From our readers – November 24, 2016

| November 22, 2016 | 46 Comments

A Christian agenda

When I read James Guldan’s letter in the Nov. 10 issue (“Immigration rhetoric”), I wondered if we had attended the same presentation made by Archbishop Tobin in which the archbishop spoke about refugees. At no time did I hear him talking about open borders. His emphasis was on Catholic social teaching that is based on Scripture. As noted in Leviticus, “The alien among you, you shall love as yourself,” which is re-echoed by Jesus who emphasized the second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus, with his parents, was a refugee in Egypt. Archbishop Tobin reiterated the message of Pope Francis of welcoming refugees not because of a political agenda but a Christian one. I left the archbishop’s talk re-energized to be more involved in the problems of our conflicted country and world, many of which are addressed in Catholic social teaching, realizing that being a Catholic is more than saying my prayers and going to Mass on Sunday.

Mariah Snyder
Lumen Christi, St. Paul

Rethinking women priests

Last week, in Germany, Pope Francis reiterated the old argument that, since Christ had only men as Apostles, women are forever banned from the priesthood (“Pope: Women’s ordination not likely,” Nov. 10). He buttressed this assertion by quoting St. John Paul II.

So, let’s parse these two things, here in the 21st century: First of all, Christ and his apostles were products of their culture. It would have been unthinkable and extremely dangerous for women to go abroad preaching the Gospel in those days, on foot or on horseback. Just not feasible. We do not travel much on foot or on horseback today. We do it largely on Facebook and Twitter, by plane or automobile.

Second, the fact that Pope John Paul, not one of my personal favorites and one whose canonization was pushed through in unseemly haste, made an outrageous and blatantly sexist statement only proves that even saints have made mistakes in their lives. Mother Teresa once claimed that there cannot be too many people, asking “How can there be too many flowers?” A rather naïve and unrealistic world view, most would agree.

In the same issue of The Catholic Spirit in which Francis was quoted, there was an article about how men are made to look like buffoons in so many TV shows and movies, which portray women as the strong and logical ones (“The trouble with the ‘You Go Girl’ culture”). Do we want to look at the guy who just won the presidency? Women run Catholic hospitals, schools and several corporations in our country and around the world, and yet they are not capable of being priests? Our hierarchy need to get over themselves and realize that women are needed in great numbers in the priesthood to give it balance, wisdom, compassion and insight into family life, just for starters. It is beyond regrettable that so much talent is being tossed aside and ignored in the name of male pride, jealousy and fear.

Carol Larsen
St. Stephen, Anoka

Editor’s note: Scripture and Catholic tradition has held that priesthood is reserved for men. Pope St. John Paul II stated in his May 1994 letter “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” (“Priestly Ordination”): “Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren, I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

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Category: From Readers

  • Carmen

    Larsen St. Stephen, Anoka MN, you are barking up the wrong tree…Pope
    Francis said St John Paul the Great had the final say on the issue. In
    the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, is “that the Church has no
    authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that
    this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    so either definitively hod the teaching or leave the Church like any honest heretic would

    • Dominic Deus

      No one is “invited” to leave the Church. All the baptized are welcome and welcome further to express their doubts and concerns. There is, by the way, no doctrine of “final say” in the Catholic Church. Not on earth anyway. God grants all of us the light of grace to see Divine Truth in our own time. That applies to John Paul, and Francis as well. How God will grace the future Church is not for us to know.

      • Charles C.

        Dear Dominic,

        I believe there is a doctrine of “final say” in the Church. Certainly you would agree that the doctrine of Papal infallibility exists and has been taught officially.

        We may see Divine Truth in our own time, but if it is Divine Truth as officially declared by the Pope it requires our assent. Yes, there are various degrees of teaching, but Pope St. John Paul’s declaration is much stronger than “At this time it doesn’t look like women may be ordained, but stay tuned.”

        The Church, in its official teaching, is not to be overruled by someone saying “But I see it differently.”

        (As an aside and an update, it doesn’t seem as though The Four Cardinals are welcome to express their concerns.)

        • Dominic Deus

          Charles-good to hear from you again. I have been overtaken by events beyond my control and today is my first chance to think! My reply to Carmen in her rebuke of Carol was intended to focus the wrongness of any Catholic Faithful feeling they are qualified to judge another as a heretic let alone invite another to leave the Church. Quite frankly, my reading of Jesus’ teaching in the narrative gospels is that he would likely offer a harsh rebuke to anyone suggesting that others leave the Church. Of course, we have or at least had an archdiocesan junior lawyer from St. Thomas who would frequently “suggest” that questioners or dissenters “might be happier as Protestants,” so Carmen may just be repeating what she heard from others.

