The Australian Catholic Students Association has pledged its loyalty to Pope Benedict XVI on women's ordination, despite calls for discussion of the issue by signatories of a recent petition from Australian Catholics.
The petition was organised by former priests Paul Collins (pictured) and Frank Purcell and promoted on the Catholica Australia website and elsewhere.
Its primary intention is to encourage consideration of married clergy in order to preserve Australian Catholics' access to priests and the sacraments.
It also requests discussion of women's ordination.
Students Association President Camillus O'Kane said Catholic students are disappointed that some groups continue to push for the "ordination" of women, despite it being declared a non-issue for the Church.
"Ever since Christ established the Church over 2000 years ago and assigned His Apostles the task of sanctifying, teaching and governing the faithful, the office of the priesthood has been has been reserved for men only," Mr O'Kane said.
Meanwhile Hugh Henry of the Melbourne-based John XXIII Fellowship condemned the petition and organised a counter-petition.
Mr Henry, who edits Fidelity magazine, said: "No Catholic can support this. The Church has definitively and repeatedly said that an exclusively male priesthood is not an open question that Catholics can debate about."
He agreed with the petition that the Church is currently experiencing a dearth of priests.
But the solution, he said is to "attack the problem at its source by cleaning out all the ageing, locked-in-the-sixties liberal Catholics in institutions that are responsible for this crisis in the first place."
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