If a future pope wishes to introduce an innovatory Ordination of Women, he or she will have to go directly against ... not only S Paul VI, S John Paul II, and Pope Benedict; he will have to go against pope Francis. In his document after the Amazonian Synod, PF categorically put the Ordination of Women off-limits. The Usual Suspects, who had been 'expecting better' of him, were predictably disconcerted.
Why did he do this?
The Ordination of Women is a matter unlike most of those currently disputed.
It can't be fudged. Or, if it can, it can't be as easily fudged as other matters.
To smuggle in Communion for Adulterers, it needed an ambiguous footnote. And an interpretation by a group of Argentine bishops. And a Letter from PF to the Argentine bishops. And a statement that PF's Letter would be published in AAS. A process which PF once called "Making a Mess"?
The ARCIC ecumenical process between Catholics and Anglicans operated on a basis of fudge. If you place in the same room a number of clever people who want to agree, they will eventually find or create a form of words which all of them will regard as not ideal, but which is just good enough to secure the necessary signatures. Perhaps the best example of this was the ARCIC document on Mary.
Women can't be fudged. You either ordain them or you don't. The persons you ordain are either male or female. Yes, I know that such binary simplicities can be, and by some people are, disputed. But, thank God, in the Catholic Church such an attempt would still cause a megarumpus and a strong probability of formal schism.
PF knows that he could not get away with this without the most enormous commotion. It would involve confronting ... fully frontally ... a document of S John Paul II which was classified by his successor Benedict XVI as infallible qua involving the Infallible Ordinary Magisterium of the Church. And once the magic wand has been waved and the I-Word has been invoked over something, you can't surreptitiously smuggle it away in the night. Folks will notice and wonder ...
I believe that PF realises that in WO (as we used to call it) he has met his match. He is up against a problem which cannot be managed by the astute methodologies he has successfully deployed so far.
Of course, there will remain possible subterfuges ... we may come to notice how many more parishes are run by female "parish administrators". But ...
A PESSIMISTIC SCENARIO
At the moment, the College of Cardinals probably does not contain enough electors to elect a Franciscus II franciscior. If a third of the voters were unwilling to elect F2f, that would be enough to block such an election. Perhaps PF will reign long enough to leave behind him an electoral body of cardinals which is not encumbered with such a Blocking Third. And then F2f will be elected.
How might F2f advance the Cause?
Possibly by crafty means of the ad experimentum device. And perhaps, initially, in orders of enclosed nuns (if there are any such communities left).
But, as Euripides observed long before this pontificate, the Unexpected does so often happen. That's why Pessimism is in most cases probably a device of Satan, who loves to try to make us despair over what has not happened ... and isn't going to..
So forget it!!
Commonweal, a journal published by the American Jesuits, is now, I understand, using the term 'pregnant people'.
Right on cue, the National Catholic Register has a piece on the news that women who mutilated themselves and presented themselves as men were in American seminaries.
Ordained or not, in my experience of parishes at least in the US and Canada, women already run the place. Often the only other males around are the gay organist and the janitor.
Example, at a memorial Mass for my mother, there was a male priest celebrating, but with the exception of one poor 12 year old altar boy, the event was entirely populated by females: altar girls, readers, communion ministers and singers. As the priestly capon sat on his throne, as impotent as an English monarch, the church echoed with the sound of high-heels clacking on the stone pavement of the sanctuary.
And people wonder why men aren't going to the seminaries anymore.
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