Can a girl be called to the priesthood?


#1

This is probably going to sound really weird... please bear with me. :o

I'm a 16 year old girl, and when I was I think 13, I began to feel vaguely that I wanted to help people. The feeling got continually stronger, and though sometimes I tried to ignore it, it wouldn't go away. I became fairly sure it was what God wanted me to do with my life, in some form or another (something along the lines of social work/working with underprivileged kids). Then a lot of things happened and my life really changed. I lost faith in God, and with that, I lost the incessant desire to help others.

I'm still working my way back after a struggle with faith, but I returned to the sacrament of Reconciliation last weekend, and I am still amazed by the grace and strength God has given me through it to face a challenging time in my life. I wouldn't consider my faith solid at this point, but it's improving and I want to take it much, much deeper. Even when I was having a really hard time with faith, I loved going to church, religious ed classes, and any church activities. I relish time spent in the church or with the church community and want to get more involved.

For several months, as I've made an effort to return to God and trust Him again, I've felt the familiar pull towards helping others. This time, though, it's different, and not (yet) as strong and incessant as before. It's there, though: I feel drawn towards helping people spiritually, and the desire seems to get stronger as time passes. You're probably thinking I should consider religious life as a nun. But that life doesn't appeal to me at all and it doesn't fit who I am.

I can see myself as a priest. I desperately want to help people find their faith, want to help others to have the opportunity to encounter God's grace like I did through Confession, and want to be there for people struggling with faith and going through hard times. Sometimes I feel that what I've been through in the last two years has moved me in that direction and made me more able to relate with and understand others going through similar things.

The obvious problem is I'm a girl. Some days I'm angry because that makes me unable to serve God in this way. Some days I wonder why God didn't make me a boy to start with, since I don't fit in with other girls anyway. Ultimately, though, I'm just confused. Why would I feel this desire if it's impossible for me to become a priest? Does God really want it to be this way? To be bound by something unchangeable -- my sex -- feels horrible. Sometimes I am so desperate to be a priest, or to at least have the option, and I feel miserable because I cannot serve God in this way. At the same time, I can't see a girl as a priest, and I think I would make a much better priest if I were a guy. Why would God make me feel like this? Why would He cause me to desire to serve Him in a way that I can't?

Thank you and God bless.

~Lefty


#2

A call from God to help others can be lived out in many, many ways.

A girl (woman) cannot be called to the priesthood, not because girls and women are not called to help others, but because the priest is "second Christ" - Christ is "second Adam" and Adam, of course, is male. For that reason the priest has to be male.

You can certainly live out your call to help others in many forms of Church ministry, including hospital ministry, youth ministry, Educational secretariat, and many other forms of paid ministry in the Church. These positions are not limited to priests, nor to men, and are quite often staffed by women. A theology degree is still a requirement for many of these positions, but again, theological education is not limited only to men - there are lots of women taking theology degrees in the Catholic Church. :)

If you find that church work is not for you because of the low pay, there are also many other helping vocations, such as teaching, medicine, and hospitality.


#3

Echoing what jmcrae said. A call to help people doesn't mean you are to become a priest. Missionaries and religious sisters actually help more people than priests in many cases, if you're looking at direct help (feeding, taking care, teaching, etc.). Of course the priest's main functions are Liturgical and do fulfill our spiritual needs, but more religious brothers and sisters are the ones who's "in the ditches," so to speak. Perhaps that is what you are called to, to be a religious sister and serve the poor, sick, hungry, abandonned, etc.

A girl cannot be called to the priesthood because a girl cannot become a priest. Christ will not contradict His own Church, he did not establish a female priesthood.


#4

Your longing to be of service in a priestly way reminds me a lot of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. She longed to give herself in service as a missionary, but was not able for various reasons to go to the missions. Like you, she also longed to be a priest and realized that is not possible. Through prayer, she discovered her vocation (a vocation within a vocation, as she was already a nun) as "love in the heart of the Church." She never realized her dreams in a literal way, but today she is one of the Doctors of the Church. I urge you to read her autobiography, which is often titled, "Story of a Soul."


#5

What about becoming a nun?

Couldn't you do much of what you are looking for as a nun? Perhaps study on Mother Theresa, and others. See if that's something you lean towards.

