Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vatican: No Women Priests

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vatican: No Women Priests

Article excerpt

Marshaling its arguments, the Vatican on Friday presented its most comprehensive case yet against women becoming Roman Catholic priests.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican department that oversees doctrinal matters, and other officials held a news conference to present a new book on the topic. The volume compiles recent major papal pronouncements on the ordination of women, along with essays by theologians and scholars.

The church's long-standing argument, essentially, is that Christ was male and wanted his priests to be male, and the church can't overrule that. "The Church does not have the power to modify the practice, uninterrupted for 2,000 years, of calling only men" to the priesthood, Bishop Angelo Scola said. "This was wanted directly by Jesus," said the bishop, who heads the Vatican's Lateran University. He cited traditional arguments that Jesus decided to choose only men for the 12 apostles and that the priesthood is "objectively linked to the male sex of Jesus." The news conference was held to promote a series of books presenting the documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Ratzinger heads. They deal with issues such as homosexuality, the Holy Trinity, contraception and role of the theologian. The Vatican's most recent publication is a comprehensive edition on the all-male clergy. Scola called it "an obligatory point of reference" on the matter. It was unclear why the Vatican chose now to focus on the issue of women priests. The book presentation follows a visit to the Vatican last month by the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church - which ordains women. The pope has called the practice an obstacle to unity with the Catholic Church. Earlier this month, a Sri Lankan theologian-priest was excommunicated for challenging the pope's authority and several core church teachings. Among his arguments are that women should be ordained. Ratzinger clarified the gravity with which the church views those who reject the ban on women priests. …

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