Pope Francis on Ordination of Women to Priesthood

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Lund photo and CCRI on women priests

Actions speak Louder than Words!

Antje Jackelen, the Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, embraces Pope Francis 1 during an ecumenical Service in Lund at the occasion commemorating 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. We hear that a picture is worth more than a 100 words. The two church elders are at peace with self and one another.  Earlier this year, Pope Francis elevated the Memorial of St Mary Magdalene to the Feast of Mary Magdalene to be at the same level with her male ‘Colleague-Apostles’. This act and others like it speak out loud and clear the heart of Franciscus who introduced himself to the world as ‘a sinner’ during his first full fledged media interview with a fellow Jesuit.

(Note: Pope Francis is ill-at-ease speaking about women priests and quite comfortable and delights in hugging a  lady Archbishop; he elevated Mary Magdalene to the level of her male ‘Colleague-Apostles’; erasing with right hand what the left has written? An example of double talk? Double personality? Don’t actions speak louder than words? Isn’t a picture is worth more than 100 words? What exactly does Francis what to convey? Approving conflicting views, to please all by becoming all things to all, thus displeasing all?

We (CCV) posted the eye-catching photo of Francis and Jackelen first, now we see it posted by every media every where and the message it sends out is the happy  camaraderie between the once arch enemies.  At least he has won the hearts of all, practicing his perennial preaching to walk listening not talking, to sinners, divorced, remarried, exhorting all to sit with them, pray with them, work with them, travel with them, relax with them, sleep with them. In Germany Catholics and Lutherasns who used to hate to look at each other are now falling in love and marrying. Francis is proving unity of Christians and churches (Ecumanism) is an evolution in  living process through trusting affinity, not doctrinal debate  to disprove one another which only hardens one more in one’s stated positions – Pope excommunicating Luther as obstinate heretic, and Luther calling Pope dictator, anti-Christ.

Raprochment between  churches an peoples must start with changing mentalities and attitudes  through cultural mixing and trusting exchange of pleasantries. This is the forte with Francis, his  miracle of humility as salesman of God’s Mercy. Now listen to what others have to say, as reported by CCRI (Catholic Church Reform Interntional) who sent this report to us. In continuation we have also given the latest Press Relese dated 6/11/16/ from Rene Reid of the the CCRI. To see CCV’s comment on that James Kottorpress release, especially about views of people in India on women’s ordination, please read the note attached to it below. james kottoor, editor)

Fr. Richard Kipyegon Soi of Kenya: “I think there are many issues that confront humanity today which the church should respond to urgently, more than the questions like whether women should be priests or not. The world is being threatened with serious conflicts like terrorism. Not to mention corruption and community conflicts affecting our nation. If women today can be elected to parliament even by conservative communities then what prevents them from assuming leadership in the Roman Catholic Church?”

Peter Mbuchi of Kenya: “My response to the apparent refusal of Pope Francis to reverse or override his predecessors on the matter of women priests is not original but rather contextualized within Ecclesia in Africa. The core agenda of the church is evangelization. We need to ask: What are the needs of the Third Church – a Church that has become highly decentralized and ‘in-culturated?’In sync with Clyde, I understand the remarks of Pope of Francis with regard to the ordination of women within his ‘body language’.  This year, while addressing the meeting of Women Religious at the Vatican, Pope Francis opened up to the matter of women deacons in the early Church. Deaconate in the Roman Catholicism is just a step next to the priesthood. Francis is inviting the church to a broad and inclusive conversation on being church – and I guess he is inspired by Gaudium et Spe (Pastoral Constitution in the Modern World) article 1. While in Nairobi, Pope Francis equated one of the representatives of the youth who had asked the question: ‘What can we do to stop radicalization?’ to professor of theology…. Francis is pastor whose life-issues comprise simple matters of faith and society. Women play a vital role in sustaining and maintaining communities in everywhere on earth: Why should they play a lesser role in the church? In one of the most authoritative publication of the matter at hand, Roman Catholic Priesthood, ‘Teologia del Sacerdozio – Theology of the Priesthood’ by Jean Galot S.J, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1984, we read that there are no biblical foundations on which build an opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood.

In the African context of being church, as everywhere else on earth, followers of Jesus Christ, that community called the Church, is broadly defined in the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern as follows: The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.This seminal description of who the church is followed by a deepened elaboration in Development of Peoples Article 12 as follows: “True to the teaching and example of her divine Founder, who cited the preaching of the Gospel to the poor as a sign of His mission, (12) the Church has never failed to foster the human progress of the nations to which she brings faith in Christ. Besides erecting sacred edifices, her missionaries have also promoted construction of hospitals, sanitariums, schools and universities. By teaching the native population how to take full advantage of natural resources, the missionaries often protected them from the greed of foreigners”. The male or female gender cannot be rationally excluded from leadership.

In Africa, this community is describes in Ecclesia in Africa (Articles 53 & 54) as confronted by the realities being fully itself as follows:

“The whole community needs to be trained, motivated and empowered for evangelization, each according to his or her specific role within the Church". For this reason the Synod strongly emphasized the training of the agents of evangelization in Africa. I have already referred to the necessity of formation for candidates to the priesthood and those called to the consecrated life. The Assembly also paid due attention to the formation of the lay faithful, appropriately recognizing their indispensable role in the evangelization of Africa. In particular, the training of lay catechists received the emphasis which it rightly deserves.

54. A last question must be asked: Has the Church in Africa sufficiently formed the lay faithful, enabling them to assume competently their civic responsibilities and to consider socio-political problems in the light of the Gospel and of faith in God? This is certainly a task belonging to Christians: to bring to bear upon the social fabric an influence aimed at changing not only ways of thinking but also the very structures of society, so that they will better reflect God's plan for the human family.

