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1135 Mon 6 Aug 2001

Denis Napthine was on the front page of the Sunday Age newspaper yesterday:

Revelation of Denis

Denis Napthine, the first Roman Catholic leader of Victoria's Liberal Party, has advocated a radical overhaul of the church's practices, supporting the ordination of women and marriage for priests. ...

Dr Napthine, who has three aunts who are nuns, said he nominated Catholicism as his religion when asked, but no longer regularly went to Mass. ...

"I think there should be women priests. I can't understand why we don't have women priests. I think there should be ... married priests, part-time priests."

Today's Age has a story about Archbishop Hart on page 7 by Farah Farouque:

Asked to respond to the recent call by Victoria Opposition Leader Denis Napthine for ordination of women and marriage for priests, he maintains the papal party line. "If I were a betting man - which I'm not - I think I'd bet on the 2000-year wisdom of the Catholic Church, rather than following an individual opinion."

What do I think? Dr Naphine should go to Mass regularly. He should contribute to his community, encourge those around him and learn from it. By doing this I think he could express his concerns better.

Rather than talking about "women priests ... married priests, part-time priests" perhaps his concerns would be better expressed as giving a more prominent role and financial support to lay ministers. This is what I have been arguing for regarding instituted lectors at the Tribunal.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses who can be ordained as priests in 1577:

The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. ... The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

Regarding the issue of married priests, the Catechism has 1579-1580:

All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent decons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life ...

In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 6 August 2001.