Statement on the CDF Responsum Regarding Ordination of Women

Author: Archbishop Stafford


Archbishop J. Francis Stafford

November 17, 1995

I not only accept but welcome the response by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It is admirably clear and direct. It holds no surprises. Moreover, since its release was personally approved by Pope John Paul II, it carries the authority not only of the congregation, but of the Holy Father himself.

Catholic teaching on the priesthood is rooted in the Word of God and unbroken sacred Tradition. The substance of that teaching was affirmed nearly 20 years ago by Pope Paul VI in a declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inter Insigniores. Simply put, the Church cannot ordain women as priests. She does not have the authority or capacity to do so.

Since then, theologians and commentators have explored this issue exhaustively. It is time to move on. The congregation's current statement underlines that, in issuing his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, John Paul II employed the full authority of his office as teacher and universal pastor. The teaching is definitive and has been set forth infallibly by formal declaration. It will not and cannot change. Therefore, for those who see with the eyes of faith, the matter is resolved.

I ask all Catholics of northern Colorado to recognize in this decision the heart and mind of Jesus Christ. It is He who speaks through the teaching of His Church. It is He who makes her a trustworthy guide—on this issue, and on all matters of faith and morals.