Polls generally show that 50 percent to 60 percent of Roman Catholics in the United States believe that women should be eligible for the priesthood.
Sister Sara Butler understands this impulse - because she once felt the same way. In 1978, she headed a task force of the Catholic Theological Society of America that came out in support of female priests.
But as she continued her work as an increasingly prominent theologian, her thinking began to change. Now, in a new book - "The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church" - she attempts to explain the underpinnings of the all-male priesthood to doubters and skeptics who think the way she used to.
"The tradition is traced to the will of Christ, not to decisions made by the church," Butler said last night at St. Joseph's Seminary, where she has taught for four years.
The church's teachings must be better explained, she said, because many Catholics see the all-male priesthood as a symbol of patriarchal power and sexism, and many more who stay silent are probably befuddled.
"Their confidence in the church's teaching authority has been badly eroded," she said.
Several hundred priests, nuns, seminarians and lay visitors greeted Butler with sustained applause, a measure of their respect for her and their approval of the church's position.
Critics of the all-male priesthood were in short supply.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Posted by Matthew
This is an excerpt from The Journal News found on Argent by the Tiber. Above all, Catholics cannot believe that women should be ordained because it is not possible (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).