Roy Bourgeois in princely company on women priests
The debate over ordaining women is hardly confined to Roy Bourgeois, the apparently soon-to-be ex-Maryknoll priest who we discussed here. In late June, Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo of Portugal made waves when he told a Portuguese legal magazine that there will be women priests “when God wills” and that for the moment it is better “not to raise the issue” because of Vatican statements on the topic.
As to the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994), reaffirming the church’s ban on ordaining women, the 75-year-old Policarpo added, according to Andrea Tornielli’s account:
“I think 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.”
“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.”
As John Allen notes in his piece, Cardinal Policarpo was considered a dark horse in the 2005 conclave, though I liked him because he reportedly violated conclave rules by sneaking outside the Domus Marta residence to smoke a cigar. That alone would disqualify him for many Americans.
A week after making his statements on women priests, the cardinal retracted them, and today Catholic World News relays word of how Cardinal Policarpo got the full-court press after his remarks — a visit to Cardinal Levada at the Holy Office in Rome, and an encore with Secretary of State and papal No. 2, Cardinal Bertone at Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer woodshed, er, residence.