Ireland – women priests
Posted by Fr Mark on October 1, 2009
Roman Catholic bishop gives his blessing to ordination of women
By Fergus Black
Friday February 15 2002
Dr Willie Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe, said he would have no difficulty with the ordination of women. He felt the Roman Catholic Church has “missed out on a significant input” by excluding women from the priesthood.
Dr Walsh’s comments, to a local newspaper, come at a time when the Irish church is attracting few candidates for ordination.
In the Killaloe diocese only one priest is expected to be ordained over the next seven years. The diocese expects to lose two priests each year through retirement and may have to look to Africa and eastern Europe for their replacements.
Bishop Walsh was away from his office yesterday and could not be contacted for comment but his spokesman said the bishop felt he had been quoted accurately.
Eleven other bishops were also unavailable for comment when the Irish Independent attempted to contact them.
Dr Walsh told ‘The Guardian’, a newspaper that circulates in Tipperary, Clare, Galway, Limerick and Offaly, that he had no difficulty with the concept of women priests “if the Pope and the Church generally changed its mind”.
“I certainly would be very conscious that our Church has missed out on a significant input in decision making by women,” he said.
“I would even find myself at times, if I have a serious problem, talking to women about the matter rather than with men, because they bring a dimension and view of things different to the male dimension – that enriching female view of things,” said Dr Walsh.
“If there is ever such a change I would not have a difficulty with it. I would have to honestly say that I do not see it happening in my time. Who knows where the spirit will lead us in the new millennium.”
The problems facing the diocese, and its clergy resources, could be solved, in the long term, by recruiting priests from Nigeria and Eastern European places where “vocations are flowering”.
“I think in the long term certainly we will have priests from foreign countries,” Dr Walsh said.
When asked yesterday about the ordination of women, the Catholic Press Office cited the Vatican document ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’ as the Church’s official position on the issue.
In this Apostolic letter, Pope John Paul II declares that the Church has “no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitely held by all the Church’s faithful.”
The role of women in the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, “remains absolutely necessary and irreplaceable”, the Pope declared.
But he said priestly ordination has in the Catholic Church always been reserved to men alone.
– Fergus Black