The ‘other half’ of the Church

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  • Bryony Klugman

    The Church’s position regarding women’s ordination is certainly not a matter of “current” teaching; it is “permanent” and “definitive” on the basis of her ancient authority, which was reaffirmed in no uncertain terms in the Second Vatican Council. The permanent nature of this position should be clear to all Catholics, except perhaps to those whose congregationalist rather than Catholic understanding of the nature of the Church appears to be insuperable.

  • P.R.Margeot

    The writer of the article ‘the other half of the Church’ probably has never met and spoken to any traditional Catholic women. Pity. He would have discovered that all traditional Catholic women are against the ordination of women. Yes, all are against. Food for thought there.

    What a re-assurance we have to know that this is not even a possiblity. Mother Church knows what she is doing in this respect. However, we must accept that some people will clamour for it in the future. The problem is that this issue is always coming back !! It is encouraging that more and more Catholics are slowly being attracted to the traditional rite, ways, and to all things traditional as they can perceive the sacredness, the real thing In the mass and other sacraments.

  • Joseph

    “Our challenge is to discern what can we do about that.” No our challenge really is to be obedient to the rule of faith as laid down by Christ Himself. The greatest woman in Salvation History is the Blessed Virgin Mary and I believe if it were Christ’s intention to ordain women to ministerial priesthood He would have at least invited His mother, born without sin, to partake at the institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday, some hours before His crucifixion. In fact there were a number of holy women that followed and ministered to Him and the twelve Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Cleopus. Needless to say, these were not numbered among the twelve, though Christ Himself saw their role as essential in the transmission of the faith.

    Was Christ misogynist in excluding women in the ministerial priesthood represented by the twelve? There are those who believe He was and are now trying to correct His wrong views about the ‘other half of the Church’. The whole Bible presents the Kingdom of Almighty God on earth as a marriage, with Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride. Indeed just as Eve was created from the rib of Adam taken from his left side as he lay in an induced deep sleep, the Church, the new Bride anticipated in the Eucharist on the Passover feast was fulfilled on the cross from the pierced side of the Bridegroom as He hang dead on the altar of the Cross. This Church thus fulfilled, the Body of Christ was then revealed on the day of Pentecost through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    What we have in the Church is not a matter of superiority and inferiority (Arch FJ Sheen), but rather a differentiation of function. Let us recall that it is Almighty God Himself who created the male reality and the female reality; not an androgynous mixed bag. We have some of the greatest women religious who accepted their mission, not as subordinate to men but indeed as children of Almighty God imitating the role of the Greatest woman of Salvation History. The man who stands as Altar Christus in persona Christi at the point of consecration assumes the role of the Bridegroom and in the words of Christ offers himself on the cross with Him for the people of God. A bridegroom is a man, that is why a priest can only be a man.

    This is no way denigrates women, remember we all have mothers, for some of us who are married we have wives and daughters as well. I cannot dream of life without these people in my life, in fact I would not be here were it not for my mother. The role of a woman is defined by Almighty God, she is the glue that holds the human family together, she is the heart that beats in our midst and imparts life and without her the human family would cease to go on. She is that angel of love into whom Almighty God infused His own unconditional, tender and affectionate love that turns our warring minds to wax. How many people do you know of that do not turn into timid little people when a mother does what she does best, love as mother. She is the heart of the whole world, through whom love and tenderness is infused back into the hearts of stone and people regain their sanity after fighting.

    However, mommy is not a ministerial priest because Christ did not will it so and this matter has been settled for 2000 years.

  • “The Church’s position regarding women’s ordination is certainly not a matter of “current” teaching”

    Fr Egan didn’t say that, Donal. What is current is the proscription on whether or how that teaching may be discussed.

  • Vincent Couling

    Dear Donal,

    Unless I am very much mistaken, the CDF has yet to provide a convincing, reasoned argument to display that it is part of revealed doctrine (i.e. belonging to the deposit of Faith), or that it is necessarily related to revealed doctrine, that the gender of a person affects whether or not they can be ordained. In the expert opinion of the renowned theologian Fr Edward Schillebeeckx OP, among many others, it is impossible to do so, since women’s ordination is a matter of Church discipline, and is not at the core of our faith.

    We must remember that most of our two-millennia-long history as church has unfolded within the cultural context of an aggressive patriarchalism. Do you remember when women were first allowed to vote, or attend university? Pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen was the docile role for most women throughout most of our history! How long did it take for the church to recognize that a husband could actually rape his wife? That a marriage was a relationship between equals? That a woman was not the “property” of her husband, who sat at the “head of the household”?

