Thursday, 29 August 2013


Chicago nun Vivian Ivantic turns 100 today. She’s spent 80 years at the St. Scholastica Monastery and throughout that time, she’s held onto her dream of becoming a priest.


Chicago nun Vivian Ivantic turns 100 today. She’s spent 80 years at the St. Scholastica Monastery and throughout that time, she’s held onto her dream of becoming a priest.

A Chicago nun is celebrating her 100th birthday today — but there’s something missing.
Ever since she was 10 years old, Sister Vivian Ivantic has wanted to become a Catholic priest.

Ivantic joined the Benedictines when she was 20 years old and since then, she’s been hoping for a change in the Catholic Church’s policy toward female ordination.

"We need women in church offices," Ivantic told The Chicago Tribune. "It won't come in my lifetime, but it will come."
Ivantic argues that women have held important roles in the Church for a long time, as teachers, nurses and social workers. In her own lifetime, she’s seen women gain footholds in politics and in the workplace. She thinks it is time for a change in the Church, as well.
“I think the American church is outstanding," Ivantic said. "But I'm waiting for women's ordination.”
She’s not alone.
Several Catholic organizations have been vocal about halting what they see as an injustice. The Women’s Ordination Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) have advocated for a change in the Church’s policy.
But the Church has sought to nip these campaigns in the bud. The LCWR was recently reprimanded by the Vatican for its views. Roy Bourgeois, a popular Maryknoll priest, was expelled from the Church last November for supporting the idea of female priest.
During Ivantic’s lifetime, several Protestant denominations, such as the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches, have welcomed women into the priesthood.
But the Catholic Church’s official stance toward female ordination hasn’t changed for centuries. Catholic priests are considered part of a long lineage of holy people, one that started with Jesus Christ. Since Jesus chose only male apostles, only men are allowed to carry on the legacy.
The late Pope John Paul II confirmed this teaching during his time at the helm of the Catholic Church. Even the tradition-breaking Pope Francis, whom many see as a breath of fresh air, said that the topic of female ordination wasn’t open for discussion.
“The Church has spoken and says no ... that door is closed,” the pontiff said.
But Ivantic hasn’t stopped hoping for a change, despite 90 years of waiting.
“She's fighting, but she's not walking away,” said Karen Ivantic, her niece. “So what that says to me is, 'Don't abandon everything but don't stop fighting for the change.'"


  1. Well well. Bless her cotton socks. What a brave and corageous woman. The point is though as to how she would exercise her ministry of service. Priesthood in isolation is meaningless. Her ordination would make a political point & rise up the media. You and I know what media wars are like & many journalists (not all) dont give a S*ite. Media fame is short lived. 100 years of Christian witness is a powewrful statement. Might be nice if she could meet Pope Francis. Sean

    1. Might ne better if Pope Francis ordained her


  2. Bishop Pat,

    Could you not go over and ordain her?


    1. I would with a heart and a half.

      I wonder if she would accept a "rebel" like me :-)


    2. A former colleague of mine lives in Sligo called Leo Harrison. He is a kind & good man. He left the priesthood & as I remember cared for his parents in their old age. I can stillsee him at mass about quarter way down the church sat on the left of my field of vision. As I remember, when his father was near death he was "allowed" to give him "last rites" (I think this point somehow links with what the contributor above has to say. the " " are there because I believe there are inconsistencies in popular view of Last Rites as portrayed by the old black & white movies. Sean

  3. I wonder if Pope Francis has thought through the inconsistencies in his comments on women and gay people. Can you imagine if the take-away quote had been: “If a woman is of good will and called by the Lord to serve, who are we as men to judge and interfere with that call?” Or if the pope had acknowledged that we lack a truly deep theology of sexuality and relationships? Talk about letting in fresh air by speaking truth!

    Belfast Priest

  4. As a priest I learned that when there is an injustice, silence is complicity. I saw the exclusion of women from the priesthood as a grave injustice and, in good conscience, I could not remain silent. The punishment for raising the question of equality was severe – I was thrown out of the community that I love.

    American Catholic and a Priest forever.

    1. I am sorry to hear this.

      Have you found a new community?

      You are "outside that gate with Christ"


  5. How come nobody commenting from the conservative Christian angle is providing any logical reasoning why women shouldn't be ordained in the RCC ... beyond speculation of course?

    1. Because there is no DECENT argument against women being ordained.


  6. Either you believe Holy Mother Church is Who She says She is, or you don't. Nobody gives a flip about this peripheral crap.

    Faithful to Pope & Church

    1. Is that the same Holy Mother Church that stood by and lets tens of thousands of children be abused?

      What did Jesus say about those who hurt children?

      Something about a large stone and the bottom of the sea


  7. Ever heard that the Roman Catholic Church refers to Mary Magdalene as the Apostle to the Apostles?

    I have, ordain this faithful servant of the Lord out of justice to all of God's faithful.

  8. ignorance abounds doesn't it?

