The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…
Today’s winner is the National Catholic Reporter editorial staff. No longer pretending to be Roman Catholic, NCR has appointed themselves Pope and dispensed with the truth in favor of popular opinion. Roman Catholics follow the teachings of the Church, as guided by the Magisterium in Rome. You might recall that last week, John McCarthy from the same beleaguered organization called for the overturning of the Church's infallible teaching on contraception. This week, another liberal favorite is championed - Women's ordination. Rather than quietly undermine the dogmas of the Church in their usual nuanced manner, NCR this week has decided to officially and loudly endorse a heterodox position and call the Church's actions "unjust". (NCR’s comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

The story from NCR makes use of over 1200 words to convey what can easily be expressed in 5 words: “We are no longer Catholic.” While most of the faithful Roman Catholic community has known the heterodox positions of this offensive publication for a long time, rarely have they been so vociferous as this article. I will pull out a few paragraphs to highlight the erroneous garbage in this article, but I will leave the majority of the piece be because it is rather redundant…

The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand.

The call to the priesthood is rooted in the call Jesus made to His 12 disciples – all of whom were men. Jesus had several female followers. Many of them were very close and provided great aid to Christ in His mission. They were not chosen as His priests, however. This is how Jesus saw fit to establish His earthly Church. To assume that the role Jesus gave to women is inferior or an “injustice” is an arrogant position that smacks of the magisterium of “me”, rather than the submission to the Divine Will that the saints throughout the centuries exhibited in following His example.

What do they intend to express by using the phrase “Cannot be allowed to stand”? It shows how the NCR feels it has the authority to rebuke the Catholic Church in the same manner that heretics throughout the history of the Church have done. The Church has a pretty high winning percentage against heretics. In fact, it is undefeated. Guided by the Holy Spirit, as Christ promised in giving Peter the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” and assuring him that “The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18-19)

Let's review the history of Rome's response to the call of the faithful to ordain women:

In April 1976 the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded unanimously: "It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate." In further deliberation, the commission voted 12-5 in favor of the view that Scripture alone does not exclude the ordination of women, and 12-5 in favor of the view that the church could ordain women to the priesthood without going against Christ's original intentions.

In Inter Insigniores (dated Oct. 15, 1976, but released the following January), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said: "The Church, in fidelity to the example of the Lord, does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination." That declaration, published with the approval of Pope Paul VI, was a relatively modest "does not consider herself authorized."

Pope John Paul II upped the ante considerably in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (May 22, 1994): "We 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." John Paul had wanted to describe the ban as "irreformable," a much stronger stance than "definitively held." This met substantial resistance from high-ranking bishops who gathered at a special Vatican meeting in March 1995 to discuss the document, NCR reported at the time. Even then, bishops attuned to the pastoral needs of the church had won a concession to the possibility of changing the teaching.

Despite the certainty with which Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and the responsum were issued they did not answer all the questions on the issue.

Many have pointed out that to say that the teaching is "founded on the written Word of God" completely ignored the 1976 findings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Others have noted that the doctrinal congregation did not make a claim of papal infallibility -- it said what the pope taught in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was that which "has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium." This too, however, has been called into question because at the time there were many bishops around the world who had serious reservations about the teaching, though few voiced them in public.

So what? The opinion of a handful of the bishops has never been a reliable guide in matters of the faith. Some of the most notorious heretics in history have been bishops. At the First Council of Nicaea twenty-two bishops, led by Eusebius of Nicomedia, came as supporters of the heresiarch Arius.

Our message is that we believe the sensus fidelium is that the exclusion of women from the priesthood has no strong basis in Scripture or any other compelling rationale; therefore, women should be ordained. We have heard the faithful assent to this in countless conversations in parish halls, lecture halls and family gatherings. It has been studied and prayed over individually and in groups. The brave witness of the Women's Ordination Conference, as one example, gives us assurance that the faithful have come to this conclusion after prayerful consideration and study -- yes, even study of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

NCR joins its voice with Roy Bourgeois and calls for the Catholic church to correct this unjust teaching.

Ignoring the priesthood as established by Jesus Christ and the first members of it does not provide for a sound argument. Throughout the Old Testament and the New, every priest has been male. Jesus’ example is “strong” enough evidence for faithful Catholics. Calling the dogmas of the Church unjust while still professing to be a member of it is hypocritical. I call on NCR to remove the word “Catholic” from their title.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 to the Nation Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff.

Ear Tickler Award for the National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff