Canon Law 1024, “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.” This is from the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, which was put forth on the feast of Pentecost in 1917, and later revised in 1983. So when I see the statement that only a baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly I feel forced to ask, “Says who?” The answer is a bunch of guys in 1917. Not good enough for me, nor is it good enough for the Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
In 2002, the Danube Seven were ordained. The Danube Seven are a group of seven women from Germany, Austria, and the United States, who were ordained on a boat on the Danube (river that is) by Romulo Antonio Braschi. Although Braschi has since left the Roman Catholic Church, he was at the time a valid Roman Catholic Bishop. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church viewed this as an extreme violation of Canon Law and when the women refused to repent, they were excommunicated and their ordination was invalidated.
A movement was born that is active to this day thanks to the efforts of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests (http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/index.htm). In fact, on May 27, 2007 in Toronto (that’s in Canada for you kids playing along at home) 5 women and 1 married man were ordained as priests or deacons.
In an article on Canadianchristianity.com (http://www.canadianchristianity.com/nationalupdates/070531priests.html) Father Damian MacPhearson, Director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto was quoted as saying, “Since Roman Catholic doctrine forbids the ordination of women, the ordinations are automatically invalid.” This is in response to the RCWP’s assertions that its ordinations are in apostolic succession since they began with ordination by a Roman Catholic Bishop. MacPhearson was quoted in the same article stating, “Whatever happened today had no relationship to the Roman Catholic Church whatsoever, whatever those individuals may say.” In case a church based smack down is not annoying enough, The National Post ran a brief, and I might I mention unattributed, editorial letter in response to the ordinations (http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/editorialsletters/story.html?id=a4bf9bc7-2ab7-4679-b341-8cc2008fb5b0). In this piece, the author encourages the women to “go find another Christian sect” and suggests, “they (the RCWP) are less interested in reforming their faith than in putting on showy feminist stunts.” To that I say, if you’re not man enough to sign your name, your opinion doesn’t matter. I like my critics to have enough conviction to sign their name. (In case you weren’t aware, Rebecca Elson is writing this piece.)
So, just what is the deal with these evil subversive women? I went to their website and found “A Brief Overview of Womenpriests in the History of the Roman Catholic Church” (http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/RCWP_Resource.pdf). It tells me that “In our mission statement we clearly uphold the following: The goal of the group ‘RC Womenpriests’ is to bring about the full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time we are striving for a new model of Priestly Ministry. The movement ‘RC Womenpriests’ does not perceive itself as a counter-current movement against the Roman Catholic Church. It wants neither a schism nor a break from the Roman Catholic Church, but rather wants to work positively within the Church.” Those vixens! In the same document they mention an equally world destroying opinion, which is “We All are church, not just some.” And that “We reflect the people we serve: married, celibate, domestic partners, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered.” How dare they try to be all-inclusive and adapt to our modern society! I mean, just because it’s largely known that in 1976, the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded that there is no biblical reason to prohibit women’s ordination, doesn’t give them any justification to feel that can be ordained Roman Catholic Priests! Oh, wait, that is not too bad a justification.
There’s more where that came from too. To see more arguments to their point visit the link to their document. However, just like a paranormal investigator speaking about skeptics, “For a believer there is already enough proof, but for the skeptic there will never be enough.” Neil MacCarthy, a media relations representative for the Archdiocese of Toronto, says in the Canadianchristianity.com article that the Church “doesn’t have the authority to change the rules Jesus established.” Then how and why were the Canon Laws revisited after 1917? Also, I’m not a New Testament girl myself, but I doubt that Jesus said, “Don’t let women be priests.” I could be wrong on that one. Of course, not to worry, both MacPhearson and MacCarthy point out in that article that there have been statements made by recent Popes affirming the role of women.
I read one of the statements in question (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_29061995_women_en.html) and I was not impressed. Don’t get me wrong, those Popes write some beautiful documents, but as a woman, I didn’t find it very satisfying at all. Pope John Paul II thanks women for all the important roles they fill, but in my opinion, the Pope thanks us for being team players, but never offers the indication that he thinks we could ever coach.
After everything I’ve read, I have come to this conclusion, these women are Roman Catholic Priests and Deacons. They are members of the Roman Catholic Church, and that despite what Father Damian MacPhearson says, everything these women do is in relationship of the Roman Catholic Church. To say otherwise is ludicrous. These women were baptized in the Roman Catholic faith and have never stepped off the path of that faith, and in fact were so inspired and moved by the Roman Catholic faith, that they desired to become ordained priests. At what point do you feel they stopped being Roman Catholics? I cannot see it. The role of the Roman Catholic priest is unlike any other role within the Church, and to try to sell people on the idea of settling for a different position is outdated thinking.
It’s 1917 thinking. It’s before the Pope was even televised kind of thinking! Religions need to respect that 1917 is not 2007, and that their followers are not the same people that they were 90 years ago. It is time; in my opinion, it’s well past the time, to allow women and married men the option of becoming priests. I would also say homosexuals, but it’s the Roman Catholic Church, what do I expect, miracles?
I have been in contact with Bridget Mary Meehan, Media Contact with RCWPs. She was kind enough to send me one of her published articles with permission to quote until my little heart was content. It’s a thoughtful piece, and here are some of her thoughts that I would like to share with you.
The Catholic Church teaches that a law must be received by the faithful. Seventy percent of Catholics in the U.S. support women’s ordination. Therefore canon 1024 which states that only a baptized male may receive Holy Orders does not have the force of law because it has not been accepted by the community or sensus fidelum.
In fact, we have a moral obligation to disobey this unjust law. St. Augustine said that an “unjust law is no law at all.” As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the former bishop of Rottenberg-Stuttgar, Germany and current president of the Vatican ‘s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity wrote: "Some situations oblige one to obey God and one’s own conscience, rather than the leaders of the church. Indeed, one may even be obliged to accept excommunication, rather than act against one’s conscience. It is time for an inclusive church, in which all are welcome at the table.”