What is it about being a priest that you want to do? I suspect under many other several titles you can do much of the same, with the exception of changing bread and wine, and hearing confession. (Well, there is probably a longer list)... But you get my drift?

As a former recruiter, I would say... please list out the jobs/types of work that you want to do. Describe it in detail. Describe the kind of compensation you are looking for. What about the living conditions you would like to live in... or are ok living in.

Now, start researching actual jobs that do those things. Study those jobs. What do you do to qualify/get hired?

You are as God designed you. PERFECT... You're not in the wrong body... I suspect you just need to broaden your ideals to all that you can do!

Many prayers that you find your true vocation!


#6

Check out this site on Religious Ministries I bet you can find what you're looking for here!

Best!


#7

[quote=lefty22;7535608. Some days I wonder why God didn't make me a boy to start with, since I don't fit in with other girls anyway. Ultimately, though, I'm just confused. To be bound by something unchangeable -- my sex -- feels horrible. Sometimes I am so desperate to be a priest, or to at least have the option, and I feel miserable because I cannot serve God in this way.
[/QUOTE]

Hi, Lefty: As we get older, we begin to realize how much we are bound by things we cannot change. The older you get, the more this realization grows. Our gender certainly falls in that category, but eventually, the realization that mortality - time - binds us even more certainly. It is natural to feel resentment and confusion about these realities.

As a Catholic, what sets us apart from other people is how we process the reality that "we are bound" by unchangeable things.

First, we look to see if the binding is in fact unchangeable.

Then, if it is not, we look to see whether we should change it. St. Paul said, "not everything I can do, I should do."

If we decide that we cannot change it, or that we can but should not, then we ask how best can we accept something. Does the pain of having to accept something we don't like provide us with an opportunity to sacrifice something for the Lord.

Jesus, as you know, sacrificed his life. When he was twice your age, he was dead. Fortunately, most of us will not be called to make that sacrifice. But we are called to be sacrificial. It is very hard, which is why a lot of people that were Catholic stopped being so, and why a lot of people never become Catholic. Use the feelings you have to open an examination of your self along that line: what is there that could be sacrificed, what learned?

Last, remember that Catholics are skeptical about feelings. We believe in the war between desire and holiness. We believe our desires can mislead us. Not always, but unlike other people, who say "see it, want it, get it" Catholics ask "are my feelings good?" Are they best?

At your age, it is very Godly to want to learn, to seek after wisdom. In the old mass, there is a very pretty phrase, "God, who art the joy of my youth." See if it is possible to replace some of the anxiety with a feeling of curiosity: you are receiving a message, but can you fully decipher it? God sometimes communicates to us in a real life DaVinci code. What is the message hidden in the picture the world sees?

Cheers:)
[/quote]


#8

The priesthood is very specifically geared toward providing access to each of the Sacraments, to the Gospel, to the Homily and to the Eucharistic celebration of Mass.

IMO, what the Church needs are more women and men interested in sponsoring young adult and adult faith formation courses. The arena is wide open for service there. As are multiple numbers of other ministries vital to the Church.

Compendium and Catechism of the Catholic Church courses. On going understanding of the importance of chastity. Dating seminars, adult examination of conscience courses. Crisis pregnancy centers and homes for young women. Understanding the Early Church, RCIA sponsorship, etc.

All things that bring members of His Church closer to Jesus.

Johnette Benvokic's ministry comes to mind on EWTN. She has two programs (Women of Grace and Abundant Living) and she discusses current events on her show that most Catholic priests and Protestant pastors unfortuneately won't touch with a ten foot pole.

Frances Hogan is a scripture scholar and she has a program on EWTN called "For God So Loved the World." She's wonderful and has been instrumental in opening up the mysteries of Scripture to me.

There's a lot of hard work that needs done inside of our Church and in the world.


#9

I think that what you describe does not necessarily mean the priesthood.. the priesthood mainly involves providing people with the Sacraments, as for helping people spiritually, there are other various ways to do this :)

in any case, God would not call a girl to be a priest because only men can be priests (since they represent Christ in the Sacraments, and all the Apostles were priests). Sometimes I've wished I could be a priest too, lol, but there are other ways for women to serve in the Church and to help others spiritually :)

have you ever looked into helping prepare people for Communion, Confession, doing catechesis, being a religion teacher, etc? also there are orders of nuns that can do those things too. It depends on the order. There are also lay organizations for this.

