Rorate Caeli

The mediocre leader of the most mediocre episcopate in Europe:
"No fundamental obstacle" to the ordination of women

We first saw this on this blog, and it was also reported by Andrea Tornielli: the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Policarpo, in an interview to the monthly of the Portuguese Bar Association, said the following:

[Q.:] Women cannot hold positions of responsibility in the Catholic Church. What is your opinion?

[A.:] Your affirmation is not accurate, look, since St. Paul... [sic] The problem that was recently considered is the one of ministerial priesthood. Other than that, there have been periods in which women were absolutely decisive; it suffices to think of the role of monasteries, where they had great responsibilities. The problem that was put was highlighted by the fact that non-Catholic churches ordained women to the ministerial priesthood, which created, let us say so, controversy. The position of the Catholic Church is very much based in the Gospel, it does not have the autonomy that, for instance, a political party or government in general has. It has its fidelity to the Gospel, to the person of Jesus and to a very strong tradition that we received from the Apostles. And already at the time of Jesus there was a very beautiful complementarity between the role of women and the role of men. It was not by fortune that Jesus chose men to be apostles and gave women another kind of attention... [sic] I believe this is a false problem. Once I was here in the Diocese and, when we had a discussion, there was a young women who asked the question: why can't women be priests? And I decided to risk it. I said: you are right, but, in order that others study this matter, it is necessary to know if there are candidates...[sic] which one of you would like to follow it? All kept their heads down. I have met and I know women in [positions of] responsibility in the church who do not want the ministerial priesthood. Once, in the context of an international meeting on the new evangelization, in Vienna, this question was posed, and I said that there is not, at this moment, any Pope who has the power to do that. This would create tensions, and it will happen only when God wants it to happen and, if it is in His plans, it will happen. Once, I asked a [note: probably Lutheran] priest in Denmark, and he was very curious, and told me that in the area of charity, all women are there, with all their tenderness and dedication; regarding the Sunday mass, it got empty as soon as women began presiding. I do not know why. The Holy Father John Paul II, at one point, seemed to settle the matter. I believe that the matter is not settled like this; theologically, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let us say it this way... [sic] it was never different. [Added emphasis]

[Q.:] From a theological point of view, there are no obstacles... [sic]

[A.:] I believe that there are no fundamental obstacles. It is a fundamental equality of all members of the Church. [Added emphasis.] The problem is on another level, in a strong tradition, which comes from Jesus, and in the ease with which the reformed churches went that way. This did not make the solution of the problem any easier, if this problem has a solution. It is certainly not for our lifetime, today, then, in the moment in which we are living, it is one of those problems which it is better not even to raise... [sic] it provokes a chain of reactions.

These are the fruits of the government of Cardinal-Patriarch Policarpo (Paul VI, Class of '78; John Paul II, Consistory of 2001), leader of the Portuguese Church for the past 13 years: legalization of abortion on demand and establishment of same-sex "marriage" as the Church pretended to do something about both as it actually did nothing, collapse of religious attendance, as well as preserving the proud position of Lisbon as the only - let us repeat: the only - Western European capital without a regular diocesan Traditional Mass.
Cardinal Policarpo is the most ardent adversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in Southern Europe, and has led the Portuguese Church in ignoring it - including the publication of local instructions,  now made void by Universae Ecclesiae -, establishing ridiculous conditions for the implementation of Summorum. And what has been his prize? After reaching the resignation age this year, he was proud to report this month that the Pope has decided to keep him in place for the next two years.

It is as if Rome actually wanted to punish Portuguese Catholics with such an abysmal prelate. For the sake of defending the honor of the Holy See, we would have to agree with the second hypothesis defended by the blog Casa de Sarto, reporting from Portugal: the options available to the Holy Father in the Portuguese Church - widely considered in Rome as the most mediocre episcopate in all of Europe (composed of second-rate anachronistic liberals, not counting any orthodox names or even bright and influential "progressives" in their midst) - are very limited... He would have better luck naming as the new Lisbon Patriarch a priest from any other Portuguese-speaking country - curiously enough, an option that, we are told, is now available, after the first Concordat negotiated with the Portuguese Republic in 1940 (a direct consequence of the brave resistence put up by Pope Saint Pius X beginning exactly 100 years ago, in 1911, with the publication of the encyclical Iamdudum), which established that only Portuguese citizens could be named bishops, was modified in this regard by a new Concordat, in 2004. We are absolutely certain that Rome could find a better Patriarch among a small number of Angolan, Brazilian, Mozambican, or Timorese priests or bishops (admittedly, a very small number, but larger in South America, Africa, or Asia than what can be found in the Portuguese spiritual wasteland).


