Wednesday, May 22, 2002

It simply is not going to happen

Emily Stimpson says she’s been getting some flak because she recognizes the infallible nature of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the inability of the Church to ordain women.


Two things. First of all, as many theologians – professional and lay – have noted, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is a clear example of a teaching which has been “declared” infallible by the “ordinary Magisterium” (as opposed to the “extraordinary Magisterium”: an Ecumenical Council or a decree ex cathedra). In other words, the fact that the Magisterium has always and everywhere held this teaching indicates that it is a definitive truth to be held as such by all believers.

Aside from that fact, there is this consideration: Catholics are to give due assent of the intellect and will to every Magisterial teaching, regardless of whether or not that particular teaching is taught as infallible by the ordinary or extraordinary Magisterium. It’s not as if we have to hold to the infallible doctrines and are free to choose which of the “other” teachings we give our assent to—that’s simply another brand of your typical Cafeteria Catholicism. No. We are called to give assent to all the teachings of the Church, whether or not we grasp their rationality. (On that last point, see my post on “The Obedience of Faith” from last week below.)

This isn’t mindless obedience… it’s recognizing the fact that our intellects are clouded by sin and that we therefore give assent to that organism which Jesus established to be the means by which He reveals His Truth to us with clarity and strength: His Body, the Church.

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