    It is a matter of faith (catholic and most protestants) that PUBLIC revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. this is really quite a practical thing on the part of God since it frees people up from having to worry about whether or not to believe every nut who claims to have had a vision or a dream in which God spoke to him and told him you need to eat only vegetables in order to be saved etc. (there may be personal revelation - God told me to become a doctor for example, but nothing touching on faith required to be believed by everyone)

    so no, there has not been any new revelation about priestly ordination or same sex marriage (if there were, then why wait 2000 years before giving the go ahead for such things) the church does not now nor has it ever held priestly celibacy to be doctrine of faith. it is simply a law. a discipline that can be impose or relaxed as the times demand. Woman's ordination is a matter not of law or discipline, but of faith.

    Fr. Roy

    1. Father Roy,

      God's Revelation is ONGOING


    2. Priestly gender is not part of revelation but of organisational policy. There are theorists out there(see Discovery Channels etc) who wold class God & I suppose Jesus as higher (Alien) life forms. Suppose an alien who believed in God came to earth & acknowledged Jesus as lord. Could we ordain them? Would it matter if they were male or female? Suppose as an extra terrestrial their male body could carry a baby. How would our Canon Lawyers deal wit that one Yr honour?

  9. Jesus was pretty much given that same advise by the religious authorities of His Day, seems as if He rejected their advise for Him to shut up.

    Some of those that are referred to as "Doctors of the Church" were also, basically, told to shut up while they were still breathers.

    Quite a few of those that have been canonized as saints were at odds with religious authorities during their lifetimes.

    Jesus wasn't looking for clones to be His followers but real thinking feeling people.

    I think that Sr needs to be taking very seriously,


  10. "Mulieris dignitatem"

    "Woman and Man: The Humanum in its entirety."


    1. Could Clergy get this Mullieris Dignitatem stuff on prescription from GP? Common sense isn't helping much

  11. I don't understand why women would want anything to do with the Catholic church. During marriage preparation my wife was told she would have subordinate her wishes and follow ME wherever I wanted to go as her husband. She endured years of guilt for not coming up to the churches expectations, even on post-marital sex and finally she has to watch her elderly mother consumed by anxiety that her daughters are damned for eternity because they no longer in the clutches of the "One True Church". What pain the Catholic church inflicts on it's women!

    Why oh why do you stay, get a Bishop to ordain you and be free from them.


  12. “If a woman is of good will and called by the Lord to serve, who are we as men to judge and interfere with that call?” Or if the pope had acknowledged that we lack a truly deep theology of sexuality and relationships? Talk about letting in fresh air by speaking truth!

    - Wow!! Great point! This pretty much sums up how I feel about various aspects of the RCC. There is a lack of understanding and theology pertaining to sexual relationships and the role of women (there are many other areas that could use more understanding, but I'll stick with these two). It almost seems as if the Vatican is afraid to address this lack of understanding, as if it is sinful even to discuss the logic and reason behind certain Church dogma. It is this "take it or leave it" approach that is leading so many young people, who, unlike their parents, are constantly searching for deep understanding rather than pure obedience to Church teachings. Youth today needs a whole lot more than, "it's in the Bible so it must be true" to have real faith. And, I would argue, that faith based on a search for truth and understanding is far stronger and more meaningful than faith based solely on obedience to the Bible and Scripture.

    All I am saying is that an investigation into the logical, or reality-based reasoning for certain Church Dogma would be valuable and necessary to keep the Catholic Church legitimate. Jesus told us that the rules he set out were to benefit us, not God. But, there is a reluctance on the part of the Church to provide explanations to that end.


  13. This is the same old same old theology—the Virgin Mary is more important than anyone else in the story, but living women cannot make ecclesial decisions, exercise sacramental ministry, or make ethical choices. Apparently, the question of women’s ordination is so yesterday in the Vatican Francis doesn’t think it needs to be revisited. – Mary Hunt

  14. Growing up in a small town in Louisiana, I went to segregated public schools for twelve years. Even our little Catholic church was segregated, with the last five pews reserved for the black members.

    I graduated from high school in 1956. Looking back, I cannot remember one white person in our town who had the courage to say: “We have a problem here, and it is called racism.” What I do remember are the mantras: “Segregation is our tradition” and “Blacks are separate but equal.”

    Sounds like the same old logic - we have a problem and it is called 'sexism', plain and simple!

    Mary Jo

  15. Yes, women can be priests, and should be priests.

    Sr. Helen
    Mercy Convent

  16. “All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought and freedom of expression.”
    Gaudium et Spes, no 62; Canon Law no 212 § 3.

    Yet we are banned from talking about the injustice of the exclusion of women to the priesthood, they will answer to Jesus who loved women so much.


  17. I can recall, in the 1960s, seeing older women genuflect or cross themselves when encountering a priest on the streets of Dublin. It must have been quite a power trip for the object of their reverence.

