There are no ‘women’ priests

CROSS Wires watches with interest the hoopla that is being whipped into a frenzy regarding the ‘ordination’ of the first woman to the ‘priesthood’ in Italy.

Let’s be very clear. Women are not ordained to priesthood in the Catholic Church, nor does Pope Benedict XVI’s Anglican Ordinariate extend this vocation to them. So whatever vows Vittoria Longhitano, 35, makes in All Saints Anglican Church in Rome on May 22—as heartfelt as they may be—they will not be to the Catholic priesthood regardless of the fact she belongs to a group known as The Old Catholics (founded in the early 19th century in an attempt to set up a national Italian denomination separate from Rome.)

And media headlines proclaiming ‘Italy to ordain first woman priest’ contain an oxymoron that shows a complete lack of understanding of Catholic teaching in the same way as the term ‘gay marriage’ does.

That said, the ongoing need for vocations to the priesthood is clear, highlighted in this the Year for Priests. However a vocation is not an idle fancy or passing phase—it takes over seven years in seminary to develop a candidate for the priesthood. Nor it is a political point to prove or an equality battle to fight—we do not have to be the same to be equal.

Women who believe their calling is to dedicate their lives to God have other avenues open to them in the Catholic Church. And until Catholic women already in religious life—who have found, developed and lived their vocation—start calling in their droves for the right to be priests the issue is a moot, not mute, point.

To read more on Vittoria Longhitano visit:


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