Consequently I have called for the thorough formation of the lay faithful, a formation which will help them to lead a fully integrated life. Faith, hope and charity must influence the actions of the true follower of Christ in every activity, situation and responsibility. Since" evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new", Christians must be formed to live the social implications of the Gospel in such a way that their witness will become a prophetic challenge to whatever hinders the true good of the men and women of Africa and of every other continent.”

By Peter Mbuchi Methu

Interfaith Africa, P. O. Box 00668 Buruburu, NAIROBI 00515, 

Tel. +254722373220  Email: petermbuchi@interfaithafrica.com

@PMbuchiMethu FB: Peter-Mbuchi Methu


Following is the CCRI press release dated 6/11/16

  Reformers Hold Out Hope  for Women’s Ordination

(Note: It is not quite correct to say that Indian people of God are reluctant to swallow the idea of women priests.  For a clear proof please read the Letter sent on Oct. 31/1994  of 14 Indian Sisters addressed to Pope John Paul II and published in my book: “Woman why are you weeping” of 2002.

Of course the Pope then (“saintly now”) gave them the “Damascus Treatment Saul of Tarsus received” – kicked them off from their high horse positions of responsibilities (was Pope vindictive?) in the Indian Church – I personally met at least one of them. Which only proves that  women theologian sisters in India were and are far ahead – more bold and progressive than their counter parts in US or Europe or anywhere else. I have no reports of any group of sisters, anywhere else, writing to  Pope to change his views on this topic.

John Paul II just told the 14 sisters to “shut up” and so they are just biding their time. The  thinking of the Church (bishops) in Africa is way behind on many issues – especially on Gay Relationships. Then, contrast that with the Indian champion of Gay folks, Cardinal Oswald Gracis of Bombay, (CCV published many reports on it) who is also one of the nine counselors to Francis.  This needs wide  detailed discussion which can’t be done here, but no place at all to give out one sentence conclusion.

True, India does not have a homogeneous view on many disputed issues. James KottorIts Episcopal fraternity is most conservative and divided also because of its 3-way Rite Divisions, but sections of its laity are as progressive as those anywhere else. For more information read earlier postings in CCV (www.almayasabdam.com.) james kottoor, editor)


People representing reform organizations from North America, India, Africa, Europe and Oceana have responded with care to what Pope Francis is saying. Knowing that a part of the Church is not ready to “receive” the ordination of women in the present form of priesthood, Pope Francis merely confirmed the teaching of Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter of 1994. When asked if he saw the ordination of women as something that would “never, ever” happen, he indicated that it seemed to “be moving in that direction.” These reformers saw his words as still another in a long series of invitations for the “grassroots” to follow through on their heritage as full members of the People of God.

Francis has a fiduciary responsibility for a worldwide Church which includes both progressives and traditionalists.  He is not an oracle nor does he want to be a dictatorial leader. He represents himself first and foremost as a pastor who has repeatedly invited the people to speak up, to share their wants and needs with their pastors, and have their bishops bring those desires to him. Then and only then will there be change to address the needs of our times in the Church.

Virginia Saldanha, an advisor to CCRI and a member of the Indian Women’s Theological Forum said: “Pope Francis has decided not to rock the conservative boat on the issue of women's ordination. Yet he is taking steps covertly in that direction.  Inclusion of women in the Maundy Thursday washing of the feet liturgy; calling for a study of women deacons; and in several ways encouraging women to take their place among the people of God and exercise their baptismal call to a common priesthood.”

Further, he openly greeted Antje Jackelen, the female Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, during an ecumenical Service in Lund at the occasion commemorating 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. And earlier this year, Francis elevated the Memorial of St Mary Magdalene to the Feast of Mary Magdalene to be at the same level with her male Colleague-Apostles.

Peter Mbuchi of Kenya sees the response of Pope Francis as contextualized within Ecclesia in Africa. The core agenda of the church is evangelization: “I see the need to call for the thorough formation of the lay faithful. Since evangelizing means ‘bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new,’ Christians must be formed to live the social implications of the Gospel in such a way that their witness will become a prophetic challenge to whatever hinders the true good of the men and women of Africa and of every other continent.”

“The ordination of women and of married clergy may be coming sooner than we expect” said Clyde Christofferson, a CCRI advisor and member of the U.S. based Nova Eucharistic Community. “It’s what resonates with the Spirit within us.  Francis recognizes the problem, and has done what he can in Amoris Laetitia and Evangelii Gaudium to help with the needed conceptual tools. The rest is up to the People of God to band together, to speak up, and to bring this initiative forward.”

Having in mind  that a large majority of the biblical commission appointed in 1976 by Pope Paul VI  were “in favor of the view that scriptural grounds alone are not enough to exclude the possibility of ordaining women and that Christ’s plan would not be transgressed by permitting the ordination of women,” the reformers continue to pray for guidance as they seek grass roots local gatherings of the people of God, to be followed in the next several years by larger gatherings to share and celebrate new ways of being church, ever more responsive to the Spirit of Christ.

The reformers continue to pray for guidance as they seek grassroots local gatherings of the people of God, to be followed in the next several years by larger gatherings to share and celebrate new ways of being church, ever more responsive to the Spirit of Christ. A website has been established for this purpose: www.ThePeopleSpeakOut.org. The People of God from around the world are invited to gather together, explore the kind of Church needed for our times, and share the outcome of their discussions on this site. These reports will be used to set the agenda for forthcoming Synods of the People of God being established by Council 50, who will be holding a meeting in Rome this weekend to discuss these matters.

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