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What the Church has given the world

From astronomy to philosophy Catholics have made an extraordinary contribution to western civilisation, says Fr Andrew Pinsent

By on Friday, 6 May 2011

Physicist Stephen Hawking meets Benedict XVI during an audience for scientists at the Vatican (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, HO)

Physicist Stephen Hawking meets Benedict XVI during an audience for scientists at the Vatican (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, HO)

Introduction

At a recent debate, broadcast worldwide by the BBC, over 87 per cent of the audience rejected the notion that the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. Although the defenders of the Church were confronted by two masters of rhetoric, there is little doubt that the vote reflected a shift in attitudes towards Christianity in general and the Catholic faith in particular. To put this shift in blunt terms, whereas we were regarded recently as nice but naïve, today we are increasingly regarded as evil. As a result, teaching the faith and defending Christian ethics has become much more difficult.

To address this challenge at its root, I believe it is vital that we remind ourselves of the extent to which the Catholic faith is a force for good in the world. Jesus said: “You will know them by their fruits,” and even some outside the Church appreciate her fruitfulness. In 2007, for example, an atheist businessman, Robert Wilson, gave $22.5 million (£13.5 million) to Catholic education in New York, arguing that, “without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no western civilisation.”

Inspired by Wilson’s insight, I have been working recently with Fr Marcus Holden, parish priest of Ramsgate and a tutor at Maryvale, to collate the extraordinary contributions of Catholic culture and Catholic minds. The following sections provide some samples of this work, which should be invaluable to anyone who is faced with the question: “What has the Church ever done for us?”

For a more complete account of the fruitfulness of the Catholic faith in these and many other fields, see Lumen: The Catholic Gift to Civilisation, published January 2011 by the Catholic Truth Society.

Fr Andrew Pinsent is a priest of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton and Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University. He was formerly a particle physicist at CERN. He is co-founder, with Fr Marcus Holden, of the Evangelium Project, which is dedicated to improving the quality of Catholic education. See www.evangelium.co.uk.

1. Light and the cosmos

The Opus Maius (1267) of the Franciscan Roger Bacon (d 1292), written at the request of Pope Clement IV, largely initiated the tradition of optics in the Latin world. The first spectacles were invented in Italy around 1300, an application of lenses that developed later into telescopes and microscopes.

While many people think of Galileo (d 1642) being persecuted, they tend to forget the peculiar circumstances of these events, or the fact that he died in his bed and his daughter became a nun.

The Gregorian Calendar (1582), now used worldwide, is a fruit of work by Catholic astronomers, as is the development of astrophysics by the spectroscopy of Fr Angelo Secchi (d 1878).

Most remarkably, the most important theory of modern cosmology, the Big Bang, was invented by a Catholic priest, Fr Georges Lemaître (d 1966, pictured), a historical fact that is almost never mentioned by the BBC or in popular science books.

2. Earth and nature

Catholic civilisation has made a remarkable contribution to the scientific investigation and mapping of the earth, producing great explorers such as Marco Polo (d 1324), Prince Henry the Navigator (d 1460), Bartolomeu Dias (d 1500), Christopher Columbus (d 1506) and Ferdinand Magellan
(d 1521). Far from believing that the world was flat (a black legend invented in the 19th century), the Catholic world produced the first modern scientific map: Diogo Ribeiro’s Padrón Real (1527). Fr Nicolas Steno (d 1686) was the founder of stratigraphy, the interpretation of rock strata which is one of the principles of geology.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (d 1829), a French Catholic, developed the first theory of evolution, including the notion of the transmutation of species and a genealogical tree. The Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel (d 1884, pictured) founded the science of genetics based on the meticulous study of the inherited characteristics of some 29,000 pea plants.

3. Philosophy and theology

Catholicism regards philosophy as intrinsically good and was largely responsible for founding theology, the application of reason to what has been revealed supernaturally. Great Catholic philosophers include St Augustine (d 430), St Thomas Aquinas (d 1274), St Anselm (d 1109), Blessed Duns Scotus (d 1308), Suárez (d 1617) and Blaise Pascal (d 1662). Recent figures include St Edith Stein (d 1942, pictured), Elizabeth Anscombe (d 2001) and Alasdair MacIntyre. On the basis that God is a God of reason and love, Catholics have defended the irreducibility of the human person to matter, the principle that created beings can be genuine causes of their own actions, free will, the role of the virtues in happiness, objective good and evil, natural law and the principle of non-contradiction. These principles have had an incalculable influence on intellectual life and culture.

