Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Thomas Reese SJ: ordain women

Jesuit Thomas Reese has an article at NCR about women being deacons - he opines that women should be able to be priests in the church as well. One will recall that Fr. Reese had been an editor at America magazine until he was forced to quit for being too open-minded.

Here's a bit of his article about women as deacons and priests: Women deacons? Yes. Deacons? Maybe ...

When I was asked by a reporter last week whether I favored women deacons, I hesitated and finally responded, “If there are male deacons, there should be female deacons.” .... frankly, even if there were not women deacons in the past, I would still argue for ordaining women deacons today, just as I would argue for ordaining women priests. True, Jesus did not pick any women for the Twelve Apostles, but he did not pick any gentiles either. We would really have a priest shortage today if the priesthood was limited to Jewish Christians.

The church today does many things that Jesus and the early Christians did not do. For example, they would not recognize the Eucharist as we celebrate it today, nor would they understand why we are doing it in churches rather than in homes, and they would be appalled by all the statues (idols) in our churches ....

Even today, the Catholic church has a difficult time dealing with change. During the last two papacies, all discussion of serious change was suppressed. Today, the window closed after the Second Vatican Council has been reopened. This does not mean that every new proposal should be accepted, but it does mean that we should be open to serious conversation and debate on change in the church, especially on the role of women in the church ...

And here's the beginning of a 2005 article about his ouster from America magazine: Editor of Jesuits' America magazine forced to resign under Vatican pressure ...

Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese, editor for the past seven years of America magazine, a premier publication of Catholic thought and opinion, has resigned at the request of his order following years of pressure for his ouster from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The resignation caps five years of tensions and exchanges among the congregation, which was headed at the time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, the Jesuits and Reese, according to sources close to the magazine who asked not to be identified.

A release from the magazine May 6, which did not mention the forced ouster, announced that the new editor is Jesuit Fr. Drew Christiansen, who has served as associate editor.

Ironically, Reese received the news that the Jesuits found the debate "unwinnable," according to one source, when he returned to the magazine's New York headquarters from Rome, where he had covered the conclave that elected Ratzinger as pope.

Contacted on background, a Vatican official said he could not discuss the case.

Over the course of a five-year exchange between the doctrinal congregation and the Jesuits, the Vatican congregation had raised objections to various editorial choices at America under Reese's leadership, including:

- An essay exploring moral arguments for the approval of condoms in the context of HIV/AIDS;
- Several critical analyses of the doctrinal congregation's September 2000 document Dominus Iesus, on religious pluralism;
- An editorial criticizing what America called a lack of due process in the congregation's procedures for the investigation of theologians;
- An essay about homosexual priests;
- A guest essay from U.S. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, challenging suggestions that the church should refuse Communion to Catholic politicians who do not vote as a number of bishops believe they should vote.

In every instance, however, the pieces represented just a portion of coverage of the subject in America, which always published opposing points of view.

According to one source, the communication about Reese's fate was carried on between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the superior general of the Jesuits, Dutch Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, with the content then relayed to Reese's Jesuit superiors in the United States ......


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