Can we apply Juvenescit Ecclesia to the controversy on Women’s Ordination?

Here is a summary of the recent CDF document: Iuvenescit Ecclesia including a link to the full text. The document addresses the charisms (gifts from God) of individuals and groups within the Church as they relate to the hierarchical authority of the Pope and the Bishops.

Is this document intended to address, in part, the controversy over women deacons? Perhaps. For one the common arguments that women make in favor of ordained female deacons (and women’s ordination more broadly) is that they experience a calling to ordination within themselves. They present this call as a type of charism from God, though they might not use that particular word. The claim is that God is calling them and giving them gifts particularly suited to the diaconate or the priesthood. And therefore, they say, the hierarchical Church is standing in the way of this charism.

But Juvenescit Ecclesia has the Church’s reply to this claim. All charisms that are truly from God are part of the one true Church, and are subject to the gift to the Church of the hierarchical authority: the teaching authority of the Church as well as Her temporal authority. The Church has the authority to decide the question of women’s ordination. And She has already decided that Christ did not give His Church the authority, nor the ability, to ordain women as priests or bishops. And while the question of ordination to the diaconate is still open, only the teaching authority of the Church can make that decision. A call within oneself cannot be used to claim that one is, or can be, ordained — apart from Church authority.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to Can we apply Juvenescit Ecclesia to the controversy on Women’s Ordination?

  1. Dan says:

    I must commend you on your comprehensive and thoughtful approach
    to the Church’s doctrinal difficulties.
    Be that as it may, May I ask Ron if you feel the
    universal teaching of the Magisterium on the teaching
    of contraception being intrinsically evil is:
    1. Infallible by the criteria given in both Vatican Councils I & II
    2. If this is the case why wouldt NFP (a manifest form of
    birth regulation) not also be “intrinsically evil”. ?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The teaching is infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 25). Contraception is intrinsically evil because the act is ordered toward depriving sexual acts of their procreative meaning. NFP does not deprive sexual acts of the procreative meaning. NFP consists in refraining from sex, which is moral; and in having sex open to life, which is also moral.

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