Mrs. Smith is thanking God today for babies and children. Whether you have children or not, whether they are grown up or not – we should all try to keep babies and children in our lives – we get way more from them than we could ever give them. We NEED our babies – please pray for an end to abortion.
Mrs. Cassiday Well said J – this is a message many of our medical personnel need to recognize as well. Just because a child isn’t going to be “perfect” in man’s eyes, doesn’t mean that child isn’t perfect in God’s eyes (or their mothers)….I still get angry over how many doctors suggested that I terminate Andrew….I still remember the look on the world renowned Pediatric Neurosurgeon when I calmly asked him to stop telling me to kill my child because it was never going to happen……
EDITOR NOTE: Keep these beautiful words in mind as you read about this terrible quiet revolution…
In this time when the confused or obstinate call into question celibacy and the priesthood, it’s good to seek some clarity. Pope John Paul II, without question, having divine understanding on the things of faith revealed to our souls his keen ability to simplify the difficult and clarify the obscure… Here’s one passage from Pastores Dabo Vobis on the link between celibacy and sacred ordination:
The will of the Church finds its ultimate motivation in the link between celibacy and Sacred Ordination, which configures the priest to Jesus Christ the Head and Spouse of the Church. The Church as the Spouse of Jesus Christ wishes to be loved by the priest in the total and exclusive manner in which Jesus Christ her Head and Spouse loved her…
John Paul II,
Pastores dabo vobis,
In n. 29, 1992,
[Note: For the biblical foundation of priestly celibacy click here]
In this year dedicated to priests, it seems appropriate to pass on the following marian prayer from JPII for all our priests today, and for all those to come…
Mother of Jesus Christ and Mother of priests,
accept this title which we bestow on you
to celebrate your motherhood
and to contemplate with you the priesthood
of, your Son and of your sons,
O holy Mother of God.
O Mother of Christ,
to the Messiah – priest you gave a body of flesh
through the anointing of the Holy Spirit
for the salvation of the poor and the contrite of heart;
guard priests in your heart and in the Church,
O Mother of the Savior.
O Mother of Faith,
you accompanied to the Temple the Son of Man,
the fulfillment of the promises given to the fathers;
give to the Father for his glory
the priests of your Son,
O Ark of the Covenant.
O Mother of the Church,
in the midst of the disciples in the upper room
you prayed to the Spirit
for the new people and their shepherds;
obtain for the Order of Presbyters
a full measure of gifts,
O Queen of the Apostles.
O Mother of Jesus Christ,
you were with him at the beginning
of his life and mission,
you sought the Master among the crowd,
you stood beside him when he was lifted
up from the earth
consumed as the one eternal sacrifice,
and you had John, your son, near at hand;
accept from the beginning those
who have been called,
protect their growth,
in their life ministry accompany
O Mother of Priests.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 1992, the fourteenth of my Pontificate.
“Your Jesus confesses he is your Lucifer, now go wArship your great demon Jesus like a good tiny minded christian soldier…”Meatwad
First, some background:
22 And the Scribes, who were come down from Jerusalem, said: *He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils he casteth out devils.
23 And after he had called them together, he said to them in parables: How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 And if Satan be risen up against himself, he is divided, and cannot stand, but hath an end.
27 No man can enter into the house of a strong man, and rob him of his goods, unless he first bind the strong man, and then shall he plunder his house. 28 *Amen, I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme:
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.
30 Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.
