Will ordination doctrine drive a “mass exodus of the faithful” from the Catholic Church?

posted at 1:21 pm on March 24, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

So says my colleague at The Week, Damon Linker, in an essay predicting that all churches would need to change doctrines to keep up with the modern world, especially the Catholic Church. Refusing to adapt doctrine to modern thought will force an exodus of people from their faiths, Damon writes, especially the Catholic insistence that ordination is limited to men:

By contrast, the majority of Catholics who support women’s ordination are confronted on the altar with the all-male priesthood every time they go to church. At the moment, frustration about the issue is muted because Pope Francis has inspired so much good will among the faithful — and raised such high hopes for reform. That has given the church some breathing room.

But it isn’t going to last. As I’ve argued at length, there is no indication that anything of doctrinal substance is going to change under the new pope — and least of all on the ordination of women, a subject on which Francis has explicitly endorsed Pope John Paul II’s position, which unequivocally dismissed the possibility. Sooner or later — and probably sooner — egalitarian-minded Catholics are going to lose their patience with the hierarchy’s unpersuasive defenses of the status quo.

And they are stunningly unpersuasive. Here is the argument in its entirety: Christ chose 12 men to be his apostles; they in turn chose men to help them spread the word of God; today’s priests and bishops are the direct descendants of these original apostles; therefore, the church doesn’t have the power to ordain women.

The church would be on much firmer ground if the Gospels recorded Christ explicitly stating that he chose men to be his apostles because it is God’s will that only men can serve in that role. But of course he said no such thing. A weaker but at least potentially defensible argument would involve some sort of claim about the nature of women being incompatible with ordination. But the church makes no such argument. Alternatively, the church could appeal to a popularly held gendered vision of God like the one affirmed by the Mormons. But the church doesn’t do that either.

As it is, Catholics are left with: This is the way we do it, because we’ve always done it that way, and we can’t change, so drop it.

First, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the office of Pope. No Pope can change doctrine; the entire structure of the office aims to preserve and defend doctrine. Anyone looking for changes of “doctrinal substance” from any pontificate is doomed to disappointment, including ill-informed Catholics.

Damon claims to represent “the argument in its entirety,” but he’s in error. The argument offered is one of the points in defense of the doctrine of ordination, but it’s not even the main argument. He then demands a Scriptural reference, which hints at a sola scriptura approach, a theological position which of course the Catholic Church rejects anyway. The truth is more complicated, and requires people to understand the nature of the Mass and the priest’s role within it. This could fill books (and has — I’d recommend Coming Soon or The Lamb’s Supper), but I’ll offer a relatively brief explanation.

Priests act in persona Christi capitis during the Mass (CCC pp 875), especially during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The congregation becomes an earthly part of the eternal celebration of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, as described in Revelation, in which the Church becomes the Bride of Christ. The priestly authority comes directly from Christ Himself through the apostolic succession of the bishops and their authority to ordain priests for this purpose. It is in this role that priests can effect the transformation of the sacrifice of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through the unity of the Holy Spirit with Christ and God the Father, as seen in Revelation, and offer it to the faithful as a sacrament of union with Christ and that eternal celebration. Acting in persona Christi capitis, the priest acts in place of Christ the bridegroom in that moment in time here in the world (CCC pp 1348). Also, the priest’s role in the Mass occurs through the power of Christ the bridegroom (CCC 1548). This is how the two will become one flesh, as in sacramental marriage in this world. If the congregation is the bride, the priest as groom must be male to act in persona Christi capitis, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

None of this is particularly secret, by the way. As the references show, the Catholic Church teaches all of this quite openly. The belief in the actual presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Eucharist as a connection to the one sacrifice at the eternal wedding feast forms the substantial argument for ordaining only men to the priesthood. (It’s worth noting that the recently restored order of the diaconate is currently only open to men, but the Church is discerning on that practice, since deacons cannot serve in the place of priests during the Liturgy of the Eucharist anyway.) However, it’s at least a fair point to admit that many Catholics never hear this teaching, for reasons of poor catechism at home or in churches and schools.

Now, people are free to believe this or not, but the basis for the doctrine isn’t simply that Jesus only chose men to be His apostles. Furthermore, the Church’s role isn’t to change with the times anyway. It’s to defend what it teaches as revealed truth, and to spread the truth rather than take polls. That may indeed produce an impulse for congregants to leave, but that may be a symptom of poor catechesis rather than a refusal to change doctrine to suit the modern temperament. If an exodus occurs, that would be the cause, not a refusal to rewrite doctrine.

The poet Alexander Pope once wrote that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” warning that “shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”  This would seem to be an apt demonstration of that axiom.


