THE HOLY SPIRIT - NOT THE POPE - WILL DECIDE ON THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN
I have been trying very hard to keep an open mind on Pope Francis. I had no time for his predecessors John Paul 11 and Benedict.
I was impressed with Francis's decision to live simply in St Martha's Hostel and not in the Papal Palace.
I was impressed with his decision to call himself simply "The Bishop of Rome" and not Supreme Pontiff.
I like the fact that he celebrates Mass daily for the Vatican workers.
I liked his refusal to condemn gay people.
I like the fact that last week he ordered 30 priests out of the curia and back to their diocese to serve the people in parishes. Most of the work in the curia can be done by good and well trained lay men and women.
He is in his late 70s and I suppose one old man can only do so much. The necessary reform of the Roman Catholic Institution will take many generations and many Bishops of Rome. At least Francis has set the ball rolling.
THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN:
I was disappointed this week that Francis said that the issue of the ordination of women could not even be discussed. As far as Francis is concerned the "church" in the form of horrible Pope John Paul 11 had settled the question for ever.
I hope that Francis is not forgetting the JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH.
I hope he is not forgetting that THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE ONE WHO MAKES THE FINAL DECISION on all matters concerning the church.
I believe that the Holy Spirit has made it crystal clear to all thinking and prayerful Catholics that it is only a matter of time before we have OPTIONAL CELIBACY and WOMEN PRIESTS in the Catholic Church.
The Holy Spirit has made this clear through:
1. The falling numbers offering themselves for the priesthood.
2. The fact that OBLIGATORY CELIBACY is not working and is a cause of great scandal, corruption and confusion in the Catholic Church.
3. The fact of the typhoon of sexual abuse cases and criminal convictions that follow them.
4. The fact that churches all over the world are becoming emptier and emptier.
5. The fact that our sister Christian churches are ordaining women to the diaconate, priesthood and episcopate - this week the Church of Ireland selected the first woman bishop as the Bishop of Meath in Ireland.
The Most Reverend Pat Story - Bishop of Meath
6. The fact that all over the world there are Catholic women being ordained in Catholic free church organisations.
It is only a matter of time before we have the first Roman Catholic women deacons, priests and bishops.
The HOLY SPIRIT is already shouting this GOOD NEWS from the rooftops.
Bishop Pat Buckley