4. Education and the university system

Perhaps the greatest single contribution to education to emerge from Catholic civilisation was the development of the university system. Early Catholic universities include Bologna (1088); Paris (c 1150); Oxford (1167, pictured); Salerno (1173); Vicenza (1204); Cambridge (1209); Salamanca (1218-1219); Padua (1222); Naples (1224) and Vercelli (1228). By the middle of the 15th-century (more than 70 years before the Reformation), there were over 50 universities in Europe.

Many of these universities, such as Oxford, still show signs of their Catholic foundation, such as quadrangles modelled on monastic cloisters, gothic architecture and numerous chapels. Starting from the sixth-century Catholic Europe also developed what were later called grammar schools and, in the 15th century, produced the movable type printing press system, with incalculable benefits for education. Today, it has been estimated that Church schools educate more than 50 million students worldwide.

5. Art and architecture

Faith in the Incarnation, the Word made Flesh and the Sacrifice of the Mass have been the founding principles of extraordinary Catholic contributions to art and architecture. These contributions include: the great basilicas of ancient Rome; the work of Giotto (d 1337), who initiated a realism in painting the Franciscan Stations of the Cross, which helped to inspire three-dimensional art and drama; the invention of one-point linear perspective by Brunelleschi (d 1446) and the great works of the High Renaissance. The latter include the works of Blessed Fra Angelico (d 1455), today the patron saint of art, and the unrivalled work of Leonardo da Vinci (d 1519), Raphael (d 1520), Caravaggio (d 1610, pictured), Michelangelo (d 1564) and Bernini (d 1680). Many of the works of these artists, such as the Sistine Chapel ceiling, are considered among the greatest works of art of all time. Catholic civilisation also founded entire genres, such as Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, High Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Cristo Redentor statue in Brazil and the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona show that the faith continues to be an inspiration for highly original art and architecture.

6. Law and jurisprudence

The reforms of Pope Gregory VII (d 1085, pictured) gave impetus to forming the laws of the Church and states of Europe. The subsequent application of philosophy to law, together with the great works of monks like the 12th-century Gratian, produced the first complete, systematic bodies of law, in which all parts are viewed as interacting to form a whole. This revolution also led to the founding of law schools, starting in Bologna (1088), from which the legal profession emerged, and concepts such as “corporate personality”, the legal basis of a wide range of bodies today such as universities, corporations and trust funds. Legal principles such as “good faith”, reciprocity of rights, equality before the law, international law, trial by jury, habeas corpus and the obligation to prove an offence beyond a reasonable doubt are all fruits of Catholic civilisation and jurisprudence.

7. Language

The centrality of Greek and Latin to Catholicism has greatly facilitated popular literacy, since true alphabets are far easier to learn than the symbols of logographic languages, such as Chinese. Spread by Catholic missions and exploration, the Latin alphabet is now the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world. Catholics also developed the Armenian, Georgian and Cyrillic alphabets and standard scripts, such as Carolingian minuscule from the ninth to 12th centuries, and Gothic miniscule (from the 12th). Catholicism also provided the cultural framework for the Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy), the Cantar de Mio Cid (“The Song of my Lord”) and La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland), vernacular works that greatly influenced the development of Italian, Spanish and French respectively. The Catholic Hymn of Cædmon in the seventh century is arguably the oldest extant text of Old English. Valentin Haüy (d 1822), brother of the Abbé Haüy (the priest who invented crystallography), founded the first school for the blind. The most famous student of this school, Louis Braille (d 1852), developed the worldwide system of writing for the blind that today bears his name.

8. Music

Catholic civilisation virtually invented the western musical tradition, drawing on Jewish antecedents in early liturgical music. Monophonic Gregorian chant developed from the sixth century. Methods for recording chant led to the invention of musical notion (staff notation), of incalculable benefit for the recording of music, and the ut-re-mi (“do-re-mi”) mnemonic device of Guido of Arezzo (d 1003). From the 10th century cathedral schools developed polyphonic music, extended later to as many as 40 voices (Tallis, Spem in Alium) and even 60 voices (Striggio, Missa Sopra Ecco).