    Perhaps reserving the ordained ministry to men belongs as much to such ephemeral cultural impositions as listed above.

    Donal, we must not be afraid of development of doctrine. Pope Benedict himself, when still Professor Ratzinger, having recently served as a peritus at the Council, wrote in his article “The Transmission of Divine Revelation,” which appeared in “Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II” (1969), that “Not every tradition that arises in the Church is a true celebration and keeping present of the mystery of Christ. There is a distorting, as well as legitimate, tradition … Consequently tradition must not be considered only affirmatively but also critically.”

    We are called to discern for ourselves the mind of the Holy Spirit, of the Word of God! Both individually, and collectively as Church. Let us not be afraid of a critical analysis and reappraisal of the question of the possibility of the ordination of women … of fresh theological debate/dialogue around these matters.

  • Vincent Couling

    Dear Joseph,

    You state: “A bridegroom is a man, that is why a priest can only be a man.”

    And yet, you remind us (somewhat delightfully) that the Church is Christ’s Bride! Now, by your logic above, a bride can only be a woman!

    And yet, we all know that very many members of the Church are male.

    Why my utter delight in your post above? Well, dear Joseph, you appear to be a very evolved human being … in that you appear to be countenancing sacramental gay marriage, using a very literal interpretation of Jesus’ marriage to his church as the model!

  • Malcolm

    COVER LETTER TO BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE PRESIDENTS
    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
    November 8, 1995

    The publication in May 1994 of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was followed by a number of problematic and negative statements by certain theologians, organizations of priests and religious, as well as some associations of lay people. These reactions attempted to cast doubt on the definitive character of the letter’s teaching on the inadmissibility of women to the ministerial priesthood and also questioned whether this teaching belonged to the deposit of the faith.

    This congregation therefore has judged it necessary to dispel the doubts and reservations that have arisen by issuing a responsum ad dubium, which the Holy Father has approved and ordered to be published (cf. enclosure).

    In asking you to bring this responsum to the attention of the bishops of your episcopal conference before its official publication, this dicastery is confident that the conference itself, as well as the individual bishops, will do everything possible to ensure its distribution and favorable reception, taking particular care that, above all on the part of theologians, pastors of souls and religious, ambiguous and contrary positions will not again be proposed.

    The text of the responsum is to remain confidential until the date of its publication in L’Osservatore Romano, which is expected to be the 18th of November.

    With gratitude for your assistance and with prayerful best wishes I remain,

    Sincerely Yours in Christ,

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

    CONCERNING THE TEACHING CONTAINED IN ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS RESPONSUM AD DUBIUM

    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

    October 28, 1995

    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
    Prefect

    Tarcisio Bertone
    Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

  • Joseph

    The term “Holy Mother Church” according to the Oxford English Dictionary means “The Church, esp. the Roman Catholic Church, considered as a mother in its functions of nourishing and protecting the believer”

    Referring to the Church as mother has nothing to do with the gender realities of the ‘children of the Church’. This is the same as when we refer to Our Motherland, although we do realize that there are ‘men’ not an androgynous mixed bag in that ‘Motherland’.

    Again Holy Mother Church is our mother, the Body of Christ, extracted from the pierced side of the sleeping Christ on the Cross.

    It is interesting to note that the Church has no doctrine on the existence of God; because that is not a disputed matter among the faithful and the Bible only gives the sum total of how it views such cases in the first half of Psalm 14:1 that says “The fool has said in his heart: There is no God …” Likewise certain wild ideas that have nothing to do with strengthening our belief in God are not addressed precisely because faith, redemption, humility and obedience to the rule of faith are not debatable issues given that playing politics and compromising with them constitutes a misunderstanding of what faith is all about.

  • Vincent Couling

    Dear Malcolm,

    Pope Benedict XVI is entitled to his opinion, and to expressing it in a noninfallible statement outlining his interpretation of the contents of Pope John Paul II’s noninfallible teaching as regards the ordination of women to the priesthood.

    Using a noninfallible teaching to claim infallibility of another noninfallible teaching does absolutely nothing to make anything infallible … gosh, I sound a bit like Dr Seuss there!

    Actually, a clinical logician would be correct to point out that the above statement is not quite true. She might quite rightly point out that one thing does indeed remain infallibly true! And this is that the question of femal ordination remains an open one … !

