Thursday, November 6, 2014

Not a news flash: Catholic Church still doesn't have female priests

Angela Wilson: perhaps a priest, but not a Catholic priest.
(Photo: telegraph.co.uk)
Note to the London Telegraph: Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger is not a Catholic priest. In fact, since she wasn't ordained in any church which has female priests, she isn't a priest. If she'd been ordained in the ELCA or the Church of England, I'd call her a priest. She wasn't; therefore, she isn't. She's not a bishop, either.

Self-identification doesn't turn fantasy into fact, no matter what you do to support the illusion. I can call myself an elephant or the King of Ireland for the rest of my life; I could spend those days eating peanuts and communicating in nasal trumpets, or wearing a crown and issuing edicts; the rest of the human world would still be under no obligation to indulge my mishegoss. No amount of foot-stamping insistence would change that. No news story full of gushing adulation for my foot-stamping insistence would change that.

It wouldn't matter if a validly and licitly consecrated bishop in good standing performed the rite of ordination perfectly according to the rubrics: "... the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women ...." (Pope St. John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis [1994], 4) This wasn't just the late pontiff's whim; it's been a fact of the Church since the beginning (vide CDF responsum ad propositum dubium, 1995). If the Church doesn't have the authority, then neither do the individual bishops. Nor can individual bishops obtain such authority by appeal to Scripture or the Holy Spirit; that's a piece of Protestant legerdemain, not Catholic teaching.

A handful of bishops participated in her "consecration"? Big deal. There are over five thousand Catholic bishops around the world, inclusive of all rites; it would be nothing short of miraculous if there were less than one hundred heresiarchs among them — and that's a conservative guess. Still no authority to ordain women.


The people don't seem to mind? I'm not surprised. Austrians are reputed to be very polite; moreover, the Church in Austria is arguably in worse doctrinal shape than is the Church in England or the United States. Again, it's irrelevant — the Church doesn't have the authority to ordain women, and "bandwagon" arguments don't change that fact.

You'd think people would have learned by now: defying the Catholic Church doesn't work ... at least not the way "reformers" want it to work. All that happens is, a new communion pretending to be the real Catholic Church arises, while the original, real real Catholic Church goes on her merry way, occasionally engaging in authentic reformation but otherwise teaching what she taught before. Luther defied the Catholic Church; now we have half a dozen varieties of Lutheran Church. Henry VIII defied the Catholic Church; the Anglican Communion has at least three main branches. John Calvin defied the Catholic Church; now there are numerous denominations that are significantly influenced by Calvin. 

And these communions have been fragmenting into ever-smaller chunks for some time now, diminishing while the Catholic Church is still growing. Defying the Catholic Church doesn't work. Christine Mayr-Lumetzburger is not now, nor will she ever be, a Catholic priest.

Now, could you please go back to misreporting politics?