          Regarding the “final say” as she expressed it, her *a priori* statement of it is incorrect. The “more-or-less-ok” but certainly not “great” scriptural scholar Dominic Deus once wrote, “There is… no doctrine of “final say” in the Catholic Church. Not on earth anyway. God grants all of us the light of grace to see Divine Truth in our own time.”

          Our own time, whether it is Carol’s time, my time or a Pope’s time is not God’s time. There can be no human “final say” for that exact reason.

          As it turns out, the Sun does not revolve around the Earth despite the Church’s insistence that it did under the authority of Pope Paul V. Ironically, that same pope, as a cardinal, had been friends with Galileo, had visited his observatory, looked through his telescope and proclaimed admiration for his work. Galileo, of course, was forced to recant under threat of being burned at the stake and died, still under house arrest, eight years latter.

          Fortunately, the Church announced it’s error only 350 years after that and, ironically, it was Carmen’s Pope John Paul who made the declaration of error, thus giving the lie to any further declarations of human finality declared by popes or otherwise. Maybe he forgot he did that.

          None of this has anything to do with the doctrine of papal infallibility which was declared by Pope Pius IX for no particular reason in the nineteenth century and largely rejected by theologians, scriptural scholars and popes ever since. In response to many objections and even outright derision, the Church clarified that true papal infallibility occurs only when the Pope speaks *ex cathedra” and after consultation with and agreement by the bishops (which would be a lot of people) or maybe just the College of Cardinals (which would still be a lot of people), the theory apparently being that they can’t all be wrong. I am skeptical of that theory. I don’t recall any pope in my lifetime invoking the dogma of papal infallibility and even a strongly worded apostolic letter does not meet the requirements for infallible declaration. Pope Frances, by the way, has said he does not consider himself to be infallible. The Dali Lama says the same thing about himself, and, personally, I make mistakes all the time. Like thinking America would never elect Donald Trump President.

          As an aside, I do not know a St. John Paul the Great though I remember a St. John Paul, which is good enough, I suspect, for most Catholics. How do you get be great any way?

          (Sigh.) Does anyone read this or is it just you and me? Stay warm and don’t drive anywhere you don’t have to.


          • Charles C.

            Dear Dominic,

            Blessings on you, and strength to your arm and your family. I wish nothing but peace and love for you and all who are near to you.

            Might I suggest that you use your influence with the staff of The Catholic Spirit? They would be well advised to offer you a blog column on their Catholic Hotdish site. Perhaps it could be called “Different Pews.” I would be happy to be a co-participant with you. I envision a column in which you state a position in a couple of paragraphs, then you and I could take turns, a few paragraphs at a time, discussing the issue.

            I suspect we would both have the goal of finding clarity, understanding, truth, and identifying precisely where differences of opinion occur. I may not be a true Minnesotan, but that would be more to my taste than reading about deer hunting.

            The Church and the Archdiocese speak freely and frequently about dialogue but I never see any evidence of it. Usually, it seems to me, one person is allowed to give a speech, then someone with a different opinion thanks them, offers to pray and be sensitive to their needs, then everyone goes home with no progress being made.

            I am wrong or misinformed about many things. You are a rare gift, someone who will walk alongside to offer approval or correction as necessary. I have no other way of learning than by listening to others, either through books or in a more personal medium. Thanks.

            (I find that my leaf blower is an indispensable tool. Might I suggest using one when the snow is fluffy? It works a treat. Oh, and I like driving in snow storms. It’s dangerous.)

            Remember, get in touch with the staff at The Catholic Spirit and pitch the idea. Vibrant, muscular Catholicism would benefit from watching two people (and commenters) honestly and respectfully deal with issues from the point of view of the “man in the pew.”

            May God bless you.

          • Dominic Deus

            Dear Charles, I think that is a great idea but I must tell you that I, too, am wrong or misinformed about way too much. Your comments teach me many things and remind me that I did not always think as I do and at times I do not think or express myself rightly–which is a whole other way of being wrong! (I know a lot of ways to be wrong and only a few ways to be right so you can imagine my theosophical batting average;-) As my professor and first mentor at HDS said,”All voices must be heard.”

            I doubt I have any influence at the Spirit but your idea might and I will contact them on behalf of both of us.

          • Charles C.

            Dear Dominic,

            You are a prince among men. Thanks.

            I see, far too often, obstacles being put in the way of reasoned conversation. I suspect that both of us would enjoy hearing from other readers as well. Your “All voices” advice should be the guide here.

