Bishop Power (letter)

Bishop Power (letter)

Fr G.H. Duggan SM

In your measured comments on the views of Bishop Power (October AD2000), you hit several nails on the head.

As you pointed out, the Pope's teaching on the impossibility of conferring the Catholic priesthood on a woman was definitive. Indeed, it is enough to read the definition of the First Vatican Council to see that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis fulfilled all four conditions laid down by the Council for the exercise of the Pope's prerogative of personal infallibility conferred on St Peter, for whom alone Christ prayed, as He said at the Last Supper (Luke 22:32). These conditions, it may be remarked, did not include prior consultation of his brother bishops or an explicit statement that he was exercising this prerogative.

I am afraid that the plea for "optional celibacy" is really a plea for a married priesthood. In those churches in which the ministers may marry, some choose celibacy, exercising that option.

As for homosexuality, this is an ambiguous term. It may designate the orientation, or the homosexual act called sodomy. That this action is strictly forbidden by God is very plain (Leviticus 18:22), and St Paul is equally clear (Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Boswell and others have tried to explain away this teaching, but their sophistry will deceive only those who want to be deceived.

In his Summa (P. II-II, q. 154, a. 11) St Thomas explains why God has forbidden sodomy. It is because this use of the genital organs is contrary to that for which they were intended by God, the Author of nature. They belong, as any textbook of anatomy makes clear, to the reproductive system, that is, their purpose is the transmission of human life. In sodomy, this purpose is frustrated. That is why St Thomas remarks that sodomy, unlike fornication, is rightly described as an unnatural vice.

Silverstream, New Zealand

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