A story has it that when Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his glory, a courtier proposed that he founded a church. The Emperor of the French is said to have answered, with a lot of common sense: “After Jesus Christ, in order to found a Church you need to carry a cross and die crucified on it, otherwise no one will take you seriously.”
True or not, this anecdote came to mind when I read an interview by Sean Cardinal O’Malley on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on November 16. 1
In one of his answers to interviewer Norah O’Donnell, he said that, were he to found a church, it would admit the ordination of women priests.
Leaving aside for now the Cardinal’s surprising statement, it is of interest to note how nicely the liberal media treat churchmen friendly to it while continuing to attack the Church’s traditional doctrine and especially Her morals, thus taking full advantage of everything that can destroy the Church’s image in public opinion.
Indeed, according to today’s liberal standards the Archbishop of Boston could not have been introduced in a more prestigious way:
“[A] shy Franciscan friar,” “[s]oft-spoken and unassuming”, “dressed in the brown habit of his Capuchin Franciscan order and not in a Cardinal’s red robes,” “more inclined to conversation than condemnation,” “open, non-judgmental, given to simple living,” “a modest man,” “reluctant to put himself forward,” “humble, a true Franciscan,” “would rather be addressed as ‘Cardinal Seán,’ than ‘your Eminence.’” “[He sold] the palatial archbishop’s residence and the 28 sprawling acres it sat on,” and “moved into the modest cathedral rectory.”
After lavishing such praise on the Cardinal, the CBS reporter – an alumna of Georgetown University – showed she is far from being a traditional Catholic.
As far as she is concerned, the Church is an old institution that has to be remade:
“At the heart of Pope Francis’ revolution in the Catholic Church,” she says, “is a shy Franciscan friar, the pope’s closest American advisor, Cardinal Sean O’Malley.” He is the one that “help[s] Francis remake an ancient institution.”
In what sense does the Church need to be “remade?”
Among other things, along the egalitarian line of the Voice of the Faithful movement (which had its moment in the sun in Boston years ago), she is indignant at the Church’s refusal to ordain women priests.
Referring to women, she says, “they can’t preach,” “[t]hey can’t administer the sacraments.” “[S]ome women feel like they’re second-class Catholics,” and asks, “does the exclusion of women seem at all immoral?”
Non-ordination of women is supposedly unjust because it is not egalitarian:
“The sense of equality,” she says, “the sense of sort of the fairness of it” should allow the ordination of women.
And she adds:
“You wouldn’t exclude someone based on race. But yet you do exclude people based on gender.”
It was facing this feminist onslaught that the Cardinal joshingly spoke about founding a church which, unlike the one founded by Jesus Christ, would ordain women priests.
First he sought to defend Church tradition by explaining that “the priesthood reflects the incarnation of Christ, who in his humanity is a man.” But facing the insistence of his interviewer, he formulated this sentence which is causing much scandal:
“[I]f I were founding a church, you know, I’d love to have women priests. But Christ founded it and what he has given us is something different.”
Though uttered jokingly, his statement is being interpreted by the media and by liberal Catholics in the sense that he personally disagrees with the way Our Lord instituted the priesthood in the Church.
Imprudence in this matter is to be lamented, above all when one bears in mind the infallible statements contained in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of May 22, 1994:
“Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.
“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”2
Norah O’Donnell believes the opposite as she comments on the words of the Archbishop of Boston:
“But God is not afraid of change, as Pope Francis has told his bishops. And Cardinal O’Malley is thrilled with his old friend,” she says.
Yet, despite the liberal media and complacent ecclesiastics, the Church cannot change Her doctrine or the way She was instituted by Her Founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ.