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Cardinal Jean-Claude HollerichScreenshot/Vatican Media

(LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has falsely claimed that the Church could change its teaching on a solely male priesthood and open the door to female ordinations.

In an interview with the Swiss outlet, Hollerich, who is the relator general of the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality, said that the Church’s rejection of female ordinations “is not an infallible doctrinal decision.”

When asked by the interviewer if Pope Francis would introduce female priests, the cardinal from Luxembourg replied, “That’s very difficult to say.”

“The Pope is sometimes capable of surprises,” he continued. “But I would tend to say no.”

“Shortly before the synod, there was a ‘dubia’ from a few cardinals. They asked whether John Paul II’s rejection of the priesthood of women was binding for the Church. Francis replied very wisely: It is binding, but not forever. And he also said that theology would have to discuss this further.”

“This means that it is not an infallible doctrinal decision,” Hollerich stated. “It can be changed. It needs arguments and time.”

READ: Cdl. Hollerich falsely claims Pope can reverse teaching against women priests ‘with time’

The heterodox cardinal – whom Pope Francis appointed to his personal council of cardinal advisors, known as the C9, last year – warned that the introduction of female ordinations should not be rushed.

“There needs to be more discussion,” he said. “Otherwise there is a danger that it will be seen as something that liberal Catholics want to push through. You need tact and patience if you want real solutions.”

“If you attack too much, you won’t achieve much,” Hollerich stated. “You have to be cautious, take one step at a time, and then you might be able to go very far.”

He warned that there might be an immense pushback from more conservative parts of the Catholic world to an attempt to introduce female ordinations, citing the backlash against Fiducia Supplicans, the document that sanctioned “blessings” for homosexual couples, as an example.

In a likely reference to the Church on the African continent, Hollerich said that “many in the Church today” see the attempt of liberal “reforms” like female ordinations as a “neo-colonialist” effort.

“And we must be very careful not to initiate a huge backlash,” he stressed. “We are a universal Church in which we have to take different mentalities into account. We have to have these discussions with the whole Church, otherwise we will have huge problems later on. Then the Catholic Church will fall apart.”

“I believe that a storm would break out in other continents if it were to introduce the female priesthood tomorrow,” he warned.

“The Vatican would have to back down. There was already a huge storm of indignation over Fiducia Supplicans.”

“And that’s a small thing,” he argued. “It’s not even about recognizing homosexuality. It’s just about allowing irregular couples to be blessed.”

READ: Cardinal Hollerich says he thinks Pope Francis’ text on homosexual ‘blessings’ is ‘very beautiful’

When asked if he could imagine women priests in the Catholic Church, Hollerich said “We’ll let ourselves be surprised.”

While being known for his promotion of female ordination, Hollerich is also notorious for his support of LGBT ideology, having described as “false” the Church’s denunciation of homosexual acts as sinful.

The impossibility of female ordinations

Hollerich is wrong in his assertion that Church doctrine on women’s ordinations could be changed in the future.

Pope John Paul II declared in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that it is ontologically impossible for women to be ordained.

In 1995, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, responded to a dubium by affirming that John Paul II’s teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is to be held definitively and to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith as it “has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”

In 2019, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), spoke with LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson about the issue of “female ordination,” issuing a categorical clarification about the Catholic prohibition on the matter of women as priests or deacons:

It is certain without doubt, however, that this definitive decision from Pope John Paul II is indeed a dogma of the Faith of the Catholic Church and that this was of course the case already before this Pope defined this truth as contained in Revelation in the year 1994. The impossibility that a woman validly receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders in each of the three degrees is a truth contained in Revelation and it is thus infallibly confirmed by the Church’s Magisterium and presented as to be believed.

Indeed, in 2018, then-prefect of the CDF Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., defended the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis as bearing the mark of “infallibility,” with John Paul II having “formally confirmed and made explicit, so as to remove all doubt, that which the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium has long considered throughout history as belonging to the deposit of faith.”