31 And his mother and his brethren came: and standing without, sent to him, calling him.
From the Editor:
From your comments below it’s obvious that you’ve not acted to blaspheme the Holy Spirit… I have not received the gift of reading the state of souls, nor do I make any judgement on yours. But, one thing is clear, you know neither the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. And so, because of spiritual ignorance you remain unaware of the One responsible for the origin of your soul prior to conception, the interior workings of the soul presently, nor its eternal destination at the twilight of life… All this means is that my reply below will be charitable toward you because as former blasphemer (and worse) of Jesus Christ myself, I know that a day is coming that you will look upon the Son of Man and the Son of God in glory yourself, and like me, realize (with great remorse and tears, I might add) that you hated Him without reason. As Jesus Crucified is Divine Mercy incarnate for all proud souls such as our own; especially in the great moment of need–remember that…
My Emphasis/My Comments:
“I attest to the fact that Mary is the quickest, surest, and safest way to the True God made flesh, Her Son, Jesus” [I do… And I offer this encyclical that you might better grasp the role of Mary in the economy of man’s eternal salvation and the life of the Church. And after this, if you find an inkling of inspiration within your heart, follow it by reading and putting into practice True Devotion To Mary–To Jesus through Mary. You will not be turned away at the All-Beautiful Door…]
Spoken like a true believing catholic. You catholics have every angel and good spirit ever to live in your flock, but you fail to speak of the Father in heaven.[God is spirit Meatwad. And all things corporeal and non-corporeal, good or evil, are ultimately subject to the will of the Father, the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth… ] It is Mary, Jesus, and all others but the Father. [How So? Explain… Here is the unending creed we believe and recite daily during Holy Mass–in union with God–from the rising of the sun through its setting continually in the world. Notice it begins with “We believe in God, the Father, the Almighty…” So, there is actually unceasing universal prayer in direct reference to the Father, even in this very moment.] I know this is going over your head [It is the Spirit-inflamed heart of man which reaches up by way of the soul and enriches the intellect of the same man with divine wisdom…], with that trinity deception ingrained in your faith […and Divine Wisdom confirms Himself by the Very Holiness of His Name–One God, Three Persons, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit.]you thinktalking about Jesus is talking of his father[He who has seen the Son, sees the Father, only because the Son has revealed Him to them. No one goes to the Father in spirit on their own except through the Son, Jesus the Christ.And so, Jesus (God Saves) is the absolute prerequisite for attaining eternal salvation in this world. You will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven without Him. This is a spiritual fact confirmed in hypostatic union with the one true God. And the only reason you do not believe is because you do not know the Spirit.] How many passages have your Jesus speaking about his Father. Hmmm, somebody seems schitzo, speaking about his fahter but he is himself’s father??? [The Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son doing His work of reconciling the world to Himself. A world He loves in sending the Son, Jesus Christ.]Rubbuh room time for you believers in deceptions![Here is the first “Rubbah Room” Meatwad, along with its cure… Beware of bad spirits.]
I have this for you, who is Lucifer? RIGHT! L-boy is duh BaahdMann, something about “a bright morning star” is Lucifer, some say its other names are Satan etc,,, right James Mary E? Yeah. Well I have some good gospel news for you found in revelation 22:16, it is actually red lettered in my copy, of the second to last words attributed to your Jesus christ the son father and holy crap, “I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star”,,, THAT is your Jesus speaking there James Mary. Seems you have fallen for the grand deception you are warned about, I just figured it all out fer yuh, yuh betchuh. Your Jesus confesses he is your Lucifer, now go wArship your great demon Jesus like a good tiny minded christian soldier. [I addressed this earlier in the background reading. As for Lucifer, maybe this will help clear up your confusion…]
The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance. The Vulgate employs the word also for “the light of the morning” (Job 11:17), “the signs of the zodiac” (Job 38:32), and “the aurora” (Psalm 109:3). Metaphorically, the word is applied to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12) as preeminent among the princes of his time; to the high priest Simon son of Onias (Ecclesiasticus 50:6), for his surpassing virtue, to the glory of heaven (Apocalypse 2:28), by reason of its excellency; finally to Jesus Christ himself (2 Peter 1:19; Apocalypse 22:16; the “Exultet” of Holy Saturday) the true light of our spiritual life.
The Syriac version and the version of Aquila derive the Hebrew noun helel from the verb yalal, “to lament”; St. Jerome agrees with them (In Isaiah 1.14), and makes Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel who must lament the loss of his original glory bright as the morning star. In Christian tradition this meaning of Lucifer has prevailed; the Fathers maintain thatLucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen (Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4).
FATIMA, Portugal, JAN. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The church of the Holy Trinity and four statues at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima were vandalized early Sunday morning.
In a press release Monday, officials from the shrine announced that in the early hours of Sunday morning, four statutes on the sides of the church as well as the church itself were painted with graffiti.
In the John Paul II Plaza, statutes of Popes John Paul II and Paul VI were painted. In the Pius XII Plaza, statues of Pope Pius XII and Bishop José Alves Correia da Silva were painted.
The graffiti includes the words “Islam,” “moon,” “sun,” “Muslim” and “mosque.”
According to the statement from shrine officials, “the difficult work of cleaning” is under way.
The communiqué added: “In reporting what has happened and without knowing who has done this, the shrine [officials] confirm [our] sadness and assure that the issue has been reported to the police.”
What is your first response when you hear someone refer to the mother of Jesus Christ as the “Co-redemptrix”?
