Father Francisco “Patxi” Bronchalo, a priest of the Diocese of Getafe, Spain, recently posted on social media that a controversial drawing on the official Facebook page of the Synod on Synodality “is out of bounds and confusing.” Father Jesús Silva of the Archdiocese of Madrid also criticized the image.

The drawing shows a group of young people in front of church, including a woman dressed in a white chasuble and red stole and another young man wearing a multicolored LGBT “Pride” shirt.

In a series of Twitter posts, Bronchalo said that the image “surprised” him, and he began his analysis with the woman dressed in priestly vestments.

He noted that this image “can give the feeling to whoever sees it that one of the fruits of the synod could be that the sacrament of priestly ordination may also be given to women,” which entails “deceiving whoever sees it and sowing confusion.”

Bronchalo pointed out that “there may be people inside and outside the Church who believe that this will be the case” and then be disappointed. At the same time, the priest fears that within the Church there may be people “who feel disgusted by the promotion of slogans that don’t help them in their faith but rather create confusion.”

The priest affirmed it’s not possible for the synod to approve the ordination of women “because it cannot,” since St. John Paul II in his apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis confirmed as part of the Church’s magisterium that ordination is reserved to men. 

Bronchalo then quoted the document: 

“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (OS, 4).

‘The priesthood is not like changing a tire’

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Expanding on the issue, Bronchalo used three arguments on the impossibility of ordaining women. The first is that “Holy Scripture tells us that Christ chose his Twelve Apostles only from among men.”

And it was not because of a cultural issue, because, the priest argued, “it’s easy to see how Christ’s way of acting was not conditioned by sociological or cultural reasons.” 

“He chose twelve specific men because he wanted it that way,” he stressed.

Furthermore, Bronchalo argued that “it makes perfect sense that priestly ordination be given to men, because in our masculinity we (represent Christ, the Bridegroom) of the Church when we celebrate the sacraments. Therefore the fact that candidates for the priesthood should be living a healthy and integral masculinity is important for the Church.”

The priest emphasized that “the priesthood is not a functional matter that anyone can do, like changing a tire. Receiving it configures the being.”

Imitating Christ for two millennia

The second argument provided by Bronchalo regarding the ordination of women is based on the fact that “the Church has lived out a constant practice for two millennia in giving the sacrament of priestly orders only to men, imitating Christ in his choice.” 

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“We are depositories of a faith that we have received and that we transmit. That’s why the Church does not feel empowered to change matters that come from Christ himself,” the priest added.

He also pointed out that in the Catholic Church, 24 ritual Churches coexist and “in all those churches during all this time, it has always been understood that the priesthood is given to men because Christ himself wanted it that way.”

From the Fathers of the Church

Third, Bronchalo pointed out that “the magisterium of the Church has continually referred to the fact that priestly ordination is for men” — not only as St. John Paul II did in recent times, but also at other times in the history of the Church. Thus, in the first centuries, Fathers of the Church such as St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, or St. Augustine speak “of the reasons for ordination being reserved to men.”

Women such as St. Catherine of Siena, a doctor of the Church, have also supported the exclusive ordination of men. The saint “spoke of the wonder of being priests, in order to exhort men to exercise their ministry well,” the priest noted.

Bronchalo concluded that the drawing “is out of bounds and is confusing” because “rather than uniting, which is what the synod seeks, what these things do is divide,” adding that “I wish they would remove it or they could give an explanation to those who feel confused.”

‘Everything that is not the Church’

Father Silva of the Archdiocese of Madrid commented on Twitter:

“Don’t you find it endearing that on the @Synod_va page they’ve put a representation of non-Catholic churches with all their errors summarized in a single image? So we can know everything that is not the Catholic Church. Interesting strategy.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.