    Some of those same men are still in power today, they do not know what the Holy Spirit is in practice, they live in a bubble and that bubble does not contain women! Even when they fall in love with a woman it becomes a second class relationship.

    We need a new Church.


  18. In order to pave the way I think Fr Schüller is correct basic reform is necessary.

    1. Restore the Acclamation to the people who would elect and retain by vote their bishop. Offices such as bishop should have terms that can be renewed if the people agree.
    2. All dioceses need a independent board of directors to over see the physical assets of the diocese. We have seen these squandered in recent years.
    3. Abolish the medieval titles. Abolish the flowery ways of addressing those with office. Reverend is sufficient without other adjectives. Too many with the titles think they are better than others and some who do not have the titles lust for them.
    4. Abolish the College of Cardinals with all their finery. Replace it with men and women electors who have limited terms. The electors should be 50% male and 50% female, 50% religious and 50% laity. Allow different groups to appoint the elector such as the elected head of certain religious orders, the head of certain dioceses or national conferences.

    The Church then would begin to look more like a representative democracy with the people balancing the power of the hierarchy. Only then will justice prevail for women called by Jesus himself to act as his priets in our world.

    Hugh Vincelette

  19. As Catholics we are called to accountability and most certainly Transparency. How can the Catholic Church be in service to the Light of God with so many SECRETS and Scandals that are protected from within? The Pope is NOT a King as much as they pretend to be Royalty with the expensive gowns, palace and jewels. Something Jesus Christ never promoted. People should have a say in what Catholic Bishop is assigned to their area. Like a pretty Homophobic Archbishop being purposely assigned to one of the most progressive and Gay Friendly Cities in the World - San Francisco and they send a man who acts like he never left the Seminary or Rectory to experience other cultures and people. A man who acts like he is from a deserted island suddenly in San Francisco of all cities to begin his homophobic leadership role in the Catholic Church's campaign to run out all Gay people. How delicious it would be if the Gay Priests got up and left, how that would impact their shortage of Priests.
    We certainly need women Priests, but not if they are going to act like the males drunk with power, and loyal to secrets and deceptions.

    Yes to women priests, but holy men and women priests please.


  20. As kids are prone to say, "The truth hurts", huh?

    Better to face the ugly truth than be led up the garden path by self-serving hierarchs. We are in drastic need of reforms and if they will not reform we should storm church buildings and force the reforms.

    Betty again.

  21. Pope Francis reiterated the Roman Catholic Church's ban on women priests, saying the decision is "definitive" although he would like women to have more leadership roles in administrative and pastoral activities.


    Faithful Catholic

  22. The Church does not have the authority to ordain women. In his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II declared "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women" (4).

    Some of the reasons cited 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

    The Church’s living teaching authority has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.

    Catholic Apologist

  23. Can women be ordained to the priesthood? This is a question which provokes much debate in our modern world, but it is one to which the Church has always answered "No." The basis for the Church’s teaching on ordination is found in the New Testament as well as in the writings of the Church Fathers.

    While women could publicly pray and prophesy in church (1 Cor. 11:1–16), they could not teach or have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:11–14), since these were two essential functions of the clergy. Nor could women publicly question or challenge the teaching of the clergy (1 Cor. 14:34–38).

    The following quotations from the Church Fathers indicate that women do play an active role in the Church and that in the age of the Fathers there were orders of virgins, widows, and deaconesses, but that these women were not ordained.

    The Fathers rejected women's ordination, not because it was incompatible with Christian culture, but because it was incompatible with Christian faith. Thus, together with biblical declarations, the teaching of the Fathers on this issue formed the tradition of the Church that taught that priestly ordination was reserved to men. Throughout medieval times and even up until the present day, this teaching has not changed.

    Further, in 1994 Pope John Paul II formally declared that the Church does not have the power to ordain women. He stated, "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. Luke 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" (OrdinatioSacerdotalis 4).

    And in 1995 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in conjunction with the pope, ruled that this teaching "requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 25:2)" (Response of Oct. 25, 1995).

    The following quotations from the Fathers constitute a part of the tradition on which this infallible teaching rests.


    "Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, [Marcus the Gnostic heretic] contrives to give them a purple and reddish color. . . . [H]anding mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence.

    "When this has been done, he himself produces another cup of much larger size than that which the deluded woman has consecrated, and pouring from the smaller one consecrated by the woman into that which has been brought forward by himself, he at the same time pronounces these words: ‘May that Charis who is before all things and who transcends all knowledge and speech fill your inner man and multiply in you her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in you as in good soil.’

    "Repeating certain other similar words, and thus goading on the wretched woman [to madness], he then appears a worker of wonders when the large cup is seen to have been filled out of the small one, so as even to overflow by what has been obtained from it. By accomplishing several other similar things, he has completely deceived many and drawn them away after him" (Against Heresies 1:13:2 [A.D. 189]).

    To be continued

    LC Brother

  24. Tough. She can't be a priest any more than a man can be a nun.