1 Cor 14:26-40


So, after reading through this part I have to ask. Should women be reading/singing at masses? Paul is very black and white about women not speaking in church or at least it seems that way.

Reading this chapter was a bit shocking and has put me in a place of confusion about what it means.


I’ve always seen it as preaching.


The way I understand what is being stated here is found within the Liturgy; the Homily is to be delivered by one who has been conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Code of Canon Law

Among the forms of preaching the homily is preeminent; it is a part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or to a deacon; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian living are to be expounded from the sacred text throughout the course of the liturgical year. Whenever a congregation is present a homily is to be given at all Sunday Masses and at Masses celebrated on holy days of obligation; it cannot be omitted without a serious reason. (canon 767)

Inaestimabile Donum

  1. “The purpose of the homily is to explain to the faithful the Word of God proclaimed in the readings, and to apply its message to the present. Accordingly the homily is to be given by the priest or the deacon.”

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible commentary

Paul enjoins silence upon the Christian women in public worship. This is not an absolute restriction, since women can lawfully pray and prophesy in the liturgical assembly (1Cor 11:5) and are encouraged to teach in other circumstances (Titus 2:3-4). Paul is prohibiting women from instructing the congregation on the official capacity of a pastor or homilist.



It referred specifically to a query that had been put to Paul about specific cases (fairly commonplace at that time).

Some ladies (probably their background had been in some weird cult) were being kept out of the loop by their husbands, and the church proceedings were being dominated by discussions their family and friends should have been having with them at home in parallel.

I also see on some web sites metaphorically “masculine” (outside the home) ministries of apostling, evangelising, prophesying, and “feminine” ones (hearthside) of pastoring and teaching. I for one am not much of an apostle or evangeliser, per se, unless I pray for others in those ministries of course. Everyone may and should be all or any of those (in fact reputedly someone counted 55 Holy Spirit gifts in both Testaments) - if some denominations eschew women apostles for example (as a formal job description) it is only justifiable for secondary reasons.

It’s also vital to remember that sometimes what is being referred to are formal job descriptions - e.g “not many should be teachers” (James) yet “iron sharpens iron”.

As for submitting, what is meant is coordinating: we’ll gain a crown if we help others develop in their ministry, and they will gain a crown if they help us develop in our ministry. If our legs, eyes, livers all feel like doing “their own thing” without mutually choreographing, we get a bit of a hangover!

It’s not about bossing or vetoing. The Pope can’t do a thing to help the Church if we don’t keep praying, for example.


What I’ve always been told is that these churches were set up like the synagogue, where men and women sat separately from each other. Usually the women sat upstairs in the balcony and the men would sit on the main floor. The women often yelled down from the balcony things like, “What did the Rabbi say?” So Paul was just saying that the women should be quiet in church and not disrupt the service. Instead, as the rest of the verse goes on to say, “If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home”


Hi, Benjamin!

…from that perspective it would seem that St. Paul is muzzling females using that ole male chauvinism (females can’t dance, ware make up, speak in public, be seen in public, purchase things, read, have a though…)

…it was the culture of the day… interestingly enough Jesus did not hold to the culture of the day… we know from Scriptures that many women followed Him… not only that but those who had access to money would often collaborate in His Ministry…

…combine that with Jesus warning about “things that I have to tell you, but you cannot bear it now…”

…so is St. Paul simply refusing to allow women into the Church in keeping with Jewish traditions?:

Women were only allowed to receive very little education on religion and the main religious instruction in the home was given by the man and not the woman. They could not be disciples of any great rabbi, they certainly could not travel with any rabbi. (bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html

…yet, if that is the case, is he being double-minded or suffering from some sort of memory loss?:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven.

(1 Corinthians 11:5)
St. Paul makes notes of the contribution of the various females in the Church… so, clearly, there must be another reason why he is so bent on women remaining silent, in the Church; perhaps St. Paul’s admonition is due to the relationship of the Word of God and those whom He chose as His Voice:

36 Or did the word of God come out from you?

(1 Corinthians 14:36a)
…to get a better perspective one must understand the status of women throughout the centuries:

There are 188 named[1] women in the Bible and many others that are left unnamed. Among these women are prominent queens, prophetesses, and leaders. Before and during Biblical times, the roles of women were almost always severely restricted.[2] Because biblical stories were written about important events, most of the people in the Bible, including women, usually have extreme personalities. According to classicist Edith Hamilton, the Bible is the only book in the world up to our century which looks at women as human beings, no better and no worse than men.[3] (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Bible

I would consider St. Paul’s warnings in reference to Worship (though we could infer that women, gathered in a single place, would cease the opportunity to gossip since they were basically homebound most of the times or under the watch of a patriarch or his agent/s).

Maran atha!




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