Musical genres that largely or wholly originated with Catholic civilisation include the hymn, the oratorio and the opera. Haydn (d 1809), a devout Catholic, strongly shaped the development of the symphony and string quartet. Church patronage and liturgical forms shaped many works by Monteverdi (d 1643), Vivaldi (d 1741), Mozart (d 1791, pictured) and Beethoven (d 1827). The great Symphony No 8 of Mahler (d 1911) takes as its principal theme the ancient hymn of Pentecost, Veni creator spiritus.

9. The status of women

Contrary to popular prejudice, extraordinary and influential women have been one of the hallmarks of Catholic civilisation. The faith has honoured many women saints, including recent Doctors of the Church, and nurtured great nuns, such as St Hilda (d 680, pictured) (after whom St Hilda’s College, Oxford, is named) and Blessed Hildegard von Bingen (d 1179), abbess and polymath. Pioneering Catholic women in political life include Empress Matilda (d 1167), Eleanor of Aquitaine (d 1204) and the first Queen of England, Mary Tudor (d 1558).

Catholic civilisation also produced many of the first women scientists and professors: Trotula of Salerno in the 11th century, Dorotea Bucca (d 1436), who held a chair in medicine at the University of Bologna, Elena Lucrezia Piscopia (d 1684), the first woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree (1678) and Maria Agnesi (d 1799), the first woman to become professor of mathematics, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XIV as early as 1750.

  • Peter

    Perhaps the greatest contibution of the Roman Catholic Church to the planet is that she exists throughout the whole world after two thousand years of unbroken continuity, and remains as ever the great hope of salvation for the human race.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, these are the foundations of a truly “advanced” civilisation. Though, what is most worrying is that none of these wonderful fruits have ever flourished in the Muslim world.  “By their fruits, you will know them.” Yes, now we know them, and we do not like what we see.

  • Nick

    Absolutely.

    And in fact, the very simple fact the the Church has maintained doctrinal integrity over two thousand years, and from São Paulo to Tokyo,  is mind-boggling.

    As the world is carried by winds of ideology, from one extreme to another and back, the Church stands as a rock.

  • Michell Eves

    The rock of rome rests on a sand bed.

  • Nick

     Doesn’t look like so.
    After two thousand years of violent persecution (from the pagan romans, to muslims, to communists and Nazis) and ideological attack (Protestantism, Enlightenment, secularism) it stands.

    And the “end of religion” was predicted a couple of times, and failed. Today, religion is growing.

    After two thousand years of the world going from one ideological extreme to another, the Church retains her teaching.

  • Peter

    It’s not only mind boggling, it’s miraculous.  But we are not surprised because Jesus Christ assured us that his Church would stand firm through the ages.   The Church is indeed an ongoing miracle, and her continuous unadulterated existence is reason enough in itself to believe in Divine Providence.

  • Dcruz

    The catholic church has contributed a lot to the world in general and this can be seen even in the remotest parts of the world.The catholic church saved Europe from an islamic takeover.specially in Spain, Austria and italy . 

  • Anonymous

    What you might also note is that were it not for the Catholic Church we would not be living in a secular wasteland as we are today; we would, in fact, be living under an Islamic dictatorship as are Christians in the Middle East as there would have been no Catholic forces to halt Muslims advances at Malta, Lepanto and Vienna. In other words the Catholic Church helped nurture and protect the very scientific culture that now professes to have vanquished it in the name of science. History is truly full of irony.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t have such a sweeping view of teenagers if I were you. Every now and then the occasional intelectual slips through the net of modern “education.” 

  • Anonymous

    You may be right but I fail to see how you can have one without the other. If you are ever to agree on how to mend the divide you will need some justice but to be able to issue that justice in a just and Christian manner you will need to fix the divide. 

  • L Mitchell

    My belief is that the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, unwavering in the face of more liberal and modernist views nurtured in an inner world-view in which the religious experience of God does not exist, are felt as a reproach and uncomfortable challenge to folks.
    The Catholic Church has always talked of itself as a church of sinners (its past and more recent history bears out its at times gross sinfulness from top to bottom) and continually in need of forgiveness, redemption and renewal – a dynamic shared by all Christian traditions.  In spite of this, it has managed to produce many wholesome and holy people over the centuries and today, who are instruments for good in the world.
    For me the Church is not some impersonal thing, or people who are anonymous to me, or whom I meet at arms length through the news media – probably the only kind of encounter many have with the Catholic Church.  Or the flesh and blood encounter they have had has not been an inspiring one.  In my 70 years as a Catholic I have met spiritual giants among Catholics of every rank who have been and are powers for good, and these confirm my faith in the Church and its influence for good in the world.
    My question to those who do not consider the Catholic Church (or Christianity for that matter)) a “force for good”:  What are the forces for good in our western civilisation today?  Reassure me that there are more reliable options, because I don’t see them.  Especially as we try to survive and painfully creep out of a recession, for which the Catholic Church (and Christianity) cannot be blamed.
    happylarry

  • marijose

    Jeff thompson, what you should know is the church is not a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners. Thats what the Catholic church is.

