In a stunning editorial from The National Catholic Reporter in defense of the laicized priest Roy Bourgeois, the editors not only officially endorsed female ordination but called the Church’s teaching “unjust.”
Bourgeois was excommunicated and laicized from the Maryknoll order following his participation in the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August 2008.
NCR‘s editorial staff argues that, “Bourgeois, attuned by a lifetime of listening to the marginalized, has heard the voice of the faithful and he has responded to that voice.”
They conclude by saying, “NCR joins its voice with Roy Bourgeois and calls for the Catholic [C]hurch to correct this unjust teaching.”
In a statement approved by Pope John Paul II, the Vatican announced in 1995 that Roman Catholics must consider their Church’s doctrine that only men can be priests to be “infallibly” taught.
But NCR persists:
The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand.
The most egregious statement in the Nov. 19 press release announcing Roy Bourgeois’ “excommunication, dismissal and laicization” is the assertion that Bourgeois’ “disobedience” and “campaign against the teachings of the Catholic church” was “ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Bourgeois, attuned by a lifetime of listening to the marginalized, has heard the voice of the faithful and he has responded to that voice.
Bourgeois brings this issue to the real heart of the matter. He has said that no one can say who God can and cannot call to the priesthood, and to say that anatomy is somehow a barrier to God’s ability to call one of God’s own children forward places absurd limits on God’s power. The majority of the faithful believe this.
To make matters worse, the editors at NCR utilized a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman to buttress their argument that Catholics should ignore an infallibly taught Church teaching:
Blessed John Henry Newman said that there are three magisteria in the church: the bishops, the theologians and the people. On the issue of women’s ordination, two of the three voices have been silenced, which is why the third voice must now make itself heard. We must speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels.
Our message is that we believe the sensus fidelium is that the exclusion of women from the priesthood has no strong basis in Scripture or any other compelling rationale; therefore, women should be ordained. We have heard the faithful assent to this in countless conversations in parish halls, lecture halls and family gatherings. It has been studied and prayed over individually and in groups. The brave witness of the Women’s Ordination Conference, as one example, gives us assurance that the faithful have come to this conclusion after prayerful consideration and study — yes, even study of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
NCR joins its voice with Roy Bourgeois and calls for the Catholic church to correct this unjust teaching.
At the time of the Vatican’s pronouncement, Dr. Joyce Little, a theologian retired from The University of St. Thomas in Houston, wrote that those who encourage women to believe they could be ordained if only enough pressure were put on the Vatican have a lot to answer for.
“Rome has always been up front about this,” she wrote, according to EWTN. “Neither the Pope nor Ratzinger nor anyone representing either of them ever gave anyone, anywhere, any reason to expect anything other than what has happened. In fact, anyone who read Ordination Sacerdotalis carefully already knew that the Pope had declared this practice to be, at the very least, irreformable. (What, after all, do people imagine ‘definitively’ means?)”
She added, “I think the sowing of that confusion was in very many instances unconscionable and the responsibility for that confusion and the ensuing grief is one for which many will be held accountable, if not in this life, then in the next.”
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