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Most of the disaffected have already been through the door.

Not only do they misunderstand the office of Pope, they misunderstand the Catholic Church completely.
It isn’t a democracy, nor does it run on polls.

J_Crater on March 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Your friend is wish-casting Ed.

oscarwilde on March 24, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Idiots.
Well…actually decades of planned destruction of a social foundation. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Mimzey on March 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

It will be the complete opposite. There would be exodus if the Church were to change on this. The disintegration of the Anglicans over the ordination of homosexuals is a good example of what would happen to the Catholic Church.

Scopper on March 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

There is a reason why the Protestant sects are called denominations.

J_Crater on March 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death…” – Faith and Future Pope Benedict XVI

Back in 1969 theologian Joseph Ratzinger made some comments about our Catholic future. They were included in his Faith and the Future published by Ignatius Press in 2009.

workingclass artist on March 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

What if ordaining women actually damages a faith? What if watering down doctrine for social acceptance actually hurts a Church’s membership more than strict doctrine?

Modern Christian churches have been evolving according to social norms for decades, and they’ve watched their membership wither. Linker also mentions the Mormons in the article, yet the Mormons have been sticklers for doctrine for over a century and they boast the fastest growing religion in America.

Maybe being egalitarian is actually a poison for churches

Crefonso on March 24, 2014 at 1:30 PM

More BS by the MSM.

nobama1267 on March 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

It’s amazing to me that so many people who understand so little about the Catholic faith demand that it change to fit their mode of ignorance.

If the Church changed to accommodate “polls” and “majorities” and “minorities”, then it would no longer be an instrument of the Divine on Earth. It would be an instrument of Man, and let me just point out such shining examples as Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and Mao’s China as places which have replaced the will of the Divine with the will of Man.

Nethicus on March 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

They could start by letting their priests marry, and thereby remove some of the attraction to non-heterosexual types. This would help normalize their church and make it less attractive to the pedophiles who tend to flock to the priesthood to deal with their issues.

Another Libertarian on March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I would argue to the contrary. In times of turmoil and deepening societal crisis, more people turn to the priesthood. When people see and experience the emptiness associated with today’s liberal agenda- dissolution of the family, abortion, loveless promiscuity, rampant consumerism, drugs and slave-like dependence- they turn to God.

So I am not ready to give up on the Catholic Church model for the priesthood which has been proven over the decades. Time will tell.

Marcus Traianus on March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Furthermore, the Church’s role isn’t to change with the times anyway. It’s to defend what it teaches as revealed truth, and to spread the truth rather than take polls.

That’s it in a nutshell!

Vince on March 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

More of this “Living Constitution” type stuff.

You know, “truth changes.” LOL

J_Crater on March 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

If the Church can cast aside some beliefs then why not others . . and eventually why not all? It should stand fast in its beliefs and doctrine lest the Church evaporate like a drop of water on a hat skillet.

rplat on March 24, 2014 at 1:34 PM

They could start by letting their priests marry, and thereby remove some of the attraction to non-heterosexual types. This would help normalize their church and make it less attractive to the pedophiles who tend to flock to the priesthood to deal with their issues.


Absolute hogwash and some of the most shallow, foolish, unsupported reasoning I’ve heard in a long time.

Marcus Traianus on March 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Shocking news

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

This would help normalize their church and make it less attractive to the pedophiles who tend to flock to the priesthood to deal with their issues.

Another Libertarian on March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Specious argument. The incidence of pederasty in the Catholic priesthood is no higher than that of the general population.

Inkblots on March 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM

What if ordaining women actually damages a faith? What if watering down doctrine for social acceptance actually hurts a Church’s membership more than strict doctrine?

Maybe being egalitarian is actually a poison for churches …

Crefonso on March 24, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Thats the plan.
Just like the “fundamental transformation” is the plan to destroy America. Actually, it’s part of the same plan, applied to another foundation.

Mimzey on March 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM

They could start by letting their priests marry…

Another Libertarian on March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

It’s important to note that priestly celibacy is not doctrine but practice. That can be changed in the Latin rite, but it’s not very likely to happen. Some of the other rites within the Catholic Church allow for married priests, but the Latin Rite is by far the most common within the church (and is regulated by the rite of baptism — a man baptized in the Latin Rite has to adhere to those ordination practices, etc).

Ed Morrissey on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Another Libertarian….”pedophiles who tend to flock”? REALLY, try harder…more female SCHOOL TEACHERS are paedophiles than priests….I do agree with married clergy and even priestesses, but your statement is just silly and far removed from reality.

