Contra Costa Times Turns to SMC's Zach Flanagin on Issue of Women Priests
In its story about the ordainment of a Bay Area woman as a Catholic priest, the Contra Costa Times turned to Saint Mary's Theology & Religious Studies Professor Zach Flanagin for a historical perspective of the church's position on women as priests. The story, "San Ramon woman to be ordained priest, angering Catholic Church," focuses on a woman who is a member of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an international group which the article says "has ordained about 150 women as priests, bishops and deacons worldwide -- including two priests who work in Los Gatos and San Francisco."
While noting that the event, which goes against church doctrine, is an outgrowth of the call by some Catholic women to become a part of the church during the women's movement in the 1970s, Flanagin provides historical context on the Catholic Church's position on the issue, saying, "In 1975, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees doctrine on faith and morals in the Catholic Church, declared that the church wasn't 'authorized to admit women to priestly ordination.'" The story further refers to the Saint Mary's professor, who provided substantial background on the matter, quoting him as saying, "The justifications given were that Jesus Christ chose only men as apostles. The church has maintained the tradition with priests, and that because the priest acts as an icon for Christ, he must be a man."