the alternative magisterium

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Apr 06, 2007

The latest edition of In the Vineyard, the emailed newsletter of Voice of the Faithful, includes one "quote for our time." It's from Sister Theresa Kane, lecturing Pope John Paul II during his 1979 visit to the US:

Our contemplation leads us to state that the church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of the church.

If you've been following the development of VOTF, you know that the group claims to be neutral on many of the issues that divide the Catholic Church:

Q. What positions does Voice of the Faithful take on married clergy, women priests, and homosexuality in and outside of the church?
A. Voice of the Faithful takes no position on the hot-button sex and gender issues roiling the Catholic Church. Voice's profound aim is to bring the laity to the table of governance and guidance of the Church per the imperatives of Vatican II.

For the record, here's the authoritative stand of the Catholic Church, as proclaimed by Pope John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

Now if you want to represent all of the faithful, you certainly shouldn't waffle on the beliefs that all of the faithful definitively hold. But VOTF really isn't waffling at all; this newsletter reached back across a generation to pluck out one quotation, as food for reader's thoughts on Easter weekend. That quote didn't come from one of the Church fathers or popes or saints or spiritual writers, but from a nun who won her 15 minutes of fame by scolding a visiting Pope.

If you can't decide whether John Paul II or Teresa Kane represents the authentic voice of Catholicism, you're already in trouble. But it seems that VOTF has decided.

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