Also, unless I have missed something it is the MAINLINE Protestant Churches (in the US) who are seeing declining membership…the Presbyterians, the Methodists and the like, in short the more SOCIALLY LIBERAL churches, not the more “fundamentalist”, socially CONSERVATIVE ones…

Now if that has changed over the last few years I’m willing to change my statement, but otherwise this guy is 180 degrees off the mark!

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

This would help normalize their church and make it less attractive to the pedophiles who tend to flock to the priesthood to deal with their issues.

Another Libertarian on March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Delusional.

Mimzey on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Attempts to be hip and with it always look sort of silly a generation later. I look forward to the day, many years hence, when everyone will wonder what the heck was with the obsession with race and gender back in the 2000s.

Surellin on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Another Libertarian on March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

You’re not Catholic are you? Your comment reveals your immaturity.

Vince on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Hey Ed, I think you will find this interesting. A 400 percent growth in seminarians.

Cindy Munford on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Even if he were right, so what? These media types live and die by readership and ratings. Politicians live and die by their popularity. Yet the Gospel stand on it’s own. If the people reject it, then so much the worse for them.

Jesus said that “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Only a few. Many people rejected him and still do. If you are a Christian and you are not experiencing rejection and unpopularity, you aren’t doing it right.

xuyee on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

The Bible has no scriptural support for:

-A Pope
-Purgatory
-Praying to Saints

Catholics make up a lot of unbiblical, unscriptural traditions and rules and ideas, which is why I am a Protestant.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

The argument offered is one of the points in defense of the doctrine of ordination, but it’s not even the main argument.

No, it isn’t. But he is using the main tactic of liberals in discussing theology which is to latch onto something for which they can gain some traction, they think, rather than deal with the main issue. See any liberal citing eating restrictions in Leviticus, the infamous shellfish argument, to suggest Christians are somehow being unfaithful when they cite Leviticus regarding Homosexual acts. Conveniently forgetting that eating restrictions were completely abrogated in the New Testament for Christians.

Rocks on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

So says my colleague at The Week, Damon Linker, in an essay predicting that all churches would need to change doctrines to keep up with the modern world, especially the Catholic Church.

Funny enough though, but it’s usually the churches that try to “keep up with the times” that end up dying out. Once you start spewing whatever is the latest social fashion, your institution becomes beholden to whatever is chic at the time, and people leave as they realize that it stands for nothing.

Stoic Patriot on March 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM

TCU frog, please point out the Biblical support for the Holy Trinity.

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

I think the Roman Catholic Church should follow the progressive footsteps of the Anglicans, the Episcopalians, the Methodists who are all simply bursting at the seams with new, fervent congregants in response to their acceptance of the modern world.

Its clearly the way forward.

//

This stuff is boring.

Whoever the demon in charge of RC anti-traditionalism is, Satan needs to give him some new material. This stuff is worn out.

Pless1foEngrish on March 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Anyone looking for changes of “doctrinal substance” from any pontificate is doomed to disappointment, including ill-informed Catholics.

I would be surprised if the Author is a Believer. Just like Darren Aronofsky who is a avowed atheist. Nonbelievers don’t understand the Christianity and Faith for that matter. “Blesss their hearts!”

Isaiah 44:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
18 “They do not know nor understand;
For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,
And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.”

SayNo2-O on March 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

This Damon (Missing)Linker cat is not too bright. Has he looked at the demographics of mainline liberal Protestantism over the past 60+ year period? Abandoning doctrines and disciplines empties out the pews at record rates. The Catholic Church is not going to grow in the demographically challenged US or Europe. It is growing in Asia and Africa and Bay Area “theology” is a non sale there.

kingsmill on March 24, 2014 at 1:43 PM

They could start by letting their priests marry, and thereby remove some of the attraction to non-heterosexual types. This would help normalize their church and make it less attractive to the pedophiles who tend to flock to the priesthood to deal with their issues.

The American bishops stopped screening seminarians for sodomistic tendencies. Why would “non-heterosexual types” be especially drawn to a celibate clergy? That’s a specious non-argument.

Satan is devoted to destroying all churches, and constantly sends his agents into them and their leadership to sow strife and confusion. If you stop screening for the most obvious ones, you can be sure you’ll be letting them in.

Akzed on March 24, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I confess, Catholicism confuses the hell outta me. How anyone can read the end of the New Testament and its admonition against anyone who will come subsequently wanting to add or take away from the book… and then reject ‘solo scriptura’ and add a bunch of content and secondary documents as the basis for the whole CC hierarchy (among other things) seems to openly ‘get it wrong’ at some level from the very outset.

Midas on March 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

It’s amazing to me that so many people who understand so little about the Catholic faith demand that it change to fit their mode of ignorance.

