Through The Static

May 29, 2008

Vatican says will excommunicate women priests

Filed under: Gargoyles,Gender,Religion — disciplepete @ 9:05 pm

The Catholic Church doesn’t allow women to be priests, and they’re trying to get the idea out of the heads of Catholics who support the ordination of women priests. We’ll see how long the Church can hold this position. I think the Church needs to also allow priests to get married; my dad actually used to be a Catholic priest, it was his first career, and he left because he had some beef with his superiors. My dad wrote a book about his experience in the Church, and if my memory serves correct, he argued that the Church forces priests to be celibate in order to exercise control over them.  That really seems to be a strong hypothesis on the face of it. Anyways, here’s some of the article about the women priest issue, from Yahoo:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests on Thursday, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication

…A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the Church’s existing ban on women priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.

Excommunication forbids those affected from receiving the sacraments or sharing in acts of public worship.

Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favor admitting women to the priesthood…

The Church says it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles. Church law states that only a baptized male can be made a priest.



  1. As a young faithful Catholic (31), I applaud this Vatican decree, and recognize it as definitive. It comes from the Pope, the chief shepherd of our Church, and therefore can not be questioned, or repudiated by any faithful Catholic.
    This might sound odd for a young person to say, but there is a growing movement in the Catholic Church, particularly among young people (less than 40), who are devoutly traditional/traditionalist Catholics and who take seriously the words of Jesus about the Pope ” Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the forces of Hell will not prevail against it…”
    Most of those who promote “women priests” in teh Catholic Church come from that era of Vatican II (1962-65) and immediatly after, when a hurricane of dissent, disobedience, and wholesale discarding of Catholic traditon swept thru the Church. The damage was tremendous….best exemplified by the “New Mass”, or “Vatican II Mass” of 1969, which threw out vitually all Catholic tradition and replaced it with a fabricated, improvised modern rite which almost immediatly backfired and caused the greatest turn away from the Catholic Faith since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Those bishops, priests, sisters, nuns and monks who still cling to the ill-concieved and badly implemented “reforms” of Vatican II, and even go way beyond what Vatican II espoused and claim all kinds of abuses and heresy (women priests etc.) as being in the “Spirit of Vatican II”, are generally in their mid to late 60’s and even older. Three good examples of radicals in the Catholic Church who defend the idea of women priests, “Sister” Joan Chittister (and a hundred thousand or so malcontent liberal femminist nuns in the USA and elsewhere in their late 60’s and 70’s or older), is 75 years of age. Fr. Tom Reese SJ, a radical liberal Jesuit whom Reuters dragged out to comment on this new Vatican decree and who predictably dismissed the Decree, is 65. Hans Kung,a Swizz priest and long the most famous radical liberal Catholic dissident is 80. Most priests who support women priests are in their late 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and older. Most lay Catholics who support the idea of women priests are pushing 60’s or older as well. Young Catholics do not support this.
    Suprisingly, they instead are more like Catholics of the 1950’s, and are deeply loyal to the Catholic Faith and it’s traditional teachings…..including a demand for the return of the traditional Latin Mass (which Benedict XVI allowed for without restriction last year).
    My suggestion for the aging Catholics who will not obey the teachings of the Church on this issue, or choose to follow their own opinions, is to leave the Catholic Church and join the Episcopal or any other Protestant Church where their inclinations and aspirations can be entertained in full.

    Comment by Kenjiro Shoda — May 30, 2008 @ 3:34 am | Reply

  2. It’s problematic when one unquestioningly follows the word of a mere mortal and allows for “tradition,” pomp and circumstance, and blind faith to not only dictate, but to ordain one’s stance as legitimate.

    Again, I feel like I’m being pulled into the gay marriage debate. “Why SURE, women should be priests, they have a RIGHT” — when, in reality, I’m not even sure if religion (as opposed to spirituality or faith) has a productive function as of now. (Freedom FROM religion, freedom FROM marriage, peoples!)

    But I do take issue with this line of argument.

    First of all, why do you think Jeebus Christ only took on male disciples? Could it be that (GASP!) sexism actually EXISTED back then? That even if, SAY, Jeebus was a “progressive” that he chose — politically — NOT to take on female disciples because it would weaken the effect of his movement? What most people forget in the heat of debate is that religion is politics and politics is indoctrination. How DO you spread the word of God(s)? You have to make it appeal to the many, and if the many in power happen to be men and the general mindset of the time is of the inferior status of women, reaching out to women and instilling them in seats of power isn’t gonna help you (son of God(s) or not) in the polls.

    A Pope is a leader. A mortal. A man. Why SHOULDN’T he be questioned? The pope is not infallible and neither is the Vatican. I don’t think assisting the Nazis or the covering up of child molestation is something that should be unquestioned. At least I should hope not.

