by Anura Guruge
1/ June 28, 2011 — Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo Statements On Female Ordination — A Trial Balloon?
2/ June 27, 2011 — Papabile, Portuguese José da Cruz Policarpo Gives A (Guarded) Nod To Female Ordination
I continue to ponder on a possible plausible rationale for Dom José IV da Cruz Policarpo’s comments that he sees no fundamental theological obstacle to women priests in the Catholic Church. I think I have a theory.
To begin with I think that it has to be in some way connected to Benedict XVI’s November 4, 2009, Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus – which provides for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering full communion with the Catholic Church. Three former Anglican Bishops, all married, were ordained as Catholic priests into this Ordinariate, named Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham [a UK name for the Virgin Mary], in January 2011. Just this month it was announced that an Episcopal church in Maryland (USA), headed by a married priest, will also be joining the Catholic Church per Anglicanorum coetibus.
Anglicanorum coetibus makes it very clear that it will only admit celibate men to priesthood — but, then immediately, providing a possible papal exception for married men! The disingenuousness is striking.
I do not think that the current pope nor the Cardinal of Fátima envisage accepting female Anglican priests as Catholic priests — as yet. The Cardinal did stress, ‘not in our lifetimes’ — and he is 75.
But, here is a scenario that warrants consideration. What happens if an Anglican church with female priests requests communion — stating up front that the female priests would not be seeking ordination? You would not want the whole church to feel as if they were raging heretics because they had permitted female ordination. I think the pope might be sensitive to that. The Policarpo statement is a brilliant diplomatic solution to this. An olive branch.
So that is my first contention.
I think we all know that the growing unavailability of Catholic priests, around the world, is forcing females to perform some Church duties. I also gather that this is happening more and more in Latin America and Africa. Who better to give a guarded nod to these good women than Cardinal Policarpo? So that is my second contention.
I also think that Fátima has something to do with all of this. Isn’t it strange that so many totally unabashed Marian devotees, led by John Paul II and this pope, are also dead against women pastors? There is an incongruity here and I am always struck that the Anglican Ordinariate is named after the Virgin Mary.
So that is my take. Basically, I refuse to believe that this was an accidental case of ‘foot in mouth.’ Policarpo seems way to savvy. However hard I try not to, I see the pope’s hand in this.