Heretic for Desiring Women’s Ordination?

by Steve Ray on October 31, 2014

Since, you asked, Walter, no, you are not a heretic, but…

by Dr. Edward Peters

Walter Sandell. … “I wonder if I’m a heretic for believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women. I would be a hypocrite if I kept silent about this issue …”

I don’t know (and it doesn’t matter) who
“Walter Sandell” is, but his pointed-yet-polite question (posted in a combox following Mary Ann Walsh’s recent unfocused essay in America) deserves a pointed-yet-polite (and of course, accurate) answer, so here it is: No, Walter, you are not a heretic for “believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women” but you do seem opposed to the teaching of the Church. That’s bad, to be sure, but it’s a different kind of bad.

In order to be a “heretic” one must, among other things, obstinately deny or doubt “some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (c. 751). Such truths are understood as being “contained in the word of God”, and as “divinely revealed”, and as pertaining “to the one deposit of faith” (c. 750 § 1). The point to grasp, though, is that heresy and the consequences of heresy (chiefly excommunication per c. 1364) arise only in the context of matters proposed for belief.

But the Church’s refusal to extend priestly ordination to women is not, at least not according to the flagship document dealing with this question, John Paul II ap. lit. Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994), proposed as requiring that Catholics accord belief (credenda) to the assertion that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women”, but rather, as requiring that Catholics definitively hold (tenenda) that the Church has no such authority. The difference is important.

That the Church can impose for definitive adherence by the faithful some assertions that do not demand belief does not imply that some truths are “less true” than others, but rather, that some truths, though not revealed by God, are nevertheless so important for the support of revealed truths that they, too, must be able to be known and proclaimed with certainty. This notion of a “hierarchy of truths” is reflected in Canon 750—a norm that is just the tip of a magisterial iceberg—but, fascinating as exploring that might be, to answer Walter’s specific question about whether he is a heretic, one need only realize that the assertion in Ordinatio does not require belief and so its rejection cannot be “heresy”.

That said, though Walter would ‘walk’ on a heresy charge, he seems to reject a proposition that is “to be held definitively” and therefore he seems “opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.” Thus, assuming satisfaction of some other canonical elements of the crime, Walter seems at risk of committing a delict punishable under Canon 1371, 1° not with excommunication, I grant, but still by a “just penalty”. Even in age in which one cannot imagine ecclesiastical authority taking action against him for having published his opposition to Church teaching in this area, Walter should reconsider his opposition to that teaching, and, at the very least, refrain from proclaiming it publicly.

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Today we started early in the morning at Lanciano Italy at the stupendous Eucharistic miracle which took place in the 700s. A priest was doubting the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and God gave him a miracle which carries down to this day.

When he held the host in his hand it turned into heart muscle and scientists have confirmed this over and over again. The blood coagulated and is human blood Type AB. After Mass we had time to view the miracle up close and spend time in the museum.

Then we drove along the Adriatic Sea to Ancona where we boarded the Super Fast Ferry which is like a floating hotel. It was very nice, clean and elegant and all our folks had nice cabins for 24 hours before we arrive in Greece.

We did a lot and saw a lot in the last few days so everyone is enjoying 24 hours of free time on his fairy as we cross the Adriatic Sea.

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My Updated Article on Infant Baptism

by Steve Ray on October 29, 2014

100_1650Even among Evangelical Protestants there is much debate about Infant Baptism. My old Baptist tradition rejected it as a Catholic tradition of men.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer, my favorite Evangelical Presbyterian theologian wrote a booklet entitled Infant Baptism in favor of the practice – my wife Janet was raised Presbyterian and baptized as an infant.

It continues to be a problem between Catholics and many Protestants. If you want to know more about it and why we as Catholics practice it with joy based on Scripture and early tradition, read my article here.

The picture is our granddaughter Elizabeth Arabella Rose Ray getting baptized two years ago — a little pagan becomes a Christian.

