Here’s a question:
IF the Church indeed does ***NOT ***have the authority to ordain women… then how does it have the authority to do anything? The power to “loose and bind” given by our Lord does not have any restrictions noted in the scriptures…
Archeological as well as historical evidence exists which indicates that women were ordained to the priesthood in the early Church. Ancient frescos discovered in the catacombs include icongraphic evidence of women presiding over Eucharistic cele-brations, according to Dr. Giorgio Otranto, Director of the Institute for Classical and Christian Studies at the University of Bari, Italy. Otranto cites a letter from Pope Gelasius I from the fifth century scolding bishops in southern Italy for allowing women “to officiate at the sacred altars, and to take part in all matters imputed to the offices of the male sex…” To substantiate the use of the word “presbytera” to refer to women priests, Oranto points to the letters of a ninth century Italian bishop, Atto of Vercelli. In the 14th century one Bishop Pelagio complained that women were still being ordained and hearing confessions. In the early 1970s Bishop Felix M. Davidek of Czechoslovakia ordained women, including one Ludmilla Javorova, and married men to serve the needs of Roman Catholics imprisoned by the Communists.
From the third to at least the ninth centuries it is an undeniable fact that women were also ordained to the diaconate. Due to their connections with church leaders, we know some of these women by name:
*]Olympias in Constantinope who was a friend of both St. Gregory of Nazianze and St. John Chrysostom. She was ordained by Bishop Nektarios. Olympias died in 418.
*]Anonyma who ministered in Antioch during the persecution of Julian the Apostate (361-363).
*]Procula and Pentadia who corresponded with St. John Chrysostom.
*]Salvina who was known to St. Jerome and became a deaconess in Constantinople.
*]Severus, Bishop of Antioch mentions deaconess Anastasia in his letters.
*]St. Basil the Great’s sister Macrina as well as her friend Lampadia were both deaconesses.
*]In addition to being a deaconess, Theosebia was also the wife of St. Gregory of Nissa.
At least 28 other deaconesses have been identified, their names preserved on tombstones.
*]Sophia of Jerusalem (4th cent. AD?). The Greek inscription reads: “Here lies the servant and virgin of Christ, the deacon !], the second Phoebe [Rom 16,1], who passed away in peace on the 21st day of March . . . May the Lord God . . .” (Revue biblique, New 1 (1904) pp. 260-262).
*]Theodora of Gaul (present-day France) carried this Latin inscription on her tomb: “Here rests in peace and of good remembrance Theodora the deaconess who lived about 48 years and died on 22 July 539.”
*]Another tombstone found in Delphi, Greece, and belonging to the 5th century remembers a certain Athanasia. “The most devout deaconess Athanasia, established deaconess by his holiness bishop Pantamianos after she had lived a blameless life. He erected this tomb on the place where her honoured [body ?] lies. If someone else dares to open this tomb in which the deaconess has been buried, may he receive the fate of Judas, who betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Nothing less the clerics who were found gathered . . ” (H.Leclercq, Dictionnaire de’Archéologie Chrétienne, Paris 1921, vol. IV, col. 570-571).
*]Another tombstone at Jerusalem remembers the deaconess Eneon who ministered to the sick: “Tomb of Eneon, daughter of Neoiketis, deaconess in this hospital” (Maffei, Museum Veronense, Verona 1749, p. 179).
I would also recommend to you, “When Women Were Priests” by Karen Jo Torjesen
So… go ahead… say it: “priesthood” and “women” in the same breath.
I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone here, nor will I falsely represent myself as a “ROMAN” Catholic bishop (as some silly women priests are doing), but, after 30 years of saying “No” to God when He called me to the priesthood, I finally found a way to say, “Yes” by seeking ordination in an independent Catholic jurisdiction.
Several of my clergy friends are Roman Catholic priests. And although they cannot give me their support publicly, they do offer it to me privately because there are just too many souls who need priests - and not enough priests available.