different roles in church

hi :slight_smile:

in my religious ed class/sunday school, we were taught that men and women are not equal and have different roles.

however, they never really told us what these roles and i am wondering what they are and how men cannot do the same and vice versa. Besides priesthood, of course, that’s pretty obvious.

thank you!

Here we go again…

I can tell you this: when they say men and women aren’t equal, they are drawing from their own opinions - not Church teaching.

Men and women are equal. They sometimes have different roles but not always.

Only baptized men can validly receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. The sacrament being conferred on a female would be invalid. Other than that - to my knowledge - any differences in male/female roles in either the Church or in society is cultural/disciplinary. Women couldn’t always been altar servers for example - and in some dioceses around the world it is still this way - but there is nothing doctrinal about it.


I know the Church keeps saying that (btw, it does teach that we are equal, BUT different). Complementarity is apparently acknowledged. However, if you simply observe, you would know that male and female roles aren’t that different, as the other poster said. I mean, besides the obvious biological differences, of course, in case any poster is going to come on here and say “Men can’t give birth!”.

There’s no extraordinary quality a man have that a women doesn’t, and vice versa. We are all different, and I feel like we live in an era where we can see that our qualities aren’t tied to our sex, for the most part. Maybe it wasn’t clear in the past, when we make generalisations and apply that to everyone. I personally don’t believe in the “feminine” genius. I love SJPII, but I just think it was simply a broad statement.

Maybe your teacher was talking about marriage. Men lead, women submit. Because of their biological sexes. It’s one of those things where we have to suck it up, “or else”. Do I sound bitter? Heh.

There isn’t an official teaching on when/where/how decisions need to be made in the home & in family life. In many marriages the husband might tend to take on more of a leadership role, often even at the preference of the woman, but again: this isn’t something that is official or tabled into a rulebook of procedures. Married life is something organic & dynamic and who makes decisions can often be purely situational.

There are behavioral & psychological differences in the sexes that are in nature (rather than nurture) that extend far beyond the physical differences, and this can account for why there are tendencies in how men & women fit into the broader makeup of society, but they are tendencies and not rules to be enforced.

If you have the opportunity could you bring the topic up again next time. Could you say
something such as we were talking about the different roles of men and women and I was wondering if we could talk about what those roles are?

Seems pretty vague and I bet you are not the only one with the question.


Can a woman bless a man?

I am curious as well. I wonder if “by not equal” this means that “men are superior to women” or just that “men and women are not the same and interchangeable”.

It seems many who have a “complementarian” or “traditional” understanding of gender roles simply assume such roles are “obvious” and don’t even require explanation to anyone with “common sense”. Women were “designed by God to be wives and mothers” and the only valid reason for them to have any other role, is some kind of financial catastrophe that requires a mother to work outside the home.

I am sure some who are very extreme about this, wouldn’t even find financial difficulty to be valid reason, but would expect such a mother to depend on family and friends to support her, as was the case in Biblical times.

However although many on CAF who identify as Traditional do support very strict gender roles, some don’t even support women receiving education for anything other than to be a “wife and mother”, I doubt this is actual Church teaching. After all the Church canonized St. Gianna Molla, who was a wife and mother, but also a practicing physician who even gasp wore pants!

Though I have come across some Traditionalists who claim “St. Gianna was canonized because she sacrificed herself for the sake of her unborn child, that hardly means she never sinned or that the Church endorsed everything she did” and seem to think she was canonized despite her “sin” in working outside the home because her final act on earth was that of martyrdom and martyrs all go to heaven. Or something like that. :shrug:

ETA: I’ve also heard that the parents of Saint Therese may be eventually canonized, even though her mother did NOT die a martyr at all, and ran a successful business in addition to raising many children, of whom many became nuns. So I really don’t see much proof that the Church itself, considers it a sin for a mother to have a paying job. And certainly since nuns are not wives or mothers, that is not the only role the Church envisions for women.

Church teaching doesn’t need to tell us this; common sense should. I’ve never for example seen any man pregnant unless it involved Schwarzenegger and DeVito. “Equality” is almost always rationally impossible and is little more than a leftover confusion from communism.

I think you may be defining “equal” differently than TheAmazingGrace. I interpreted that poster’s statement to mean that men and women are “equal” in the sense of inherent worth and value to God, that the Church does NOT teach that men are superior to women, or vice versa.

Not that men and women are completely “equal” when it comes to certain gender specific roles - I do agree these exist, though I do not think that it is at all “common sense” that “God designed women to be wives and mothers” and that therefore, women in other roles are all sinners who are disobedient to God. (Not to say you think that, but I know some Traditional Catholics do.)

If you have to ask that then I’m not sure where your head is.

I just edited my prior post to clarify what I meant. That’s the only reason I’m not reporting you for stooping to personal insults.

You sound like the kid who tells on to the teacher. :rolleyes: Good luck with that.

A couple of months ago it was the priest that said wearing make-up is a sin, now it’s this. Your school isn’t in the US, is it?

You are new here, but over the years there have been plenty of members who believe that women are inferior to men in all regards and given the OP’s posting history, I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s asking about.

St Therese’s parents were canonized on October 15, 2015.

St Paul John Paul ll had some words about women that worked outside the home,

“Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life —social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of “mystery,” to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.”


Those who get their knickers in a knot over St Gianna are the ones who will most likely argue that St John Paul ll shouldn’t have been canonized and likely will lean towards questioning his being a valid Pope.

My thoughts exactly.

:eek: I think I should clarify, so so sorry. what the woman said was “men and women are both important to god but they are not equal because god intends that they have different roles” I didn’t get the idea that the teacher was trying to be sexist or anything by saying not equal. sorry!!

My take; as a man, no woman is my equal.

All women have at least one talent or ability that is superior to mine. Many women have many talents superior to mine. And vice versa. Might your answer be hidden in this idea?

Ordination to the priesthood, yes that is a difference. Beyond that, the call of Christ to spread the gospel is universal to men and women. As St. Francis said, “spread the gospel always; use words if necessary.” I think this applies to everyone.:slight_smile:


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