God bless :)


#10

I am still waiting for the human genome project to discover the mysterious priest gene that resides only on the "Y" chromosome.

Seriously, I think anytime a little girl sees a priest and dreams of being one...and then is told she can't because she is a girl, Jesus weeps a little. Yes, I know that is not a Catholic opinion, and you may dismiss instantly, but do keep in mind not all Christians, indeed, not even all Catholics (some I would even consider devout) agree on this one. It is what it is at this point in time and there is no indication it will, or can, change.


#11

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:10, topic:228403"]
Seriously, I think anytime a little girl sees a priest and dreams of being one...and then is told she can't because she is a girl, Jesus weeps a little.

[/quote]

You don't have to shed that tear in the ELCA; or for the noncelibate partnered gays and lesbians who wish to become clergy.


#12

I believe that girls can be called to the priesthood. Although they are not currently allowed to, I pray that this will someday change. Please don't interpret this as unorthodoxy on my part; I actually am very traditional in my faith. However, I think that this is what Jesus intended from the start, in that . . .

  1. While the twelve apostles were, indeed, men, this was never implied to be an institution of the priesthood, in that (a) there was no form of ordination, and, (b) they did not even meet the qualifications that we hold today, as many of them were married. What was a clear institution of the priesthood was when, at the Last Supper, Jesus told the people there--men and women--to "do this in remembrance of Me." This was a clear invitation for all of His followers to listen to God's special calling towards this sacred vocation.

  2. The statement that a woman cannot act "in persona Christi," Christ being male, is often used, but is, in fact, invalid; Jesus had to be either male or female, and His choice in being a male does not reflect a requirement for all priests to be male. In fact, by stating that a woman cannot act in persona Christi, the clear insinuation is that men are closer to Jesus.

  3. In dying on the cross, Jesus invited us all to share in His kingdom as equals--not as rich or poor, not as slave and free, not as Jew and gentile, and not as man and woman, but as children of God.

  4. Doing things this way just for the sake of tradition is illogical; while traditions are valuable, traditions which are detrimental to the spiritual growth of people, i.e. withholding non-latin translations of the Bible, have always been given a second look.

  5. Stating that God is male is just illogical; God is referred to as both a paternal and maternal figure throughout the Bible, such as as a mother bear, mother hen, etc. and the image of being "reborn through Christ" is another feminine image of God which even the most traditional of us don't find offensive.

  6. I personally believe that the current shortage of vocations is a little nudge from God encouraging us to take a second look at the policy on women's ordination.

Sorry, I'm ranting :) I've read up a lot on this topic (both sides of the issue) and love a good discussion. But anyways, I wish you the best with your discernment, and hope that you can find the path God is calling you to--whether it is the priesthood or not--because that is where you will find true peace.

Blessings!


#13

No.

Falls, This is a settled doctrine. It will never change in the Catholic Church. Ever.

With all due respect:)

Welcome to CAF:)


#14

[quote="Falls_Apart, post:12, topic:228403"]
I believe that girls can be called to the priesthood. Although they are not currently allowed to, I pray that this will someday change. Please don't interpret this as unorthodoxy on my part; I actually am very traditional in my faith. However, I think that this is what Jesus intended from the start, in that . . .

  1. While the twelve apostles were, indeed, men, this was never implied to be an institution of the priesthood, in that (a) there was no form of ordination, and, (b) they did not even meet the qualifications that we hold today, as many of them were married. What was a clear institution of the priesthood was when, at the Last Supper, Jesus told the people there--men and women--to "do this in remembrance of Me." This was a clear invitation for all of His followers to listen to God's special calling towards this sacred vocation.

[/quote]

There were no women present at the Last Supper; we know this by the fact that Jesus chose the location specifically by looking for a man who was doing women's work - by this, he knew that that household contained no women, and no slaves.

  1. The statement that a woman cannot act "in persona Christi," Christ being male, is often used, but is, in fact, invalid; Jesus had to be either male or female, and His choice in being a male does not reflect a requirement for all priests to be male. In fact, by stating that a woman cannot act in persona Christi, the clear insinuation is that men are closer to Jesus.

