Catholic Women Priests: Can There Be a Discussion? | Fr Dwight Longenecker | CWR
Those Catholics who are seeking and hoping to "ordain" women are working within a hermeneutic of revolution
Eleven years ago Christine Mayr Lumetzberger was excommunicated because she attempted to be ordained as a Catholic priest. A mischievous and misleading article by British journalist Peter Stanford entitled “Meet the Female Priest Defying Catholicism for her Faith" recounts her story.
Ms. Lumetzberger says she knew from childhood she was called to be a priest. She joined a convent, but after leaving to marry a divorced man, she decided to become a priest. In 2002 she joined six other women on a boat on the Danube and was “ordained”. A few years later she claims to have been consecrated as a bishop. She refuses to name the bishops who consecrated her, no mention is made of her formation or training to be a priest, much less a bishop, but Stanford makes it clear that Lumetzberger is a brave pioneer—a woman of faith who has defied the “celibate men who…give no explanation of why these laws should be followed except fear.”
Stanford’s sentimental and shallow tribute to Lumetzberger gives the usual self-righteous arguments for women priests combined with zero theological rationale or evidence of any knowledge of the Church’s real reasons for rejecting female ordination. Instead we are given a soft image of a “serene” and “softly spoken” woman who helps the poor and has a smiling “mumsy” image.
Despite the clear teachings of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis ruling out the ordination of women, Catholics of a certain strain still press for the innovation and insist that more discussion is needed, more dialogue is required and yet more listening is necessary.
Is, in fact, more discussion necessary—or is the matter settled?
The Anglican Story
To understand the women’s ordination debate in the Catholic Church it is instructive to see the issue in the wider ecumenical context.