Extreme? Excessive pietism, even if well-intended? Heresy? Only Jesus is the Redeemer. If not directly heresy, then extremely dangerous? At least anti-ecumenical? At best confusing?
Witness of the Saints
Now let’s look at some people who have in fact called the Virgin Mary the Co-redemptrix: John Paul II (on six different occasions); Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta; St. Padre Pio, stigmatic wonder worker of the 20th century; Sr. Lucia, the Fatima visionary; St. Francis Cabrini, the first American citizen to be canonized; St. Jose Maria Escriva, founder of the Opus Dei; St. Edith Stein, co-patroness of Europe; papal theologians Cardinals Ciappiand Cottier; contemporary Church leaders such as Cardinal Schönborn, General Secretary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; Mother Angelica, foundress of worldwide Catholic television and radio network EWTN; and a host of other saints, popes, mystics, prelates, theologians, doctors of the Church, and lay leaders, with an ecclesial line of succession dating back to the 14th century.
Do we see dangerous extremism, heresy, or any anti-ecumenical spirit in people like John Paul II and Mother Teresa? Would saints like Padre Pio and Mother Cabrini participate in Marian excess to the detriment of Jesus and his Church? Would Cristoph Cardinal Schönborn, general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, use and defend the Co-redemptrix title if it were in any way unorthodox or theologically questionable? Would a Fatima visionary use, explain and defend the Co-redemptrix title six times in her last great writing, Calls from the Message of Fatima, when doing so would be offensive to the Holy See, who granted the imprimatur to her book? Or, even more, to Our Lady herself, with whom Sr. Lucia experienced direct mystical communications for decades?
Why, then, would we fear calling Mary the Co-redemptrix with Jesus, the divine Redeemer of humanity, when these pontiffs, saints, theologians and mystics for the past 700 years have done so?
What do people like John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Padre Pio and the throng of saints, mystics, and popes, precisely mean when they say that Mary is the Co-redemptrix? First of all, let’s be clear as to what do they not mean: 1.) They do not mean that Mary is equal to Jesus. 2.) They do not mean that Mary has an equal share in the redemption of the human family. This would indeed be heresy.
What they do mean when they refer to the Mother of Christ as the Co-redemptrix is that Mary uniquely cooperated with Jesus and entirely subordinate to and dependent upon Jesus, in the historic work of human Redemption.
What is Redemption?
Let’s define our terms. What is Redemption? Redemption is the saving act of Jesus Christ, through his life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection, repairing our relationship with the Father by offering just compensation for the sins of humanity, and thus restoring the possibility of sanctifying grace, and friendship between God and humanity, which results in the inheritance of heaven.
The term, “redemption,” derives from the Latin, redimere, and literally means “to buy back.” Jesus, through the merits of his passion, death, and resurrection buys us back from the bondage of Satan and the debt of original sin.
Can a Creature Participate in Christ’s Redemption?
Now the question remains: can a human creature participate in this divine historic redemptive work of Jesus Christ?
It is important to remember that the Redemption of Jesus Christ is an act of restoring what was lost by two human beings, Adam and Eve. Although Adam, as father of the human race, was principally responsible for the original sin passed on to his descendants (cf. Rom 5:12), Eve also has an instrumental though secondary role in the loss of grace for the human family (cf. Gen 3:6). This is why the Fathers of the Church referred to Mary as the “New Eve” or “Second Eve,” since through her obedience with Jesus Christ the “New Adam” (cf. 1 Cor 15:45), she became in the words of the 2nd century Church Father, St. Irenaeus the “cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race” (Adv. Haer. III, 22, 4: PG 7, 989 A).
But can a human creature participate in a divine act, such as the divine act of Redemption?
Let us begin with ourselves. Can you or I as creatures positively participate in the salvation of someone else by our cooperation? By our prayers, by our good works, by our sacrifices, but our Christian witness, have we done anything that assisted in the “buying back” of another person from the bondage of Satan through the grace of Jesus Christ?
If you are a father or a mother and have raised your children in the Christian faith and had them baptized into the divine life of Jesus, did you not cooperate in their Redemption? What about if you are a priest who has a role in distributing the other sacraments of Jesus? Do you not participate in the redemption of other people, even though, once again, it is completely dependent upon Jesus Christ, the only and all necessary divine Redeemer?
Every time you pray for someone to say yes to Christ; every time you evangelize Christ by word or example; every time you pray to sustain a family member in faith during a crisis; every time you pray for perfect strangers who will die this day to accept their Redeemer with their final earthly breath-in all these prayers and works of Christian intercession, you are cooperating in the Redemption of another human being. You are participating in the application of the saving work of Jesus Christ in buying back members of the human family from Satan and sin.