Just as Mary undid the sin of Eve by her "Yes" to the Angel, Jesus undid the sin of Adam by His death on the Cross. It is the sin of Adam that priests continually undo by means of the Sacraments, which proceed from the Cross - therefore, it is most fitting that the priest be male, in the image of Adam whose sin is being reversed on the Altar, and in the image of Christ, who has undone and is undoing Adam's sin.


#15

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:10, topic:228403"]
I am still waiting for the human genome project to discover the mysterious priest gene that resides only on the "Y" chromosome.

Seriously, I think anytime a little girl sees a priest and dreams of being one...and then is told she can't because she is a girl, Jesus weeps a little. Yes, I know that is not a Catholic opinion, and you may dismiss instantly, but do keep in mind not all Christians, indeed, not even all Catholics (some I would even consider devout) agree on this one. It is what it is at this point in time and there is no indication it will, or can, change.

[/quote]

**

I am still waiting for the human genome project to discover the mysterious mother gene that only resides in the "X" chromosome (oh, wait, they have discovered that only females can give birth?! What a discriminatory, bigoted & small minded way that God designed the world! I'm so glad that people like Lutheranteach are teaching innocent children at Catholic schools, since he believes that God is obviously not qualified to design the universe??)

Why can men not give birth? Seriously, I think anytime a little boy sees a mother and dreams of being one...and then is told he can't because he is a boy, Jesus weeps a little. (According to experts like Lutheranteach, Jesus obviously is not qualified to tell us what we can & cannot do, because that is so politically incorrect!)

But do keep in mind, No group of human beings agrees on anything, that is exactly why Jesus Christ left His One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church to guide us to the fullness of all Truth, even if it is not easy or convenient for us.**

Pray for all of us sinners!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#16

At the same time, I can't see a girl as a priest, and I think I would make a much better priest if I were a guy. Why would God make me feel like this? Why would He cause me to desire to serve Him in a way that I can't?

Thank you and God bless.

I think you already know the answer deep in your heart lies with obedience and that shows an incredible sign of maturity. Sometimes when our wants/needs/desires do not match God's it is a tremondous Cross to bear but it is one that binds us closer to Christ's Passion on the Cross.

May I also suggest you check out the job description in your diocese for a Pastoral Associate as it includes many of the same duties minus the Sacraments.

Everyone else- in deference to this young lady's issue can we stop this from being an apologetics debate and help her with her thoughts and feelings as this may be a more productive solutions.

God bless,


#17

Thank you all for your kind replies. I really appreciate your time.

Well, one thing I've noticed that is "different" about me compared to a lot of my peers is I don't care about money. Honestly, whether or not I make some, none, or a lot of money doesn't matter to me. (This obviously concerns my parents. ;)) I want to live a life of service; I don't want to do things for myself anymore, and money just doesn't seem to matter to me. It's not even something I consider when I think about possible careers.

I'm not really set on any particular lifestyle -- as of now, I don't have a preference for being married or having kids and all that. I guess I like to think I'm open to wherever God's going to take me. I think I would find living completely alone a bit isolating, and in many ways living in a relatively small close-knit group of people (like the four priests at my parish -- two retired, two still doing mass on a regular basis) really appeals to me. I don't really desire a family bond as much as a community bond, if that makes sense. Working on teams or in close groups is more my kind of thing.

I'm not totally solid in what I want to do, but there are a few things that appeal to me very strongly, aside from the sacramental duties of priesthood which aren't exactly an option. First of all, helping people, particularly kids and teens, with their faith is really important to me. I don't want to force it on them, but I want them to encourage them to develop a better understanding of it. I just love the atmosphere at church, being with people from church, or doing anything related to church: mass, "golden ager" dinners, just hanging out with people. I can really see myself working in a church office, actually.

Lately I've been feeling extremely restless. I'm bored with school (I'm a junior in high school, thinking about graduating this year since I have the necessary credits) and nothing in my life really holds the meaning it used to. I'm fighting with depression, but one thing that is almost guaranteed to bring me out of it is spending time with people from church and being more involved. Last week, six kids from my Confirmation class (including me) had dinner with our priests at the rectory. I came home so energized and feeling better than I'd felt in months, yet more restless, too -- like something huge is missing from my life. I just can't figure out what it is.

