Theologians and doctors of Theology María José Arana and Adelaide Baracco Colombo have recently published Women Priests, When? (Desclée De Brouwer), a book in which they address the need to open the door to the female priesthood. They do so based on the testimony of 21 women who live this vocation, married or religious, and 21 men – some theologians, others university professors, other committed Christians – who are committed to the ordained ministry of women. Once the first edition of the book, which was presented a few days ago at the headquarters of Cristianisme i Justícia in Barcelona, ​​is sold out, the second is beginning to be published.

Women priests, when?

Someday this will fall under its own weight. But we, who are 72 and 80 years old, will not see it. The current positions of the magisterium are the same as those with John Paul II and Benedict XVI and the same arguments are repeated, arguments without theological or anthropological validity. Our book is a healthy criticism of what we consider unfair in our Church and is born from the love we have for it.

What are those arguments that are still repeated?

Pope Francis has once again spoken of two well-known principles: the Petrine principle, which refers to ministeriality-authority, and the Marian principle, which refers to the mysticism of love; These two principles, along with others, were formulated by the Swiss theologian Balthasar in the post-council in the context of ecumenical dialogue, but Francis wrongly transfers them to the entire question of women/men in the priesthood, that is, he makes them, a “sexual categorization”. He claims that the question is theological. Another argument, traditional, is that Jesus did not ordain women. But Jesus did not ordain anyone, neither men nor women! It is also argued that women were not called to be apostles, that they did not participate in the Last Supper, and the “masculinity of Christ” is also invoked when the one who was incarnated as a man was Jesus of Nazareth, because Christ, like God, did not It has no sex or gender. They are arguments that have a very biased theological interpretation. Behind that is a Christian culture that for centuries has silenced and diminished women. This anthropological vision of women as inferior to men and not worthy of representing God still exists in the masculine and sexist imagination of many holy men of the church.

Is there machismo in the Catholic Church?

Of course. Although today the Pope says that we must “demasculinize the Church,” that cannot be reduced to putting women as flower vases in the Vatican, not even if he is a cardinal. We want the underlying issue to be faced, our full participation in the Church, the priesthood is the touchstone, because we are talking about representing Christ in the community. The Church, especially the hierarchy, must change its anthropological vision of women and “listen to the signs of the times,” as the Second Vatican Council said. For centuries, women were accused, among other things, of being guilty of original sin and this inheritance has not yet been completely erased. While society has advanced and continues to advance, in this matter the Church has remained stuck in the last century.

With the current Pope it seems that we have never been so close to the female priesthood.

It was a great hope, but on the issue of women we have made (almost) no progress. It is true that she has given some women positions, but they are still civil servant positions, not ministry positions. When you touch on the question of ministry, which implies the dimension of representation of God/Christ, the door is closed to us here. The creation of two commissions, in 2016 and 2020, to debate the ordination of women to the diaconate in early Christianity, has gone nowhere, because not even this door wants to be opened, when there are serious arguments in favor of that there were women deaconesses.

Do you trust that the Synod will mark a change of course in this regard? For the first time, women have been given a voice and vote…

With caution and caution, I would say that the closing of this first session of the Synod seems quite weak to me in terms of breaking capacity. Furthermore, the female voices heard in this first session are implicitly or explicitly against female ordination to the priesthood. Now, what worries us most today is the letter that was recently made public from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, to the German bishops referring to his synodal path. In that letter it is flatly stated that neither the question of the ordination of women nor that of homosexuality, two of its most important issues, will be taken into account. We’ll see how far it will go.

This occurs in a context of lack of vocations, crisis in seminaries, fewer and fewer ordinations and churches that are closing…

The theologian José María Castillo, who recently passed away, in his contribution to our book, greatly influenced the sacred right that the Christian community has to celebrate the Eucharist. Given the lack of male priests, by insisting on female exclusion, the right of the Christian community to celebrate the Eucharist is also infringed. The exclusion of women is put before the right of the community to celebrate the center of Christian life, and this is very serious. Furthermore, not wanting to listen to the female vocation to the priestly ministry is a sin against the Holy Spirit: our vocation is a gift, a charism for the Church, and we live it with suffering for not being able to respond to something that belongs to our most sacred intimacy. .

From what you explain, will we see married priests sooner than women in the priesthood?

Yes, we will have married priests sooner than women priests. Not allowing priests to marry is an ancient rule, from the 4th century, that the Orthodox Church and other Christian Sister Churches, such as the Anglican, do not have. Suppressing it would not mean a great fundamental change, while the priestly or diaconal ordination of women would. What is not accepted is that it is possible for a woman to represent the sacred, to act in the name of God. This is the background resistance.