Nethicus on March 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Why aren’t those of the Catholic faith demanding that their POPE excommunicate politicians who support abortion? Why are they still permitted to observe Mass?

I’ll tell you why. MONEY. The exact same reason Ted Kennedy’s first marriage was “annulled” so that he could be remarried in the Catholic Church.

I do NOT understand why people think not having female priests is against the Catholic faith when other things aren’t.

ladyingray on March 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

It’s amazing to me that so many people who understand so little about the Catholic faith demand that it change to fit their mode of ignorance.

Nethicus on March 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

It’s amazing to me how many former Catholics who join my protestant denomination have little understanding of the Bible or tenets of faith beyond what they retained from their CCD days.

I get your point but would also suggest that there are many Catholics that are included in those that understand little about their Catholic faith.

Happy Nomad on March 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

One man

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

I am not Catholic for a number of reasons so I’ll not address the validity of the argument, but no matter what one’s Christian affiliation, good wishes on the part of an ever-changing culture is not supposed to be a ‘barometer’ of how you are doing as God’s representative (“They will hate you for my name’s sake”). The number of adherents may be more apt, but that’s very tricky at best.

Sound doctrine is not a popularity contest, and if you change with the popular winds, you don’t had a sound doctrine in the first place.

Ricard on March 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

“The Vatican’s chief justice feels that President Barack Obama’s policies have been hostile toward Christians.

In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine –and transcribed by Life Site News —
Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”

“It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.

The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.

“Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said.

Burke took a swipe against Obama’s Affordable Care Act over the law’s birth control mandate, saying

“Such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago.”

“In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly,” Burke told the magazine. “It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.”

Burke also believes there is hope that abortion will be overturned in the U.S.

“There is hope that the evil anti-life laws of the United States can be overthrown and that the anti-life movement which urges yet more of such legislation can be resisted,” Burke said. “The pro-life movement in the United States has been working since 1973 to reverse the unjust decision of the Supreme Court which struck down state laws prohibiting procured abortion. It is true that the Supreme Court decision stands, but it is also true that the pro-life movement has grown ever stronger in the United States, that is, that more and more citizens, especially young citizens, have been awakened to the truth about the grave evil of procured abortion.”

Pope Francis removed Burke from the Congregation for Bishops last December.

Obama will be meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican on Thursday….”

http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/03/24/vatican-chief-justice-obamas-policies-have-become-progressively-more-hostile-toward-christian-civilization/

workingclass artist on March 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

That’s a great summary from the Catholic side.

From the LDS side, it’s pretty clear that Linker is taking extreme outliers and making his narrative out of them. His representation of LDS doctrine comprehending a dominating God and a cowed female counterpart is offensively wrong.

Similarly, the idea that women in the LDS church are doctrinally or functionally second-class citizens betrays a deep lack of familiarity with both Mormon teaching and practice. The key and central teaching is this:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

Preside, in this sense, means that he stands responsible for what happens, not that he gets to be the boss. One should also understand that the importance of motherhood stands fully equal to this, if not higher.

It is common in our society to consider motherhood a punishment or a second-class option. I reject that characterization as deeply sexist and invidious. Pretending that the core of feminine distinction is somehow inferior to making widgets or pushing paper seems to be the very rejection of womankind as anything other than imperfect copies of men. In stating that women must be seen to do all that men can do, feminists implicitly state that those activities are the only ones of real value.

Prufrock on March 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

The Bible has no scriptural support for:

-Praying to Saints

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

True, we Catholics believe the our dead are not asleep but alive in Christ. That’s why we talk to them.

Catholics make up a lot of unbiblical, unscriptural traditions and rules and ideas, which is why I am a Protestant.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Good thing no one is forcing you to be Catholic, then. What is the point of your comment?

Pless1foEngrish on March 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

I confess, Catholicism confuses the hell outta me. How anyone can read the end of the New Testament and its admonition against anyone who will come subsequently wanting to add or take away from the book… and then reject ‘solo scriptura’ and add a bunch of content and secondary documents as the basis for the whole CC hierarchy (among other things) seems to openly ‘get it wrong’ at some level from the very outset.

This is why I am a protestant.

Jesus is the truth, way, and life. Not the Catholic Church and its traditions.

If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, we will be saved.

It is clear in Ephesians that we are saved by grace and faith, not works.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Why aren’t those of the Catholic faith demanding that their POPE excommunicate politicians who support abortion? Why are they still permitted to observe Mass?

ladyingray on March 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Yes; frankly, this one pisses me off more than anything else.

Midas on March 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM

TCU frog, please point out the Biblical support for the Holy Trinity.