    Kind regards,

    Vincent

  • Vincent Couling

    Dear Joseph,

    “Referring to the Church as mother has nothing to do with the gender realities of the ‘children of the Church’” must surely equally-well apply to the virginal Jesus Christ, who has no children except metaphorically. So Christ as bridegroom is pure metaphor … and metaphor can hardly be construed in any way as providing a compelling argument for the physical gender requirements of a Roman Catholic priest, now can it.

    You’ll have to try so much harder than that, Joseph!

    Regards,

    V

  • Malcolm

    Hmmm Not so

    The above has the approval of Pope John Paul ll

    This congregation therefore has judged it necessary to dispel the doubts and reservations that have arisen by issuing a responsum ad dubium, which the Holy Father has approved and ordered to be published (cf. enclosure).

  • Vincent Couling

    And that makes it infallible? Hardly, Malcolm!

  • Malcolm

    The intent is clear.

    No calamari about that.

  • Malcolm

    Sorry, no doubt about that.

  • Vincent Couling

    I refer Malcolm and others to the expert wisdom of Catholic theologian Professor Gaybba … follow the links http://www.scross.co.za/2011/08/dogmatic-definition/ and http://www.scross.co.za/2009/10/excommunicated-for-what/ .

  • Vincent Couling

    I refer Malcolm and others to the expert wisdom of Catholic theologian Professor Gaybba … follow the links http://www.scross.co.za/2011/08/dogmatic-definition/ and

  • Vincent Couling

    http://www.scross.co.za/2009/10/excommunicated-for-what/ .

    (2 URLs in 1 post leads to a requirement of moderation … please forgive the double-post.)

  • Malcolm

    And I refer you to our Shepard above, whose decrees we all recognized. Save those who indulge in calamari.

  • Vincent Couling

    My work here is done … consider it my small contribution towards the New Evangelization!

  • P.R.Margeot

    Often, when I have doubts about an issue or I am in a difficult situation, I think of our Holy Mother Mary in Heaven, the model of purity and virtue. And I immediately have an answer after asking myself: what would our Holy Mother do in this or that situation?

    Yes, today, 13th August 2012, if She were among us, let’s say , visiting the Earth on a Mission for Her Divine Son, our Lord Jesus Christ :

    Would She join a certain organization( http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/165 ) which ‘ordains’ priestesses and ‘bishops’?

    Would She encourage the tiny , microscopic number of Catholic women who have an open agenda for the ordination of women?

    Would She be horrified by the militancy, the arrogance, the lack of humility of certain women on this earth( a tiny vocal and visible minority)? The so-called feminists who have lost their compass while still navigating through the turmoil of this life….

    Would She bless them as She blessed Bernadette and the children at Fatima, pure, innocent children of God? (Look, She may well bless them after sternly warning them not to offend Her Divine Son any longer).

    Any cradle Catholic knows the answers.

    I certainly appeal to the Authorities (and I do hope some prelates and a handful of priests read the S.C.) and urge them to step in and start putting order in the chaos, uncertainty, heresies, fantasies, lunatic dreaming , and ruthless determination of some people who may possibly influence Catholics, those reading the S.C. I believe that some ideas proposed here are simply not Catholic. They are pushed by ultra liberal minds, ultra progressives, even revolutionaries who have a terrifying agenda when one thinks of it. We are not scared of these people, only we realize that their venomous pens and other activities may not help Catholics to save their souls. This is where prayer is important.

    The Bishops now need to show some guts and put order in the house. Poor Catholic House, crucified, ruthlessly attacked, rudderless, with (unfortunately) Modernism and Liberalism, two errors condemned by the Popes, reigning supreme. It is BECAUSE the Bishops APPEAR to be unwilling to combat these heresies and horrors since the Council that many unscrupulous Catholics take full advantage of the apparent weakness of the Holy Church. One sees how much they love the Church….(remember the ‘great’ Lenin who said to his militants:” push, push ahead until you meet steel: then withdraw”)

    The good news is that the Church is heading towards calmer waters( where and when good , honest, simple fishermen may fish all the goodies of the sea, metaphorically speaking) under the Pope, who needs to be obeyed, let’s not forget.

    Catholics, the time has arrived to courageously defend the Holy Church from all heresies and wild, un-catholic ideas. The thing is : will Catholics respond, will they take a stand, make their opinion known ? They had better do something, as the voracious wolves are around, even though their numbers are small. I am sure Catholics will respond and help restore sanity in Catholic life.

    St Michael the Archangel, pray for us and defend the Catholic Church.

  • Malcolm

    The frustration is understandable, when doubt is cast on official teaching of our Church.

