Pope: The Church is Never Likely to Ordain Women
The Catholic Church’s insistence that it cannot ordain women to the priesthood and episcopacy is a teaching likely to last forever, Pope Francis said.
After being hosted by the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which is led by Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala, the nation’s first woman primate, Pope Francis was asked if the Catholic Church might one day have women priests and bishops.
As he has done in the past, the pope responded that the question was settled in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, who taught that because Jesus chose only men as his apostles, the ordination of women in the Catholic Church is not possible.
He was asked, “Really? Never?” And he responded, “If one carefully reads the declaration of St John Paul, it goes in that direction, yes.” Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis which deals with the possibility of the Church ordaining women was issued in 1994 and confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in a later document. Although the apostolic letter was not issued ex cathedra, some consider its contents infallible under the ordinary magisterium.
Pope Francis spent just over 40 minutes with reporters and answered six questions ranging from Sweden’s newly restrictive immigration policy to the role of women in the Church. He also was asked about his experience with charismatics and pentecostals, the roots of his concern about human trafficking and secularisation in Europe.
Secularisation of Europe
Christians must never close their hearts to refugees and migrants, but governments have a duty to regulate the flux of newcomers as they allocate resources to ensure their integration into society, he said.
As he has in the past, Pope Francis insisted nations live up to international agreements offering special welcome and protection to refugees fleeing war and persecution. While Catholic social teaching holds that every person has a right to migrate in search of a better life, accepting newcomers is a serious obligation when the person’s life is at risk.Europeans should not be frightened by the latest wave of newcomers, he said. “Europe was made with a continual integration of cultures, many cultures.”
The key, he said, is to ensure a proper integration of newcomers with language lessons, a home, schools and jobs. “The danger is that when a refugee or migrant is not integrated, he or she is ‘ghetto-ised’.”
The secularisation of Europe, or of any society, the pope said, is usually the result of one of two factors: “a weak evangelisation” caused by “lukewarm Christians” or a cultural process in which a growing number of people start thinking they are the lords of history.
A “healthy” form of separation of Church and state is not the culprit, he said.— By Cindy Wooden, CNS