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Evansville, Indiana
June 3, 1994     The Message
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June 3, 1994

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3, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 gives framework of authority to teaching on women priests Analysis JOHN THAVIS i Catholic News Service CITY (CNS) -- his apostolic letter that rules out women priests, Pope John Paul II gave a new framework of authority to a controversial church teaching. Blunt and succinct, the six- page document makes its main point in the last few sentences: that the all-male priesthood is an essential element of the church's very constitution and therefore is not open to change or debate by its members. Issued May 30, the letter "On Reserving Priestly Ordina- tion to Men Alone" contains no new teachings. Its importance retreat house refurbishing underway Jean Vogler, pastor of Holy Rosary Church, and Mark McDonald, principal of the parish Holy Rosary, carry out a desk from the Catholic be used at the parish. The desk was one of many of furniture removed from Sarto Retreat House in for refurbishment. -- Message photo by Paul R. Leingang New furniture and furnish- ings are planned for Sarto Re- treat House, Evansville, ac- cording to Justin Clements, diocesan director of steward- ship and development. The new look at the retreat house is made possible through a grant from Kimball Interna- tional, Jasper, through the Habig Foundation; from a major donor, and from many small donations sent in by per- sons who had used Sarto facili- ties since it was dedicated in 1961. Gifts have totalled about $55,OOO. The original mattresses and box springs are among items being replaced. The refurbish- ing also includes new desks, chairs, wardrobes, mirrors and mini-blinds. Sarto Retreat House has a total of 57 rooms, including guest room and Re- treat Master rooms. Old furniture and furnishing were removed, and all items were available for the asking for parishes, schools and other Catholic agencies and institu- tions in the diocese. Rooms were re-painted, and the new furniture is expected to be in place during the week of June 6 i! !i :, . 1994 Summer Social ST. JOHN CATHOLIC CHURCH U.S. High.way. 50. East oogootee, Inoiana RAIN or Chicken and Roast Beef Dinners with ALL the trimmings! Served from 11:OO a.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the St. John Parish Center ALL YOU CAN EAT! i(Adults _ $5; Children 6-12 -- $2.50; Family Tickets -- $20; Children Under 6 Eat Free) PARISH YARD SALE Noon till 5:00 p.m. 500 FAMILIES WILL DONATE ITEMS FOR THE SALE! RAFFLE TICKETS Available All Day include $500.00 cash, a color television, and 2 handmade quilts BINGO AND MONTE CARLO IN THE AIR-CONDITIONED ST. JOHN PARISH CENTER ! i  . ALL-DAY FUN AND EVENTS Country Crafts and Goodies, Games for the Kids, Pony Rides ' Country Line Dancing, Charity Auction, Obstacle Course , Train Rides, Square Dancing, Quilt Wheel Gospel Entertainment at 4:30 p.m. featuring Cross Your Head !+, lies in its authoritative form. : In one of the more unequivo- cal statements of this pontifi- cate, the letter emphasizes that the nonadmission of women to the priesthood is something that must be "definitively held by all the church's faithful." - In the hierarchy of church teachings, that rank_s very high. Vatican officials are hop- ing ordinary Catholics and the- ologians will get the point and accept it. - The papal document "calls us to join in the obedience to the faith, and whoever does not do so obviously separates him- self from the faith of the church," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's top doctrinal official, told Vatican Radio. The cardinal's remarks made it clear that dissent on the issue will not be tolerated. The document is not an in- fallible pronouncement of the extraordinary magisterium of the pope. Vatican sources said such an "ex cathedra" declara- tion was considered inappro- priate in this case. For one thing, the pope was not defin- ing a new dogma but confirm- ing teachings that have been consistently taught over previ- ous centuries. Yet the sources said this does not detract from the au- thoritative weight of the docu- ment. Some even argue that it fits the criteria of infallible teachings of the ordinary mag- isterium, as outlined by the Second Vatican Council. "The genre of the document itself is not 'ex cathedra,' but the doctrine is infallible teach- ing, as taught by all the bish- ops, and the pope here is giv- ing his voice to it," said one Vatican official. A Vatican statement said the papal letter expressed tetching that was not merely probable but "certainly true." The question of the all-male NCCB Continued from page 1 sity of roles emphasizes the equal dignity of both women and men, who each bring to the glory of creation special gifts, including that of leader- ship," said the archbishop As examples of women who "exercised leadership in posi- tions that were not commonly open to their contemporaries in secular society," he noted St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The two women "worked within the church to feed and clothe and educate, while also having po- sitions of managerial and fiscal ii Vincennes Bicknell Sandbom Monroe City. Princeton Patoka Member F.D.I.C. IIH I I _+__priesthood "does not belong_to __ matters freely open to dis- pute," and those who teach a contrary position are leading consciences into error, it said. Msgr. Inos Biffi, a Milan the- otogian,--said that in treating the issue of women and ordina- tion, the pope ?brought to bear allhis special and nonfallible charisma." The letter effec- tively "removes thequestion from-fr ee-heological discus- sion" and cuts off speculation about a future change in pol- icy, he said. A Vatican__official agreed, saying theologians would be free to examine arguments on the issue but not to endorse "anything contrary to that af- firmed by the pope" or under- mine the church's position. The letter was described as a personal initiative of Pope John Paul, who spent a long time considering the text. Some observers saw it as an answer to the Church of Eng- land's decision last year to allow women priests, but the pope had already responded to that decision in a more direct way. The letter is aimed more at the Catholic faithful, who may have known the church's posi. tion on women's ordination but thought it could change one day -- whether that be in 10 or 20 or 100 years. The pope sees these kinds of doubts as divi- sive, and his letter makes every effort to clear them up. That is why, after noting that "in some places" the church's teaching is still ques- tioned, the pope delivers what he hopes is the final word on the subject: "I declare that the church has no authority what- soever to confer priestly ordi- nation on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faith- ful." For the pope, no rebuttals are allowed. III IIII II iii i i responsibility." Cardinal James A. Hickey of Washington called the letter "a decisive and conclusive reaffir- mation of the church's teaching on the ordination of women." "In reaffirming the serious- ness with which the church holds this doctrine, the Holy Father has done the church a great service," he said in a statement. "If we follow his teaching, we shall better un- derstand the roots of the rain. isterial priesthood and its true role of service in the life of the church." Noting that the teaching outlined by Pope John Paul is binding on the conscience of all Catholics," Cardinal Hickey said it is "not just a theological opinion nor the reflection of a practice subject to change" nor "merely the private opinion of the pope." II HJ HI I [ I III MILLER & MII.I.ER "A family name you can trust" 424-9274 I L +'J I I I " I iIH ...... . ....... i +++, ._+