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Thursday, December 15, 2011


So, I received this email from US Catholic...In Conversation with American Catholics.

Dear Andy,

It has come to my attention that your commenting on our website has gotten a little out of control. While we respect a variety of opinions on church matters and certainly want all voices to be heard, you are disguising your comments as respectful by simply writing, “I mean this respectfully,” when you immediately follow this remark with a statement such as “So what?” or “You’re wrong.” While we’re glad to have passionate and even somewhat heated conversations on our website, your commenting has dominated the conversation as you continuously attempt to silence others by always having the last word and telling them when they’re simply wrong about matters that actually are contested. Part of our duty as Christians is to listen, and I’m afraid that your responses are not reflecting this call at all.

I’m sure this isn’t a pleasant to hear and you likely disagree with me. However, as the one who has to control the level of conversation on our site, I have to ask you to limit your comments to 5 per day. Please note that I’m not banning you from our site. Your voice is still valued. However, I hope that that this limit will help you to be more considerate and wise about how and where you choose to comment. If you are unable to stick to this limit, I will have to take more restrictive measures.


While the associate editor (I feel very special) thinks it isn't pleasant to hear, which it isn't, here is the exchange which prompted this...btw, the exchange wasn't with just any poster in the comboxes, it was with a blogger for US Catholic who was commenting....His (that's right, his) repsonse:

In Dr Zagano's defense, I think that the church's proclamation of the gospel is indeed impeded by the fact that women do not proclaim it "officially"--indeed have been barred from preaching homilies at Mass, even. That's not the same as saying a woman is better than a man, just that the gospel isn't getting its fullest possible proclamation--an analysis I think is dead on.

I think it's a major stretch to say that Jesus instituted the three-fold pattern of orders--especially since for centuries there were seven holy orders! And if you don't think women were really "ordained" to the diaconate, you'd have to say the same of the men, since the ordinations appear together in the ancient liturgical books.

My response:

I don't follow your logic.  How is a woman not proclaiming the Gospel at Mass or preaching a homily "impeding" the message that a priest (or in some cases a deacon) would do anyway?

Don't women "preach" the Gospel by how they live?  Isn't that the bigger message.  I hear all the time that it isn't about what one hears in the homily, but how one lives his life after the homily is what REALLY matters.  Is that not the case?

I think that there is a double standard.  I think that some women want to have their cake and eat it too.  Not all, but some.

Regardless of that, I just don't see how your logic pans out on this.

His response:

Because I think a woman would proclaim the gospel differently than a man, and so would open new meanings to the gospel message. If you think the gospel is a set or principles or something, I imagine you would not agree. But if you think that the gospel is an encounter with God, then it seems obvious to me that we would want as many perspectives on the gospel as humanly possible.

The other "impediment" is evangelical: In a world that is coming more and more to the realization that women should share equally in all roles in society, a church that insists its message can only be announced liturgically by men is making it hard for contemporary people to hear the message. I think the fact that the church has no ordained women at all gets in the way of people hearing the gospel (because they think the church is sexist.) If there is no obstacle in tradition to the ordination of women deacons--and I think it obvious there is not--then we should ordain them for that reason alone.
My repsonse:

This isn't about what you think though.  If it were merely that, then the answer would be easy.  So, you have an opinion, as a Catholic, it must conform to Catholic teaching on Catholic matters.  That is how we assent our wills.

The Gospel in the context that you are speaking of is a written record of Christ's deeds.  If you want a more ethereal view of what the Gospel is, I would say that it is the reward of good tidings.

Now, all that being said, every member of the Church has the right to that being brought to them in an orthodox way.  But we're talking about the canonical gospels.  There is a second "form" of Gospel, the oral gospel, which we are all implored to pass along.

The proclamation of the canonical Gospels is the privy of the ministerial priesthood.  It is proclaimed and it is preached by the ministerial priesthood, because they are the arbiters of the Truth.  We can share in that Truth, but we must hear and learn that Truth first.

The second type, the oral gospel is one that all mankind regardless of gender should be promoting.  They hear the canonical Gospel, they learn from it and they go out and spread that message.  That spreading is the oral gospel.

