How does one become a Doctor of the Church

Just Wondering. Thanks and God bless.

I believe the Pope declares a Saint to be a Doctor if they have made major contributions to the theology and philosophy of the Church. There are between 30-40 Doctors, I believe.

People like Augustine, Aquinas, Ambrose, Therese of Lisieux, etc.

33 to be precise, of which 3 are women (St. Theresa of Avilla, St. Catherine of Sienna, and somebody else). :stuck_out_tongue:

Somebody else is St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t having women as Doctors of the Church violate the concept of a male only teaching office ala the magisterium and 1 Timothy 2? How can a woman, given these traditional beliefs about the role of men and women in the church be a doctor with reading to teaching authority over men?

Just a question. I am genuinely curious how that works.


I believe one achieves this by filling out the appropriate application, along with a letter of reference from their bishop, and forwarding both, along with a small donation–shall we say $5000–to my legal representative in the Cayman Islands.


My understanding is that the designation has more to do with the saint’s deep understanding of what Christian life is. The saint is not in a teaching position in the same way a priest or bishop is. We learn from them by their examples, and their writings, and there has never been anything wrong with that. Otherwise, the Blessed Virgin would not be as revered as she is. Imagine if we were not allowed to learn from her words or her actions. Though only a few of each are recorded, they are full of meaning, and men and women both should pay attention to them.

Thank you, that is a helpful explanation.


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