PETER Hebblethwaite seeks to ferret out any old "imprecision" which might "ruin" the simple restatement of the Church's teaching on women priests put forward by Joanna Bogle (Catholic Herald, 12 February.)
For a man who frequently accuses others of "nitpicking" he seems to have excelled at it himself this time.
Unfortunately he falls doubly flat on this occasion: the term "Universal Catechism" is now colloquially used by journalists (like himself) to describe the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Second, he says no Church documents refer to "priestesses". The Church has never recognised Christian priesthood as a vocation for women. Priestesses are alien to Christianity and more familiar to pagans.
It is simply an historical fact that there has never been a validly ordained "woman priest" nor has there even been acceptance of the concept.
The Bible explicitly forbids
Christian women to preach and teach in the Church (I Cor 14:34, 35, 37: 1 Tim 2:11,12).
That ought to be (and is) enough for most believing Catholics. They recognise (along with the Pope) that the Holy Spirit has not got it wrong these thousands of years.
The real problem is the decline in the vocations of motherhood and religious sister/motherhood. These vocations are now literally despised, even, sadly, by some Catholics.
With the decline in the uniquely womanly vocations has come a terrible "clericalisation" of the church. No wonder then that some women have wanted to become clerics: it seemed the only important role.
The key lies, as the Pope frequently tries to remind us, with Mary, God's partner in our salvation. Women should say"yes" to the unique vocation God has given to them alone for the salvation of all of us!
Stewart Lochart New Malden