To confuse the two is to say that women have the right to "proclaim the gospel."  Not so.  Men don't have the right to "proclaim the gospel" unless they are ordained.  So, I don't see where the problem is.  Both men and women are supposed to take the oral gospel out and bring it to the world in how they live and in what they do.

Ultimately, your premise lies in a false one...there is an obstacle in ordaining women.  It lies the fact that the Church can't make the ordination of women valid.  Men can, but there is nothing sacramental in men's actions if there is nothing to support the action sacramentally.  The Church has been clear from the beginning that the ordination of women is not applicable.

His response:

Andy, there is no doctrinal teaching against the ordination of women to the diaconate; there is a dispute about how to read the substantial evidence regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate. As it stands, the possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate is simply a matter of law, and Catholics are free to think what they want about the matter. My considered opinion is that women (1) were ordained to the diaconate in certain places in the church, both East and West; (2) there is no theological obstacle in the church's current teaching regarding the diaconate to admitting woman; (3) therefore women can be ordained as deacons; and (4) I think it would be fitting and helpful to do so.

My response (and the zinger is contained herein):

I've read most of it.  The problem is that there is NOTHING conclusive to support ordination of women to the diaconate.  Nothing.  One can say that women were employed to help baptize women, but there is NOTHING to say that there was an ordination to take place.

Insofar as that is the case, logic dictates that if a woman is not able to be ordained a priest, then she cannot be ordained a deacon.  The Church cannot make something happen which cannot happen.

This is confirmed by Vatican Council II which through thorough study Paul VI allowed for celibate and married men to be ordained.  At that time, there was no indication that women would be allowed to approach orders, for the very same reasons I list above.

Canon 835 says that the sanctifying office is principally completed by the bishop.  If Sacred Orders are completed in the bishop and a woman cannot become a bishop, how is that supportable, from a logical or theological position?

So, to speak to your points:

1. There is no conclusive evidence to support "ordination."  The term διάκονος in Greek does not assume ordination.  It assumes ministry.

2.  There is a theological obstacle insofar as the admitting to Sacred Orders is completed in consecration/ordination to the Episcopate.  This is not possible for a woman and is a huge theological obstacle.

3.  Because there is no conclusive evidence to support ordination and there is a theological obstacle, then by pure logic, there is a dubium to admit women to Orders.

4.  I mean this with all what?  Your two main points are indefensible theologically and philosophically; as well as your opinion being simply an opinion.If you can theologically clear the obstacle presented and if you can show conclusively that women were ordained, I'll revisit my position.  But showing the few heretical sects as being a proof will not suffice.

This is pretty laughable to be honest...but the jist of all of this is contained herewithin, my response to the associate editor:

I respect your position.  Please know that I will abide by that rule going forward.  However, I do hope that you're taking the very same measures with those who are treating me in kind.  I have been treated with great consternation by more than a few and have voiced my concerns to you and other "leaders" of the comboxes to no return correspondence that it has been addressed.

I would hope that if you value consistency and honesty that you will follow through on my previous requests, if you have not already and limit those who have been antagonistic toward me in the very same way.

As I said, I will restrict my postings to 5 per day, but be assured that I hope that you hold all of your readers to the same level of scrutiny.

Thank you,

Now, all of this is in light of a couple of things...this was posted in direct response to me in the same combox;

I don't care what scripture, tradition, dogma, or theology you quote, sexism is alive and well in the Church.  If you can't see it and feel it in your heart, then no arguments I make will convince you otherwise. 

...It might do you well to remember the lay women of the parish who do much more than just "work the kitchen."
 So, it certainly seems that there is a bias, considering I have not yet received a response from the associate editor.  I would certainly hope that the two posters would receive at the very least same limitations.  For what they've said is far more hurtful and slanderous than " what?"


  1. "I don't care what scripture, tradition, dogma, or theology you quote, sexism is alive and well in the Church. If you can't see it and feel it in your heart, then no arguments I make will convince you otherwise."'s like don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!
    Hilarious...I'm surprised the poster didn't call you a silly poop-head too...

  2. Bless you for diligently trying, even amidst those circumstances, to defend Christ and His Church!