"Just What I Needed"

Dear Father Bloom,

I read your article on women priests today, and found it to be just what I needed. For some reason, I had not realized that Rome had declared infallibly that women can never be priests (I'm one of those hoping that it's not REALLY infallible...). I was very upset when I found out about this, and didn't really know where to go. Your article explained it in a way that helped me understand that, even though I disagree, it is okay to still live with the decision, and that it is not necessarily an injustice to women.

... hopefully they won't make the same decision about married priests. I'm 21 now, so I'm crossing my fingers for that one to happen within the next 10-20 years!

Again, thank you for your article.

God bless,
eric brown


Dear Eric,

Thanks for your email. I am glad the article was helpful. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis did definitively settle the matter, altho the pope did not have to invoke infallibility to do so. As he made clear, that the church has no authority to ordain women is part of the "deposit of faith" and must be given intellectual assent by all Catholics. That of course does not mean we have to understand all aspects of it. Who understand all aspects of any doctrine? But in the creed when we say "I believe in the holy catholic church" we affirm that the deposit of faith she hands on is the very teaching of Jesus.

Priestly celibacy could never be doctrine like the all-male priesthood because there have always been (and are) exceptions. However, in the Old Testament and in the early church sexual abstinence was required of the priest before performing the sacrifice. When it became the norm for Mass to be celebrated every day, it was natural for celibacy to become a requirement for the priesthood I think out of some consideration for the poor wives. Of course celibacy was always part of the monastic vocation for both men and women - and has deep New Testament roots in the teachings of Jesus and Paul, not to mention John (see Rev. 14:4).

What are you own plans for your future? Or better put, what plans does God have for you?

God bless,

Fr. Bloom

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