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Ordination of Women

August 02, 1994

* The recent pronouncement by the Pope, which forbids any debate or discussion (presumably by Roman Catholics) on the ordination of women to the priesthood, carries implications that are deeply disturbing to non-Roman Catholics who now are officially in dialogue with Roman Catholics.

When the decree on Papal Infallibility was promulgated by the Vatican Council of 1870, it was pointed out that the Pope was infallible only when he spoke ex cathedra (that is, officially from his chair as supreme teacher of the Church on a subject of faith or morals). The latest pronouncement was not claimed to be infallible under these conditions. It is difficult to argue that the ordination of women involves any issue in faith or morals.

I am a member of the delegation from the Episcopal Church in Orange County to the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue group. One cannot help but wonder what use such a dialogue is if, when we come to any serious difference of opinion between the churches, we are informed that our Roman Catholic participants are under orders not to discuss such a matter.

There is much to be said on both sides of this--and other debates between the two churches--but we are now told that such a dialogue is forbidden. Of course it is pleasant to meet and plan occasional demonstrations of our concern and respect for one another, but the promise of the dialogue was more serious than that. That more serious promise now seems unwarranted.

RT. REV. JOHN M. KRUMM

Bishop in residence

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Tustin

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