While it is true that none of us participate in the obtaining of the graces of Redemption merited by Jesus at Calvary, every Christian is nonetheless called to participate in the distribution of his redemptive graces through prayer, sacrifices, and works of faith, hope, and love (cf. Col 1:24). It is precisely our Christian responsibility and obligation to participate in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. This is why Pope John Paul II called all Christians to become “co-redeemers in Christ” (Jan. 13, 1982).
If we, therefore, can and should cooperate in the redemption of others, as long as it is absolutely clear, once again, that it is first and in every way dependent upon the redemption wrought by Christ, the one mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), then why would there be a problem with the Mother of Jesus cooperating in the Christian Redemption of others as well?
Biblical Witness to Mary Co-redemptrix
In fact, the Bible reveals that the Mother of Jesus cooperated in the historic act of Jesus’ Redemption like no other creature.
At the Annunciation Lk 1:38, when Mary says “let it be to me according to your word” Lk 1:38 to the angel Gabriel to become the Mother of Jesus, can we not say that she uniquely contributes to the mission of Redemption by giving to the Redeemer, the very instrument of Redemption – his human body? The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10). The instrument of Redemption was given personally and intimately to Jesus by Mary. What other creature, in virtue of the Incarnation alone, could claim to have a more direct and proximate cooperation with Jesus in his redemptive mission? But it does not stop there.
When the infant Christ is presented by Mary in the Temple and the prophet Simeon identifies Jesus as the “sign of contradiction” who will fulfill his redemptive mission (Lk 2:34), Simeon then refers through the power of the Holy Spirit to Mary’s own unique suffering with Jesus in the work of Redemption: “… and a sword shall pierce through your own soul, too” (Lk 2:35).
Scripture explicitly reveals that Mary will have a unique role of suffering with Jesus-the piercing of her heart-because she is so closely and uniquely a cooperator with her Son, the Redeemer. What mother would not suffer in seeing her beloved child die horrifically on the cross, especially if her child was a divine, innocent offering sacrificed for the redemption of the world?
Ultimately, the climactic hour of human Redemption takes place at Calvary (Jn 19:25-27). What happens at Calvary? Jesus is crucified, dies and offers his life in just compensation for the sins of humanity. Mary, Scripture testifies, is present, for the fulfillment of the self-same mission of Redemption. What is happening in the heart of Mary? She is faithfully offering the suffering of her Son, joined with her own, in obedience to the Father’s plan for Redemption. As a result of her unparalleled suffering with the Redeemer, the dying Christ gives, as his final gift to John and to all who seek to be beloved disciples of Christ, the gift of his coredemptive mother to be our own: “Woman, behold your son … Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:26-27).
Regarding both the Incarnation and the Redemption, the Bible reveals that Mary uniquely cooperated with Jesus in the historic work of Redemption. It is little wonder that as a result of her unparalleled sharing in the obtaining of the graces of Redemption, that God would see fit to grant the Mother of the Redeemer the privileged role of the distribution of the graces of Redemption as the spiritual mother of all peoples (cf. Lk 1:38; Jn 2:1-10; Jn 19:25-27; Rev 12:1).
Do we intercede by our prayers to bring the saving graces of Jesus Christ to others? Then why not, and especially, the Mother of Christ?
“Crucified spiritually with her crucified Son … Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son.”
Pope John Paul II (Jan. 31, 1985)
“Mary is our Co-redemptrix with Jesus. She gave Jesus his body and suffered with him at the foot of the cross.”
Bl. Mother Teresa (Aug. 14, 1993)
Are you afraid to call Mary the Co-redemptrix? You shouldn’t be. John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Padre Pio, Sr. Lucia, and the endless list of other saints, mystics, popes, theologians, and Christian faithful who refer to her as Co-redemptrix do so with the assurance of Scripture, the Papal Magisterium, and the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
It is safe, it is true, and it is a title that she overwhelmingly deserves in virtue of the greatest human suffering in the history of man after that of her Son – a suffering offered in union with Jesus, for you and for me.
Be not afraid of Mary Co-redemptrix.
Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
President – Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici
For more information on Mary Co-redemptrix, or to join the millions who have already submitted their petition to Pope Benedict XVI for a fifth Marian dogma of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate,
The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”
Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”
To the woman he said:
“I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing;
in pain shall you bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master.”
To the man he said: “Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,
“Cursed be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you,
as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
shall you get bread to eat,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return.”