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Pope Up Close, Face of God Up Close: Pilgrimage Cruise Day 4

October 29, 2014

What an amazing day! Starting with a 5:00 AM wake up call so we could be the first ones in line to enter St. Peter’s Square for the General Audience with Pope Francis. And boy, did that pay off! All of our people got to see the Pope up close. It was a marvelous morning [...]

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Mass at Altar of St. John Paul II and more

October 28, 2014

Early Mass at Tomb of St. John Paul II then tour of St. Peter’s. Then we visit the sites related to St. Paul’s martyrdom and more. Enjoy!

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What My Grandpa Said About the Pope – A Boy’s Story

October 28, 2014

My grandpa is a nice old gentleman, with gray hair, and gold spectacles, and very fond of his little grandson Billy—that’s me. Grandpa and I often go out to walk together, that is, on fine days, because on cloudy days he never goes out of the house, but stays at home to keep “comfortable with [...]

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Rome Day 2: Hiking Tour thru Rome

October 27, 2014

Day Tour: we started with the drive through Rome to the Pantheon where we left everybody to scatter for lunch at all the excellent and delicious cafés in the area. After a tour of the Pantheon we visited the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva which houses the remains of St. Catherine of Siena and [...]

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Arrival Day in Rome for Spirit Catholic Radio

October 26, 2014

About 70 folks arrived today and about ten more tomorrow morning. We’re off to a great start with Sunday Mass at a Carmelite Monastery with the cloistered sisters. But tomorrow the real excitement begins when we start our tours and begin exploring the Eternal City.

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Encouraging Word from a New Convert

October 26, 2014

Mr Ray. I know you are a very busy man, so I will try to keep this brief. My name is Joshua Shearer. I’ve been a baptist all my life, but in this last year I have started to discern the Catholic faith. I am fully convinced that Catholicism holds the truth and am planning [...]

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Interview in Phoenix on My Conversion with The Catholic Conversation

October 25, 2014

While doing a parish mission at the Cathedral in Phoenix last month, I was invited by Phoenix Catholic Media to share my conversion story in a personal way with the hosts Steve Green, the cradle Catholic and his wife Becky the convert. It was a fast-paced dialog hitting on the some of the personal events [...]

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“11 Must-see Churches in Rome” Steve Ray quoted in Fox News Article

October 24, 2014

Since we leave for Rome today to pick up our 80 pilgrims for a pilgrimage through Italy, Greece and Turkey, I thought I would post this article so you can see some of the churches we will visit.  Here is the portion of the article in which I contributed. Teresa Tomeo also shares her favorite [...]

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Synod Surprise

October 22, 2014

Posted by MARK BRUMLEY on Tuesday Oct 21st, 2014 at 5:23 PM COMMENTARY ON SYNOD ON THE FAMILY Those expecting big changes in Catholic teaching in the final report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family just encountered the “God of surprises,” to use Pope Francis’ expression. No big changes. Of course, the [...]

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A One-Hour Jaunt through the Rosary Sites

October 21, 2014

I recently did a one-hour radio show with Dina Maria Hale, host of KBVM in Portland Oregon. The title was “Mysteries of the Rosary: Then & Now.” We wanted to give everyone an idea of what the places were like at the time of Mary and Jesus, and what they are like today. We also [...]

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Update on Geocentrism Debunked

October 21, 2014

For those following the debate about whether the earth actually is the center of the universe with everything spinning around the earth, check out this latest update posted by my friend Dave Palm. You can read the whole thing here http://www.geocentrismdebunked.org/the-cmb-and-geocentrism/  Here are the introductory paragraphs: The New Geocentrists have been claiming for some time that [...]

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Last Day of Pilgrimage: Jericho, Dead Sea, Camels and more

October 16, 2014

The last day was a banner day. We started out with Mass at Notre Dame and then a visit to the Israel Museum and then drove down to the Judean wilderness. We went to the authentic baptismal site of Jesus before having lunch in Jericho. Then on to came to Qumran where we discussed the [...]

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Legatus Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 7

October 15, 2014

Mass at Gethsemane is always moving. Mount Zion, Tour of the Holy Shroud exhibit, entrance to the Tomb and much more. Enjoy!

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