Women’s Ordination is an issue we believe in deeply and I wrote a book about it: Women in the Church, St. Catherine of Siena, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, & Criminal Reformation.
For links to my books at Amazon go to http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=david+h+lukenbill
There is a very perceptive article in the New York Review of Books touching on women’s ordination and other issues.
One of Francis’s first major acts was the establishment of a commission of eight (subsequently nine) cardinals charged with the radical overhaul of the church’s central structures, starting with the Vatican bank. His very choice of name signaled a turn away from the doctrinal and institutional concerns of his immediate predecessors, and pointed instead to his passionate insistence on the church’s loving engagement with the poor who make up most of the world’s population.
And yet in doctrinal matters Francis is no radical, no reformer. On the central issues often taken as the litmus test of Catholic orthodoxy his views are entirely conventional. He is strongly “pro-life” and an ardent supporter of traditional family values. As archbishop of Buenos Aires he opposed the Argentinian government’s 2010 bill to legalize same-sex marriages, while supporting civil unions for gay couples, a moderate pragmatism that was rejected by the rest of the Argentinian bishops, who favored a more confrontational stance. In his published “conversation” with the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, he has called for a new and profound theology of women and a greater recognition of their crucial role in the church. But his own folksy remarks about the place of women and “the feminine genius” in the church have distressed even the most moderate feminists. He has made clear his belief that Pope John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Priestly Ordination) has settled “definitively” the question of women’s ordination—“that door is closed.”
This blanket endorsement of Papa Wojtyła’s attempt to close down discussion of the issue indicates the limits both of Francis’s radicalism and, arguably, of his theological sophistication. Critics of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis pointed out that popes do not have a hotline to God. “Definitive” papal utterances are not oracles providing new information, but adjudications at the end of a wider and longer process of doctrinal reflection, consultation, and debate, often extending over centuries: there are procedures to be followed if such adjudications are to command obedience. But the question of female ordination has never been subjected to this kind of extended theological scrutiny, and a properly theological basis for the prohibition remains therefore to be tested. So, it was asked, how did Papa Wojtyła know that the ordination of women was impossible, and what was meant by describing his preemptive strike on the question as “definitive”?
But these are not matters that greatly interest Francis, and his acceptance of conventional theological positions has enabled some alarmed traditionalists to downplay any suggestion that his election represents a significant break with previous papal regimes. George Weigel, biographer, confidante, and eulogist of John Paul II, for example, insisted that Bergoglio’s emphasis on evangelization, in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), was a continuation of John Paul’s and Benedict’s stress on the need for a “new evangelization,” and demonstrated “the seamless continuity between John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis and the continuity between the John Paul–Benedict interpretation of Vatican II and Francis.”
That judgment, however, carefully ignores the significance of Bergoglio’s consistent adoption of a rhetoric, in word and act, manifestly at odds with the ethos of the previous two pontificates. For admirers of the “dynamic orthodoxy” (a euphemism for the vigorous exertion of central authority) that characterized the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Bergoglio’s frank acceptance of clerical fallibility and the perils of authoritarian leadership are both startling and deeply unappetizing. Outraged conservative opponents like Cardinal Raymond Burke, in a dramatic departure from the protocol that inhibits cardinals from public criticism of living popes, have described the church under Francis as “a ship without a rudder.” (Highlighting added)
Retrieved February 9, 2015 from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/feb/19/who-is-pope-francis/?insrc=hpma