            Anyway, back to the subject.

            I will admit that I’m very uncomfortable with the idea that Biblical teachings, or those solemnly proclaimed by the Church, may be tampered with. Doesn’t that lead us to Relativism? (I note that another writer chose to rename St. Nicholas’ feast day as “Punch a Heretic Day.” It’s got a ring to it.)

            Is there anything which absolutely must be believed if one is honestly to consider oneself a Catholic? Are there any of those beliefs that aren’t held by the world as “nice” attitudes to have?

            It seems to me, (but I’m probably missing something) that all of Catholic Social Justice could easily be adopted by anyone in nearly any other religion, or even in no religion at all.

            Does the Catholic Church teach any truths which offend the Spirit of the World? If she does, then those are the truths which will be most under attack and which need the most vigorous defense. If she doesn’t teach “offensive” truths then the Church has no business existing, she is salt which has lost it’s savor.

            Not everything which is offensive is true, but nothing the Church teaches should be dismissed merely because it is offensive. The Church which has as its goal not to offend anyone is worthless.

            (Remind me to tell you about the marriage “Mass” held at the Basilica this spring. When questioned about the irregularities, the priest in charge (the rector?) said “we want to please everybody.”)

          • Dominic Deus

            Good Charles: As usual you raise many good questions and I relinquish the last word to you, richly deserved! I will retire for the night, perchance to dream–of being skeptical but somehow having faith. Or sometimes I just dream of having the power to fly. go figure.

          • Spencer

            “As it turns out, the Sun does not revolve around the Earth despite the Church’s insistence that it did under the authority of Pope Paul V. Ironically, that same pope, as a cardinal, had been friends with Galileo, had visited his observatory, looked through his telescope and proclaimed admiration for his work. Galileo, of course, was forced to recant under threat of being burned at the stake and died, still under house arrest, eight years latter.”

            The Gallileo thing was grabbed onto by Enlightenment thinkers to use as a strawman against Catholics, most of the conflict really came down to the fact that Galileo acted like a dick when he recieved valid criticism (he wrote a book responding to criticism and referred to the pope as an idiot for offering valid criticisms because even though we now know he was right, at the time his science was poorly supported.

            But when it comes to Church teachings, the idea that individuals should just go with their “feelings” on something even when it conflicts with the Church’s official teachings is a dangerous slope. If I “feel” like abortion is permissible, or if I “feel” the Eucharist is only a symbol instead of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it doesn’t make me equally right, it means that I’m firmly incorrect.

          • Dominic Deus

            Spencer–Thank you for your comments. My reference to Galileo was to make the point that the very concept of “final say” regarding the teachings of the Church is widely and wildly misunderstood , with Galileo suffering the consequences of it until the day he died and at the hands of a cardinal who knew he was right but asa a pope declared otherwise. And then, another pope reversed that declaration (albeit 350 years later)–the same pope that Carmen invoked as having the “final say” on the ordination of women. There is just too much irony here to handle. Historically, I would gently suggest reading a historical account of the Galileo matter. There is no question it was an act of profound mendacity, widely recognized as such and a continuing embarrassment to the Church for centuries. “Final say” is a concept harmful to the Church and it didn’t to Galileo any good either! Oh, one other thing: I really have to think the Enlightenment was a good thing! Peace.

          • Spencer

            again, here’s an explanation for the circumstances that led to the Galileo controversy,

            JP2 also wasn’t the one who reversed the declaration, rather it was an apology for the whole legal dispute (the Church accepted heliocentrism long before then).

            For another thing, it wasn’t that the Pope made a decree on heliocentrism being wrong, Galileo was ultimately right, but he did a lot to hurt his own cause by not properly backing up his arguments and answering an objection to his theory by the Pope (you know how science works by proposing a theory and letting people challenge it) by referring to the Pope as a “simpleton” in a published work.

            But more to the point, there’s a difference between the Pope speaking on science and the Pope speaking on a point of the church. The Pope is perfectly in his right as pastoral leader of the Church to give a worthy answer to questions posed like “can women be priests” with the wealth of tradition and scripture behind him.

            Pope Francis, while able to write a very good encyclical on the environment (I strongly advise reading Laudato Si) cannot make a definitive statement on science because that’s not in his field or vocation, but issues of the Church are within the Pope’s authority.

            So you have the position of “this is what the Church tradition says, what scripture teaches, and what the theologians of the Church and the Pope have found in terms of women’s ordination”, vs “well the pope can’t have final say, its really about what you feel”

            we’re not protestants and Christanity is not simply down to individual interetation or decision supersceding the rest of the Church.

