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National Catholic Reporter defies Vatican, calls for women's ordination

December 04, 2012

The National Catholic Reporter has called for the ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood, condemning the Church’s teaching on the issue as “unjust.”

“Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand,” the Reporter proclaimed in an editorial published December 3.

The editorial decried the Vatican’s decision to dismiss Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll society because of his public support for women’s ordination, and concluded by saying that the paper “joins its voice” with that of Bourgeois in that effort.

The editorial stand by the National Catholic Reporter is a clear challenge to Church authority. In 1994, Blessed John Paul II wrote in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which said that the Church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination of women and that this judgment is to be definitely held by all the Church’s faithful.” The Reporter editorial quotes that statement, as well as the 1995 clarification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, saying: “This teaching requires definitive assent…”

The Reporter editorial urges Catholics to defy the Vatican and continue pressing for women’s ordination:

We must speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels.

In a related development, the Sisters of Mercy have stopped just short of their own explicit call for women’s ordination, in a public statement protesting the disciplinary action against Roy Bourgeois. “We have known and worked with Father Roy as an advocate for justice in both church and society, nationally and globally,” the congregation’s statement said. “Father Roy’s commitment regarding the role of women in the church reflects our own as Sisters of Mercy…”


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  • Posted by: JimKcda - Dec. 05, 2012 12:46 PM ET USA

    Three questions: When will our Bishops act? Why haven't they acted already? Why not? One theory is that they are afraid to throw out the "trash" lest they throw out some of the "good" along with it. Jesus did not hesitate to drive the moneychangers out of the Temple and our Bishops must do the same. If they don’t, will the situation become so bad that God will destroy this temple? Where are our leaders? Are our Bishops part of the solution, or part of the problem?

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Dec. 04, 2012 11:30 PM ET USA

    I am almost tempted to subscribe to the National Catholic Reporter so I could unsubscribe in protest of this position. They are not Catholic and I hope the bishops and other clerics in positions of authority ignore them publicly, but continue praying for them privately. On the other hand, Catholic prayer likely doesn't matter much to these people; they have joined forces with the secular left and are thus lost to the faith. Their loss, not ours, but we will continue praying for them anyway.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2012 9:31 PM ET USA

    As to the abuse of the name "Catholic" by this paper, surely there must be some recourse, either in canon law or in civil law, or both. Will some bishop act?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2012 9:07 PM ET USA

    Does anyone under the age of 55 actually read National Catholic Reporter? OK, so it's a stereotype, but I get the impression that the NCR crowd tends to be an intersection of 1) Catholics born before 1955 who 2) don't really know the faith and 3) who feel that if they were Pope things would be MUCH better.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 04, 2012 8:59 PM ET USA

    NCR and anyone else familiar with the tightly-knit structure of the Church's magisterium knows that if the Church departs from the traditional and well-founded prohibition against female priests, the magisterium is finished forever. The Pope has definitively (that's the translation) ruled She has no power to ordain women. This is part of the ordinary magisterium, and infallible. To reverse course here would be to admit that the ordinary magisterium is fallible. That's the end of the Church.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Dec. 04, 2012 7:34 PM ET USA

    The pain of seeing 1108 comments from the Reporters' editorial is overwhelming. What do we have to show for comments from our side?

  • Posted by: MARrshh - Dec. 04, 2012 6:40 PM ET USA

    Finally the cards are on the table. This is a rather open call for schism in the Church.

  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Dec. 04, 2012 6:26 PM ET USA

    The times we live in. Liars are emboldened. Puffed. Proud. So very pleased with themselves. Society is just where they want it. So they step out of hiding to prance on stage. Where is the fear of God? How will this end?

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Dec. 04, 2012 5:55 PM ET USA

    Wouldn't it be wiser for the National 'catholic' Reporter to join its voice with the teachings of our Lord instead of the voice of Bourgeois?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2012 5:30 PM ET USA

    So many of the faithful are confused by institutions and priests that defy the Vatican. Please bishops, speak loudly, using platforms other than your own diocesan newspapers. The truth is just not getting out to those who need to hear it.

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 04, 2012 2:21 PM ET USA

    All the changes to Catholicism that NcR wants to make leads one to believe they should change the title of their paper to either The National Episcopalian Reporter or The National Jesuit Reporter. Either way, it hasn't been Catholic for years, nor have most of their writers and readers.

  • Posted by: Leferink557202 - Dec. 04, 2012 1:26 PM ET USA

    Assuming they hadn't already, this editorial should finally cement the fact that this NCR has lost the right to call itself "Catholic."

  • Posted by: Eric - Dec. 04, 2012 12:29 PM ET USA

    Need I say more: ------------------------------------- "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) 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."

  • Posted by: ltoscan2645 - Dec. 04, 2012 11:19 AM ET USA

    The National Catholic Reporter, The Sisters of Mercy, The LCWR, - when will hear from our bishops enough is enough, these groups whose focus is the secularized version of "justice", need to have their wings clipped and stopped causing scandal,..please please bishops stop this nonsense