Are women permitted to become Catholic chaplains?
The Vatican instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest states:
It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as “pastor,” “chaplain,” “coordinator,” “moderator,” or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the pastor, who is always a bishop or priest (Instruction, Article 1, emphasis added).
This instruction makes clear that a layperson, male or female, may not presume to assume such titles as “chaplain” that could confuse the faithful about that person’s lay collaboration with priestly ministers. It is unclear whether or not a bishop or other ecclesial authority could choose to delegate such a title to a layperson. As some commentators on the document have pointed out, such properly-authoritative delegation is not outside the realm of possibility unless the Vatican closes the door on it.