          • Dominic Deus

            Spencer–Thank you for your response. You deserve the last word and it shall be yours! One quick suggestion:, though informative, may not be as good a source as a “historical-critical” one. The historical-critical approach is usually written from a non-advocacy position and is usually accurate or at least fact checkable. is a little more like read only one side’s deposition in a divorce petition 😉 Have a good weekend!

          • Charles C.

            Galileo is an interesting case. There is an article presenting a history in which the Church and the Pope appear better than is commonly assumed. It’s here:


  • Spencer

    The woman priest argument is flawed in doing the “Jesus would have done so if it were our modern times” since for one thing it rejects the Church’s teaching authority and for another, one should not aspire to the priesthood simply to attain a place in the Church hierarchy or to implement change.

    The Church values the role of women and they are critical to the Church, but the priesthood cannot be reduced to simply a question of feelings of what people ‘think’ Jesus would have done or a battle for power.

    The writer could be advised to do some research and perhaps approach with more humility than rejecting Pope John Paul II as sexist and thus invalid in his claims.

    • Dominic Deus Spencer–You raise several good points but I must say the three Catholic Women Priests I have known speak of their call in strictly spiritual terms, with no aspirations of power, authority, or even recognition beyond that of those they serve. All of them work with no salary, and, of course they have to wrestle with the question of excommunication–is it real or not, do they feel it or not, do they believe it or not. I would also add that it is always relevant to ask “What would Jesus do?” as his actions embodied his teaching and his teaching is what we believe in when we say we believe in Jesus. I agree with you that Pope John Paul should not be characterized as sexist, but I think it is fair to characterize him as patriarchal. Patriarchy carries with it both virtues and faults–we men should know that!

      • Spencer

        its a dubious position to claim that “Oh Jesus would have appointed women as priests but couldn’t because it went against the patriarchy of the time” when Jesus had no issue instructing people “Eat my flesh” when he litterally scandalized people with the notion of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, by talking about tearing down the temple, and challenging the secular and religious authorities, but apparently the one thing he was afraid of doing was appointing women as priests.

        I don’t doubt the good intentions of women who have gone ahead and gotten themselves “ordained” but that makes them no more correct that the equally well intentioned guy in Kanasas who believes he is the legitimate pope preserving the Church from heresy.

        • Dominic Deus

          Spencer–Bravo for you! You are well on your way to seminary and pastoral service! The ability to say “I don’t doubt the good intentions of women who have gone ahead and gotten themselves “ordained” …. says volumes. You are steadfast in your belief as the light of God’s grace has been given to you yet you do not condemn the good intentions of others. That sounds Christ-like to me!

          • Spencer

            I don’t condemn their good intentions, but good intentions do not make someone correct. Keep in mind Protestantism emerged because well intentioned people were willing to break the unity of the Church believing they were helping Christianity when in fact it led to schism and heresy

          • Dominic Deus

            Right you are. Good intention is not enough but it should bethe starting point for us all:-)

      • Charles C.

        As is the case most frequently, I am confused. If the women you’ve met are not interested in power, authority, or recognition, why call themselves priests (or priestesses, which seems the more correct term)? Can they not adopt the perfectly honorable label of Mrs. or Miss (or, if they must, Ms.)?

        And I’m confused by the reference to WWJD. Is there evidence that Jesus would have “ordained” them? Where did the idea of ordination come from if not from the Church and Jesus’ appointment of Peter?

        I hope you see my confusion. Help me out here.

        • Dominic Deus

          Sorry for the confusion I created! The three that I know do, indeed go by their names only and do not wish to be called Father, Mother, Sister or anything other than their first and last name. Apparently they (woman priests) had a big discussion early in the game and rejected the term “priestess” as being too Greek or Roman, plus the term “priest” is interpreted by them , correctly it turns out, as non-gender specific.

          As far as WWJD, I wonder where ordination came from too. I’m not saying I don’t think it s real–I just never gave it any thought. If I had to guess I’d say it was codified in about 400 CE. Someone out there must know. It’s -3 outside my scriptorium on the third floor and I’m going to try to convince the dog to sleep on top of the bed tonight. I also have a wife so if I can get int the middle of the tow I should be OK. that’s my theological goal too–land somewhere in the middle of the bed.

          • DebraBrunsberg

            Holy Orders were initiated by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and have continued on since then. There is no need to guess.

