who wants a 2nd-class priesthood?
Do you really think it’s likely that Pope Benedict will travel to London, see an advertisement on the side of a bus—“Pope Benedict – Ordain Women Now!” – and suddenly decide to change Catholic doctrine?
Never mind the theological issues. Even the strategy for bringing about change is muddled. Church doctrine doesn’t change. But if it did change, paid ads wouldn’t do the trick.
Pat Brown, a leader of the group that has bought the ads in question, tells Reuters: “I think the Church has got to change or it will not survive.” There’s that confusion again. In a simple statement, she gets two things fundamentally wrong.
- If the Church were to change (in any fundamental way), what survived would be not the Church—not the faith that comes down to us from the apostles—but something else: something new, something man-made.
- More important, Pat Brown seems to think—not very modestly, I’m afraid—that if the Church doesn’t take her advice “it will not survive.” She seems to think that it’s possible for the Church to cease to exist. But if that’s possible, then the Church is not what she claims to be: an institution firmly established by Christ, ensured by the Lord’s promise, to last until the end of time. If it’s possible for the Church not to survive, then the Church is not the Body of Christ, and cannot bring Christ’s sacramental presence to the faithful. And if that’s the case, why bother pursuing the priesthood?
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