When the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church arrives in England on September 16th, 2010, it will be the first time ever that a sitting Pope has made a Papal Visit to Great Britain. It will be an historic event when Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, is received by Her Majesty the Queen, members of the Royal Family and people representing British society in the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.For, when King Henry’s VII dissent from the Catholic Church, primarily over issues involving his desire to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, so that he could marry Ann Boleyn, led him to establishing the Church of England (Anglican), the king or queen of England has always been the head of that church, which has always claimed to be just as apostolic and true as the church from whence it came.
There will be other opportunities for ecumenical dialogue and healing during the Pontiff’s official visit. On September 17th, he will meet with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and celebrate and evening prayer, and on September 19th, he will canonize Cardinal John Henry Newman, who was a famous English convert from Anglicanism to the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century. Altogether, Pope Benedict’s visit to the United Kingdom should serve as great opportunity for Christian Europe.
Although King Henry VII is long dead and Anglicanism as a competing religion to Catholicism is no longer a real issue, there remains to be in England an air of perennial dissent that lingers like a London fog, where it concerns the Catholic Church. There are only three types of dissent: (1) Holy; (2) Unholy; and (3) Demonic. Holy dissent is that form of public protest that the Catholic Church actually welcomes, because it is through that brand of non-conformism that she is able to reflect, purify, and clarify what she has always believed and taught. The Church expects unholy and demonic dissent from within and without; for as Christ Jesus said Himself, “‘If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” . . . “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:18, 20), and “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10:16). Therefore, it is when the world persecutes, ignores, and hates the Catholic Church that she praises God for giving her the grace to persevere in her counter-cultural ethos. That is, if everyone loved the Catholic Church and accepted her teachings, the word of God would not be alive in her. The world must always hate the true Church of Christ, because it hated Christ first.
Yet, there is a form of unholy dissent, the type of which that the Pope may encounter as he travels through Great Britain, which is both unnecessary and unprofitable for all people involved. One group of unprofitable disserts that is found in England, which hopes to draw attention to themselves is called ‘Catholic Women’s Ordination’ (CWO). Founded in 1993, the CWO describes itself loyal to the Catholic Church, but has, since its inception, been campaigning aggressively for right of woman in the church to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. In anticipation of the Benedict’s Papal Visit, this group has paid 15,000 pounds for 15 buses to carry the message “Pope Benedict – Ordain Women Now!” for a month.
There is nothing terribly unique about the CWO and their ignored prayer for women to be ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church. There are many unholy dissenting groups like the CWO, such as ‘Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)’, ‘Call to Action’, ‘Loretto Women’s Network’, ‘Promises’, ‘Priests for Equality’, ‘Women’s Ordination Conference’, and the ‘European Network’, that have been calling for the ordination of women to the priesthood for many years, but to no avail.
The commonality that these groups share with each other is their demonic expressions of radical feminism, which inveighs against the natural-law. I call it demonic because it is not inspired by God, and I say that it attacks the natural law because it attempts to change what God would not ever change. Concerning these two reasons, I offer the first theological argument as to why the Catholic Church cannot ordain women to the priesthood and I offer the first natural-law reason as why it should be clear that no woman has ever been called by the Triune God to become a Catholic priestess.
Theologically, the first fundamental reason why the Catholic Church cannot change the gender eligibility of this sacrament is because it is the revealed law of God. Jesus Christ said Himself, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place” (Matthew 5:17-18). Therefore, everything that we find in the Mosaic law of the Old Covenant we must also find in the New Covenant in its fulfilled manner. Concerning the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in the Old Covenant, only men who were apart of the Aaronic bloodline were eligible and expected to become priests and possibly high priests as well. In fulfilled New Covenant, it is no longer the blood of Aaron through which the priesthood perseveres, but, rather, it through the blood of Christ that some men are called, ordained, and sustained. The eligible gender of the priesthood never changed from covenant to covenant – it is still only open to men, and this is why Jesus only ordained men as His apostles.
Naturally, the second fundamental reason why the Catholic Church cannot change the gender eligibility of this sacrament builds upon the first. It is through the male priesthood that the God who became man continues to offer himself through the men who have been called to share in his priesthood. While women have been called to participate in the life of God in many unique ways, the baptized-ordained priesthood is not one of them. In this way, radical feminism completely misses the mark. Their ideology is far more concerned about turning women into men, than it is about inspiring women become wholly who they were created to be. Woman was not created to be an ordained priest, and there is nothing wrong or incomplete about that. God made two genders – opposite in many ways to each other – so that we might complete one another, not so that we can be complete in ourselves. The male baptized-ordained priesthood and the baptized-non-ordained priesthood need each other to be whole/catholic.
Moreover, concerning both of these reasons, we know for certain that no woman has ever been called to become an ordained Catholic priest because there has never been one. The Catholic Church belongs to God and no man can stop the will of God from being done. If a woman had ever been called to the priesthood in the Catholic Church she certainly would have been made a priest. That is how sovereign and powerful the good will of God is. Yes, God desires us to cooperate with him, and he will not infringe upon the gift of free-will that he has given us, but neither will he allow lies to persist in his Catholic Church.
I am thoroughly convinced that if the Catholic Church was in error about this, then God would have clearly revealed it to us the quite early on. He has a strong track record of doing that very thing for us, but in this case He did not. On the contrary, what God has done for us is to continue to bless, protect, purify, and increase the male-only priesthood in the Church. God has never stopped calling men to the ordained-priesthood and He has never let this church be without priests. In contrast, there has been no fruit in the unholy dissent of the radical feminists who vainly pray for something that God will never grant, and because they fight against the will of God they open themselves up to all types of other evils and persecutions of the church.
It is true, after the media has given CWO and the others some air time and made their cause seem more popular and worthy than what it actually is, Pope Benedict will return to Rome and continue to lead the Catholic Church in God’s persevering grace, while the efforts of the unholy and expected dissenters will go the way of all unholy reforms and revolutions; that is, they will fade, wither, die, and be completely forgotten by the next generation to come.