            Matthew 28:16,18-20: “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee… And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

            John 20:21-23: “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

            Acts 14:23: “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed.”
            Titus 1:5: “This is why I [Paul] left you [Titus] in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you,”
            Acts 6:2-6: “And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty… These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them. “
            2 Timothy 2:2: “and what you [Timothy] have heard from me [Paul] before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
            Acts 14:21, 23: “When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Ico’nium and to Antioch… And when they had appointed elders for them in every church…”

            1 Timothy 4:13-14: “Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.”
            2 Timothy 1:6-8: “Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God,”
            Acts 13:2-3: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

            Apostolic Succession is real. Attempting to change 2,000 years of Tradition and teaching of the Church to satisfy the misguided desires of a few women is no different than those who wish to push gay marriage or abortion, all are against the teachings of Christ.

      • DebraBrunsberg

        There is no such thing as a female Catholic priest so if you “know” some, then you know they are not of the Church or a part of the Church. The enemy often brings things to people in which some good sign may appear and one will know it is the enemy by its fruits. To pretend to be a priest in direct opposition to the Church is not a good fruit. Just like many issues that are not of God (gay marriage, etc.) it isn’t about feelings. It is about being obedient to the Church. When we look at the many Saints who suffered, even at the hands of the Church, but who remained obedient and were vindicated (eg., St. Padre Pio) one can see who adheres to the teachings of Christ via His Church and who does not. The question is not What Would Jesus Do, it is What would Jesus want me to do? Would He want me to defy His Church? Would He want me to be obedient? There is NO obedience in women who pretend to be priests or who continue to attack something that has already been settled. To continue that is prideful and of the world. To defend that is the same.

        • Dominic Deus

          Debra–I realize you feel strong in your faith as God gives you the grace to see it and I must, and choose to, respect that.

          It is another matter entirely to condemn other faithful as the “enemy.” That is precisely the action that led Christ to be crucified–by us, the people he was trying to save. It is the approach that enables public figures to name all Muslims as enemies, suspect and dangerous, to be shunned and isolated, even to suffer and die as refugees.

          I don’t believe you are that kind of person. I suggest you re-examine the matter and try to discern what calls your sisters in Catholic faith to ordination? What if, for example, if is not disobedience but submission the will of God? What if they are feeling a call to a vocation the Church has not yet created? What if the consecration of Catholic women’s lives is a needed sacrament of the 21st century and the actual call is to the Church– to vision and create it?

          Maybe the Holy Spirit is calling the Church. Best to at least consider that possibility!

          • DebraBrunsberg

            The enemy is the devil. That is whom I was referring to and I think you know that. That is who sometimes brings things to us that are not of God or the Church, but in our pride and naivete, we presume it to be God. Yes, discernment is very important. However, my point is this: If what you are discerning is against the faith that Jesus gave us, against the Tradition and the teachings of the Church, it may very well be from the enemy. Now, what someone would do if they believe very strongly regarding a call they believe to be of God, is to take that to a true Catholic Spiritual Director for assistance in interpreting that call and then to be obedient to what they are being told about that call, just as holy men and women have been doing for centuries. When one decides for themselves and that decision is in direct opposition to the Church, they may not be competent to discern the source of their “call.” I think you might wish to re-examine the issue and maybe run this by a competent Catholic, Spiritual Director so that you yourself do not become complicit in things that are against the Church. If the Lord has a message that HE wishes to make clear for a change in His Church, He will do that. He won’t ask souls to commit to actions that will bring them excommunication. He works through many people and as I reflect upon all the Blessed Mother’s messages to the world via approved apparitions, I don’t recall her ever suggesting anyone go against the Church or that the Lord urgently wants women to be priests. Again, whom do you listen to? Really? Those who are obedient, or those who are not?

          • Dominic Deus

            I agree. Self-examinaiton should be a daily practice! Same with self re-examination. Personally, I often go to St. John Cardinal Newman who spent almost exactly half of his life as an Anglican and half as a Catholic. He was a great role model. I remember when he was asked to offer a toast to the Pope. He responded,”I will propose a toast to the Pope, but first to Conscience.”

          • Dominic Deus

            Oops. In my original post I prematurely canonized the good Cardinal. He was, in fact, beatified by Benedict but sainthood has eluded him so far. Same with me.

          • DebraBrunsberg

            A well formed conscience is required for all actions. I think the Catechism says it best: 1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.
            In 1792: Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct. We just come back to rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching in the issue of women pretending to be priests.

            I think we must have compassion on everyone, even those who are in error, but as with any type of sin or undesirable affectation, we must not let mercy override Truth. We do no service to anyone to support them in things that are clearly not of the Church. Nice try though. I don’t think Blessed John Cardinal Newman would be holding up these beliefs. You could try a German Bishop perhaps?

