Friday, September 03, 2010

Modern(ish) Ultramontanes

I was struck by the thought: those who call for women's ordination are shockingly ultramontane.
I mean they think the Church is the Pope's fiefdom, as if he invents 2000 years of Tradition, as if the demand of something being believed "always and everywhere" could exist in the Pope's head.
The Pope is the servant of Tradition and the Church not its master.


Left-footer said...

Nice one, Father.

nickbris said...

As sure as eggs is eggs we will one day have Women Priests.But it won't be because of those ranting Blackmailers.

Nutters and ne'erdowells have been trying to destroy the Church of Christ for 600 years.

We do not give in to Blackmail or Lies.We have read so much garbage in the papers and seen the antics on BBC TV,the bus companies must be so skint they have to take adverts from nincompoops.

None of that will work but we have to accept that one day we will be facing a Woman Priest when we go to Mass.

Patrick Sheridan said...

''The Pope is the servant of Tradition and the Church not its master.''

You would think so, although most 20th century popes would beg to differ - Pius XII for example.

Michael Petek said...

My father used to say that his mother would turn in her grave the day they introduced women priests.

There's Hungarian faithfulness for you!

Mick said...


I Hear what you are saying. I am a coward, I am NOT eloquent, I can offer no vociferous defence other than "I am a faithful Catholic" What I WILL say is


JARay said...

The day that there are women priests in the Church is the day when the words of Jesus "I am with you until the end of the world" are proved false.
On that day the Church will cease to exist.
On that day something infallibly declared to be true, will be proved false!
On that day men will start conceiving babies.
I read somewhere, a priest saying that the words he says at the Consecration "This is MY body" really bring home to him the true awfulness (as is awe-inspiring) of him being a priest. There he is, using Christ's own words, because he really is "in persona Christi" ... truly "in the person of Christ". Those words, said by the priest, bring about the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the real Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
No woman can ever be "in the person of Christ".
A woman can NOT be a MAN!

Robert said...

Patrick Walker said...

Well if he Pope truly isn't ultra-montaine surely he would allow reasoned discussion of the theological arguments for and against women priests. It's because all discussion is forbidden by the vaticn that charges of high-handedness is made.

The inadmissability of women to the priesthood has not been declared as an infalliable teaching, it is part of the ordinary (not extraordinary) magesterium. However, the vatican's official position on female deacons (eg the admissability of women to sacred orders) is open.

MC Man said...

I am sure that I read somewhere that some women were ordained as Priests during the days of the communist persecution in eastern europe to try and keep the Church alive.I believe that the church also ordained married men to the Latin Rite priesthood and that when things became easier these man had to be transferred to the Byzantine Rite,they were not allowed to remain in the Latin Rite.

JARay said...

Patrick Walker writes:-
"The inadmissability of women to the priesthood has not been declared as an infalliable teaching, it is part of the ordinary (not extraordinary) magesterium. However, the vatican's official position on female deacons (eg the admissability of women to sacred orders) is open."
The inadmissibility of women to the priesthood is defined as a truth to which ALL MUST SUBSCRIBE.
Dissention places you outside the Church. Cafeteria Catholics think that they can still be Catholic and dissent from this and other infallibly defined truths.
They cannot!
The Church has also declared that the Diaconate is also inadmissible to women.
More than that.
The Ministry which I have, the Instituted Acolytate, being one of the Minor Orders, is also denied to women. In a neighbouring parish there are some women who consider themselves as being Acolytes and their Late PP, in my hearing, referred to them as Acolytes, and he was totally wrong in doing so.
When I was instituted, our then, now late, Archbishop Lancelot Goody, declared that he was not going to have women on his altars and that was why he was going to institute Acolytes and refuse to countenance Extra-Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist because they included women. After his death, his successor immediately instituted Extra-Ordinary Ministers so as to include women!
The furfy that there were women Deacons in the days of the early Church has clearly been answered by pointing out that those women had no function in the early Church beyond the distribution of alms and food to the needy. They never performed the functions of the Diaconate as it is understood today.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Personally I had always considered the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church binding because it is the plain, ordinary teaching of the Church always and everywhere, unquestioned and therefore not necessary to be defined in a Extraordinay Dogmatic Statement. Another example of Ultramontanism on the part of our commenter!

