In discussing the possibly of the Church's ordaining of women to the priesthood, I generally like to note that the Church's teaching is infallible, and that it cannot be changed. For me as a Catholic, this means that the teaching is decisive, authoritative, binding (both to my intellect and my will), and final. One tactic which I have noticed increasingly is the insistence that the teaching is not infallible--this even by some Catholics who presumably do accept that the Church can teaching infallibly on matters of doctrine and morality. Their argument hinges largely on an interpretation from Canon Law (itself fallible) which states that in order for a teaching to be infallible, there can be no speculation as to whether or not the doctrine has been taught infallibly.
Such speculation exists in the case of the teaching regarding priestly ordination. Therefore, it is concluded by some that the teaching against ordaining women to the priesthood is not infallible. This speculation is apparently not dispelled by Pope John Paull II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which stated rather conclusively that
Priestly ordination, which hands on the office entrusted by Christ to his Apostles of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful, has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone. This tradition has also been faithfully maintained by the Oriental Churches....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. 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.
Read the rest on the Nicene Guys site.
If you enjoyed this post, here are some other related posts:
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: A Personal Declaration
Can the Creeds Change? The Importance of Doctrinal Orthodoxy (Part 1)
Can the Creeds Change? The Importance of Doctrinal Orthodoxy (Part 2)
Priestettes, VOT"F", Resurrection, and Reincarnation (Nicene Guys)
VOT"F" on the Role of Priestettes
Priestettes, VOT"F", Resurrection, Reincarnation, and Gnosticism (Nicene Guys)
Priestesses: Why We Don't Have 'Em Here