    Especially when the truth is evident in this case.

    It is pointless to argue a link with a theologian who takes a contrary view of an official Church document.

    The point here is, that Catholics are not lead, by the opinions of theologians who differ from Church Teaching.

    The papacy is rooted in the authentic Tradition of the Church. When our Pontiff puts forth a teaching in the context of Vatican I definition, concerning infallibility, then that teaching, is infallible.

    The publication in May 1994 of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an infallible teaching. It meets all the points of the definition.

    The COVER LETTER TO BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE PRESIDENTS clarifies the intent, which some theologians, organizations of priests and religious, as well as some associations of lay people have caused confusion.

    It is astonishing that the S C adds to it.

  • Malcolm, I have no idea what wonders of modern technology led you to post the line “No calamari about that”, but it might well be the single most wonderful (secular) sentence ever written in the combox section of this site. I think I’ll steal it and use it liberally. In fact, I have no calamari that I will. ;-)

  • P.R.Margeot

    Me too I have no calamari that I’ll use that word now and then ! Thank you to the author: history is being made !

  • Malcolm

    Ha Ha,You both have made a winters day in the Cape, much warmer.

    God Bless

  • “The publication in May 1994 of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an infallible teaching.”

    When he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict clarified that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not an infallible teaching. It might look like it, and smell like it, but it is not infallible.

  • Bryony Klugman

    Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not issued under the extraordinary papal magisterium as an ex cathedra statement, and so is not considered infallible in itself. Its contents are, however, considered infallible under the ordinary magisterium, as this doctrine has been held consistently by the Church. In a responsum ad dubium (reply to a doubt) explicitly approved by Pope John Paul II and dated October 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis had been “set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium” and accordingly was “to be held definitively, as belonging to the deposit of faith”.

    In 1998, this was clarified slightly in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem to state that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not taught as being divinely revealed, although it might someday be so taught in the future:

    A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed.

  • Malcolm

    This teaching has my assent.

    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.

  • Vincent Couling

    Donal is mistaken.

    It might be apposite to quote Council Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: “Therefore, if the influence of events or of the times has led to deficiencies in conduct, in Church discipline, or even in the formulation of doctrine (which must be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself), these should be appropriately rectified at the proper moment.” (Decree on Ecumenism no. 6). The Vatican prohibition on the ordination of women appears to be an anachronistic cultural phenomenon, stemming from a historically patriarchal Church and society. Perhaps the proper moment for appropriate rectification of this cultural deficiency is upon us. Perhaps we might at long last concretely realise the ancient words of St Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

  • Vincent Couling

    What is as clear as crystal is that the teaching of Pope John Paul II on women’s ordination is not definitive, quite simply because it is not convincing to so many theologians, let alone lay faithful, let alone certain Roman Catholic Bishops. As Pope John XXIII said at the opening of Vatican II: “The Church considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.” Now a definitive teaching is surely one that is authentically convincing – not one that demands assent as a matter of blind duty and obligation.

    As regards Donal’s appeal to the ordinary (and universal?) magisterium, well, let’s turn again to the Council Fathers, rather than the parallel Magisterium of Donal and Malcolm: Lumen Gentium is explicit (see no. 25): “Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.”

    What Donal, Malcolm, and Pope Benedict XVI need to demonstrate is quite simple, really … that the Bishops are in agreement on one position to be definitively held. Now we all know that several Bishops have spoken out publically in favour of a discussion into the possibility of women’s ordination (some even for women’s ordination itself!) … so the obligation falls on Malcolm, Donal, Pope Benedict XVI et al. to empirically measure the extent of this faithful dissent. What is infallibly certain is that it would be incorrect to state that all Roman Catholic Bishops are currently “in agreement on one position as definitively to be held,” so that any appeal to the ordinary and universal magisterium on this point is demonstrably quite erroneous!

  • P.R.Margeot

    What a re-assurance we, ordinary Catholics have, to know that there will be no change in this regard : the ordination of men only will continue ad vitam aeternam, for good reasons. The Holy Church, with the good Pope at the helm, will push on. It’s been explained for ages the reasons why the ordination of women will not happen. Most people understand what the Church says. We rest assured. Thank you to the Popes who will not bend to pressure from elements determined to revolutionize the Church. In any case, the Revolution has been stemmed, lots of good news are coming in ALL THE TIME, from many countries, which show that sanity is slowly coming back.

