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Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich (CNS/Felix Kindermann, courtesy COMECE)

A newly named top adviser to Pope Francis and leading organiser of the Vatican’s Synod process says it might one day be possible to revisit Pope John Paul II’s prohibition on the ordination of women to the priesthood. Source: NCR Online.

While underscoring that Francis is not in favour of the ordination of women, Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich said that it remains an open conversation among some Catholics and that he would like to see women given greater pastoral responsibilities.

“Pope Francis does not want the ordination of women, and I am completely obedient to that,” Cardinal Hollerich said in a wide-ranging interview with the Croatian Catholic weekly, Glas Koncila, published on Monday.

“I am a promoter of giving women more pastoral responsibility. And if we achieve that, then we can perhaps see if there still is a desire among women for ordination,” he added. 

The Jesuit cardinal, who is serving as the relator, or chairperson, of the 2023 and 2024 Synod of Bishops, said that should the Church ever reconsider the question, it should do so in consultation and unity with the Orthodox Church. 

“We could never do that if it would jeopardise our fraternity with the Orthodox or if it would polarise the unity of our Church,” he said. “Love is not something abstract; it is the love for our sisters and brothers that prevents us from doing things that would alienate them.”

When asked, however, if a future pope could rule against John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which said that the Church does not have the authority to ordain women, Cardinal Hollerich said it was possible and that the Church’s teaching could be developed. 

He went on to offer a comparison to Pope Pius IX’s 1864 “Syllabus of Errors,” which was considered infallible and condemned religious freedom and interfaith dialogue. Such practices, the cardinal said, are now common in the Church.


Top synod cardinal says Church could one day revisit ban on ordaining women (By Christopher White, NCR Online)