Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Earlier this week, you may have read or seen news reports about a schismatic group calling itself “Roman Catholic Womenpriests” attempting to ordain or confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon a woman. This group has no valid connection to the Roman Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Any supposed “ordination” this group performed has no relationship with the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church and is not valid.
The ordination of men to the priesthood is not merely a matter of practice or discipline with the Catholic Church, but rather, it is part of the deposit of faith handed down by Christ through his apostles. The Catholic Church has always followed Jesus’ example and does not believe it has the authority to change what Jesus instituted. The will of Christ is not arbitrary.
The Catholic Church’s teaching on the ordination of women does not mean that the Church values women less than men. The Catholic Church is sustained by the important contributions of women each and every day. The Catholic Church has always taught that men and women have the same dignity, but they have different duties or gifts. All these gifts are central to the faith and the life of the Catholic Church.
– The Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne
An excellent statement! Read the whole statement here.
It is sad that this divisive issue (as it would appear and some would hope) is following Anglicans into the Catholic Church. It is reassuring to know that the Catholic Church led by her bishops clearly affirm that the all male priesthood is an elemental characteristic of the Church and cannot be altered.
Christian women have their special roles to live in the Church. And while they share in the royal priesthood of all believers as they offer their gifts to God and partake of the Sacrifice of the Altar, this priesthood must be differentiated from the ordained all male priesthood. This ordained office of priestly service is no greater than any office to which any woman may be called. And it being far from the notion of justice, a man is not ordained a leader but rather a servant and his role, while absolutely necessary, is strictly limited.
A priest is a leader only to the extent that he choses to humble himself and serve the people of God. No man takes this sacrament of his own accord, but it is bestowed on him through the Church’s authority guided by the Holy Ghost.