Portugal Prelate Clarifies Interview on Women's Ordination

Affirms Obedience to Magisterium

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LISBON, Portugal, JULY 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo says he opened the way to indignation when he spoke on women’s ordination in a recent interview.

However, in a clarification published July 6 by his Archdiocese of Lisbon, the patriarch has affirmed that «communion with the Holy Father is an absolute attitude in the exercise of my ministry.»

The cardinal addressed the topic of women’s ordination in the magazine «Ordem dos Advogados» in late June. He questioned any fundamental obstacle to women’s ordination.

But in the clarification, the cardinal admits that he had «never developed this matter systematically» and that he «did not take into due account the latest declarations of the magisterium on the topic.»

The 75-year-old cardinal went on to explain the Church’s 2,000-year tradition of ordaining only men, following Christ’s example. In regard to the social customs of Christ’s time, he cited Benedict XVI’s reflection on women as witnesses of the Resurrection, and noted a need to «continue to reflect on the relationship of the ministerial priesthood with the priestly nature of the whole People of God and to discover the feminine manner of building the Church, in the decisive role of the mission of our sisters, the women.»

He quoted Pope John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter on the topic and explained: «The most recent teaching of the popes interprets this uninterrupted tradition, which has its origin in Christ and in the apostolic body, not only as a practical way of proceeding, which can change according to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit’s action, but as an expression of the mystery itself of the Church, which we must accept in faith.»

Cardinal Policarpo said that it «would be painful for me if my words generated confusion in our adherence to the Church and to the Holy Father’s word,» and, he added, «I think I have shown you well that communion with the Holy Father is an absolute attitude in the exercise of my ministry.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33049?l=english

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