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laying down smoke

By Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. (articles ) | Apr 28, 2003

The Boston Globe discusses a talk at Harvard Divinity School plugging women's ordination. Boston College's Dr. Stephen Pope is quoted on the subject:

"I don't think that women need to wait for the Vatican to change its regulation restricting ordination to males," he said, "before they can exercise significant power and responsibility within the church."

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has declared that the teaching reserving priestly ordination to men belongs to the deposit of faith. The Chairman of the Theology Department of Boston College refers to the same teaching as the Vatican's "regulation" -- a regulation he implies is changeable.

Dr. Pope rejects Catholic teaching about Catholic teaching -- no surprise. What is dismaying is that he should compound theological confusion instead of reducing it. A professor of law might think a Supreme Court ruling fated to be overturned, but wouldn't we expect him to make it clear that the Court understood itself to be handing down a decision? By the same token, shouldn't a theologian clue-in the unwary to the fact that speaking of "regulation" in this context is not only a partisan move but a counter-Magisterial one?

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