How Fast Can You Say: Latae Sententiae Excommunication?

Ordain a lady?
Excommunication, latae sententiae!

This is almost a bizarre as The Way’s “Renewed Mind is the Key” video:

1. St. Therese of Lisieux, my patron saint, was not a supporter of women’s ordination (as if!). She understood the typology, that she was a bride of Christ, spiritually speaking, and her mission was in fact to pray for priests, especially those in the missions. She understood they acted in persona Christi.

2. Women wanting to become priests is like me wanting to be pregnant with a baby. I am, by nature, not able to do it. It’s not that God hates me, or wants to deprive of the joy of conceiving and carry a baby within myself–all beautiful and wondrous things that women experience–it is simply that that is not how God made men. Similarly, women cannot be priests. It is an ontological impossibility.

3. It is not a question of the fact that women “can do priestly duties.” Of course women can do the same actions a priest does. Say words, make the sign of the cross, etc. The priest is not primarily a functional vocation; it is instead something that the priest is. He images Christ the bridegroom. He offers the sacrifice. He absolves in the name of Christ. The priesthood is not a job anymore than motherhood is a job. Sure, it entails responsibilities that can feel like a job, but motherhood itself is much, much greater than “a job.”

4. “Other churches try to schmooze me.” Yet they don’t become Episcopal or Methodist or what-have-you. Why not? Simple, there is no challenge there. No news. There’s already lots of women ministers in those (Protestant) denominations. Big deal. No, the holy grail would be getting to be a priest in the Catholic Church. Yet they don’t realize that it can never happen, no more than me ever becoming pregnant (pace, Arnold).

Conclusion: these dear women are grievously misguided. They do not understand who they are as women. They are co-opting holy saints like Therese of Lisieux to promote their heretical notions. They even say ridiculous things like “don’t listen to St. Paul.” Can they even hear themselves? Their video almost mocks itself in its ludicrousness. God help them.

Finally, their vestments are terrible.


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34 thoughts on “How Fast Can You Say: Latae Sententiae Excommunication?”

    1. Matt, at least I didn’t link to the renewed mind video to tempt you further! Seriously I can never watch that video again or it will stick in my head for months.

      1. So, I should resist the temptation to look up said video? And you really think that’s going to work NOW?

      2. Oh my gosh! My daughters and I watched “The Renewed Mind is the Key” just a couple months ago, after I remembered it as one of the funniest things I’d ever seen, and we died laughing! I still think your original commentary on that is funnier than the actual video, and that’s saying something!

        Now, this womyn’s “ordination” video is so deceiving, because one would swear it’s a parody! It is cringe-worthy, laughable, sad, and I don’t know what else. Just…wow!

  1. I’m an almost-but-not-quite Catholic Christian, and don’t have terribly strong views on this issue. Just wondering: I was under the impression that the male priesthood was a matter of canon law, not part of the deposit of faith. But points 2 and 4 above assert that the male priesthood is unchangeable, which makes me think that it’s not merely canon law. Can anyone clarify this for me?

    1. Emjay, good question. I can’t remember the precise theological phrase that describes where male-only ordination fits, but I would definitely say it is a doctrine proximate to dogmas from the deposit of faith, vs. mere canon law. However hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I on this issue will chime in.

    2. Definitely part of the Deposit of Faith (the very nature and essence of a sacrament) and not a changeable discipline. It has been described by the CDF (Ratzinger) as “infallibly taught”. It is as inherent to the sacrament as water is to baptism (we cannot have priestesses any more than we can baptize with molasses).

      Christ was a male (on purpose), the Bridegroom, and the priest stands in the person of Christ (in persona Chrsiti). The Bridegroom has a Bride (the Church). The priest “marries” the Bride, the Church, just as Christ is married to the Bride, the Church. If we confuse right order on this, then we confuse it on many other things, including earthly marriage and sexuality (note our very confused society on gender issues, and gay “marriage”). And, we get a very confused theology in general.