    Now, we must expect that, PRECISELY because the wind is turning, the revolutionaries will re-double their efforts as they will become desperate : they realize that things are moving, things are coming, that the poisons of Modernism and Liberalism are being slowly extirpated from the Church. The Motu Proprio is slowly(admittedly) being applied throughout the world, slowly the M.O.A.T.** will take its rightful place on all traditional altars, slowly more and more priests will say that mass, slowly blessings and Grace from Heaven iare bound to shower us, poor sinners.

    All Catholics now must redouble their effort to ask for the Tridentne Mass, to keep asking, that mass is their heritage from time immemorial. That mass will console them, will bring the sacred back in our life, will strengthen them to pursue the fight against the Devil who has been unchained and who is now desperate to hurl the faithful to perdition, to lose their soul. WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF “IT”( I think).

    Yesterday we celebrated the great Feast of the Assumption of our Holy Mother in Heaven. We pray Her daily to protect us. May the Pope do the Consecration of Russia together with all the (willing) Bishops of the world, as requested by Mary in 1917. Those Bishops who will not follow the Pope, well then they will be on their own. Those who are less contaminated by errors(Modernism mainly) will probably follow the Pope. Great days are coming, we keep the hope, we keep the rosary, we keep our Catholic Faith. Ave Maria.

    St Michael, pray for us, defend us against all perils.

  • P.R.Margeot

    Above: ** = Mass of all time

    A moat is indeed a ditch, a trench filled with water, a defense against enemies, built around castles,towns. That mass is indeed THE moat of the Holy Church.

  • Bryony Klugman

    VATICAN II DEI VERBUM

    “…10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. (7)

    But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (8) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (9) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

    It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”

  • Vincent Couling

    Dear Donal,

    I find little to quarrel with in the above … what’s your point?

    Kind regards,

    V

  • Malcolm

    What it means is: that all tradition approved by the Church must be respected and believed.

    That is the bottom line; the other line is “a renowned theologian differs”. Well that is unacceptable, or “I have no problem with that, but….”, is also unacceptable.

    When one denies the approved traditions of the Church, one denies her revealed authority.

  • Vincent Couling

    Thanks for your interpretation, Malcolm.

    “//all// tradition approved by the Church” isn’t really what is meant though, is it! So much “tradition” has changed … slavery, usury, human rights come to mind as obvious examples.

    Which is why Pope Benedict has declared that “Not every tradition that arises in the Church is a true celebration and keeping present of the mystery of Christ. There is a distorting, as well as legitimate, tradition … Consequently tradition must not be considered only affirmatively but also critically.”

    You’ve been invited to use your own brain, Malcolm. Your own intuition, your own insights and observations reached from your own lived life and faith experience. Go ahead … don’t be afraid! It’s quite liberating, really!

  • Vincent Couling

    This sort of subtlety … i.e. the intertwining of a legitimate and a distroting tradition, has, of course, been recognized by the Pontifical Biblical Commission … as amply evidenced in their document “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” which was presented to Pope John Paul II on April 23, 1993. A few pertinent excerpts follow:

    “Fundamentalist interpretation starts from the principle that the Bible, being the word of God, inspired and free from error, should be read and interpreted literally in all its details. But by “literal interpretation” it understands a naively literalist interpretation, one, that is to say, which excludes every effort at understanding the Bible that takes account of its historical origins and development. It is opposed, therefore, to the use of the historical-critical method, as indeed to the use of any other scientific method for the interpretation of Scripture.”

    “The basic problem with fundamentalist interpretation of this kind is that, refusing to take into account the historical character of biblical revelation, it makes itself incapable of accepting the full truth of the incarnation itself. As regards relationships with God, fundamentalism seeks to escape any closeness of the divine and the human. It refuses to admit that the inspired word of God has been expressed in human language and that this word has been expressed, under divine inspiration, by human authors possessed of limited capacities and resources. For this reason, it tends to treat the biblical text as if it had been dictated word for word by the Spirit. It fails to recognize that the word of God has been formulated in language and expression conditioned by various periods. It pays no attention to the literary forms and to the human ways of thinking to be found in the biblical texts, many of which are the result of a process extending over long periods of time and bearing the mark of very diverse historical situations.”

    “Fundamentalism also places undue stress upon the inerrancy of certain details in the biblical texts, especially in what concerns historical events or supposedly scientific truth. It often historicizes material which from the start never claimed to be historical. It considers historical everything that is reported or recounted with verbs in the past tense, failing to take the necessary account of the possibility of symbolic or figurative meaning.”

