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Cardinals Müller and Schönborn: Ordination of women is impossible

Cardinals Christoph Schönborn and Gerhard Ludwig Müller. | Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Cardinals Müller and Schönborn: Ordination of women is impossible

By AC Wimmer

Shortly after Pope Francis opposed the possibility of an ordained female diaconate, two German-speaking cardinals publicly have said that only men can be ordained to the priesthood.

“Women cannot be called to this office,” Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller told Swiss portal on June 7. “The priest represents Christ in his manhood.”

The German cardinal, who held the role of prefect of the Congregation — now Dicastery — for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, stressed the theological and doctrinal underpinnings of this view, saying the prohibition of women from priestly ordination is deeply ingrained in the sacrament itself.

Müller, who taught dogmatic theology at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University, emphasized “the fundamental equality of all people in their personal relationship with God,” be they man or woman.

Just like “a man cannot become a mother and a woman cannot become a father,” it is only men who are called to the priesthood, Müller said, according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

“The vocation comes from God. One would have to complain to God himself that he created human beings as man and woman.”

Echoing the words of Pope Francis about the nature of the priesthood in Querida Amazonia, Müller emphasized that the “Church cannot be represented by a man because she is female and Mary, the Mother of God, is her archetype. It is in the nature of the sacrament that only a man can represent Christ in relation to the Church.”

The German prelate’s pronouncements follow those of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, CNA Deutsch reported.

In a sermon at ITI Catholic University in Austria on June 1, Schönborn said he was “deeply convinced that the Church cannot and must not change this, because it must keep the mystery of women present in an unadulterated way.”

“We were all born of a woman. This will always be reflected in the mystery of the Church.”

Like Müller, Schönborn affirmed St. John Paul II’s teaching that the ordination of women would violate a fundamental ecclesiological principle.

In 1994, Pope John Paul II, citing the Church’s traditional teaching, declared in the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

“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.”

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