Action Alert!

the coming splits among women's-ordination advocates

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 13, 2010

There's no reason to reinvent the wheel. Since Father Zuhlsdorf has already made the argument, I won't attempt to make it myself, but simply direct readers to his excellent analysis

Here's the story in a nutshell: In a recent column for the National Catholic Reporter, the radical feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether took note of sharp differences between two sets of advocates for the ordination of women. One group claims to preserve apostolic succession, tracing its "ordinations" back to various schismatic bishops. The other group says that apostolic succession doesn't matter; it ordains people entirely on its own. Eventually, Ruether worries, one group might not recognize the validity of the other's ordinations.

Isn't that always the way? Dissident groups begin by rejecting the authority of the Church, and soon they're rejecting the authority of each other. A sect that breaks away from the universal Church-- which both these groups have done, whether they recognize it or not-- immediately begins to feel that centrifugal strain. 

Wait a few years, and there may be a dozen different groups claiming to ordain women, claiming to be Catholic, claiming to represent the one true rejection of the one true Church-- and, ironically, spending much of their time in denunciations of each other's heresies.


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: tony2311 - Aug. 19, 2010 8:53 PM ET USA

    What is the formation process for these "woman priests"? What seminary trains them? How long does it take? Do they spend some time as deacons before final ordination? It can't be as simple as putting up their hand and saying "Pick me!" can it?

  • Posted by: garedawg - Aug. 17, 2010 11:59 PM ET USA

    They will all die of old age before any splits have time to occur.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Aug. 13, 2010 10:32 PM ET USA

    These so called "dissidents" are simply heretics that are outside the Church and in need of our prayers lest they die in that state and lose their souls. Seriously, let's say a decade of the Rosary for these people in the hope that Our Lady may lift the veil from their eyes in time to avoid the fire of hell.