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.
For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments,
with which he clothed them.
Then the LORD God said: “See! The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is evil!
Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand
to take fruit from the tree of life also,
and thus eat of it and live forever.”
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man,
he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.
Ps 90:2, 3-4abc, 5-6, 12-13
R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over-seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.
He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
Memorial of Saint Cyril, monk, and Saint Methodius, bishop
“The apostolic and missionary activity of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which belongs to the second half of the ninth century, can be considered the first effective evangelization of the Slavs. [ ] Their work is an outstanding contribution to the formation of the common Christian roots of Europe, roots which by their strength and vitality are one of the most solid points of reference, which no serious attempt to reconstruct in a new and relevant way the unity of the Continent can ignore [ ] Cyril and Methodius are as it were the connecting links or spiritual bridge between the Eastern and Western traditions, which both come together in the one great Tradition of the universal Church. For us they are the champions and also the patrons of the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, for the rediscovery through prayer and dialogue of visible Unity in perfect and total communion…”
– Pope John Paul II
Slavorum Apostoli 23, 25, 27
[Note:Click here to read the 1985 Pope John Paul II encyclical, Slavorum Apostoli (Apostles to the Slavs) on the life and work of the brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius. Pope John Paul II declared Saints Cyril and Methodius co-patrons of Europe (in addition to Saint Benedict).]
1. Priestly ordination, which hands on the office entrusted by Christ to his Apostles of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful, has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone. This tradition has also been faithfully maintained by the Oriental Churches.
When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: “She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.”(1)
But since the question had also become the subject of debate among theologians and in certain Catholic circles, Paul VI directed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to set forth and expound the teaching of the Church on this matter. This was done through the Declaration Inter Insigniores, which the Supreme Pontiff approved and ordered to be published.(2)
2. The Declaration recalls and explains the fundamental reasons for this teaching, reasons expounded by Paul VI, and concludes that the Church “does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination.”(3) To these fundamental reasons the document adds other theological reasons which illustrate the appropriateness of the divine provision, and it also shows clearly that Christ’s way of acting did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to his time. As Paul VI later explained: “The real reason is that, in giving the Church her fundamental constitution, her theological anthropology-thereafter always followed by the Church’s Tradition- Christ established things in this way.”(4)
In the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, I myself wrote in this regard: “In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time.”(5)
In fact the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles attest that this call was made in accordance with God’s eternal plan; Christ chose those whom he willed (cf. Mk 3:13-14; Jn 6:70), and he did so in union with the Father, “through the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:2), after having spent the night in prayer (cf. Lk 6:12). Therefore, in granting admission to the ministerial priesthood,(6) the Church has always acknowledged as a perennial norm her Lord’s way of acting in choosing the twelve men whom he made the foundation of his Church (cf. Rv 21:14). These men did not in fact receive only a function which could thereafter be exercised by any member of the Church; rather they were specifically and intimately associated in the mission of the Incarnate Word himself (cf. Mt 10:1, 7-8; 28:16-20; Mk 3:13-16; 16:14-15). The Apostles did the same when they chose fellow workers(7) who would succeed them in their ministry. Also included in this choice were those who, throughout the time of the Church, would carry on the Apostles’ mission of representing Christ the Lord and Redeemer.(9)
3. Furthermore, the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe.
The presence and the role of women in the life and mission of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable. As the Declaration Inter Insigniores points out, “the Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission: today their role is of capital importance both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church.”(10)
The New Testament and the whole history of the Church give ample evidence of the presence in the Church of women, true disciples, witnesses to Christ in the family and in society, as well as in total consecration to the service of God and of the Gospel. “By defending the dignity of women and their vocation, the Church has shown honor and gratitude for those women who-faithful to the Gospel-have shared in every age in the apostolic mission of the whole People of God. They are the holy martyrs, virgins and mothers of families, who bravely bore witness to their faith and passed on the Church’s faith and tradition by bringing up their children in the spirit of the Gospel.”(11)
Moreover, it is to the holiness of the faithful that the hierarchical structure of the Church is totally ordered. For this reason, the Declaration Inter Insigniores recalls: “the only better gift, which can and must be desired, is love (cf. 1 Cor 12 and 13). The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are not the ministers but the saints.”(12)
4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
Invoking an abundance of divine assistance upon you, venerable brothers, and upon all the faithful, I impart my apostolic blessing.
From the Vatican, on May 22, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in the year 1994, the sixteenth of my Pontificate.