From Did Christ Rule Out Women Priests? by John Wijngaards (McCrimmons 1977, 1986).
The Catholic Church does not admit women to Sacred Orders. In 1977 Rome published a declaration entitled Inter Insignores that spells out theological reasons for upholding this tradition. The document still functions as the official guide for those who want to know Rome's mind. Its arguments, as well as the counter-arguments of progressive Catholic theologians, cannot be ignored by those who study the question today. This book therefore retains the relevance it had when it appeared first.
To its revised edition I have added a special chapter regarding theological developments since 1977. The key tenets of the Roman declaration remain hotly contested. At the same time the discussion has moved to more fundamental theological questions. Just as the controversy about Humanae Vitae shifted attention from the narrow issue of artificial contraceptives to the more basic one of the role of the primacy, so the debate around Inter Insignores has moved from women's ordination to a renewed consideration of the priesthood as such.
Christians believe that every minister, whether engaged in prophetic leadership, exercising the power of healing or presiding over the Eucharist, acts in the name of Christ. The minister derives his or her vocation and authority from Christ himself. He it is who preaches the good news, forgives sins or breaks the bread when the minister does. 'Who hears you hears me' (Lk 10, 16). 'Do this in memory of me' (Lk 22, 19). 'You should consider us as Christ's ministers, stewards of God's mysteries' (1 Cor 4,1). The central issue therefore is what Christ wanted and wants the ministry to be like and whom he wanted and wants to call to it. Would he want women to share fully in his priestly mission? Or has he excluded them once for all?
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