Paul Mitchinson is a part-time writer and a full-time father of two. He writes when he can. » more about me

In today’s National Post, Father Raymond J. de Souza repeats Vatican talking points on the “impossibility” of ordaining women priests (subscribers only):

Why, then, has the Catholic Church — along with the Orthodox — uninterruptedly reserved priestly ordination to men alone, right from the beginning? It starts with what Jesus himself did, and what the apostles he chose continued to do. They broke down barriers of race, class and even the distinction between Jew and Gentile, but they never ordained women as priests.

To say that this was only a cultural choice is not possible, as if the Son of God was somehow limited by the culture of his time. To the contrary, Jesus continually up-ended the political and religious customs of his day, so much so that he was crucified for it. Had he wanted to ordain women, he would have.

Of course, Jesus also chose Jews for his disciples, not gentiles. Had he wanted to ordain gentiles, as the Church does today, he would have. Right, Father? He also chose a married man (Peter) as his disciple — and the Catholic church’s first Pope. Somehow, Jesus’s behaviour doesn’t seem so relevant anymore, does it?

Then there’s the nonsense with which he concludes his lecture:

[I]t is simply not possible that over centuries . . . the Church would retain male ordination merely as a changeable custom. Changeable customs invariably change. Only unchangeable doctrines endure so long.

This is not an argument, it’s a tautology. Things that change are changeable. Things that endure are unchangeable. Of course, the myriad changes that have taken place within the Church — most within the past century! — would all have fallen under the rubric of “unchanged” (and thus, in Father de Souza’s understanding, “unchangeable”) right until the point that they … changed.

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