Do you have any recommendations for how I can get more involved in my church now? I coach CYO soccer (incredible experience), attend mass every Sunday, and am very active in my Confirmation class. After Confirmation, I plan to become either a lector or a Eucharistic minister and I also hope to teach a faith formation class next year, probably kindergarten or first grade. I'm also going to join our Lifeteen group this summer (during the school year I have a scheduling conflict). I just don't feel like that's enough, though. I'm realizing that the Church is a kind of second family to me -- in fact, I wonder if that is one of the things God has been trying to teach me. Lately I have just felt this burning desire to be more involved -- and I haven't felt much of anything for months as a result of depression and mild psychological trauma. It's like the idea of doing something in church is all that can excite me, and I love every minute of it.

Recently our human development coordinator passed away. I desperately wanted to talk to our priests about helping with some of her responsibilities. I talked to my mom about it, though, and she said just what I figured: I'm a teenager. They'll want an adult for the job. I was crushed (yes, it may sound stupid. But the mere idea of being involved like that made me so excited). What opportunities are there in the church that can be more than a Sunday commitment? I need to make God a steady part of my life every day. My home situation right now makes that difficult. Is there any possibility of a teen getting an office job? Or am I just being stupid, hoping for something that is impossible?

One other question -- how does one get to be a sacristan? And is that only for men?

Sorry if I'm rambling; hopefully this gives you all more of an idea of where I'm coming from and what I'm feeling and desiring. Thank you so much! :)


#18

God will never contradict His Church, and He will never contradict Himself. God has called men from the beginning, it is how God has intended it to be.

Actually they always had a number of women with them. Mary Magdalene is a prominent one. Some say Peter’s wife was with them as well. Not sure how much the Virgin Mary accompanied them, but she’s also there from time to time. Why did none of them become priests? Or Apostles? Also, during the Last Supper, the women weren’t there, just the 12. This is pretty much in line with the Jewish custom of the time that there were no women there.

But a woman delivered Christ into the world and gave Him flesh. Isn’t His mother the one closer to Him more than any of His Apostles?

You’re looking too much into the roles. One having a role over another doesn’t make one better than the one who doesn’t have that role. No man can ever become a mother, does that mean fathers are lesser parents?

Equality does not mean the same in everything. To say that a woman and man is exactly the same in everything is to deny that God created us distinct from one another. Being different doesn’t have to be bad.

Its not for the sake of tradition but for the sake of God’s intention. Male and female have distinct roles in society. By separating those roles we are aware of it. We should work complementary. If women do everything that men does and men do everything that women does, thats not complimentary, thats competition.

That is very much true. As a perfect being God has the fullness of both genders. But God revealed Himself to be the Father. Why? There is a reason God wishes to be seen as a male rather than a female, and it has to do with our roles. It not meant as a dis to women. If God thinks women are inferior, why is the most important human being in history a woman (Mary)?

I think this is too much liberal use of personal interpretation of the issue. Many would argue for married men being ordained to become priests as the solution. But really, assuming that woman can be ordained, do you think women would flock to seminaries? Have you seen how much diocesan priests are paid?

No offense but apparently you haven’t read enough.


#19

Women can be Sacristans - you would have to talk to your priest and see if your age would be a factor - but he may let you help the Sacristans - there is usally quite a bit of work that needs to be done.


#20

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:10, topic:228403"]
I am still waiting for the human genome project to discover the mysterious priest gene that resides only on the "Y" chromosome.

Seriously, I think anytime a little girl sees a priest and dreams of being one...and then is told she can't because she is a girl, Jesus weeps a little. Yes, I know that is not a Catholic opinion, and you may dismiss instantly, but do keep in mind not all Christians, indeed, not even all Catholics (some I would even consider devout) agree on this one. It is what it is at this point in time and there is no indication it will, or can, change.

[/quote]

Priesthood is an unmerited gift from God. Just like no matter how much I want and try, I will not give birth to child (I am a guy, by the way). No matter how much a woman wants and tries, she will not become a priest.

The all-male priesthood is instituted by divine law and cannot change.

Also, The BV Mary, the greatest woman ever born and possibly the greatest human ever born (save Christ who was also divine), was not called to the priestly ministry. It is a little vain to say that a want, no matter how strong, makes a girl more worthy for priesthood than Mary. This goes for men too, they merit priesthood by the grace of God alone.


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