Ordaining women? No way! say Australian Catholic students

Ordaining women is not okay, over 200 Australian Catholic students have told the country’s bishops in an open letter.

The letter, sent ahead of the upcoming Fifth Plenary Council of the Church in the country, urges the bishops to remain committed to the Church’s teaching. Ordaining women should therefore be rejected.

“Many submissions to the Plenary Council have made the laudable recommendation that women be more effectively integrated into the existing governing structures of the Church,” says the letter signed by students and alumni associated with the Australian Catholic Students Association.

“However, it was with great sadness that we note many submissions have called for a change to the very constitution of the Church also willed by Christ,” they added.

“We call on the Plenary Council and the Bishops of Australia to reject unambiguously all calls for the ordination of women.”

Delayed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Fifth Plenary Council is set for October next year. It will be followed in July 2022 by a second assembly.

While the students say they fully support the respect owed to the roles women play in the Church, they do not believe that these roles extend to ordination to the priesthood.

Instead, they have “wholehearted support for the integration of women into even more prominent roles in areas such as sacred theology, communications, evangelization and (insofar as lay people are able) governance.”

“This letter expresses our longing to share Christ with others unashamed, with clarity and with the help of our leaders,” ACSA Vice President Claudia Tohi says.

“Truth is not determined by the mood of the times, nor is it a mere abstract concept. Truth is a person, the Son of God who gave up his life for the salvation of all humankind.”

The Australian Catholic students told the bishops the emphasis on the lay vocation would be “far more encouraging of women than any tokenistic program or power-wrangling we have seen in some of the Plenary submissions.”

They were also critical of certain assumptions about the path young people wish to see the Church take in the coming years.

“Young people desire an authentic relationship with Christ; this will not be facilitated by a committee,” they wrote.

“We believe true reform of the Church will not come from merely shifting resources from one committee to another, but in the rediscovery of, conviction about, and love for the Catholic faith by every Catholic.”

Advocating for “the dilution of truths of the faith,” is likely to “alienate young people and society at large.”

“Why should anyone take the doctrine and mysteries of Christ and His Church seriously if her members do not,” they asked.

“We call on the Plenary Council to recommit the Church in Australia to the timeless truths of the Gospel as proclaimed by the Church for twenty centuries.”


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