This is part VI of the Aquinasblog Dialog that was started here.
Thanks for getting back to me again.
I think it's a good time to bring back what you first wrote,
"I take the long view -- a hundred years ago, the papacy condemned democracy, historical scholarship, biblical criticism, ecumenism, free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and even freedom of conscience. It has reversed its position on all of those; I expect it will someday also reverse its position on women's ordination, which is why I think it should continue to be discussed. That's how we figure things out. Aquinas was never afraid to argue about anything. The spirit of disputation has been lost and should be regained because it's the practical result of the belief in the harmony of faith and reason."
The quote above actually reminds me now of the first Church Council, the Council of Jerusalem in Acts ( http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/acts/acts15.htm ). "After much debate had taken place" a decision was made about circumcision of the Gentile converts. The faithful were to assent to the teaching.
I understand that "[I] consider authority [to be sufficient] and [you] do not." for the question at hand. In the end, more fundamental to the question of woman ordination is the nature and authority of the Catholic Church (both big C). If one believes that the CC has the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised would lead the Church to all truth, then the Church can't err in certain areas including faith and morals.
Reasons behind faith and morals can't be contrary to each other, but if there are reasons for two sides of an issue that are valid, the Church has to come to a decision that is binding (like that in Acts).
It seems like I'm using brute force, but I think that some questions just have to be deferred to a higher authority, namely the Holy Spirit.
As far as women being treated as chattel, it is obviously true that women have been in such a position. However, saying that since men can have a role that women cannot because women are just not worthy of it (or something), wife reminded me, is like saying that men are not as worthy as women since they can't bear children (she's done it a few times, but she is not more worthy of dignity than me because of it). We all have dignity no matter our gender or role.
Well, in the end it does come down to authority. I think the Church has it, you do not think so in this and many other matters. You believe the Church has changed its position 180 degrees on many things that I do not think it has.
Ultimately, in matters of faith and morals, I believe being Catholic is to ultimately defer to the authority of the Church as headed by the Pope and his fellow Bishops that is guided by the Spirit who Jesus gave in the Upper Room ("He breathed on them" John 20:22; http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/john/john20.htm ) and at Pentecost (Acts 2; http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/acts/acts2.htm ) in Jerusalem.
I know that many who call themselves Catholic including yourself do not agree with the statement above, but ultimately what's the difference between being a Protestant and a Catholic if my Catholic statement above is considered false? Vatican II didn't make the CC Protestant, VII relied on "the authority of the Church as headed by the Pope and his fellow Bishops that is guided by the Spirit who Jesus gave".
At this point I'll leave the discussion in disagreement. Along our earthly pilgrimage, may we all strive to do God's will. Amen.
[BTW, the dialog isn't over yet.]
Thanks for your response. Just to be clear, I do agree that being Catholic means deferring to the Pope and the Bishops; it's what has gotten us through 2000 years. On the question of women's ordination, I do defer to that authority -- I don't think Catholic women should go around ordaining themselves. That doesn't mean I agree with the Church's stand. I feel that unlike the Council of Jerusalem, much debate has not taken place, and therein lies the problem.
In any case, good luck and God bless!
[BTW, the dialog isn't over yet.]