Yet according to a truly warped article by Dawn Reiss in Time magazine (9/25/10), it's already happened. In fact, "three women have entered the priesthood" in the Chicago area alone, says Reiss.
Is this true? Is Alta Jacko (rhymes with "wacko"), "the mother of eight children" whom Reiss profiles, really "an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church"? No. Jacko is as much a Catholic priest as she is the Vice President of the United States.
But Weiss' falsehoods don't end there.
Weiss asserts that "Biblical passages refer to female clergy." Uhh ... No, they don't. Weiss advances the common feminist gobbledegook that a reference to a possible "Junia" in Romans 16:7 signifies women "clergy" in the early Church. (For clarification on this passage, read this and this.)
Then there's the laughable photo and caption that accompanies Weiss' piece. The caption in part reads, "Alta Jacko’s ordination to be a deaconate on Nov. 1, 2008." As Mollie Ziegler at the GetReligion blog smartly pointed out, "[Weiss] managed to not just misuse the word diaconate but misspell it, too." D'oh!
Most notably, however, Weiss misleads her audience by giving readers the false impression that the issue of "women ordination" is simply a case of "waiting it out" until another Pope comes along and "changes policy." Although Weiss and others may wish otherwise, this will never happen. The issue is will never be "up for a vote."
In the Catholic Church, the ordination of priests occurs through Holy Orders, a sacrament. The Church maintains that sacraments were instituted by Christ himself. As Pope John Paul II reiterated in his 1994 letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the Church simply does not have the authority to change the nature of something that Christ instituted. The authority in this matter is not a Pope or anyone else; the authority is Christ. Indeed, "this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful," as Pope John Paul II wrote.
Take the sacrament of baptism. The very nature of the sacrament requires that the individual be baptized with water. The Church could not decide tomorrow to baptize with orange juice. Baptisms are done with water. In the same manner, Jesus chose only men to be his apostles, and the Church guards what it believes to be a visible sign of God's grace.
The Church also asserts that the priesthood is about role, not power. In his Letter to the Romans (Rom. 12:4-8) and his First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 7 (all)), Paul teaches readers about roles in the Church.
Although it may seem uncharitable to say, Weiss' article is simply bad, bad journalism.
-- Dave Pierre is the author of the heralded new book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church.