  1. Amicus1:48 PM

    As I read this, I recall the words of our Lady at Fatima: "In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved." Note Our Lady said "Portugal," not "Lisbon."

  2. True enough... Yet, the ultra-Liberal rector of the Fatima Sanctuary was recently named by the Pope bishop of the historic see of Coimbra. Thank God that private revelations are not part of the...public revelation.

  3. What a disgrace. Sadly I suspect that a large majority of bishops in Europe agree with him, but are prudent enough not to air their views openly.

    The episcopal appointments of Paul VI and John Paul II "the Great" have been a disaster. Benedict's are only slightly better (...and that doesn't say very much).

  4. I'm offended that this Cardinal is taking my patron saint's name in vain.

  5. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Heretic! Plain and simple.

  6. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Anathema to the heretic!!!

  7. Anonymous6:10 PM

    He just announced that the Pope is allowing him to stay on for another two years.

    Hopefully not after this comment.

    Also sack the new Bishop of Coimbra, Portugal as well.

    Bottom line is, these losers are not even Catholic. Just ignore them. The publicity, the space on blogs, the comments...that's what they want. It makes them celebrities.

    Ignore them and their comments, and eventually they'll realize that they have no audience, and then they'll shut up.

  8. Anonymous6:56 PM

    Does anybody want to try this e-mail address : ?

  9. This initial question is very wrong.

    If the instruction of the ignorant and care of the sick--two of the many works of mercy done by sisters--are not positions of responsibility, what, pray tell, is?

  10. I would have thought the Pope to be 'fundamental' to the scotching of such weirdness

  11. Anonymous10:14 PM

    If the Pope doesn't shut him up quick, I would hope that Bishop Fellay would consider further SSPX discussions with Rome as futile. Bishop Williamson had to shut up for an opinion on a secular matter.
    What the Cardinal did was much worse.

    A.M. La Pietra

  12. Anonymous12:32 AM

    He just turned 75 so he's on his way out!

  13. "He just turned 75 so he's on his way out!"

    Agree, Anon, unfortunately these Modernists are a gift that keep on giving!

  14. Anonymous3:09 AM

    As I read this, I recall the words of our Lady at Fatima: "In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved." Note Our Lady said "Portugal," not "Lisbon."

    True enough... Yet, the ultra-Liberal rector of the Fatima Sanctuary was recently named by the Pope bishop of the historic see of Coimbra. Thank God that private revelations are not part of the...public revelation.

    Yes, the faith is neither preserved in Lisbon nor Fatima. I for one am tired of "private revelations" that entail secrets and make promises that can be are interpreted away to meaninglessness; viz., that "the faith is preserved because there are still some traditional Catholics in apostate Portugal.

    And no, I emphatically do not dishonor the Great Mother of God but merely disbelieve in Fatima.

  15. Anonymous8:02 AM

    I presume that if you "merely disbelieve" in Fatima you have a ready explanation for the fact that 70,000 witnesses saw the sun dance? Read a book, why don't you.

  16. Anonymous9:25 AM

    It shows us how nuts liberals are. The man is 75 years old and admits that no change in the matter can occur in "our lifetiems". So why would he throw himself into this? For a legacy after he's gone? Nobody would care, asuuming he could win one day.

    This sort of destructive man is exactly the sort who needs to be purged from the Church. He's past the retirement age and, like Mahony, he's a Cardinal we can do without. Holy Father, please just remove him to the nursing home and put a worthy man in Lisbon.


  17. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Anon 3.09 needs our prayers; he needs help from above with logic.

