Holy Orders (letter)

Holy Orders (letter)

Francis Vrijmoed

I would like to comment on the letter "Infallible" by Fr John Crothers PP in which he observes that John Paul II's statement on women's ordination, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, has never been proclaimed as an infallible statement by the Holy Father.

As every Catholic is bound to obey any official teaching of the Catholic Church, may I ask what difference it would make for a Catholic whether it had been proclaimed infallibly or not?

The answer is none, according to article 752 of the Church's Canon Law, which reads: "While the assent of faith is not required, a religious submission of intellect and will is to be given to any doctrine which either the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising their authentic magisterium, declare upon a matter of faith or morals, even though they do not intend to proclaim that doctrine by definitive act, Christ's faithful are therefore to ensure that they avoid whatever does not accord with that doctrine."

In this connection it may be appropriate to keep in mind that the decision of the Catholic Church not to allow married priests (for the Latin Rite Church) and not to ordain women are two completely different issues. Allowing a married priesthood is a matter of changing Canon Law which the Church has authority to do.

The ordination of women touches the essence of the sacrament of Holy Orders, meaning it is a matter of sacramental theology, which the Church has no authority to change, even if she wanted to. This must be the reason why the Holy Father has forbidden Catholics to continue to discuss the issue of women's ordination.

Hong Kong, China

[Editor: There have been numerous other letters expressing similar sentiments to the above which could not be published, due to space constraints. We thank the writers of these letters for their contributions.]

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