      There’s a lot more to it of course, but the nuptial imagery is what really speaks to me at the level of the soul.

          1. In addition to Inter Insigniores, the Declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1976, and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II in 1994, the book I recommend for further study of this topic is The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church by Sr. Sara Butler, MSBT, professor of dogmatic theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York and the first American woman appointed by Pope John Paul II to the International Theological Commission.

    3. MJ,

      If you feel so inclined, you could read Bl. JPII’s apostolic letter clarifying this at , where he states conclusively:

      “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    1. No worries, Emjay. Celibacy is definitely a discipline, not a dogma. And of course married priests exist, though it is the exception rather than the rule.

      You are in my prayers during this time of discernment!

      God bless,

      1. Devin,

        Actually, celibacy may be a discipline, but continence for married and single clergy is part of Holy Tradition of the universal Church, with the state of things in the Eastern and in the Orthodox Churches being an accommodation.

        I tried to find Card. Stickler’s paper about it in English, but could only find it in book form at

    2. Priestly celibacy is canon law in the Latin Rite with some exceptions. JPII said the Church could only do what She had been allowed to do and therefore women could not and cannot be priests at any point.
      That video is so bad I thought it was a parody at first. I’ve been immersed in making a new altar covering for our pretty informal parish of very traditional ecclesiastical fabric and I also do ecclesiastical embroidery and I can say I don’t know who they stole those vestments from, but they should be burned!

  2. This video is so bad and silly to such a degree that it should be made available to a wider audience in order to persuade all that women cannot be ordained.

  3. Haha I saw this going around and wondered if I would see it here. 🙂

    I have to be honest, this teaching is hard for me. I understand it, but I’m not in a place to accept it yet. I’ve got it on an intellectual level, but can’t affirm it on a heart level, if that makes sense. It just seems so unfair that God would make this role for men, but not give women any equal role. Men can choose to act as bride by being part of the Church and bridegroom in persona Christi – women are given no such opportunity. Just feels off to me…maybe I’m missing something?

    1. Ok, Elizabeth, I’ll take a stab at it. A woman is a woman to the depths of her soul. The same for a man, male to the depths of his soul. Devin’s example of pregnancy is excellent. The change made to the soul of a man at ordination is ontological, taking place in his being. We cannot receive it. That being said, God has nothing to do with fairness, instead He is Righteous. As an aging (maybe aged) former feminist, I can say that God made me and you and all women exactly as we are. In that vocation there is fullness and richness. We are not less than men because only men are called to the priesthood, instead, we are called to be who we are. And we really need more real women because women do not make very good imitation men.
      I hope I haven’t messed up any theology here. Blessings.

    2. Dear Elizabeth,

      Thank you for honestly sharing where you are at with this, a topic which can be delicate and difficult.

      Men and women are both members of the Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ, so her typology is feminine, as you mentioned. But while the Church is feminine, men (and women for that matter) are not what “make” the Church feminine, it is instead the corporate identity and relationship as Christ’s Bride.

      But regarding the specific vocation of a man to the priesthood, he is in a personal way, imaging Christ the Bridegroom, being ontologically configured to Christ, as Anne pointed out. He thus “marries” the Church.

      Regarding the specific vocation of a woman to consecrated celibacy in a religious community of sisters, she becomes a bride of Christ. She “marries” Christ.

      Both, in choosing to forego marriage for the sake of the Kingdom, embrace even in this life the (future) eschatological state when “they will neither marry nor be given in marriage.” Thus they both have an exalted vocation that even St. Paul commends as best (but yet is only to those to whom it has been given).

      I recall giving a talk in North Dakota a year ago and a young woman in the audience said, “wait, but nuns marry the Church so that is a woman marrying a woman typologically.” And it just so happened that two Dominican nuns of Mary Mother of the Eucharist chimed in and said, “No, we marry Christ!” They loved their vocation as His brides.