  • Parasum

    “As for self-criticism. You clearly have not read the writings of the saints.”

    Those are individuals – their self-reproaches are not the same sort of thing as for the Church *as a set of structures* to face the evil it is capable of. It is very very bad at doing that – it never used to, which can’t have helped. The holiness of the Church does not prevent the Church being very sinful on her human side. For the record, I’ve read a fair amount by Sainted authors.

    “The Catholic church helped saved hundreds of thousands of Jews”: true – but only after contributing for centuries  to the way of thinking that made a really big pogrom a possibility, before it became a fact. People sometimes try to defend the Church by point at Luther’s anti-Judaism: would he, & others, have been anti-Jewish, if there had not been a Christian tradition, centuries long, of calling the Jews accursed, Deicides, Christ-killers ? The  Church was clearing up a mess which was in large part of her making.

    I’d better give you the last word, as this is three weeks late. 

  • Parasum

    See my reply to srdc, just above this :)

    Apologies are not reform. Nor are they repentance or conversion. “Please forgive me” is an apology – “Others have fouled up, & that’s bad” is not an apology.  IIRC, almost none of JP2′s apologies were admissions of his own culpability – they were criticisms of those who are long dead. That’s accusation, not apology.

    A problem with the apologies of JP2 is that many things apologised for, were not abuses, like simony – they were practices which had the support of high  ecclesiastical authority. And they were done by the Church as the Church. Innocent IV was acting as Pope when he issued “Ad Extirpanda”, which legalised the use of torture by the Church – he wasn’t committing liturgical or dovctrinal abuses, but acting as a n ecclesiastic. And if we try to say – as some  do – that people who do unpleasant things, were not acting on behalf of the Church, even when they were, & were in effect not Catholics: we are going to end up denying that a lot of bishops, Inquisitors, & others, were Catholics – & that destroys the visibility of the Church. If St.Pius V, a zealous Inquisitor, was not a Catholic, then his election to the Papacy is invalid, as are all his acts as Pope, including his ordinations of bishops, erections of sees, creations of cardinals, of course his own beatification  & canonisation. It’s an attractive solution to an awkward set of  problems – but it is suicidal.

    And if acts done in good faith can need to be apologised for, much later, there is the moral problem that burning heretics is compatible in 1570 with being a Saint, or in 1712 when Pius V was canonised – but becomes unChristian after 1965 or so. Questions of this sort are difficult.

    OTO, an apology for Assisi would be very welcome – the Pope can do nothing about past centuries, but he can do a lot about recent Papally-sponsored events that send mixed messages. I fear that no apology  will be forthcoming for a few papacies yet. In 2500, who knows ? But if Assisi is wrong in 2500 – why is it right in 1986 or now ?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t recall the church ever denying they are sinners. Luther was also equally anti-Catholic. I wonder where he got that from.

  • patrick

    If you’ve read the catechism then you know the answer. If you don’t like the answer, then feel free to be a protestant. Your friend had plenty of opportunity to serve God as a women in the Catholic Church. But, she wanted to become like a man, that is, a priest. Because men and women are different, there are different roles for them. The role of priest is reserved for men, just as the role of giving birth is reserved for women. It is the nature of human life. If you feel men and women should have identical roles and identities, that is an issue you need to take up with God, not the Catholic Church. 

  • Rpbrez

    Do you agree or oppose the use of tax dollars for research and the arts? If governments today are given credit for advances aided by tax dollars (the backs of the poor), then why not applaud support for
    science and the arts by the church. Art and science benefit all humanity. I believe that your negativity is
    twisting your thinking.

  • Saintdonshaaps

    God through the church has touched human life and history.