Deaconesses are not Deacons, it can be disputed if they were minor orders or not, it can also be disputed whether today's acolytes are the same as yesterday's and whether they are minor orders, or just "ministries".
One of the functions of deaconesses was, I think, to annoint the body's of women in prep. for baptism and to baptise them, in places were baptism was done naked, but mainly to act as chaperones.
They also possibly had a eucharistic role, distributing the pre-sanctified, amongst communities of women.
The ancient rights of Carthusian nuns to wear a maniple, or of Poor Clare Prioresses to carry the Blessed Sacrament seems to be connected to the ancient role of a deaconess.

Patrick Walker said...

The inadmissability of women to the order of deacon has NOT been declared by the church. The vatican's OFFICIAL position is that the role and status of deaconesses needs further study - i.e. it is not convinced by the arguments and historical scholarship to date (c.f. the line put forth by Fr Ray). The Orthodox church (I think Constantinople) has relatively recently instituted a small number of women deacons again (not deaconesses), female relgious I believe; and the vatican has not made any comment either way about the matter. Interesting developments to come, I am sure.

Please note - I am not advocated the cause of women deacons which without doubt would be a contentious issue at the present time, just wanting to clarify that the official vatican position remains open on the subject.

Michael Petek said...

Patrick Walker, you are manifestly incorrect in half of what you say.

A Responsum to a Dubium issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after Sacerdotalis Ordinatio was issued confirmed that the judgement on the inadmissibility of women to the ministerial priesthood is definitive and therefore infallible.

The most persuasive reason why it should be so is that the primary function of the ministerial priest is the celebration of the Eucharist, and as a life-giving act this is of the quintessence of fatherhood.

As to your point about the admissibility of women to diaconal orders, this is canonically inadmissible. I don't know of any definitive teaching ruling it out as a matter of divine disposition (though that's not to say there isn't one). The Church has to rule on this point separately.

Patrick Walker said...

Michael Petrek,
I am sorry to be quarrelsome but I believe you are incorrect and have got the facts the wrong way round.

The dubium asked for clarification on whether s.o. had been declared according to the extraordinary magesterium and the response was negative ie that the declaration was definitive only in the sense of the ordinary magisterial teaching of the church ie JP2 had not made an infallible proclamation.

I think it is important to clarify this point as there has only been two infallible proclamations by the church. Perhaps you can provide the quote to the country if you have access to the document.

I am 99% certain of this but can't look up the source at the moment. Apologies for spelling mistakes but the spellchecker on my iPhone does strange things and is very resistant to my attempts to correct it's corrections!

Patrick Walker said...

Ps - I am not disputing that the teaching on the inadmissibility of women to the priesthood is definitive and/or binding, just that it has been declared according to the ordinary not extraordinary magesterium and would not therefore be considered infallible as such. I think it is important to clarify these distinctions.

Presumably a council of the church could still provide further clarification or develop the doctrine further (which they couldn't do if the matter had been declared infallibly)???

Fr Ray Blake said...

Again, demanding Extra-ordinary Magisterial teaching when mainstream Christianity of East and West agree, seems to be perverse, indeed Ultra-Montane.

Some Eastern Churches still have orders of Virgins and Widows, no on would argue they were in major orders, nor would they argue instituted deaconesses in the Greek Church are female deacons in major orders.
The answer is seem in the place they take during the Liturgy; which is outside of the sanctuary, amongst the laity.
The evidence we do have about deaconesses in the first millenium is that their place was on the women's side of the congregaton, at the front but below the pulpitum, that is outsude of the sanctuary. That would indicate they had a pastoral role primarily. Their liturgical role would have been leading women in responses, at least in places where they were permitted to respond, which wasn't everywhere!

Michael Petek said...


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

Tarcisio Bertone
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

Michael Petek said...

Further to my last posting, the ordinary Magisterium can teach infallibly, and on this occasion it did.

RJ said...

Patrick: as far as I am aware, the teaching of the ordinary magisterium can also be infallible.

RJ said...

Patrick: as far as I am aware, the teaching of the ordinary magisterium can be infallible.

JARay said...

Thank you Michael Petek for the quote of the "dubium" and you too "RJ" for the EWTN response as to the use of the Ordinary Magisterium having binding infallibility.

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