Sunday, September 5, 2010

On Holy Orders & Why Elaine Groppenbacher Cannot be Father Elaine

I know people are for “equality” between men and women in a more humanistic sense but in a spiritual sense Jesus was the High Priest and instituted Holy Orders but where is the paradigmatic woman priest found in Scripture? Was there a High Priestess somewhere in the scriptures that I don’t know about? I am not talking about those women that were called to evangelize in the Bible because whether we are nuns, priests, brothers, or laity we are all called to evangelization, but rather I am referring to any woman in the Bible that was designated a pastor, a priestess, or an apostle of God. Women and men have different “Calls” from God and for that reason they are called to different vocations and even different professions - teaching, nursing, etc. A male isn’t allowed to be a nun so is that discrimination or inequality? Nuns have a different call than priests and vice versa and they are no better than one another.


The Catechism specifically states who may receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders:

1577 "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.


1578 No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God. Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God's call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.

Here is Bishop Olmsted’s response to a schismatic group called Ecumenical Catholic Communion who attempted to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon a woman named Elaine Groppenbacher. There was also a priest named Father Vernon Meyer who participated in this attempted ordination.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


As reported in the news this week, a schismatic group in Tempe known as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion attempted to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon a woman. It was also reported in the news that Fr. Vernon Meyer, a priest of our diocese, participated in the attempted ordination.


Actions such as these are extremely serious and carry with them profoundly harmful consequences for the salvation of the souls participating in this attempted ordination. To feign the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders results in the penalty of excommunication. This penalty applies both to the person attempting the ordination and the person attempting to be ordained.


The attempted ordination of a woman is a grave offense against a sacrament and the structure of the Church. As it states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1577: “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”


The Church’s position on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, of course, does not mean that women are of any less value or dignity than men. We are all called to Christian service, and women have always played an instrumental role in the life and holiness of the Church. Women serve in various levels of Church leadership and hold nearly half of diocesan administrative and professional positions, including chancellor and school superintendent in our own diocese. Women serve as presidents of Catholic colleges and universities in our country, and nearly 80 percent of lay parish ministers are women.


However, it is of paramount importance to recognize that the Catholic Church teaches that only a baptized man can be validly ordained to the ministerial priesthood. The Catholic priesthood, today as in ages past, mirrors the actions of Christ, who lived as a celibate male and chose to ordain only men.


You or your parishioners may also have seen it reported in the news that the Holy See allegedly considers the attempted ordination of women to be on par with the sexual abuse of minors. This is simply not true. This portrayal arose following the release of a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the public July 15, 2010, which concerns updates to norms related to grave crimes that were outlined in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. It expands the number of offenses to be referred to the Holy See and deals with such issues as sexual abuse of a minor, pornography, violations of the seal of the confession, and the attempted ordination of women.


You may have further questions about this or related topics. I ask that you please direct all canonical questions to Fr. Christopher Fraser, the Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Phoenix, at frfraser@diocesephoenix.org. Additionally, you may be receiving calls or questions from the press. Please direct all media requests to Rob DeFrancesco, our Director of Communications, at (602) 354-2130 or rdefrancesco@diocesephoenix.org.


Please pray for all involved in this divisive, scandalous act against the Catholic Church.


Grace and wisdom in the risen Christ,


+Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix

2 comments:

Marco said...

We need to pray for these people Theresa,..they think they are doing 'good' all in the name of fairness and equality. Fear not!! JPII generation is on the way!!!

God Bless!

-M

Teresa said...

Marco,

Exactly! Prayer is the answer.

God Bless! Have a great week :)