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Are you serious?

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM

TCU frog, please point out the Biblical support for the Holy Trinity.

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Are you serious?

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM

(c)Nancy Pelosi

Ricard on March 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Good thing no one is forcing you to be Catholic, then. What is the point of your comment?

Pless1foEngrish on March 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Because I believe Catholics spread and adhere to a demonic, unbiblical belief that salvation is only achieved through the Catholic Church. And I am aiming to shoot that down and prevent the spread of it.

In the Bible it says that Jesus is the way to salvation.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

These guys say these things in the hopes that it will give permission to someone who’s faith in in flux. They are legends in their own minds.

Cindy Munford on March 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM

I think the Roman Catholic Church should follow the progressive footsteps of the Anglicans, the Episcopalians, the Methodists who are all simply bursting at the seams with new, fervent congregants in response to their acceptance of the modern world.

Its clearly the way forward.

//

This stuff is boring.

Whoever the demon in charge of RC anti-traditionalism is, Satan needs to give him some new material. This stuff is worn out.

Pless1foEngrish on March 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

So true.

There are some Protestant clergy that are trying to stand firm against this progressive nonsense, but we are outnumbered by the “useful idiots” who think that our numbers will somehow grow if we dilute the teachings of Jesus and pervert the word of God. I do not remember reading Jesus telling his disciples to bend to the popular culture.

Micah68 on March 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Isaiah 44:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
18 “They do not know nor understand;
For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,
And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.”

SayNo2-O on March 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Nice.

Prufrock on March 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Will ordination doctrine drive a “mass exodus of the faithful” from the Catholic Church?

I suspect those who were offended by the Catholic Church’s stance on male-only ordination probably left a long time ago. It’s not like this is something new.

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 1:51 PM

The Bible has no scriptural support for:

-A Pope
-Purgatory
-Praying to Saints

Catholics make up a lot of unbiblical, unscriptural traditions and rules and ideas, which is why I am a Protestant.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 P

True: But we are OK with them. Is there something wrong with traditions,rules and ideas? Doesn’t every organization have them?

jmtham156 on March 24, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Gee TCUfrog I did NOT realize that Grace & Faith were the Keys. I thought it was working the Fish Fries.

HOWEVER, “by their fruits you shall know them” IIRC…IF you love Christ, that love will be manifests in your actions….hence “works” being one of the attributes of Salvation. I can TALK about my Love of Christ a lot, but my works say more about me than my words.

You seem to “know” a lot of stuff about the RCC that isn’t entirely or even remotely true.

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Why aren’t those of the Catholic faith demanding that their POPE excommunicate politicians who support abortion? Why are they still permitted to observe Mass?

ladyingray on March 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Yes; frankly, this one pisses me off more than anything else.

Midas on March 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM

The standard answer I hear is that excommunication- cutting one off from salvation- is so extreme that politicians get a pass on decisions they make as public policy (which affects more than just Catholics). I don’t necessarily buy this rationale but when you give a “get out of hell” card to Sebelius even as she attacks nuns for not providing contraception, forces American businesses to pay for products and services that are fundamentally against the owners’ faith, and otherwise attack not only the RCC but faith in general………

Some of these critters deserve to be excommunicated.

Happy Nomad on March 24, 2014 at 1:54 PM

What if ordaining women actually damages a faith? What if watering down doctrine for social acceptance actually hurts a Church’s membership more than strict doctrine?

Modern Christian churches have been evolving according to social norms for decades, and they’ve watched their membership wither. Linker also mentions the Mormons in the article, yet the Mormons have been sticklers for doctrine for over a century and they boast the fastest growing religion in America.

Maybe being egalitarian is actually a poison for churches …

Crefonso on March 24, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Mormon Doctrine is as flexible as any other.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Because I believe Catholics spread and adhere to a demonic, unbiblical belief that salvation is only achieved through the Catholic Church. And I am aiming to shoot that down and prevent the spread of it.

In the Bible it says that Jesus is the way to salvation.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Well, bless your heart. First I’ve heard that Catholics don’t think salvation is by the grace of God and through Jesus Christ.

Just think, 2000 years and they’ve been wrong all this time. Good thing you’re on the job, tcufrog.

Pless1foEngrish on March 24, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Sound doctrine is not a popularity contest, and if you change with the popular winds, you don’t had a sound doctrine in the first place.

Ricard on March 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Which is why it amazes me that people will drive to a Catholic mass with a pro-choice bumper sticker on the car.

Happy Nomad on March 24, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Mr Linker and others need to read Revelations, specifically the letters to the 7 churches, from Jesus and to follow his instructions there.