    As a “young Catholic” — what defines YOUR stance as the definitive stance of all Catholics? What makes YOU represent on behalf of all generations of Catholics? This is YOU and what YOU think, but it isn’t a statement of fact, especially when your statements contain so many holes.

    Young or not, somehow I doubt that female priests will utterly DESTROY the Catholic church. (Unfortunately.)

    I suppose my problem is this — when people lose slight of the forest for the trees. What is the FUNCTION of the Catholic church? Think about it. Now what is the SUPPOSED function of the Catholic church? Think about it longer. Now — do you really, REALLY think Jeebus, Mary, and that Dude Up There really care or would take issue if women are instilled as priests to help guide and shape the faith of mortals?

    Tradition is not faith. And traditions BECOME traditions — meaning, there was something that existed BEFORE that tradition was instilled into place by human beings. For example, kimonos are considered “traditional” wear for a certain group of colonizers. But I’m pretty damn sure that they didn’t spring up from the earth the very moment the Japanese were “created.”

    Tradition can outlive its function and can become an archaic, irrational form of self preservation.

    Comment by Aliiiiiiice — May 30, 2008 @ 4:40 am | Reply

  3. Wow Aliiiiice. You seem bitter. Why? Seems you are not a believer. If you were a believer, why then didn’t Jesus take a woman as one of the 12? Who was a more faithful follower than his own mother upon which to build the Church? Instead he chose Peter. Women’s roles are described in the Bible. And they are not less important than the male role. Just different.

    Don’t participate if you do not believe. I think that is the freedom you talk about. Freedom of choice, free will. But, you do not have to tear down what you don’t understand or support.

    Comment by fortyfour — May 30, 2008 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  4. Interesting responses. Kenjiro, I’m glad you chimed in, I wasn’t aware at all of the young Catholic movement of sorts that you speak of. In my life growing up as a Catholic, I didn’t get the sense from any of my family or fellow churchgoers (as far as I knew) that they really took the Church’s official stances on social issues that seriously. My dad was a pretty liberal Catholic, but then he is also of that “Vatican II” generation that you speak of.

    I guess the angle I come at here is that mainstream Churches generally follow the status quo of the society which they’re in, usually lagging a bit behind the progressive changes in society. Look at the U.S….as laws changed (such as aboliton of slavery, civil rights, etc), churches changed as well. Was it God’s will that changed all of a sudden, or is it the church that adjusts to the times? My position is certainly the latter.

    So I just wonder how the pressure to accept women as priests will play out in the Church…I’m not sure there’s enough pressure to change things now, or in the near future. I just don’t know enough about Catholics’ opinions, but the Catholic Church is a huge worldwide organization, so just because Americans want women to have the right to be priests, that might not be enough to make the Vatican reconsider things. But you can be sure that when push comes to shove, when the Vatican’s costs of maintaining it’s policy becomes too great, it will change.

    That’s the thing I really dislike about “infallibility” doctrines; they are like the ultimate barrier to change and progress. After all, how can you admit you made a mistake when you claim to be infallible? Alice’s comments about tradition are along the same lines.

    Alice, you came out blasting! But this is not the post for your post-colonial hostility, ok? ahaha I’m kidding. Don’t get riled!!

    Comment by disciplepete — May 30, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  5. “Bitterness” or coming out “blazing” is the perception of the commentators, and I cannot change that.

    That’s an opinion. That’s valid. Cuz it’s yours.

    I do take umbrage to the perception that I do not understand what it is that I talk about. And it’s possible that the perception that I don’t understand what I’m talking about is the projection of the *commentator*, who does not understand what I am talking about.

    I know what I’m talking about, which is why I’m talking about it. But I’m not sure you understand what I’m talking about.

    Why can I not criticize what I do not support? Isn’t that what the nature of critique is? To question something that one doesn’t blindly support?

    Aren’t you, by commenting, kind of questioning the idea that perhaps females should be allowed to become priests? (I’m referring to the above blog posting, not my own opinion.) So why comment at all? Because you do not support this idea, why “tear it down”? Because that’s what the commentary section is for — to debate, not just to be reserved to sing the blogger praises. Right?

    I also need some clarification – I am not a believer in what? In blind faith?

    PRETENDING that I do belong to the church of Jeebus and Mary (please don’t make me pull out my Catholic card to lend my opinion some level of legitimacy), there are a multitude of ways to practice faith that actually encourage its legions to question scripture to come to a better, deeper understanding of “the word of God(s).” So the whole “true believer” or “real believer” stance is just a load of crap since most who identify themselves as “true” or “real” belong to a sect that didn’t exist 300 years ago.

    So what are the stipulations of “real” or “legitimate” faith anyway?

    My argument was questioning pomp and circumstance, tradition — what function does it serve and does it still make sense in the contemporary world.

