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(RNS) There’s a saying in the Catholic Church that while only God can create the world, only a pope can create cardinals.


  1. On women’s ordination, Pope Francis has said,

    ‘the Church has spoken and said no’

    ‘John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed’

    • Danny Berry, NYC

      Actually, historically cardinals did not have to be ordained. I don’t know when that changed, but probably at the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation. Why women shouldn’t exercise leadership in the church (they already do as women religious) remains to be explained even if one DOES believe women shouldn’t be in Holy Orders.

  2. Ronald Sevenster

    Creating women Cardinals would be very dangerous move, and in the long run it would inevitably lead to women priests and a feminization of the priesthood.

    This idea is another illustration of the near complete spiritual bancruptcy of the Catholic Church and of its sliding into evermore egalitarian waters. Catholic culture thrives on cultivating distinctions, not on leveling them off. Distinctions between men and women, between married people and celebetarians, between the laity and the clergy, between the religious and the secular, &c, &c. This proud cultivating of distinctions reflects the divine order, where each thing has its distinctive place and only exists by being different.

    The traditional cultivating of distinctions in calling and responsibilities should be kept intact and the modern attack on it should be called what it really is: uproar from the gutter.

    • “This proud cultivating of distinctions reflects the divine order, where each thing has its distinctive place and only exists by being different.”

      Is this reflective of the Christian doctrine on the two natures of Christ? Of the Trinity? It seems a fabrication to word it in this way. The notion of a male-only college if cardinals seems a policy in search of a theology.

      What I would like to see is the detachment of cardinals from big archdioceses. In fact, when it comes to sees plagued by scandal, I would like to see the red hat withheld. Boston and Philadelphia, for example, should not have red hats and their bishops might be inappropriate metropolitans. A diocese like Erie, for example, with a good reputation for vocations and lay involvement might be a better choice than Philadelphia.

      And if we must have distinctions, maybe since we have men-only in the episcopate, an all-female college of cardinals is a must-have.

      That’ll keep ’em separate, eh?

      • Danny Berry, NYC

        nice posting. In the Middle Ages Red Hats came with considerable landholdings (i.e., wealth) and therefore were purchased by powerful families and placed on the heads of sons (sometimes sons not old enough to receive Communion) in order to enhance those families’ wealth and power. I imagine handsome emoluments still attach to cardinalates, though the idea is so un-handsome to the sensibilities of many Roman catholics that such information is carefully guarded. The real bottom line in this discussion is what the Roman catholic institution (like any other bureaucracy) feels it must do to maintain its status-quo, i.e., its power. The machinations of power are nearly always unattractive at best, and more usually, grotesque. Anyone who knows anything about the history of Vatican uses of power knows that the Roman church is no exception. When the bureaucrats in the Vatican find that the desire to keep women out of seats of power is outweighed by a desperate need to take steps to keep the whole thing afloat, Roman catholic women will find themselves in Holy Orders – including episcopal thrones.

    • Danny Berry, NYC

      Mr Sevenster, could you explain what is so bankrupt about egalitarianism? Or, for that matter, what would be bad about a “feminization” of the priesthood? From the standpoint of the story of Jesus, arguably the most sacramental act of all time was performed by Jesus’ mother.

    • We certainly wouldn’t want anything to disturb our distinctions. What would happened if someone disturbed the distinction between God and man?

  3. I actually wrote about this possibility earlier this year in connection with exploring ways of reviving first-millennium notions of ordination that could allow women to be “ordained” as leaders of “ordines” within the Church, but which would also preserve the priesthood as a male-only “ordo”:

  4. The pain caused by all-male church management inflected in women and girls and families can be understood if men go to confession to a woman.

    Then, men will feel how inappropriate and how wrong it is to confess sins and expect advise from the opposite gender.

    I encourage priests to present their list of “problems” to a woman, prior to going to confession to a priest. Does it feel good to talk about your sins with a woman ? And see how knowledgeable is a woman about male specific sins.

  5. The pope can change the rules regarding papal electors anytime he chooses. If the pope insists on male priests and bishops, he can still provide for electors who cannot be elected pope. Current conclave rules provide for the priestly and episcopal ordination by the senior cardinal bishop in the conclave of the man chosen to be pope.

    Above all, why is it necessary even for a cleric to head up some of the dicasteries of the Vatican? Any qualified individual, it seems, could serve as head of the Vatican’s supreme court, the Apostolic Signature. LIkewise the dicastery charged with governing the Vatican state. There are others.

  6. There has been so much nonsense posted on this topic. Women cardinals would lead to women priests. Th Church has said no on women’s ordination and so on.
    Such arguments are pathetic. Cardinality is an appointment, not an ordination. There have been cardinals in Church history who were never ordained. So there is nothing in Canon law which prevents women from being ordained as cardinals.

    There are plenty of highly intelligent, qualified women experienced in so many areas who could transform the Curia. The Church would be blessed and transformed by the input of such women

  7. The most important thing at the moment is to throw off those red garments and crown of the cardinals , bishops and that royal title , it is a disgrace for Jesus because it resembles Herod and not Jesus.They ought to be dressing like a pastor with the smell of the sheep.Pope Francis has said something akin to it if my memories are correct.After this essential reformation we can think of women and their rights.