Please do that now and get back to me later.

chuckh on March 24, 2014 at 1:57 PM

True: But we are OK with them. Is there something wrong with traditions,rules and ideas? Doesn’t every organization have them?

jmtham156 on March 24, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I don’t know of any denomination that doesn’t have traditions that aren’t mentioned in the bible. e.g. having a church building, set meeting days/hrs.

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Some of these critters deserve to be excommunicated.

Happy Nomad on March 24, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Excommunication is almost solely reserved for clergy.

Pless1foEngrish on March 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

…this goes to the heart of the question of “What is a church?”

A church isn’t a club, where rules can be changed on a whim, to suit times, to gratify the current membership or leadership, or to “keep up with the Joneses” in other church-clubs. Churches deal in what they regard as the TRUTH (capitals intentional). They safeguard the truth revealed to them (and to mankind, they maintain), preserve it, and try (an increasingly hard try) to make it understandable to those who might benefit by it.

…so, for reasons of ritual or doctrinal propogation, they insure that the outreach of the church is entrusted to the ordained…vetted and educated representatives. Imagine…you go to a hospital with a ruptured wishbone and you’re met by people who’re correctly vetted ideologically, but not doctrinally (i.e., are trained in the hows and whys and how-to’s of medical practice). You’d be treated to lectures on why your bruising your giblets put you at odds with “the collective”, and how much “the party” sympathized, but aside from prescribing aspirin, what could you expect. This was the case under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from ’75-’79, by the way.

…and, when it’s souls and lives that need doctoring, you’d want a trained practicioner, wouldn’t you?

Not all churches believe in or teach the physical presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, but that does not relieve them from the responsibility of seeing to it that doctrines are maintained. It’s just that the Church of Rome has another, in their eyes, good bloody reason to keep up standards.

If you don’t agree with your church, or with churches in general, based upon their social, societal, sexual, gender, economic, or transient political beliefs, you’re not looking for a church in the first place. You’re looking for a party or a club or maybe a frat house. It’s best to turn away and keep looking…and not to try to turn a church into what you’re seeking.

Puritan1648 on March 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Yes TCU Frog, please point out the Biblical references to the Triune God…..I’ll wait…

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Everything is an American Idol episode to some people. But, looking at it in practical terms they don’t have enough priests. If they want the religion to continue they will have to have women and marrieds as priests. The Bible was written by Middle Eastern men. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

crankyoldlady on March 24, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Come on over and be a Lutheran, all the good parts of Catholicism without all of the uptight Pope stuff. They’ve been at it since the 1500′s and you may be shocked at how close the services are. Its like they have the same parents.

argusx2002 on March 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

United Methodist is also a good church. Apparently they have few rules and accept anybody.

crankyoldlady on March 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

The Bible has no scriptural support for:

-A Pope
-Purgatory
-Praying to Saints

Catholics make up a lot of unbiblical, unscriptural traditions and rules and ideas, which is why I am a Protestant.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

You do know that the Catholic church is the church that Jesus commanded Peter to build.? You are also aware that all christian churches came from the Catholic church?

fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

The Catholic church comes up with rules about women not being good enough to be priest and now some are trying to tell us that the pope can’t change them. Well the change is sure aint going to come from mount sinai so you get to make dumb rules and tell us oh but it’s out of our hand. Well whose hand is it in then?

At least when the mormons where confronted with their dumb rules about not allowing black people because God said so crap, they had the decency to take it back.

The bible says nothing and I say nothing about women not being good enough to be ordained. So some guy came up with that rule and I am expecting some other guy is going to have to take it back. Its that simple.

coolrepublica on March 24, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Aside from the same sex marriage reference, there is nothing in that essay that wasn’t being written by liberals back in the 1960s. “Adapt doctrine to modernity or Christianity will die” was the warning cry of liberals back then. And everyone who listened and followed their advice (namely mainline Protetstants) found out the truth was the exact opposite, that the more liberal any denomination became, the faster it lost members.

I won’t dispute the general point that our culture is growing more hostile to Christianity and that all churches including conservative ones may be in for rough times in the decades ahead. But this author is delusional if he thinks liberalizing the church will save it. Even if all denominations lose members, the liberal ones will lose them the fastest. The reason is quite simple. Once you accept the liberal premise that the church should follow the culture rather than the other way around, then the question becomes what’s the use of church at that point? If the church just imitates the culture, why bother with it? Just follow the culture without the church and sleep in on Sunday. And that’s what most mainline Protestants did.

frank63 on March 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

United Methodist is also a good church. Apparently they have few rules and accept anybody.
crankyoldlady on March 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Unitarian Universalist. Anything goes there, it’s all good.

