The modern heretic, all in all, is a different animal. If he has any interest in theology, it's usually a negative interest; he wishes it would go away. It is an annoying fly in the ointment of his grand scheme to remake the Church in his likeness and image. He usually embraces heresy not because he makes a mistake while pondering theological nuances but because he has accepted the dominant cultural mores and social attitudes and is now intent on remolding Catholicism to fit them, rather than scrutinizing them in the light of Catholic teaching.
The ancient heretics eventually ran up against Church authority and, alas, made bad choices. Modern heretics make bad choices and then try to run over Church authority. "Minds no longer object to the Church," wrote Abp. Fulton Sheen, "because of the way they think, but because of the way they live. They no longer have difficulty with the Creed, but with her Commandments ... Briefly, the heresy of our day is not the heresy of thought; it is the heresy of action."
Thus, in the letters to the editor of The New York Times:
Re “Rome Fiddles, We Burn” (column, July 18):
Maureen Dowd is totally correct in arguing that the “tradition” that only men can be priests can and should be changed. There is no theological reason for a men-only priesthood.
Lay and clerical Catholics should loudly demand a new Vatican Council in which they should play a role. This council should address the ordination of women and other issues that could infuse a new spirit of the teachings of Christ into the church.
Chairman, Catholics in Alliance
for the Common Good
Washington, July 18, 2010
If Mr. Rotondaro is serious and sincere when he states, "There is no
theological reason for a men-only priesthood," I can only conclude that he is either woefully ignorant or completely deceived. And no one should be taking their directives on Catholic teaching and theology from someone who is ignorant or deceived. (I shouldn't have to write that, but it is probably necessary to state the obvious.) And if he is intent on being misleading, well, that would seem to follow from the company he keeps and leads.
There are plenty of theological reasons given by Catholic theologians for a male-only priesthood. I'll mention just one theologian and one book at the moment. Mr. Rotondaro, please meet Fr. Manfred Hauke, Ph.D., author of several books, including Die Problematik um das Frauenpriestertum vor dem Hintergrund der Schöpfungs- und Erlösungsordnung (1986), published in English by Ignatius Press as Women In the Priesthood: A Systematic Analysis in the Light of the Order of Creation and Redemption (1988; trans. by David Kipp). It is 497 pages long, it is copiously footnoted, and it was praised by Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar, who said, "Undoubtedly the definitive work available on this important topic." It is, to put it mildly, an impressive worth of theology.
Interestingly enough, Fr. Hauke, in the Introduction, immediately addresses the fact that those Catholics (and non-Catholics) who insist that women be ordained as Catholic priests do so without much, if any, concern for theological arguments. Instead, "often, authors content themselves with cursory allusions to changed sociocultural conditions, to which the Church must supposedly adapt" (p. 21). He then provides a number of illustrative quotes, including one from the Alpha Dog of Modern Celebrity Catholic Heretics, Hans Küng, who said back in 1977: "The resolution of the problem depends on the general sociological conditions at the time and place concerned [that is, first-century Israel]. It is fully and wholly a question of the existing cultural circumstances" (p. 22).
Much could be said about this approach, but it is proof that "sciences" such as sociology and psychology not only drive the engine of modernity, they have a solid grip on the steering wheel of cars driven by those who are "CatholicBut!"—that is, always insisting they are Catholic, but immediately adding the qualifier, "but...!" They will read Maureen Dowd with approval but cannot stand to read serious works of theology that support Church teaching. For some reason, I doubt that Arius, Nestorius, or Pelagius would think much of Dowd's rants and ragings; they were too learned and too serious for that.
• Mary in Feminist Theology: Mother of God or Domesticated Goddess? | Fr. Manfred Hauke
• "The Vatican’s insistence on male prerogative is misogynistic poppycock" (On Maureen Dowd and women's ordination; July 18 2010).