          • Dominic Deus

            Debra– mercy a particularly compassionate form of love, always overrides truth or justice or at least it should. 1785 is good. 1792 is kind of huffy and not well suited to informing a discerning thinker. I am pretty sure John Newman would question any affront to autonomy????

          • DebraBrunsberg

            “The Church can be truthful without being merciful. But she can’t be merciful without being truthful.” Archbishop Chaput.

            “True illness of the mind and spirit sets in when a man no longer cherishes truth … when in the depths of his soul, truth ceases to be to him the primary, the most important concern.”
            Romano Guardini

            I think that you do not value truth at all. I am not sure you know it, at least in regards to the teachings of the Catholic Church. That may be why you don’t use your real name. It is hard to promote things that are against the Church when you have to identify yourself. Interesting. I think our conversation is done. This was all in response to a woman’s letter that was so off base and so filled with anger and emotion and no truth at all, that something had to be said. Your words are as false as hers, you just write differently. All fluff and no substance. May you find the truth in your life. Truth is a person………….Jesus Christ……….

          • Dominic Deus

            Debra–Archbishop Chaput would not be my first choice a a poster priest for mercy. His pursuit of truth seems to turn on the matter of judgment (his) and once that is rendered and someone or some group is found spiritually deficient, then maybe some gesture of mercy, sparingly dispensed, *may* be acceptable. “Piffle,” I say!
            Better to listen to this guy who was not a bishop or even a Catholic–
            and read the Beatitudes which say exactly nothing about the pursuit of truth but a great deal about what it means to be a decent human being.

            The crest of Harvard Divinity School contains the word *Veritas” so I am very familiar with the search for truth as a foundational principal. I believe in it but I must tell you that I have met many people who value truth over compassion, love and mercy.They are some of the most pompous, even obnoxious people I’ve ever met. No one ever invites the to a party. The unbridled pursuit of truth is its own punishment.

            That said, I want you you to know I have found our dialogue invigorating and invite you to continue. You are obviously well informed, religiously literate and willing to defend your convictions. Good for you!

            As a token of my appreciation I gift you this bit of
            wisdom from a distinguished professor (no, not me):

            “If we give up on a conversation, it just goes on without us.”



            It *is* my real name.
   Sister Mary Donald thought it might make me saintly but it didn’t work.

          • Dominic Deus

            I forgot the crest. Sorry. Here it is, proof positive that I am a pointy headed liberal scholar who wears thick glasses,knows nothing about the real world and drinks expensive latte’s. Worst of all, I probably did not vote for Donald Trump. Impossible to really know the truth though.

          • Bernadette

            sounds like attacks on Trump by the leftists.

          • Bernadette

            I’m glad you mentioned the Blessed Mother. She is a powerful source in the spiritual world that many of us don’t know about. If you ask for her help, she’ll take it to her son, and what son ever refuses his mother? Not many.

  • Carmen

    As we see with the Protestant denominations who have “ordained” (they don’t believe it is a Sacrament) and Catholic women religious orders who have given up the habit, these external signs are the first symbol of the death of those denominations and orders….the second is compromising with the world, substituting the DNC platform for the Natural Law of God.

    No, the orthodox dogma of the Church is not to be messed with just to accommodate the World’s take on things.

    • Dominic Deus

      Carmen–under what circumstances would you say it is proper to mess with orthodoxy and dogma? When, for example, would you be willing to do it?

  • DebraBrunsberg

    Ms. Larsen, those were definitely different times that Jesus lived in. Jesus defied so many of the norms of His time and culture, speaking to a Samaritan(a woman!,) healing on the Sabbath, ignoring the cleansing laws of the Jews, touching lepers and those who were unclean, having women following Him throughout the land, preaching against the current authority. Yes, all of these things made Him hated by those in power. His actions got him tortured and brutally murdered. Do you really think that Jesus was afraid to choose a woman for an Apostle? Who greater than His own mother to be in that role? Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and the role of priest, throughout all of salvation history, was reserved for men. Read the Bible and you will find this to be true.

    Do you not know that God is timeless. God knew then and now every single action of time to come. Would the Lord not have seen this petty arguments and prideful requests back then? Could He not have averted many of these issues by making women priests or saying sodomy is okay or that divorce is no big deal. No, because that would not have fit with the teachings that the Lord wanted to leave us or the path He wished us to follow, which was Him.

