Are woman allowed to speak in Catholic Churchs?


And how does the answer relate to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35?

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:34-35


Ammonius Saccus (is this psuedo-latin?);

St Paul gives non-Catholics a lot of fits.

Protestants think St Paul is the be-all, end-all of early Church customs and theology.

Many of St Paul’s ‘attributed’ letters are now (since the late 20th century) believed to have written by others in a Pauline style (like the early Jews attributed books to Solomon and Moses) in order to put the Church in order regardless of where the Gospel was being preached and in what language the Eucharistic prayers were being said.

Some scholars believe, textually speaking, that your cited passage is a later interpolation to support the similar passage in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

And why is this? Because St Paul has discussed women’s participation in the early Church in many other places.

He quotes the baptismal formula from the early Church in Galatians 3:26, a VERY important idea in the Catholic Church.

He speaks respectfully and with admiration for Junia in Romans (an emissary with her husband, Andronicus) and of Prisca in Acts 18.

Romans also discusses Phoebe, a deacon (diakonos) or attendant of the church (‘ekklesia’) in Cenchraeae.

As for 1 Corinthians, St Paul writes that some of the church’s prophets were women. Now remember that by ‘prophet’ St Paul does NOT mean someone who predicts the future. He is using the Jewish meaning as those individuals of conscience who denounced (inspired by the Holy Spirit) those backsliders and hypocrites who claimed to being followers of the Way, of Jesus but were not.

Prophets were reformers of the Jewish faith, keeping kings and others in line with God’s laws.

Since there is so much evidence pointing to St Paul treating women as equals in the early Church, a statement which seems out of context to what we know (we don’t have the Corinthian letters, just St Paul’s answers and inquiries) is not given much weight in the Catholic Church.

So, women have had integral roles in the early Church, and have fought to keep those roles through religious communities and lay apostolates. Some have been named ‘Church Fathers’ for their piety and wisdom (St Teresa of Avila, for example).

The devotions shown to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is but one indication of the depth of women’s roles in the Holy Mother Church.

Women can and do speak in Catholic Churches.

Women determine the continued mission of the Church through the Holy Spirit by the love and teaching they show in how they raise their children to become religious and active laity.


Always remember that these letters are not written to us. They are written to a Church with a historical and cultural context. If we start with are own context we will surely go wrong. We are listening in on a private conversation from one man directing the church he started. Do the research yourself though, read a catholic commentary on First Corithians, read an evangelical one if you like. Compare, cross reference, search. Get a Catholic “study bible”, please make sure its a study bible. If you read passages and they don’t sit right with you it can sometimes means you need to look at your own life or it can be the Holy Spirit telling you to look deeper. Learn to search, a deeper truth will appear to as why Paul has written this, that isn’t literary whats being said hear at all.


Always remember that these letters are not written to us. They are written to a Church with a historical and cultural context.

**I was told by my Religious Education teacher that in that time there was a “Temple of prostitution” a belief where women [the temple priestess] prophesied and would yell out loud these prophesies while giving sex to a man.
That particular scripture was referring to that practice…
I don’t know how accurate that is… but that was what I was told. :o

God bless

 I think the proper understanding is women are being banned from priesthood. Additionally, Paul in my opinion is telling other men not to allow their wives to question the priest.  If the woman is unhappy with something she hears she should discuss the issue with her husband.  As social conditions have changed greatly this may be hard to relate to, but try to imagine a scenario in which people stood up in church and openly question the priest or deacon or out loud called the Homily improper.


Yes, I believe the passage was about priesthood. This is also a belief in some non-Catholic Christians.

Imagine, if women are not allowed to speak at all, then how would they praise the Lord - in silence all the time? I don’t think so. :slight_smile:

So, yes, women are allowed to speak in the Catholic Church, but they are not allowed to become priests.


They can’t give the only homily on the gospel reading.


While I think you could possibly interpret it this way, I think it’s more likely similiar to what Mahoneyt said. Back then women had non-speaking roles in Jewish Temple, as well as, secondary roles in most other matters. I think Paul was just reinforcing this, because this was the culture of the time.


You need to keep his letter in context. He was writing to a particular group, the leaders of the Church at Corinth:

[] 1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place of theirs and ours.

He was addressing a particular problem at this Church.

[] 1 Corinthians 1:11 For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

His response was to the trouble maker, who happened to be a woman. He also sites wonderful women in his letter so we can know he isn’t referring to women in general.


Not accurate in the least. There were ‘fertility cults’ around ancient Israel and Judah, and sex was used to raise monies (through the services provided by the priestesses) in other Hellenic and Etruscan temples.

However, this passage was NOT referring to any of this.

If you haven’t read my earlier posting on it, please do and if you want direction as to Catholic theologians and historians (both Catholic and Protestant) then PM me and I will respond.

Pax Christi


Regardless of what Scholar’s believe (which is subject to change and revision almost constantly) Corinthians is still sacred scripture, and is therefore guided by the Holy Spirt. It is - correct me if I am wrong - part of the Canon. It is in short the word of god & infallible. I’m simply saying this because your comment seems to say “the aren’t really authentic so we don’t have to listen to them”.



St. Paul must have been referring to a specific group of women, since he certainly does not ban Priscilla or Junia or other women from speaking in Church. Also, the Church’s tradition of women in important roles such as nuns, sisters, hermits, teachers, nurses, and other helping roles goes all the way back to Apostolic times - convents are not some kind of recently developed “equal opportunity” thing.

Only men can be priests, but this does not mean that women are inferior or that women have nothing important to contribute. Quite the contrary - the Church values women’s input.


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