Fresno bishop writes pastoral letter on women’s ordinations


Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno issued a pastoral letter this month reiterating Church teaching regarding the ordination of women to the priesthood.

In his letter, the bishop said he believed the movement toward women’s ordination has “greatly died down with the understanding that men and women are equal but have different roles in life, and are not at odds with one another, but complement one another.”

However, he decided to issue the pastoral letter after receiving a few comments at a May 19 ordination about women not being able to be ordained.

A May 18 letter in the Fresno Bee brought attention to a group called Action Purple Stole of Fresno that was asking households “to light a candle on May 19 at 10 a.m. in remembrance and support for all women being called by God to the priesthood, yet unable to answer that call in the Roman Catholic Church.”

Bishop Steinbock, however, appears uninfluenced. While praising the influence of women on the Church, his pastoral letter quotes Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which Pope John Paul II declared that the Church has no authority to ordain women.

Bishop Steinbock reiterated Church teaching on ordaining women in his pastoral letter, he wrote, “so that people, often influenced by the modern understanding of the nature of man and woman as explained by ideologies of our time, are not misled by unfounded expectations and hopes, which can lead people eventually to reject the very magisterium of the Church, which is the beacon of truth in this world to lead to eternal salvation.”

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