    “Fundamentalism often shows a tendency to ignore or to deny the problems presented by the biblical text in its original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek form. It is often narrowly bound to one fixed translation, whether old or present-day. By the same token it fails to take account of the “rereadings” (relectures) of certain texts which are found within the Bible itself.”

    “Fundamentalism likewise tends to adopt very narrow points of view. It accepts the literal reality of an ancient, out-of-date cosmology simply because it is found expressed in the Bible; this blocks any dialogue with a broader way of seeing the relationship between culture and faith. Its relying upon a non-critical reading of certain texts of the Bible serves to reinforce political ideas and social attitudes that are marked by prejudices – racism, for example – quite contrary to the Christian Gospel. ”

    “The fundamentalist approach is dangerous, for it is attractive to people who look to the Bible for ready answers to the problems of life. It can deceive these people, offering them interpretations that are pious but illusory, instead of telling them that the Bible does not necessarily contain an immediate answer to each and every problem. Without saying as much in so many words, fundamentalism actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide. It injects into life a false certitude, for it unwittingly confuses the divine substance of the biblical message with what are in fact its human limitations.”

  • Vincent Couling

    Let me distill even further some key phrases:

    “… this blocks any dialogue with a broader way of seeing the relationship between culture and faith. Its relying upon a non-critical reading of certain texts of the Bible serves to reinforce political ideas and social attitudes that are marked by prejudices – racism, for example – quite contrary to the Christian Gospel. ”

    We can include here, surely, patriarchal social attitudes which treated women as property of men, women whose sole vocation was to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

    The conclusion is particularly powerful in this regard:

    “The fundamentalist approach is dangerous, for it is attractive to people who look to the Bible for ready answers to the problems of life. It can deceive these people, offering them interpretations that are pious but illusory, instead of telling them that the Bible does not necessarily contain an immediate answer to each and every problem. Without saying as much in so many words, fundamentalism actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide. It injects into life a false certitude, for it unwittingly confuses the divine substance of the biblical message with what are in fact its human limitations.”

  • Vincent Couling

    One could equally well say “It injects into life a false certitude, for it unwittingly confuses the divine substance of the tradition with what are in fact its human limitations.”

  • Vincent Couling

    Which is what Pope Benedict XVI was speaking about when referring to a legitimate and a distorting tradition.

    In a nutshell: we are ALL called to discernment. To a critical analysis of scripture, of tradition, of magisterial pronouncements … of all things, really!

  • Derrick Kourie

    Thanks, Vincent, for your wonderfully articulate and illuminating posts.

  • Malcolm

    The operative word is “approved by the Church”. Not secular society.

    Your history is appalling.

  • Malcolm

    ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS

    4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

    If one discerns this in the affirmative then according to three post above your discernment levels are lacking.

    This is what he says “Pope Benedict XVI is entitled to his opinion, and to expressing it in a noninfallible statement outlining his interpretation of the contents of Pope John Paul II’s noninfallible teaching as regards the ordination of women to the priesthood.”

    Sounds like an infallible, fundamentalist to me

  • Malcolm

    The above point 4.accordingly falls into authentic tradition, which is disputed by the one the other is cheerleader

    Now here is the operative part of the debate.

    4. Par. 2
    Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
    Invoking an abundance of divine assistance upon you, venerable brothers, and upon all the faithful, I impart my apostolic blessing.

    Now if one finds this credible and Pope John Paul a credible witness of the Authority bestowed on him in his teaching the according to the same person you are a fundamentalist.

    Those who agree with the Church are dim fundamentalist, he and his friends who disagree are enlightened.

  • Malcolm

    Now the real issue here is, there is a constant stream emanating from three sources, any smut that can be invented is invented, and thrown at the Church with a sense of glee.

  • Vincent Couling

    Malcolm, all I would like to say in response is that we clearly dwell in parallel universes …

    I have nothing further to add …

  • Malcolm

    And that is a infallible fundamentalist statement.

  • Bryony Klugman

    “I do not for one instant profess to believe that all the world is about to turn Catholic: I am quite sure that it is not; I even think it probable that we are on the verge of a Great Apostasy; but of one point I am as certain as of my own existence, that, fifty years hence there will be no considerable body in the whole of Western Christendom which will be able for one moment to compete with her; and that a thousand years hence, if the world lasts so long, we shall have once more the same situation that we have now.