    This non stop carping on women priests is not coming from a heart filled with love of God and a desire to follow Him in all things or of a love of His Church and or any ability to understand obedience. I can understand that one would not want to presume that a Saint, John Paul the Great would have a better insight into what the Lord would want than we would, or that the Traditions of the Church were handed down based on anything of Truth, when we can so easily fabricate our own, but if one wants to worship as Catholic, they need to at least attempt to follow the Church.

    To state that women cannot be priests because of male pride, jealousy and fear only show that you have a major disconnect when it comes to the faith. This is not an issue about competence of women. That you do not understand that is your failing, not the Churches. I think it is more a case of female pride, jealousy, fear and lack of self esteem or maybe a lack of knowing how much you are loved by the Lord. If you truly knew His love for you, you wouldn’t be trashing His popes, His saints and His Church. I recommend some time in Adoration asking the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to His Truths.

    • Dominic Deus

      Debra–I am going to have to start praying for Peace Among Women rather than Peace on Earth! You make some good points. I do not believe it is productive for any of us to judge the male priesthood as responsible for the all the faults of the Church. The Church, after all, is not composed of the Ordained, whether they be priest or Pope, but the Baptized, which is all of us! Most likely, most of what is wrong in the Church is a reflection of what is wrong in us–all of us. That said, I believe the proper question is “How should the Church respond to women who say ‘I have heard the call to Holy Orders.'” I would recommend *extreme* forbearance to the Church ( meaning all the Baptized) in judging these women to be wrong in faith, thought, action or mistaken in their call. Catholicism is a mystical faith and to claim that any of us, even a Pope, knows how the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, blows on another is presumptuous. A call to any vocation is a life experience and we were given life in the Spirit and free will see where the two take us. It may be wise for the Church to proceed slowly and not recognize the call of women to the priesthood for now but it is foolish to ex-communicate them. If one were to root up every unrecognized sprout in the garden of life, new flowers would never bloom. Better to simple let them grow and see what they become–perhaps nothing; perhaps a new kind of rose.

      • Spencer

        actually, and I’m sorry if I’m jumping on all your comments, the Church does posess the right and authority to judge if the spirit is truly in a movement or not.

        When there is a purported miracle or apparition the Church sends theologians and scientists to investigate and determine if it is “worthy of belief”.

        I am discerning seminary and one of the most difficult things for me to recognize and accept, but which is ultimately critical to discerning the priesthood, is recognizing that the call is in two parts, in one it is discerning if one has an individual call, and in the other, it is the Church discerning if the individual has the call. If I feel 100% called to the priesthood but the bishop says no, then I have no right to go around until some other bishop is willing to ordain me a priest. If I did, well I might as well become a protestant and start up my own church down the street if the unity and authority of the Church means so little.

        ” but it is foolish to ex-communicate them”

        no it is prudent to warn people “this is not approved by the Church” rather than mislead people into thinking they are valid priests.

        And as an anecdote, from what I’ve seen of the woman priest movement they seem to embody little more than the dying spirit of vatican II hippie movement, lacking the truth, beauty and vitality of the Church and rejecting a lot of its core teachings, traditions and beliefs.

        • Dominic Deus

          Spencer–quite alright! It is for the best to critique me, to be skeptical. After all, none less than the Buddha himself said (I paraphrase) “Don’t believe everything that your hear, even if I said it. Test it in the Fire of Life and if it burns down to pure gold, then it it Truth.” Or words to that effect.

          To that end, I encourage you to challenge your teachers and the Church itself if they claim they are the *only* arbiters of when and how the Holy Spirit moves you, them, others, the waters, the Truth, whatever. Remember, your are more than a reed in the Divine or earthly wind. You are a vessel that contains some part of the Holy Spirit. That is what ensouls you. If you are rejected for seminary, which I doubt will happen, you have every right to go to another bishop if that is what your call tells you to. Honestly, as a practical matter, I am sure there is more than one Catholic Bishop who would be happy to make their own assessment of your call if your bishop says “no.” Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think someone has informed your wrongly.

          I think I will stand by my assessment of excommunication as foolish. The Faithful are not stupid (and they are not sheep either–more like goats, really). They can be misled if they are not taught to think critically. Sadly, the Church does not value critical thinking skills much.

          I was alive and awake during Vatican II. It was not what traditionalists have told you. It was breathtaking. You could do the Faithful a great service if you became a Vatican II scholar. You might have to go to a Divinity School to do that. I recommend Harvard, obviously 😉

          Have a good weekend! By the way, go to the Martin Luther exhibit at the MIA. Very good for a seminarian.

      • Charles C.

        I have only more confusion to offer, dear Dominic.

        “[T]he proper question is “How should the Church respond to women who say ‘I have heard the call to Holy Orders.'”

