Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Obama Justice Department wants to eliminate the ministerial exception...

The Becket Fund explains that, "Next week the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. The case involves the scope of the ministerial exception from federal employment discrimination laws, or so we thought until the Obama administration’s Justice Department filed a brief contending that the ministerial exception ought not exist. The ministerial exception is rooted in the nation’s constitutional commitment to religious liberty, in the form of permitting religious institutions to select their clergy and govern themselves internally free of governmental edicts. See, e.g., Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevic, 426 U.S. 696 (1976). The case involves the discharge of a teacher at a religious school who taught a full secular curriculum, but was also a minister (employed as a 'called teacher' — one who has committed to the faith), regularly held prayer and worship services for students, and taught religion classes daily. The Sixth Circuit ruled that the teacher was not a ministerial employee and thus the ministerial exception was inapplicable. The issue presented to the Supreme Court was limited to the scope of the exception, but that has not deterred the DOJ from contending that the exception ought to be junked. The DOJ’s brief is here. In essence the DOJ thinks that the ministerial exception is not constitutionally required or, if it is, it should be limited to people who perform “exclusively religious functions and whose claims concern their entitlement to occupy or retain their ecclesiastical office.

If the ministerial exception were to be scrapped altogether, the Roman Catholic church could not limit its priesthood to men, the Jewish rabbinate must be opened to women, Islamic clerics could not be limited by sex or ethnicity, and, presumably, non-Catholics could become priests, Anglicans could become rabbis, born-again Christians could become imams, or at least have a legal right to seek the job free of religious discrimination. Perhaps because the DOJ knows, at bottom, that this is nonsense (and contrary to the First Amendment) it offers its fallback position. But even that shrinkage of the ministerial exception would have a profound impact on employment by religious organizations of people — like the teacher at issue in Hosanna-Tabor — who combine secular and religious duties as a profession of the faith. The DOJ brief is an indication of an underlying hostility to religious autonomy on the part of the Obama administration." (See here).

This is nothing less than a satanic attack on the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.  As Fr. Vincent Miceli explained in his essay entitled "Woman and the Priesthood,": "Applying a priori concepts to the Church - like democracy, civil rights, equality, power-structure, etc. - is an attack on her very essence.  Such ideas mutilate her sacramental nature, her power, glory, beauty.  They destroy her supernatural truth; they dissolve her transcendence before men's eyes, for they politicize her.  Yet the truth is that the Church, in her essence, sacraments and structure, depends upon God's eternal Will, not on man's capricious desires."

The Church is viewed by the egalitarians as archaic because it will not go against the Lord Jesus and ordain women to the ministerial priesthood.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It was Pope Pius XII who recalled that, "The Church has no power over the substance of the sacraments, that is to say, over what Christ the Lord, as the sources of Revelation bear witness, determined should be maintained in the sacramental sign." (Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis). 

This is the teaching of the Council of Trent: "In the Church there has always existed this power, that in the administration of the sacraments, provided that their substance remains unaltered, she can lay down or modify what she considers more fitting either for the benefit of those who receive them or for respect towards those same sacraments, according to varying circumstances, times or places." (Council of Trent, Session 21, chap. 2: Denziger-Schonmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 1728).

The practice of not ordaining women to the ministerial priesthood has a normative character.  This norm is based upon the example of the Lord Jesus and has an unbroken tradition throughout the history of the Church.  Which is why Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, nos. 2-4, wrote: "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.'

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 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.

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.'

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.'

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.'

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."

The Church has no authority to ordain women.  But the egalitarians, in their hatred for God's plan, want to use the State to force the Church to conform to their view of "equality."  And this with Barack Obama's blessing.


Jonathan said...

This is the same Obama who said that opposition toward homosexuality is rooted in "worn out arguments." That is his definition of Scriptural texts against homosexuality and Natural Law arguments.

Obama is pagan. And you stated it correctly: this is a satanic attack on Christ and His Church.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

In Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II warned that, "Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and sceptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism."

A democracy without values. This is precisely what the United States is becoming.

Wendy said...

This isn't going to help the president at a time when polls indicate that people are turning against him and hardening...

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