The battle over female Catholic priests has just begun

Mar 31, 04:00 PM

This week we heard the unfamiliar sound of one of the Catholic Church's most influential cardinals turning the handle of a door that has remained firmly shut for 2,000 years. It's marked 'Catholic women priests', a development – such is the pace of chaotic change under this pontificate – that is now a real long-term possibility. Pope Francis says he's against this innovation, but he relentlessly promotes bishops who favour it. Until now, they've been discreet about their views. Now, to use a fashionable cliché, they're saying the quiet bit out loud. As I point out in this episode of Holy Smoke, Catholic conservatives are confident that women will not – indeed, cannot – be ordained to the Catholic priesthood. Unfortunately for them, not just favoured cardinals but a majority of Mass-goers in the West think differently.