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Women priests ‘when God wills’: Cardinal


There will be women a priest “when God wills”, for the moment it is better “not to raise the issue”. But there is “no fundamental obstacle”, from “a theological perspective”, for women to say mass on the altar.

It is, instead, a “tradition” that dates back from the time of Jesus. This was said by Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, seventy-five year old Patriarch of Lisbon, who has just been confirmed for another two years at the head of the diocese of the Portuguese capital.

Polycarpo released a lengthy interview to the monthly “OA”, the magazine of the Portuguese Order of Attorneys. He explained that with respect to women priests “the position of the Catholic Church is very much based on the Gospel, it does not have the independence of a political party or a government. It is based on fidelity to the Gospel, to the person of Jesus and to a very strong tradition received from the Apostles”.

“John Paul II – continued Polycarp – at one point seemed to settle the matter”. Reference is in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994), one of the shortest documents of John Paul II, with which the Pope, after the decision of the Anglican Communion to open to women priests, reaffirmed that the Catholic Church would never do so.

“I think – said Cardinal Polycarp – that the matter cannot be resolved like this. Theologically there is no fundamental obstacle (to women priests, ed.), let’s just say that there’s this tradition: it has never been done otherwise”.

When asked by the interviewer, curious of the affirmation made by the cardinal that there are theological reasons against women priests, Polycarpo replied: “I think that there is no fundamental obstacle. It is a fundamental equality of all members of the Church. The problem is a strong tradition that comes from Jesus and the ease with which the Reformed churches have granted priesthood to women”.

- Andrea Tornelli


The Patriarch of Lisbon: “There are no theological reasons for excluding women from the priesthood” (Vatican Insider)



  1. Geralyn Fessler says:

    How can we have come so far off base? There is no place for women to stand in the place of the Eternal lamb- Jesus

  2. Charles Bolser says:

    We certainly would not want to raise the issue now – but if not now – when? But if we raise it now, the pope might excommuicate us and then where would we be – the pope keeps us under his thumb and forbids uncomfortable discussion – so that he will not be forced to change his mind and allow unclean women to stand at the altar and preside. Heaven forbid!

  3. jOHN says:

    Tradition? How about the church as “the bride” and christ as the “bridegroom?” How can you have a female marry Holy Mother Church? In that context, you would have females marrying females causing all sorts of problems.

    I think there is more to this story than meets the eye and this Cardinal must be taken out of context!

  4. Peggy says:

    Aha! Tradition! Like in the “Fiddler on the Roof” the issue is whether “tradition”, accustomed usage, can never change, as opposed to “Tradition” which grounds fundamental principles that top the Hierarchy of Truth, like the Trinity, the Divinty of Jesus, found in the Creed and determined to be infallible. Tradition in the first sense has always moved forward in response to the signs of the times or we become disfunctional. For instance, the tradition that said that women are inferior to men has been and must be challenged. Those in control, men, naturally resist sharing power, but we are being forced to learn that we Must to function justly. The male hierarchy is not truly interested in discerning “God’s Will” at the cost of losing authority and power. “God’s Will” inevitably WILL be enforced through the power of the Holy Spirit on the rest of the Body of Christ. But how much must we suffer from the priest shortage in the interim?


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