    Some very bad things have happened in Portugal. Does this mean that the dogma of the Faith is gone from there? Duh! Obviously not: it's not gone recently from any country. The prophecy seems to imply that the Faith will be completely extirpated from some countreis but not from Portugal. Is this amazing? No. It was completely extirpated in much of Arabia, in Afghanistan (Assyrian Church) and so forth.

    What we see today is a massive decline in the Faith in most countries. Should this continue at the present rate, the Faith mostly certainly will disappear altogether in some countries. But it will not depart from Portugal (and perhaps from some other countries too). Use the little grey cells.

    As for Fatima, the evidence is overwhelmingly favourable, so I accept this private revelation entirely. I question the faith of those who do not. Some men will believe in less likely explanations for something when the more likely explanations don't suit them. If you look at the world through Catholic eyes, you will not be surprised if some private revelations are true; you will, in fact, expect it given the constant tradition in which the faith is grounded. At the same time, you will dismiss other revelations as pious nonsense, *perhaps* even some deemed 'worth of belief' by Holy Church.

    If the Church declares a private revelation to be credible, we should at least approach it with an open heart. I go further: I assume such revelations to be true until I see, in a particular case, a good reason for dismissing one. The important thing is not whether or not you accept such a revelation but how important you make it. All that we need for salvation is contained in Scripture, the fathers, tradition, the Magisterium. There is a danger in become overexcited by private revelations but also possible to accept them soberly but keep them subordinate to things needful.


  18. No Catholic is bound to accept a private revelation. Their Faith cannot be questioned.

  19. Prof. Basto12:06 PM

    From the "oath of fidelity", taken by the Cardinal Patriarch:

    "...With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

    I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals..."

    From Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, that, in the opinion of the Cardinal Patriarch, only "seemed" to resolve the question:

    "Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

    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."

    From the CDF's response to a doubt about the status of the doctrine contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

    "Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

    Responsum: In the affirmative.

    This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

    The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

    Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

    Joseph Card. Ratzinger

    Tarcisio Bertone
    Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli"

    Now, how can this bishop retain the pastoral government of a diocese, retain his role as Patriarch of Lisbon, and his position as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, how can he not merit dismissal from the clerical state, when he holds positions that are contrary to formally proclaimed elements of the DEPOSIT OF FAITH?

  20. Prof. Basto12:25 PM

    I accept Fatima as a private revelation, given that it was an apparition not only declared worthy of belief but also endorsed by the Church a multitude of times; however, it remains a private revelation and as such not necessary unto salvation, and I recognize that fellow members of the Church need not accept it, since no Catholic is bound to accept a private revelation. One's Faith, therefore, cannot be placed into question if one adheres only to the public revelation and not to private revelations, even those deemed worthy of belief.

    Also, regarding Fátima and other private revelations, there are indeed those who become excessively anxious about certain details of the revelation, and that is true particulalry in the case of Fátima, since we have a written account of the apparitions, written by one of the seers, an account which some hold to be free from error, that is, to have been written not only from memory but under holy inspiration.

    I hold the view that the apparitions of course were very impressive to the seers and were imprinted in their memory, but I don't think the "message", the account of the apparition, was written under divine inspiration in the same way as the Bible; I think it was written out of the human memory of greatly impressive events. And as such passages like the passage "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved..." need to be taken with due caution. Also, it is possible that this "sempre" (always) reffers only to the period in question to which the context alludes (the 20th century; the period of the wars and of the spread of communism, etc).

    We would do well to leave this question of interpretations of Fátima asside for a while, and instead focus on the question at hand, namely, the deplorable state of the Church in Portugal and of the Portuguese Episcopate in particular.

    Wouldn't the promotion of a good priest direcly to the office of Patriarch be a solution to the lack of talents in the Portuguese Episcopate?

    In the 70's one Joseph Ratzinger was raised directly from the position of a priest to that of Archbishop of Munich, and was made a Cardinal two months later; if there is one priest in Portugal more orthodox than all the Portuguese Bishops, and there must be, then I suggest he be raised direcly to the dignity of Patriarch of Lisbon.