    As for…

    “If you were a believer, why then didn’t Jesus take a woman as one of the 12? Who was a more faithful follower than his own mother upon which to build the Church? Instead he chose Peter. Women’s roles are described in the Bible. And they are not less important than the male role. Just different.”

    I think I already explained the issue of women’s roles in the bible, though the question of “why” isn’t as important as “for what purpose did Jesus decide not to take on a female disciple?” And I think the answer lies in understanding the climate of gendered roles two thousand years ago. Did women have as much power and value as men 2,000 years ago? I think not. So what would compel Jesus to risk losing a huge chunk of his followers, who probably believed that a woman had no place as Jesus’s disciple. Think about it. And this is assuming that Jesus was a so-called “progressive.”

    As for the stance that women’s roles are different from men’s role — not less important, just different — it sounds eerily similar to separate-but-equal arguments. It’s not uncommon to find women relegated to playing prostitutes and temptresses washing the feet of Jesus with their hair, just as it isn’t uncommon to find men making the decisions that change the course of Christian narrative in the scriptures. So what’s the point in even going there?

    So the role of a nun is different from the role of the Pope — not less important, just different? But really, who has more power? Whose opinion holds more sway over the Church? If you were in a burning building and had to choose between saving a nun or the Pope, which would you save, forty-four?

    And I thought the nun was no less important than the Pope.

    And this has nothing to do with post-coloniality, but everything to do with Foucault (ie, POWER — who has it?).

    Comment by Aliiiiiiice — May 31, 2008 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  6. If you believed in Jesus, you would believe that he is infallible. And if you believe he is infallible, then he would not be under the social pressures you indicate. In his time, it was inappropriate for him to approach a prostitute. But, he did. So in my opinion (which you validate) you argument holds no water.

    Yes, you are entitled to your opinion and free to take issue with the Church. And I’m allowed to critique your critique. But you’ve only expressed your opinions not facts. I guess my choice of words didn’t express what I meant to convey. What I don’t understand is why you feel it necessary that the Catholic Church be disassembled because you don’t agree with it. Are you into disassembling all religions or just one?

    Regarding the nun and the Pope. . . the engineer in me says to save the one with the best chance of survival. The benefactor in me says save the one that needs help. The cowboy in me says save the woman. If you asked either the pope or the nun, they would want me to save the other. Because they believe in eternal salvation and believe that they will have a place in heaven. And they are equals just as you are equal to me, the pope and the nun. All of us have different capabilities. And all of us have different inclinations. The Bible only asks us to be obedient to its teachings. Obviously, what you do is up to you.

    Comment by fortyfour — May 31, 2008 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  7. Regarding “Power – who has it?” You’ll need to spell it out for me, I’m just a dumb southerner. And I don’t want to make to many assumptions. Foucault? I’m not inclined to take the advice of the French. Apart from an effective energy policy (Nuclear), the French have gotten little right – Low productivity, high taxes, and losing their culture to Sharia law. Not so dumb that I have heard of Foucault though.

    Blazing? You can have a civil disagreement about issues with out being disrespectful. Jeebus? Why should anyone take you seriously? Are you one who waves your arms and shouts over people?

    Comment by fortyfour — May 31, 2008 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  8. “If you believed in Jesus, you would believe that he is infallible. And if you believe he is infallible, then he would not be under the social pressures you indicate. In his time, it was inappropriate for him to approach a prostitute. But, he did. So in my opinion (which you validate) you argument holds no water.”

    Fortyfour, well what if one doesn’t believe Jesus was infallible? Then it becomes perfectly legitimate to question the social pressures he was under. I guess the issue is infallibility, and that probably wouldn’t be a productive argument to have, at least on my end.

    The comment about the French, well from the view of a nonbeliever such as myself, I think it’s safe to say that virtually any 20th century Frenchman had a far better grasp of the nature of reality and the forces whch govern it than the men who wrote the Bible. I know from your perspective that what I’m saying won’t hold water, but I’m just putting it out there.

    Comment by disciplepete — May 31, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  9. Regarding the French, even a blind pig will stumble across a truffle once and awhile 😉

    I suppose you are right, you could believe that a person named Jesus existed and that he led people into the formation of the church – without having been the son of God. It was wrong of me to start with the assumption that we were working from a position of Jesus as the Savior.

    The argument I am making with Aliiiice is that you can disagree with something without having to denigrate it or threaten to tear it down. Her approach is one of anger and doesn’t promote open discourse. You, on the other hand, offer your position in a non-threatening way. I’m sure we will never come to agreement on this topic. But, I’m sure I’m open to learning something from you.

    Comment by fortyfour — May 31, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  10. What was the name of book written by your father (the ex-priest)?

    Comment by Father Joe — July 5, 2008 @ 11:07 am | Reply

  11. Hi Father Joe, you got an email address? Or I’ll try to reach you thru your blog, just wanna preserve any anonymity I may have here…

    Comment by disciplepete — July 5, 2008 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

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