    On the one side will stand human society ranged against her, in ranks and companies of which hardly two members are agreed upon anything except opposition to her. There will be the New Theologians of that day, as of ours; new schools of thought, changing every instant, new discoveries, new revelations, new presentations and combinations of fragments of old truth. And on the other side will stand the Church of the ages, with the marks of her passion deeper than ever upon her. From one side will go up that all but eternal cry, ‘We have found her out at last; she is forsaken of all except a few fanatics at last; she is dead and buried at last’.

    And on the other side she will stand, then, as always, wounded indeed to death, yet not dead; betrayed by her new-born Judases, judged by her Herods and her Pilates, scourged by those who pity while they strike, despised and rejected, and yet stronger in her Divine foolishness than all the wisdom of men; hung between Heaven and earth, and yet victorious over both; sealed and guarded in her living tomb, and yet always and forever passing out to new life and new victories.

    So, too, then as now, and as at the beginning, there will be secret gardens where she is known and loved, where she will console the penitent as the sun rises on Easter Day; there will be upper rooms where her weeping friends are gathered for fear of the Jews, when, the doors being shut, she will come and stand in the midst and give them Peace; on mountains, and roads, and by the sea, she will walk then, as she has walked always, in the secret splendour of her Resurrection. So once more the wheel will turn; there will be ten thousand Bethlehems where she is born again and again; the kings of earth will bring their glory and honour to lay at her feet, side by side with the shepherds who have no gifts but themselves to offer. Again and again that old and eternal story will be told and re-told as each new civilisation comes into being and passes away – that old drama re-enacted wherever the Love of God confronts the needs of men”.

    From “Christ in the Church”, by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, who converted to the Faith on 11th September 1903. His was a somewhat spectacular conversion (in the eyes of the media) as his father had held the post of Archbishop of Canterbury and Benson, himself, had been ordained as an Anglican vicar in 1895. In 1904 he received the sacrament of Holy Orders and, by 1911 he was made Monsignor. He wrote many great books, many of them with a prophetic element. “Christ in the Church” has certain resonances today but was written in 1911.

  • P.R.Margeot

    Thank you for this illuminating introduction of Monsignor Hugh Benson to the readers. It is stupefying….He foresaw , a hundred years ago, the New Theologians, the new schools of thought (competing with each other to eclipse the Holy Church, to erase her from the surface of the earth), the errors which swept her to near extinction( but God was watching), the relentless and silent work of the secret societies(read masonry, largely) to uncrown Him, the King of the Universe , to establsh once and for all the rule of the enemies of God on earth. Their king : the Devil.

    There was a good hint of persecutions coming to the Church. We are in the middle of it in my own observation. We just have to watch what’s happening everywhere RIGHT NOW, today. this month, this year , in the world. Firstly, the General Apostasy of peoples, nations, countries which were the bastions of the Faith, we read of persecutions, murders of Christians, churches burnt down, desacrations of cemeteries and other church buildings, sacrilegious removal of the Hosts in tabernacles( the Real Presence)….like in the Arch of the Covenant in the beginning. We read of horrifying Laws having been promulgated to erase the Catholic Notion of things, the Catholic heritage, to be replaced by laws which favour abortions on the grandest scale ever, the so-called ‘marriage’ of people of same sex which is haunting the world, the favouring on a grand scale of the culture of Death, the culture of enjoyment of the good things of this world, permissiveness, do what you like, make money, think money only, enjoy life, physical pleasures, dress outrageously. immodestly,, particularly women, who can so easily lead men into temptation, sin, perdition. Goodness ….

    Together with the book ” Christ in the Church” which I for one will try to obtain and read, I can mention “Pascendi” written by Pope St Pius X, the terror of modernists, the one who did what he could to resist, stop the errors sweeping the Church , also 100 years ago. But ,alas, the rot, the worms, had already entered into the body of the Church , and not only the body but the top of the Hierarchy. These errors found their way slowly inside the Church. We also do not forget the now well-known plans of a secret masonic sect in Italy to infiltrate the church relentlessly, until the day when they would be in power. We were a few minutes from Midnight so to speak. The Devil nearly did it. We remember that he is unchained now, and will not tolerate opposition in his grand plan to rule God’s Creation, and the Church of Jesus Christ.

    ” In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, but it will be late” said our Lady at Fatima.
    May the Pope do the consecration of Russia,we should pray for that intention.

  • Malcolm

    Here’s Cordileone in his own words, taken from the homily of his installation Mass as Bishop of Oakland in 2009:

    Christ is the answer. Let us draw near to him, and abide in him, so that we will not be tossed about by the waves of deception and swept along by the teachings of destructive imposters. This means that we must claim Jesus Christ as our only ruler; it means that we place ourselves completely under his dominion. Let there be no doubt: if, as his Church, we are to be his faithful bride, it means that Jesus Christ must have dominion over every aspect of our life.

