In light of the Pope’s recent comments to America magazine, we, lay and ordained leaders of the inclusive Catholic movement, reaffirm our commitment to the ordination of women as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community, those in a matrimonial relationship, and indeed all the people of God.
We believe that non-Biblical and convoluted theological notions such as the so-called Marian Principal and Petrine Principal obscure and even contradict the core Gospel notion that, ”There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). Baptism welcomes all into the priesthood, prophecy, and kingship of Christ and the laying on of hands at ordination emerges from this universal sharing in Christ’s nature, not from the maleness of his earthly body.
The only “Petrine Principle” that is operative is that “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). The “Marian Principle,” meanwhile, speaks not to the spousal quality of women (indeed Mary is unmarried at the time of her fiat and widowed when sharing in her son’s ministry), but rather to her Eucharistically bringing Christ into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38) and to her presence along with both men and women at Pentecost, when she was called to the ministry of proclamation (Acts 1:14, Acts 2:4). The early church adhered to these principles, most notably when the Lord’s Supper was hosted in Lydia’s house (Acts 1:15), Prisca was called a co-worker with Paul (Romans 16:3), and Junia was recognized as prominent among the apostles (Romans 16:7). Only later did the Church forget this core tenet in favor of a worldly and imperial notion of the authority of the paterfamilias to dominate women, children, and slaves.
In so doing, the Roman Catholic Church has caused great harm to the many women God has called to the priesthood and share in the ministry of proclamation, sacraments, and the other work of the apostles. It has also caused great harm to the wider People of God, even those not called to the ministerial priesthood. It has denied them diverse voices in homilies, diverse modes of care in pastoring, and diverse faces of Christ at the altar. This has particularly harmed young girls who in not seeing women in the priesthood have received early and ingrained messages about their secondary status before Christ.
We assert that the Church can only fully live up to being the Body the Christ when it removes these false theologies and unjust restrictions from its midst welcomes all the People of God to not only baptism, but also to the table of the Lord’s Supper and to the fullness of whatever ministry to which they have been called. Until that day, we, along with others in the ecumenical catholic world will continue to live out this Gospel principle in our lives and ministries, by welcoming and ordaining women and men, LGBTQ+ and straight, married and unmarried in accord with their full vocations.