There will be women a priest â€œwhen God willsâ€, for the moment it is better â€œnot to raise the issueâ€. But there is â€œno fundamental obstacleâ€, from â€œa theological perspectiveâ€, for women to say mass on the altar.
It is, instead, a â€œtraditionâ€ 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 â€œOAâ€, the magazine of the Portuguese Order of Attorneys. He explained that with respect to women priests â€œthe 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 Apostlesâ€.
â€œJohn Paul II â€“ continued Polycarp â€“ at one point seemed to settle the matterâ€. 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.
â€œI think â€“ said Cardinal Polycarp â€“ that the matter cannot be resolved like this. Theologically there is no fundamental obstacle (to women priests, ed.), letâ€™s just say that thereâ€™s this tradition: it has never been done otherwiseâ€.
When asked by the interviewer, curious of the affirmation made by the cardinal that there are theological reasons against women priests, Polycarpo replied: â€œI 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 womenâ€.
– Andrea Tornelli