  • Mariano

    What a short memory has the church what happend with Copernico, the inquisicion, the many unspoken rules of prohibition of reading of certain books, not because the inventors or creators of certain thing are or were catholics means that the church has something to do with the transformation come on lets be real

  • Nick

    > “What a short memory has the church what happend with Copernico, the
    inquisicion, the many unspoken rules of prohibition of reading of
    certain books,”

    The point is that these questions are already hammered by the media 24/7. Also, they are immensely exaggerated. For example, if you know the real story of Galileo you will be surprised. We wasn’t “burned at the stake because he said the Earth was round”, as the media say. In reality, Galileo was condemned to a few months of house imprisionment (which he was allowed to serve at the house of a Cardinal who was his friend) because he falsified a signature. And he falsified a signature precisely because he wanted to publish a book using Scripture to present Heliocentrism as religious dogma. The Church demanded him to present Heliocentrism as a scientific theory, not as a religious dogma. While today we would say “he had a right to publish his book anyway”, the fact is that the Church was precisely trying to SEPARATE science from religious dogma. By the way, Galileo died a good Catholic and his daughter became a nun.

    > “not because the inventors or creators of certain thing
    are or were catholics means that the church has something to do with the
    transformation”

    It is not just that they were Catholic. Many of them were priests or monks; others were lay but were directly financed or otherwise supported by the Papacy.

    More importantly, just compare Christian Europe with the rest of the world. There were dozens of competing civilizations. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, countless others.

    Only Catholic Europe developed human rights, economy, science, technology, art, culture, free democracy…

  • knightofstjoan

    Thank you that has to be one of the most intelligent comments I have ever read. And you are 100% correct.

  • Regel

    david,

    i wonder why you focus on the abuses on the catholic Church only. why not dip on the other strata of society like protestants, US public schools, boy scouts, etc? why, is it because you are afraid, a bigot and a bully who picks only those who wouldn’t put up a fight? admit it. oh, you wouldn’t because other institutions do not pay as much as the Church does. 

  • Regel

    Convincing evidence reveals that David Clohessy, while he was the National Director of SNAP, had the opportunity to report a suspected child abuser to police, but he didn’t.
    A small number of newspapers reported in April 2002 that David Clohessy knew in the early 1990′s of allegations that his brother, Kevin – a Catholic priest – was sexually abusing innocent boys.

    David said he had known for years about the allegations and agonized over whether to report his brother to authorities. He even contemplated distributing leaflets outside his brother’s church. But in the end, he did not go to the police.

    “It will probably be a quandary until the day I die,” said David …
    For two decades, David Clohessy has been railing against Church leaders for supposedly not calling authorities when hearing of suspected abuse by priests. Meanwhile, he did the very same thing, and he may very well have jeopardized the safety of numerous innocent children by his inaction.

    its from TheMediaReport.com. 

    and where’s Kevin? 

  • Anonymous

    It is an informative post. Catholic Church has been condemned by the Church say they are constantly forgiveness, redemption and rehabilitation needs.

    chiropractic ads

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1785095901 Mark Angelo Virly Ching

    Liking your own post is pathetic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1785095901 Mark Angelo Virly Ching

    Thank you for a great example of a Strawman Fallacy.

  • L-T Merwood

    The Church is not an Institution: the Church is the sum of all individuals who are Christians, past and present, with Christ as head. What one Christian does, the Church does; what the Church does is done by every member of it. This is what is meant by ‘corporate identity.’ In our age when, secular society so lauds individualism, this is a concept that many never encounter and few truly embrace. It is, however, fundamental to a correct understanding of the nature of the Church.

    It is also the root from which has grown the Christian ethic of mutual responsibility, respect and compassion, which today is often considered to be ‘humanitarian,’ as if it were the natural fruit of being human. It isn’t. The natural proclivity of human nature in its present dysfunctional state is self-interest. Without the contribution of Christian ethical and moral teaching over the centuries, we would not find ourselves in a position where these are so embedded in our modern culture that they are mistaken for human nature. That there are many today who personally reject the outward forms of Christian faith and practice and yet espouse her moral and ethical principles to a considerable extent does not mean those principles are independent of the Christian faith; it shows, rather, that the modern ‘humanitarian’ religious sceptic is far less independent of their Christian cultural heritage than they might like to suppose.

    There is a well-known Latin apothegm used by the Church: ‘ubi caritas et amor; Deus ibi est.’ (Where there is charity and love, there is God). The Church knows it would be quite wrong to suppose that only what has arisen directly from Christianity is of moral or ethical value. She teaches that those men and women of goodwill who show charity and love in their lives are experiencing and expressing the presence of God in the world, whether they frame their inspiration in terms of any religion or none. The inspiration to do good always comes from God, even when it arises in someone who does not follow him, in someone who intellectually denies that he exists or in someone cannot see any positive contribution to the world from those who, collectively, constitute the Church.