  • Malcolm
  • P Hunt

    I find Fr Egan’s insight into the role that women play in keeping Catholicism alive, a relief and refreshingly honest.

    However, I am afraid that his insight would be completely lost on this latest Pope who is probably a reincarnation of Saul of Tarsus, who liked nothing better than to murder Jews and keep women at heel. By the way, latest research indicates he (Saul, I mean) may have been instrumental in the murder of St Peter.

    Saul has been responsible for so much pain and cruelty in society, and the excuse the Catholic Church has used for centuries to keep economic power in the hands of the men in the Church.

    What is forgotten , of course, is the following:

    1. Christian theology is essentially a feminine perspective on life
    2. Christ had to be born a male during that period of history in order to be taken seriously
    3. Christ appeared to a woman after His Resurrection – odd that……After all, are not men the superior sex? That’s why men get to drive around in ‘pope-mobiles’ and wear silky white dresses and big jewellery. Very , very ‘camp’. That’s why I have never understood the stance the Church adopts in respect of gay men. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that gay men sympathize with women, and have no desire to compete with them. They also do not subscribe to the male ideology of ‘your gang versus my gang’. They, like women, fall outside the ‘gang’, and must likewise be marginalized.
    4. Christ never once preached that women were subject to men, nor did he ever say women could not become priests. Saul was responsible for that – he was a misogynist. His views, if expressed today, would lead to his successful prosecution on the grounds of gender discrimination and hate speech, together with a long stretch of community service, which would do him the world of good. Personally, I think he was dead ugly and couldn’t find a girlfriend. His mother probably thought he was useless and told him so.
    5. Priests were allowed to marry until the Church did the maths and worked out that when a priest died, he left his property to his family, and not the See. Quite a Protestant view on life, but if priests could not have families, the new ruling was guaranteed to accumulate wealth.
    6. Nuns outnumber priests. The Church is in crisis. She (ummm) needs to ordain women in order to survive. Get over the rubbish about ‘the Apple’, guys and get real! Save your Church. Actions are what make the Church great, not a penis.
    7. All human embryos start out life as female. The injection of hormones later on in its development, changes the foetus into a male. That, of course, leads to the end of the discussion over the ‘rib’ being summarily expropriated from poor old Adam’s ribcage whilst he was fast asleep and minding his own business, after a hard night at the pub. I would imagine, however, on waking up and getting over the agony of unscheduled surgery, to find a servant to clean his extremely dirty cave and change the bandages, must have been a delight and relief. Also, no more masturbation. Mistranslations of the original Hebrew text proved expedient to old Mother Church. Pure dishonesty, trotted out as the ‘Gospel truth’. Hundreds of women were left to starve after they were disinherited overnight by the Pope – this piece of history is conveniently swept under the carpet. This evil has never been addressed or acknowledged and the Church has never apologized for its appalling behaviour.
    8.Women have always been spiritual leaders. Hence the Irish refusal to let go of their Goddess, and Rome’s recognition of this fact. The Mother Goddess was hurriedly re-registered at Home Affairs, as ‘Mary’.
    9. Women are more suited to celibate life. It’s biology. They are also by nature , more nurturing. They actually care about what happens and don’t run around pillaging and raping and dropping nuclear bombs. They also don’t fill goals to nearly the same extent as men do. i know this is a generalization, but on the whole, it is true.
    8. So, being more logical that us ‘flighty’ women, surely the logical conclusion would be to ordain women. After all, you guys will soon have literally nothing left to lose – other than the fat bank balance in Rome, the priceless paintings, gold etc. Being more spiritual than women, ( if we apply current doctrine a la Rome), wouldn’t be nice to be able to liquidate some of those useless assets and do things like setting up schools, hospitals and the like – you know, good old fashioned Catholic things, that actually make us ‘Catholic’?

    I have been watching with great amusement, our ‘Holy’ Father’s horror at what he perceives as a direct challenge to his omnipotence from the very nuns that educated me, the Sisters of Mercy.

    It is clear this man has absolutely no idea who he is dealing with. In a carefully worded press release, the nuns have told him that after thinking long and hard about it, they don’t agree with his views on gays and sex. His response? He’s appointed three Bishops to step in and take control of these disobedient girls. i nearly died laughing.

    Well, all I can say is ‘good luck to you’, old boy. I do hope you don’t destroy the Church in your ‘jihad’.

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