John Shea OSA appeal to Cardinal Maradiaga (Head of the Pope’s so-called “Gang of Nine”)

John Shea OSA appeal to Cardinal Maradiaga (Head of the Pope’s so-called “Gang of Nine”)

Posted by Colm, With 0 Comments, Category: Church News, Church Reform, Latest News, Pope Francis, Women in the Church, Women's Ordination,

Pentecost, 2016


Dear Cardinal Maradiaga,


I am writing again to you and to the other members of the Council
of Cardinals on this profoundly holy day to ask you to discuss at your
next meeting a core issue of structural reform—ecclesia semper refor-
manda—an issue that continues to disrespect every aspect of the identity
and mission of the church: the decision to see women as not biologically
worthy to be ordained to the priesthood.


Of all the things that Pope Francis has said and done, his opening
of the Synod on the Family in 2014 was perhaps the most extraordinary:
he asked the bishops to speak “freely,” “boldly,” and “without fear.” On
the one hand, this exhortation is incredibly shocking, that he would have
to ask his fellow bishops—grown men and the teachers of the church—to
speak honestly to each other. On the other hand, given the atmosphere
of the Vatican where honest exchange is often so difficult, his exhortation
was not only necessary but also a modest sign of hope in our dialogically
challenged church.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 15.38.37


If you believe that the ordination of women to the priesthood is vital
for the integrity, mutuality, and viability of our church, I ask you to
speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you find nothing in Scripture or tradition prejudicial against
women or precluding their ordination to the priesthood, I ask you to
speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you know that the actual history of ordination—of women as well
as men—needs to be acknowledged and carefully understood by you and
all the bishops, I ask you to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you believe the letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, squashed dialogue
on the ordination of women just when it could have been open, intelli-
gent, and fruitful, I ask you to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you know that any given woman is as religiously mature and able
to provide pastoral care as any given man, I ask you to speak freely,
boldly, and without fear.


If you know that seeing women and men through a “complementa-
rity” lens or in light of precious “theological symbolism” is not pertinent
to ordination, I ask you to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you see the letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, as an historical expla-
nation of ordination rather than a theological explanation, I ask you to
speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you think the one theological explanation put forth by the Vati-
can in the 1970s and 1980s—that women cannot be ordained because
they are “not fully in the likeness of Jesus”—would be silly if it were it
not so heretical, I ask you to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you know that the church’s opposition to the ordination of wom-
en is understood—within the church and throughout the world—as af-
firming women’s inferiority and justifying all kinds of horrible violence
against them, I ask you to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you understand why so many of the adult faithful are leaving the
church in droves over the injustice of women barred from priesthood—if
you see that a “patriarchal Jesus” is a colossal contradiction—I ask you
to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If the church’s current practice directly undermines our God’s rela-
tional Three-in-Oneness—if a huge patriarchal plank is stuck in the
church’s eye, worshipping the Father as male, the Son as male, and the
Holy Spirit as male—I ask you to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


If you want our church to walk proudly on two feet instead of aping
patriarchal culture and hobbling around on one, please—honoring the
human and the divine—have the courage to speak freely, boldly, and
without fear.


If you have some inkling that all the reforms you are undertaking
ultimately do not mean very much as long as women are not fully in the
likeness of Jesus in our church, I ask you on this holy day of Pentecost
to speak freely, boldly, and without fear.


Cardinal Maradiaga, is injustice to women to cripple the Christian
message forever? Like the reformation of inclusion in the infant church,
can you and your fellow bishops see and hear and name what Pope Francis is not able to see or hear or name.

 

John O’Shea OSA