  • L-T Merwood

    If you want to know the Truth, you must love truth.  If you want to know how much you really love truth, then examine yourself and see the extent to which you shun any kind of lying, deceit and dishonestly in your day to day life.

    Truth is not something that is immediately amenable to the intellect in the way you seem to think; you need to join your intellectual efforts to a sincere and persistent quest for a blameless life if you want to be able to recognise truth when it is presented to your mind.

    Without this, it is like you are gazing at the world through grubby spectacles; your vision will be blurred and obscured and you will mis-perceive the objects of your vision.  To the extent that your life is not pure and holy, to the same extent your mind will be unable to discern truth, even when you find it.

    I wish you a happy and fruitful quest.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/YWO3QRIWHI6CDSIQI7E7AWCHCM Lou

    Not quite right, the Protestant creed is Sola Scriptura ( Scripture Alone ).

  • Anonymous

    In fact, I attended for several elective classes with Prof. John Hare.  I am Catholic.  So, if one disagrees with the position of an article released on a faith-based site, that makes one an atheist?

  • Anonymous

    In fact, I attended for several elective classes with Prof. John Hare and Prof Andre C. Willis.  I am Catholic.  So my question to you is, if one disagrees with the position of an article released on a faith-based site, does that makes one an atheist? I have read Hegel, Dawkins, Rand, Kant, Hesse, Mackie, Robert Adams, Douglas Adams, and even studied the Bible.  tsk tsk

  • Thom

    First, you must accept that things like baptism, sin, and sacraments (eg Ordination) are not simply words, or practices, or processes. They affect our soul – they actually change our being, whether for good or bad.

    Original Sin does not mean that a baby has done something like choose to kill a man. Original Sin is the lingering dominance of Satan in our lives. Let me explain it like this: Our ‘first parents’ gave Satan dominion over them through their sin. Logic then dictates that all their children are under his rule as well. The only way we can escape is if we are saved. This salvation is baptism, because it severs Satan’s rule over us and removes all sin (and punishment of sin) from us. Unfortunately, we are left with the wounds of our slavery (called ‘concupiscence’) and this wounding is what leads us back into sin.
    Also since Satan still rules the world until Jesus returns, every child born is born into his dominion and must therefore be saved through baptism – so it’s not just a ‘my mum was saved so I’m saved too’ sorta thing.

    A way that I like to look at why Catholic priests must be men is this: Read Ephesians 25-27. From this we gather the following facts: Jesus is a man. The Catholic Church is feminine in nature. Jesus is married to the Church.
    With me so far? Priesthood is understood to affect the soul of the man ordained, and he becomes a unique presence of Christ. Therefore, logic dictates that if Christ was a man then priests (who ARE Christ) must be men. Also, if a priest is married to the Church, then the priest must be a man since the Church is feminine.
    And if your friend was told that she was ‘not good enough’ to be a Catholic priest, she was totally misinformed. Priests are not priests because they are ‘better’ – they are priests because God wants them to be priests.

  • Fitz

    Oh dear!

  • Peter

    It’s a shame there is no integrity at the Vatican. Ask the parents of the children who were molested and lied to with the Pope,s blessing. For 40 years they did nothing. They molested children from Sao Paulo to Tokyo. Now THAT is mind-boggling.

  • Andrew

    What a wonderful insight as to how our church has been a genuine instrument of light to the world.  My friends and popular culture has kind of caused me to start rebelling againt our church based on things like it’s position on same-sex marriage.  Looking at the big picture puts in all in perspective.

  • No name Jane

    We need to stay in the church for salvation!

    VATICAN II declared this in #7 of it’s decree Ad Gentes:
    “Therefore,
    all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and
    all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which
    is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the
    necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same
    time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by
    baptism, as by a door. Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though
    aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something
    necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.”
    (Dogmatic constitution by Vatican II: Lumen Gentium 14) Therefore though
    God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the
    Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him
    (Heb. 11:6), yet a necessity lies upon the Church (1 Cor. 9:16), and at
    the same time a sacred duty, to preach the Gospel. And hence missionary
    activity today as always retains its power and necessity.”