Instead of me, the newspaper should have chosen Fr Stephen Wang to debate Sinéad O’Connor

“How does it feel to have argued against Sinéid O’Connor in the newspaper?!” read the text. I had no idea that I had argued against the notorious ‘priest’ Sinéad O’Connor, until that second when a text came from Ireland.
I write for a regional Irish newspaper – not on line – but advertised in the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook. And often I don’t get to see an article of mine until someone posts me a copy. For this article, I had written a defence of the Vatican’s stance on only ordaining men to the priesthood. The newspaper had put me on one side, and Sinéad O’Connor’s views on the other. Being the simpering goody-two-shoes that I am, I had argued rather laboriously that the sacramental validity of the Holy Mass requires that a male priest offer the sacrifice. Sinéid was on the page opposite to me, and complained bitterly about the Vatican. It’s so curious that she protests so much about Catholicism, and yet wants to be counted as a Catholic ‘priest’. If I had her e-mail, I would sent Sinéad Marie Bernadette O'Connor  a link to Fr. Stephen Wang’s very balanced article. Fr. Wang gives a quietly impassioned but compelling defence of the Church’s teachings. Sinéad wasn’t moved by what I had to say, but if she read this fine analysis of Fr. Wang's she might find it harder to justify her position. “This teaching is not at all a judgment on women's abilities or rights. It says something about the specific role of the priest in Catholic understanding - which is to represent Jesus, to stand in his place. The Church is saying something quite radical. On the one hand, there is a fundamental equality between all human beings, between men and women. On the other hand, this does not mean that our sexual identity as men and women is interchangeable. Gender is not just an accident.

People sense this. If I announced that I was making a film about Jesus or King Arthur or Wayne Rooney, no-one would be surprised if I said I wanted a male actor to play the lead. It's a weak analogy, but it shows how the notion of 'representation' can only be stretched so far. A woman, as much as a man, can reflect the love of Jesus, and help others to know his presence through her faith and witness. But it shouldn't surprise us if we expect a man to stand 'in the person of Christ' as a priest, to represent Jesus in his humanity - a humanity that is not sexually neutral.

Where does this leave women in the Catholic Church? In the same position as the majority of men (that is, all those who are not priests). It leaves them to live their faith passionately in the service of others, to use their many gifts to the full, and to realise that ordination is not the measure of an individual's worth in the Church.”  For the full version of Fr. Wang’s article, click HERE.


  1. yes this is quite understandable what you are saying, but I do not think that God stressed on Jesus being man, but rather, in these times, it was best for Him to come as man, we should be able to represent Christ both men and women, although I am not 100% sure of my stand, I would rather pick to be nun than priest, but still, there shouldn't be a difference in gender! Last week a Jesuit said in his sermon,:" The only way for the Catholic Church to grow is to allow the ordination of women"!!

  2. The One True Church must be, in essentials, identical to the Church that Christ and the Apostles left to us.

    Christ, the new Adam- Adam being Hebrew for "man"- consecrated twelve men as Apostles at the Last Supper. These in turn ordained men as priests and deacons. The Apostles consecrated men as bishops, i.e. their successors.

    The "ordination" of women, besides being impossible- you cannot "ordain" a cat or a dog either- would be a departure from the essential identity of the Catholic Church with the Church of the Apostles; it would be nothing short of apostasy.


  3. but even Sainte Therese de Lisieux said she wishes she could do what a priest does! there was a Saint (who's name I have forgotten) that used to preach and baptize like the men did, she was a woman, she was basically a priest! I do not give much importance to the Old Testament, but I see Adam and Eve, being a metaphor, just reflect the situation of women back at these times, the fall of humanity was blamed on the Woman, although the Sin was in Man. so what if, just what if, the ordination of men remained because of the bias towards men rather than equality between genders?

  4. Hi Ciaran, It goes without saying that a dog or a cat would never be ordained, but it's rather offensive to put women alongside dumb animals who may not be ordained.

    Thank you however for taking time to comment.

  5. I'm very sorry. I meant no offence to women. I sometimes say outrageous things that I later regret. The thought had occured to me.

    Father Zuhlsdorf said, in response to the group "Womenpriests Now" that it would be as impossible to ordain a woman, as it would be to ordain a "yak"; his words.

    The thrust of the argument- what I really meant- was that it is as impossible for a woman to be a priest as it is for a man to give birth.

    I apologise again for any offence.


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