Well, this one threw me for a loop today: but apparently it is theoretically possible for the pope to appoint women as cardinals of the Catholic Church.
Maybe it’s the rebel in me, but I think that would be pretty cool. Cardinal Mother Teresa? Why not?
Anybody else know anything about this fascinating loophole in canon law? Of course, it’s very unlikely ever to happen, and probably there are people smarter than me who have good arguments for why it shouldn’t happen, but still, it’s an interesting thought-experiment.
Over at Patheos Mark Shea writes:
For 15ish years, ever since the publication of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, I have maintained that one implication of the document is that women can be created cardinals of the Church (since the office of cardinal does not require holy orders and it is *only* the sacerdotal office to which the Church lacks the authority to ordain women). When I say this, I invariably get chewed out as a subversive modernist.
However, the other day, Fr. Groeschel and Cdl Dolan noted exactly the same thing (go to the 3:50 mark):
Update: Shea’s post has started quite the heated exchange between him and Sean P. Dailey over at Shea’s blog. When I search my innermost soul, I think Dailey probably has some good points about the potential that appointing a female cardinal could have in terms of scandal: i.e. sending the unintentional message that female ordination is a-ok with the Church. The niceties of theology and canon law don’t typically get translated well in the world’s media, and a technical exception that theoretically allows a woman to be made a cardinal would probably very quickly become: “Pope bows to feminist demands: ordains woman cardinal,” etc. It probably wouldn’t be pretty.