  21. disappointed12:34 PM

    He should have taken the line adopted by Archbishop Vincent Nichols on the subject. Asked whether the Church would ever ordain women, he was too savvy to give a positive response. Much more nuanced: "I don't know. Who knows what's down the road?"

  22. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Now, how can this bishop retain the pastoral government of a diocese, retain his role as Patriarch of Lisbon, and his position as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, how can he not merit dismissal from the clerical state, when he holds positions that are contrary to formally proclaimed elements of the DEPOSIT OF FAITH?

    Indeed! Mediocre doesn't quite describe the man.

    LtCol Paul E. Haley, USAF(Ret)

  23. Horatio2:17 PM

    "We are absolutely certain that Rome could find a better Patriarch among a small number of Angolan, Brazilian, Mozambican, or Timorese priests or bishops"
    My hope is that Patriarch can be... Bishop Athanasius Schneider!

  24. Joe B2:22 PM

    Portugal has not lost the faith. The Novus Ordo is part of the faith, like it or not (I don't). There are still plenty of Catholics in Portugal. I bet the Rosary is even quite prevalent there. Get real. Our Lady doesn't err.

    Getting a little tired of this canard 'private revelation not necessary for salvation'. Who said it was?

    We're not questioning your Catholicism, we're just stunned by your denial of a historical event so well attested to. You might disagree with what she is reported to have said, but to say you don't 'believe in' Fatima demands a better explanation and defense than the aforesaid canard.

  25. Ha, Horatio, that would be truly great!

    Dear Joe B., I love Fatima as many other Catholics, but a private revelation is a private revelation - it cannot be a litmus test of anyone's faith.

  26. Anonymous3:06 PM

    While a private revelation is by no means a test of faith, the Fatima Revelation offers a very practical and sensible approach to atheism and all powers which aim at separating the soul from God.

    Even if there was no private revelation asking for a consecration of an atheistic state, if would make sense for the pope, in solidarity with his bishops, to consecrate the state--to reconcile it to God.

    The Bolshevik Revolution was a triumph for evil, for trying to erase religion from the world. While the USSR in name has fallen, those atheistic forces have strengthened.

    The house of the Lord must unified to fight these forces which damage the faith.

    If our Holy Father and his bishops can not even act in harmony by consecrating a country which is still corrupt, unholy and atheistic, is it not surprising that his bishops can not act or speak in a consistent and unified manner regarding issues such as women's ordination, etc.

    I don't think it is possible for the bishops to act against their own agendas for the better of the church.

    This lack of unity demonstrates a house very divided. The divisions need to cease and the church needs to heal to combat the unholy powers which are steadily increasing in the world.

  27. No more Fatima comments here, please.

  28. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Not to worry...there is a new break-away group from the Catholic Church in New Jersey - call themselves the American Catholic Church. The article said that they follow the teachings of .... HANS KUNG! Sounds like these people would be right at home. Perhaps they can start a European branch.


  29. Anonymous6:47 PM

    Seriously, though, I don't mean to make light of any of these serious matters. More than anything else, these poor people who are so impressed with their "vision" of the Church need each and every prayer they can get.


  30. "Holy Father, please just remove him to the nursing home and put a worthy man in Lisbon."

    But where will the Holy Father find one in Portugal?
    Maybe it would be better to import one from somewhere.

  31. Anonymous11:08 PM

    P. They speak Portugese in Brazil and there is a Bishop there not far from Rio de Janeiro who just might fit the bill. But only offers the Traditional Latin Mass.


  32. Anonymous3:20 AM

    Ah... the consecration issue!

    Russia has been consacrated since the moment Venerable Pope Pius XII signed his Apostolic Letter Sacro Vergente Anno.

    Or are we to hold that there is an Apostolic Letter declaring the peoples of Russia specifically consacrated but that that action, an action performed by the Supreme Authority of the Church, by the representative of Almighty God on Earth, does not count?

    It may not be a collegial act of consacration of Russia but still, it is a papal consacration, a consacration performed by Peter, by the Vicar of Christ, to whom the Lord delivered the keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    And subsequenly, decades later, there was a collegial consecration of the world.