Jesuit Conference addresses lewd play
I am the Executive Secretary of the Jesuit Conference and Father Schaeffer, the President of the Jesuit Conference, has asked me to follow up on your correspondence.

Thank you for your letter of April 3, 2003 expressing your concern about dramatic performances of the “The Vagina Monologues” at Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States.

I have read various news accounts about “The Vagina Monologues” and many have described it as a shocking and disturbing play. From these descriptions I can only assume that the presentation of human sexuality in the play is contrary to the Church’s understanding of sexuality.

I will forward your letter to Father Charles Currie, S.J., the President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, so that he will be aware of your concern about these issues.

Thomas Gaunt, S.J. Executive Secretary
Jesuit Conference, Washington, D.C.

Women – invalid subjects, not matter
Thank you for your newsletters. For the second time (I believe) I have noticed an error in the manuscript. To avoid confusion on your part and possible attacks from others, on their part, please note the following. In the Spring 2003 (v. 8, n. 1) issue of The Truth, on page 3, in covering an incident regarding CTA, you say, “Chips and beer can't become the Body and Blood of Christ; they're invalid matter for the sacrament of Holy Eucharist.” This is true. However, your subsequent analogy is incorrect.“Women can't be priests; they're invalid matter for the sacrament of Holy Orders." This is false. The matter for a sacrament consists of the matter used (e.g. water, oil,bread, wine, etc.) and the accompanying gestures. The matter for the Sacrament of Holy Orders consists of the imposition of hands. They [the orders] are conferred by the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration which the liturgical books prescribe for each grade (Can. 1009, 2). The "consecratory prayer" refers to the form of the Sacrament. The matter of the Sacrament is the imposition of hands. The Pontifical Ritual for the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders says: “In the ordination of deacons and presbyters, the matter is the laying of the bishop's hands upon the individual candidates which is done in silence before the consecratory prayer [emphasis added].

Finally, in the ordination of a bishop, the matter is the laying of hands upon the head of the bishop-elect by the consecrating bishops, or at least by the principal consecrator [emphasis added].

The person receiving the sacrament is the subject of the sacrament, not the matter. Here the Code of Canon Law provides conditions for both the valid and licit subject for the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Only a baptized man can validly receive sacred ordination (Can.1024). Here the Code states clearly that it is a male and not a human as the official Latin text uses the word viras distinguished from the word homo.

I appreciate your enthusiasm. Perhaps a more correct analogy would be something along the lines: You can't ordain a woman anymore than you can baptize a car or confirm a desk. Nothing happens. (Note this is not to say that women are equivalent to cars or desks.)

Thank you for your attention. A diocesan priest Thanks for the correction, Father. We get it. Anointing and laying hands on the CTA girls wouldn’t “take” just like you can’t ordain Mrs. Potato Head or Barbie. Ed

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