      So I think it is best to look at the typologies separately, that of the corporate identity of the Church (as in relationship to Christ) and then the individual ones of a man and woman.

      As I became Catholic, one realization that helped me was learning about the Virgin Mary. Here, Catholicism taught, is God’s greatest creation, bar none. She’s a woman. And she said yes to her vocation from God, to be the Mother of the Savior, the Ark of the New Covenant, the New Eve, the Mother of Grace, of Love, of Peace, of God.

      If anything, it is men who should be envious of her and the exalted vocation she received, above all others by incalculable degrees. Yet of course we are not envious of her, because we rejoice that she said yes to God, and through her yes, Christ became man and redeemed us. We only hope to embrace our vocation as she did, with the help of her intercession.

      Hope that helps! God love you,

      1. Thanks Devin. I checked out the article and it would not support the idea of an office of the priesthood in the church in the NT period. The word for priest (hiereus) is never used for an office of a priest in the NT. We also have to admit that the qualifications of leadership required a man to be married with children. See 1 Tim 3. This would also count against the priesthood in the Roman Catholic office as being in the NT.

        1. Bob,

          The NT clearly shows there were rightfully appointed leaders of the Church. Presbyters (from which we get our English word priest), overseers, deacons, bishops, etc.

          The qualification for bishop was focused on him having *one* wife, as opposed to *many* wives. St. Paul didn’t have a wife, was celibate for the Kingdom, yet was a bishop.

          God bless,

          1. Devin,
            I’m not sure its true you get priest from presbyters since no presbyter in the NT ever functioned in a “one who mediates and offers sacrifice on behalf of the people”. (from the article you quote). We don’t see any apostle, bishop or presbyter leading a worship service in the NT.
            In regards to the marital status of the bishop and deacon in the NT they were to be married. The difference with this and the RCC bishop and priest is that they are forbidden to marry and in fact are disqualified from the office of bishop because they are married.
            We do know that Peter was married and other apostles. Jesus never uses His marital status as a requirement for church leadership.

            Take care

            1. Bob,

              In the New Testament, we have almost no mention at all, let alone a description, of the liturgy (or service, or worship service, or gathering). From the NT alone, we don’t know what it looked like (or didn’t look like), who officiated (or didn’t officiate), etc.

              This is one reason why Protestants have widely varying services, from unprogrammed, un-led Quakers all the way to liturgical, incense-burning, high-church Anglicans. From weekly communion to no communion. From minister to pastor to priest to elder to nothing.

              Jesus was not married. St. Paul was not married (see 1 Cor. 7). Yet St. Paul was an Apostle (and bishop).

              1. Devin,
                What you write is true about what a worship service looked liked in the NT. We do know that they met on the 1st day of the week and sang songs to Christ, ate the Lord’s supper and collected money for the poor. It does not mention who “led” these services nor that they were some kind of mass.
                Can’t be absolutely sure about Paul not being married. We do know he taught in 1 Tim 3 what the qualifications of church leadership was to be and that included being married with children.
                Not sure I would say Paul was a bishop. A bishop was a position in the church in which a bishop would have jurisdiction over a particular congregation or geographical area. An apostle such as Paul was constantly on the move and establishing churches as he went. It was up to others to establish a church while he moved on. A bishop was not a person on the move.

  4. I finally brought myself to watch this clip after a friend also sent it to me. As I told her, I felt bad for the poor little baby made to wear the “Mommy for Pope” t-shirt. I really would have thought this was a parody if I hadn’t been told otherwise. And to add insult to injury, the singing was *horrendous*. I guess I haven’t been Catholic long enough because I don’t understand the Catholics who love the Catholic Church so much that they want to make it not Catholic…

    1. Nikki,

      Yes I also delayed watching it for many days. They are very confused and do not believe what the Church claims about herself. God help them see their errors.

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