        Then what should be the response of the Church to anyone who says “I have heard the call to (anything whatsoever)?”

        We would agree that false or illegitimate “calls” exist. You seem to be offering the suggestion that only the individual can determine if any particular call is valid and binding upon the Church. If that’s the case, I’m a Monsignor and the Pope is about to give me a Bishopric. But you can’t mean that, hence my confusion.

        How do we avoid saying that the Church is the final authority and judge of the validity of a call?

      • DebraBrunsberg

        The Church has made a determination on women priests. They are not to be. They have not been since the beginning of God’s relationship with men. They have not been since the time of our Lord Jesus. The Church, in Her wisdom, has determined that the matter of women priests is settled. 2,000 years of Church history has determined that. That wasn’t quickly settled, but it was settled. If one is Catholic, then they need to understand that the Church is not a democracy. No one is forced to become a Catholic, but if one wishes to be a Catholic, they need to understand the faith. They need to understand the history. They need to understand Tradition. They need to understand that worshiping God in His Church is an honor and a grace and a gift. If one cannot live with the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed down by His Church, then they need to pray for the Holy Spirit to open their hearts and to bring them the knowledge that they need to be obedient to the Church. I am going to go out on a limb here, but if I have to put my faith in St. John Paul the Great and what he brought forth in the Church or in some lady who thinks being a priest is a prize being held back by jealous men, I am going to go with St. John Paul the Great. Yes, the Holy Spirit will go where He wishes to and bring gifts and knowledge as He wills, not as we will. However, there has not been an argument I have heard yet from any woman in the Church that makes me believe that their desire to be a priest is coming from any source other than themselves. The complete lack of charity that usually surrounds their tirades is a pretty strong tip off.

        • Dominic Deus

          Debra–you are correct in saying the Church or at least its hierarchy has made a determination on women priests and it is that they cannot receive Holy Orders. Every religion is entitled to defend its orthodoxy and the Church does that often and well in many cases–in social justice issues for example. But that is neither here nor there.

          As the very Average and not at all Great scriptural scholar Dominic Deus has written, “[T]he proper question is “How should the Church respond to women who say ‘I have heard the call to Holy Orders.'”

          The Church responds with the dogmatic orthodoxy it claims as it’s own, much of which you have repeated–dogmatically– but then what? What have these women heard as their call? Has any attempt been made by the Church to discern what that call is? No. None. It is dismissed out of hand and in some circles proclaimed anathema and not to be discussed. That is no way to treat anyone let alone faith-filled women who say the Holy Spirit has moved them.

          In my opinion, it is unwise and unacceptable to reject another’s call out of hand. It should always be discerned thoughtfully and prayerfully with the goal being to understand not what the Church thinks it is, not even what the called individual thinks it is but the Divine Truth of what it is. That is an extremely complex task and will likely take some time. In the meantime, it is probably best not to declare others excommunicate, heretical, or lacking in virtue.

          Better to look at ourselves first. What are we called to and how do we we know that? Are we grateful for our call? Are we joyful for the call of others, or are we envious? Are we charitable or self-serving? Do we love others or just ourselves? Self-examination must come before examination of others.

          • DebraBrunsberg

            When you state that “it is not to be what the Church thinks” you immediately align yourself outside of the Church. Relativism is destroying our society and you would have it destroy our Church? What are they “feeling” If I were a man and yet I feel so strongly that I am a woman, I should be able to use a women’s locker room. If I were same sex attracted and really feel that this is who the Lord made me, I should be able to act on that and even get married. Who is the Church to automatically dismiss my “feelings.” You are going the same route and you can fluff it up with determining what the Divine Truth is, but when it is causing scandal and confusion by fighting the institution that has already decided the issue, you might want to really think about what that Divine Truth might be, where it comes from and why it is adhered to. Everything else is just of the enemy.

          • Dominic Deus

            Debra–Thank you for your comments. You are nothing if not provocative! I just posted a response to the “enemy” perspective and a proposal to resolve the ordination of women issue to the satisfaction of all. It came to me while drinking hot coffee. God works in mysterious ways.

  • Dominic Deus

    Carol Larsen: Nice to hear from you. You are a true *agent provocateur* as I would expect from St. Stephens. I invite you to read the rather lengthy and excellent discussion you fostered. Plenty of different views along with varying degrees of substance and style. I think you will find it enjoyable. Let me know–and please suggest to all those at St. Stephen’s to give it a read as well. Trigger Warning: I’m not necessarily as liberal as you might think and I’m still faithful to the Church but I do know how to have fun arguing with people. Ooops-I meant dialoguing.