This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Archbishop Wuerl's comments

Washington Archbishop Wuerl offerred his perspective as the Chairman of the Committee on Doctrine for the American Bishops. It was an attempt to praise the role of women in the Church as a way to soft pedal the recent actions by the Vatican to raise the level of seriousness with which those who illictly ordain women are treated - which was released at the same time that the Church cracked down on viewing child pornography by the clergy and other aspects of how it will deal with sexual abuse by clergy. The timing of these announcements has universally been considered bad. You can find the Archbishop's statement many places. I read it on America Magazine's site, which you can see at

My comments, which are yet to be published on the site because they have upped their level of review, are as follows:

Ordination occurs within the confines of the government of the Church. It does not help matters to ordain women outside of this. To disobey this rule is to actively resist the structure of the Church and it is no surprise that the hierarchy will react badly.

Whether ordination of women is invalid does not depend on whether it is illicit. Ancient history indicates that there were women at all levels of the Church in its earliest times, but the counter-cultural nature of this was quickly overcome by the dominant male culture.

It is naive, however, to claim that a valid ordination will ever be accepted as licit without first gaining permission and it actually hurts the cause of female ordination to do so - at least within the context of the Roman Catholic Church. Within the context of a non-Roman Catholicism that seeks its own legitimacy, what Rome says is moot. I am sure we can debate what is more scandalous - strking out on one's own or forcing women into doing so.

The old bulls who insist that female ordination is invalid will retire or die soon enough. Time will not wait for them nor will time end when they are gone. This explains the stridency of their current rhetoric. The fact that A/B Wuerl is joining the chorus is only proof that they are dangling a red hat in front of his face. Whether he maintains the status quo after he receives it and the old bulls have retired will be one of the most interesting questions in the life of the Church.


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