have been taught” – Casti Conubii

    9. AndyM June 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      I think it’s glaringly obvious something needs to be done to censure this woman. She must gently and with charity brought to understand the truth of things.

    10. bamac June 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      AndyM,

      We all wish that this could happen … how would you suggest that it be done? It has never worked here on BF when it comes to trying to show someone that the feminist outlook is a no-no when it comes to women priests and the like…. Chris would never be convinced and neither I feel sure , would Nadja.

      shalom

    11. Helens Bay June 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      Barmac
      Christ didn`t tell Peter there could not be women priests.
      And by the way the Cardinal is not Dissenting merely giving his theological opinion.
      Marty
      No the swiss guards are pretty cool I had my photo taken with one last time I was there.
      Its the backroom boys you have to worry about,the glamour boys in robes.

    12. bamac June 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Helens Bay,

      You are right about Christ not telling Peter that there could not be women priests ( that is as far as it is not on record but then we dont know what else He might have told Peter that is not recorded for there must have been many things said that aren’t). However Christ did say to Peter ” What YOU bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven “and that responsibility has been passed down to the Popes who followed Peter through all the generations since …we have been told by Our Holy Father that there wont be women priests so that shoud be the end of the matter for us surely.

    13. Chris Sullivan June 30, 2011 at 8:50 am

      have been told by Our Holy Father that there wont be women priests

      Well, no, that wasn’t exactly what the Holy Father taught doctrinally.

      What he taught doctrinally in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was a different thing – that the Church lacks the authority to ordain women priests.

      There are plenty of things which we once lacked authority to do which we now have the authority to do. Not requiring converts to be circumcised would be one of them. The Holy Spirit blows where the Holy Spirit wills.

      If God grants this authority to the Church then there could one day be women priests, but only if a future Pope defines that dogmatically.

      The position of Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, of Cardinal Carlo Martini in his recent book http://faithfulmilwaukeecatholic.blogspot.com/2008/06/cardinal-martini-calls-for-women-and.html, of Cardinal George of Chicago, and of the MANY bishops who have said similar things, is entirely in line with John Paul II’s non-infallible definition Ordinatio Sacredotalis.

      The key of Peter which locks the ordination of women is also the key which has the power to unlock it.

      God Bless

    14. Marty Rethul June 30, 2011 at 10:02 am

      There was always the chance that Chris Sullivan would come in (despite having been asked to stay away so that he doesn’t expose his woolly thinking).

      Chris, you are incorrect on this. It’s doctrinal. Of course you won’t accept that, because in order to justify your opinion on priestesses you have to hold onto your error with regard to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

      I repeat, the theological opinion of some, even Cardinals, can be – and manifestly is in this case – wrong.

    15. bamac June 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Helens Bay,

      In #4 you stated that there were many more cardinals that felt that way only they lacked the fortitude to speak out…. if they never spoke out how do you personally know that they wanted to anyway?

      It always fascinates me when people start playing statistics and talk about the number of unreported cases … it is , to me, like pulling the proverbial bunny out of the hat ….Surely one can never prove an argument with unprovable statistics?

    16. and another thing June 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Noooo bamac, you don’t understand. At Vatican IV they declared that people are telepathic and at Vatican V they declared that was always the case, proving it by telepathically telling Being Frank commentors in the past.

    17. Chris Sullivan June 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      Here’s a few more 19th Century Cardinals we could add to the collection.

      http://www.womenpriests.org/mrpriest/bishops.asp

      And two Popes :

      In 1872 a work appeared by Msgr. Van den Berghe, “Marie et le Sacerdoce”. The author received a letter of congratulation for it from Pope Pius IX on August 25, 1873. Pope Pius IX also approved the title Virgo Sacerdos.

      On May 9, 1906, Saint Pius X gave an indulgence of 300 days to a very beautiful prayer in which Mary was called Virgo Sacerdos and declared full of whatsoever in dignity and grace is given by the sacrament of Holy Orders.

      O Mary, Mother of Mercy,
      Mother and Daughter of Him who is the Father of mercies
      and the God of all consolation (1),
      Dispensatrix of all the treasures of thy Son (2),
      Minister of God (3),
      Mother of Christ, our High Priest,
      thou who art both Offerer and Altar together, (4),
      Immaculate Temple of the Word of God (5),
      Teacher of the Apostles and Disciples of Christ (6),
      protect the Supreme Pontiff,
      intercede for us and for our priests,
      that Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest
      may purify our consciences,
      and that we may worthily, and with loving devotion,
      approach His sacred banquet.

      O Immaculate Virgin,
      who not only hast given us Christ the heavenly bread
      for the forgiveness of sins (7),
      but who art thyself a most acceptable sacrifice offered unto God” (8),
      and the glory of priests (9),
      and who, as thy most blessed servant Saint Antoninius declares,
      “without receiving the Sacrament of Order,
      wert full of whatsoever in dignity and grace is given by it”,
      thou art therefore rightly acclaimed as “Sacerdotal Virgin” (10).
      Look upon us and upon the priests of thy Son,
      save us, purify us, and sanctify us,
      that we may receive the ineffable treasures of the Sacraments
      in a holy manner
      and so deserve to obtain
      the eternal salvation of our souls. Amen.

      Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
      Mother of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Priest, pray for us.
      Queen of the Clergy, pray for us.
      Mary, Sacerdotal Virgin, pray for us.

      http://vultus.stblogs.org/2010/06/prayer-to-mary-the-sacerdotal.html

      God Bless

    18. and another thing June 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      without receiving the Sacrament of Order,
      wert full of whatsoever in dignity and grace is given by it

      nuff said.

    19. Marty Rethul June 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      It’s funny really – by giving us this Chris you’ve confirmed our (and the Church’s) point of view.

      Mother of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Priest (but not priest herself).

      I’m sorry you can’t see this, because it must be difficult railing against Holy Mother in this way. The mental jiggery-pokery, leaps and twists involved do you no favours.

      The fact is, Chris, you are lying when you say two popes encourage priestesses. Either that, or you have seriously deluded yourself. It’s a real shame.

    20. bamac June 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Chris,

      Thank you for that prayer,it says so much ( not what you had hoped maybe ) but it does show
      what a beautiful and powerful Mother we have been given in Mary,
      so, indeed bless you for sharing it .

      Shalom

    21. fishe July 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      Can someone tell me in simple terms why woman can’t be priests?

      As in what the complex theological reasons boil down to. How the presence of a Y chromosome makes one able to be a priest, but having two X chromosomes means you can’t.