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM

can we get the pope of the americas nancy pelosi to weigh in on this

chasdal on March 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

1 Corinthians 14:33 – For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Acts 9:13
– Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem

Ephesians 4:12 - “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

In Heaven there is perfection and the “true” living.

Marcus Traianus on March 24, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Funny- that’s what the Roman Empire said… And Egypt… And Hitler… And England…

I’m continually amazed at religious “scholars” who act as if faith and beliefs are these nebulous philosophical concepts that change as if God never set down the law or… Doesn’t exist…

Skywise on March 24, 2014 at 2:12 PM

churches would need to change doctrines to keep up with the modern world

And that’s how you know this guy is not a believer. You can’t believe in an eternal God and believe at the same time that His doctrine should change with the times.

argusx2002 on March 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Heh. We’re “dressed-down” Catholics. ;)

The Bible was written by Middle Eastern men.

crankyoldlady on March 24, 2014 at 2:01 PM

No, the Bible was written by God, using those “Middle Eastern men”. (I am not making a statement with respect to the different interpretations of inspiration, merely emphasizing the source of the material.)

GWB on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Too many people make this too hard. If you think women should be priests – become an Episcopalian. There are plenty of Protestant denominations who perform different dances on the heads of pins. Some “speak in tongue, some handle snakes, some adhere to some crazy cultists version of religion. Find one of them. IMO opening ordination to women would drive traditionalist out and split the RCC.

katiejane on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and almost every other mainstream Protestant church has. for the most part, embraced homosexuality and abortion. I am pretty sure that the Bible does not condone either. Just an FYI to all the Catholic bashers who like to quote the bible.

fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

frank63 on March 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

You summed up the situation pretty well there. I would have done it, but it’s Monday….

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

katiejane on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Excellent retort.

fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

No, the Bible was written by God, using those “Middle Eastern men”. (I am not making a statement with respect to the different interpretations of inspiration, merely emphasizing the source of the material.)

GWB on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Several gods then since they have different names.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

The Catholic church comes up with rules about women not being good enough to be priest….

Two errors in that statement. The Roman Catholics didn’t “come up with rules”, they interpreted Scripture. And, it has nothing to do with them being “good enough”.

The bible says nothing and I say nothing about women not being good enough to be ordained. So some guy came up with that rule and I am expecting some other guy is going to have to take it back. Its that simple.

coolrepublica on March 24, 2014 at 2:06 PM

The Bible does have some things to say about it. Unless you count the apostle Paul as “some guy”. (And there are plenty of non-believers within the church who do.) You need a vastly better understanding of Scripture and church history before you pour forth your “wisdom” again on this subject.

GWB on March 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM

They want them [the Modernists] to be treated with oil, soap, and caresses. But they should be beaten with fists. In a duel, you don’t count or measure the blows, you strike as you can. War is not made with charity….
–Pope St. Pius X

cthemfly on March 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Hmmmm not so much. Every Sunday at 11:30 am mass it’s packed with people and my church is growing by leaps and bounds. I need to explain that this is a Catholic church in the heart of an urban black area in Texas which is the buckle of the bible belt. The protestant churches are just as packed and there are loads of them down here. Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

neyney on March 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM

The Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and almost every other mainstream Protestant church has. for the most part, embraced homosexuality and abortion. I am pretty sure that the Bible does not condone either. Just an FYI to all the Catholic bashers who like to quote the bible.
fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

And all of those former mainline denominations have lost most of their membership – while the ones holding unto their doctrines have grown.

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Several gods then since they have different names.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Uh, no.

The Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and almost every other mainstream Protestant church has. for the most part, embraced homosexuality and abortion.

fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Only one group of the Lutherans in America has done so (the so-called Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – ELCA). The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Synod have expressly not embraced those things. I doubt many of the independent Lutheran churches have, either.

GWB on March 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

The whole only men can be Priests thing is a doctrinal issue, and as such one that is unlikely to in any way be revisited in our lifetimes, if ever. The only thing that might be seen is perhaps a approach that increases the roles of the ordained sisterhood. Less cloistered convent or specialized and more open pastoral work before the general laity.

The area that we have far more chance of seeing a change would be that of permitting some branches of the priesthood to marry. That restriction is less doctrinal and more custom and tradition, and does not have the absolutes that the only men as priests has.

patches on March 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Of course there will be a mass exodus. As a Christian you either believe in the Bible as the written infallible Word of God or you believe that there’s room to maneuver around it and end up being an apostate…and not realizing it until God changes your thinking. This was all predicted thousands of years ago. God knew His people would turn their backs on Him because it’s easy to be swayed by sinful people who just want everyone to get along and go with the flow. The Jews continually did it. Peter denied Jesus three times because he was unwilling to commit himself, at the time, to follow Christ after he saw Him being taken into custody and brutalized. Later Jesus forgave him and Peter went on to be crucified himself, because he knew the truth and was willing to die for it.

Christians need to wake up and know the truth. It’s right there in God’s Word.

Deckard BR on March 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

1 Timothy 2:11-12

11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

kagai on March 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Several gods then since they have different names.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

I have been referenced by a few different names. In different countries my would be quite altered to fit the local nomenclature. Am I multiple people?

Ricard on March 24, 2014 at 2:23 PM

I was raised in the Church, altar boy, Sodality leader, 12 years of Catholic school.

The Church has morphed into a secular organization with the trappings of a religion. The leadership is corrupt and anyone remaining a believer in these charlatans is misguided.

The Church will continue to have problems until the corrupt inner circle is removed.

Meremortal on March 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

And all of those former mainline denominations have lost most of their membership – while the ones holding unto their doctrines have grown.

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Like a lot of others they have allowed themselves to be bullied into believing nobody will love them if they don’t go along. Stand up to bullies and do the right thing and the right people will love you.

crankyoldlady on March 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Uh, no.

GWB on March 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Uh, yes.. three different names.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

The Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and almost every other mainstream Protestant church has. for the most part, embraced homosexuality and abortion. I am pretty sure that the Bible does not condone either. Just an FYI to all the Catholic bashers who like to quote the bible.

fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

There are at least half a dozen Presbyterian denominations. The largest (as of a couple years ago), PCUSA, has gone the farthest, not so much as to fully embrace abortion or homosexuality per say, but on a doctrinal technicality have left it to he individual presbyterys, or even individual churches to decide.

The ‘end game’ is rather visible, however. As a result, PCUSA is indeed ‘bleeding’ congregations to other Presbyterian denominations that have not followed suit.

Ricard on March 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

This pops up every so often, but Churches are not like golf clubs or civic clubs. They aren’t meant to “fit the times.” They’re supposed to provide an anchor of truth against the tide of popular rationalizations for sinful and destructive behaviors, based on the revelations from God who made mankind and knows how we can best be happy. Joseph Smith taught, “Adam fell that Man might be and Man is that he might have joy.” Note that he did not say “that he might have pleasure,” or “whatever he thinks he wants.”

flataffect on March 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Unitarian Universalist. Anything goes there, it’s all good.

I attended one for a little while many years ago (I’m a Protestant Christian now), and I got the impression that being a Republican was considered a mortal sin in the UU church. Pretty much anything else goes, though.

ajb3 on March 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Hasn’t the exodus already happened? Anyone still there is not leaving. If anything the church may win people back as society decays.

eski502 on March 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

It seems that some liberals got tired of advising Republicans on how to be liked by liberals and switched to advising Catholics. I never meet a catholic who would like to see a woman in the role of priest. After “only” 2,000 years in business the Church knows that what is “cool” and trendy today will be forgotten 100 years from know. And that includes Obama and his communist cohorts.

ktrelski on March 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM

The Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and almost every other mainstream Protestant church has. for the most part, embraced homosexuality and abortion. I am pretty sure that the Bible does not condone either. Just an FYI to all the Catholic bashers who like to quote the bible.

fight like a girl on March 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I got an idea, how about we not bash each others’ religion. That’s a pretty ignorant comment aimed at Protestants….

OliverB on March 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Unitarian Universalist. Anything goes there, it’s all good.

I attended one for a little while many years ago (I’m a Protestant Christian now), and I got the impression that being a Republican was considered a mortal sin in the UU church. Pretty much anything else goes, though.

ajb3 on March 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Ah, yes. The Unpardonable Sin.

whatcat on March 24, 2014 at 2:36 PM

please point out the Biblical references to the Triune God…..I’ll wait…

JFKY on March 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Will this do?

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

yaedon on March 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

I got an idea, how about we not bash each others’ religion. That’s a pretty ignorant comment aimed at Protestants….

OliverB on March 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Agree totally, All religions are fine except…………….you know

jmtham156 on March 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Uh, no.

GWB on March 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Uh, yes.. three different names.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Uh…I have three different names, too, but I’m only one person.

yaedon on March 24, 2014 at 2:39 PM

This is why I am a protestant.

Jesus is the truth, way, and life. Not the Catholic Church and its traditions.

If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, we will be saved.

It is clear in Ephesians that we are saved by grace and faith, not works.

tcufrog on March 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Thank you! Well said.

Deckard BR on March 24, 2014 at 2:40 PM

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