Is the Church a Patriarchy?


Come to that, the Church has no authority to ordain men, at least none directly given by Christ. (By this, I mean priests in the sense in which we now have them.) For that matter, the Church has changed many Biblical norms, even explicitly mentioned ones (married elders, for one example) So why are these so different?


Notice I said it would make abuse more rare, not wipe it out entirely. Women do abuse, but more rarely than men, especially sexual abuse.

And I’m aware that the pope can make or change any rules. It’s just that the reasoning given for some of these changes don’t stand up too well to examination.


I was asking if you suggested women priests would solve the problem of women not being the ultimate decision makers at the parish level and on up.

Many things about this make me really uncomfortable but this one mostly, and this is why I alluded to the ideologically Marxist undertones above: If having women as priests is just supposed to solve some power struggle for decision making in the Church, that’s the most wrong answer to a bad question. Being a priest or bishop isn’t about having power, it’s about having the responsibility to shepherd the Church.


You are quite right in saying it should be like that. Part of what I was trying to point out was that the way bishops live their lives, and the way in which they are treated tend to make the office more about power than about being a shepherd. And the reality is that many bishops obviously enjoy having the power.

It’s also a reality that although men and women are obviously different, they share the same desires, perhaps the same calling, to bear responsibilities, and to shepherd, in the same ways. The women who have these desires, maybe callings, just want to have the same opportunities to do so as men.


Except that’s completely wrong. Jesus ordained people and gave those ordained people the ability to ordain others. I don’t see what your argument is here.


Where? No translation, as far as I know, has ever used the word “ordained” or anything with close to the same meaning. And Jesus said nothing at all about appointing women or men.


Women are excluded from the vast majority of decision making and authors in the Church… now that the word ‘all’ has been removed, does your position change?


No. Women such as abbesses and leaders of sisterhoods do have some authority, but only over other women. And even a lowly priest has authority over a sister in many matters.


I don’t think there is evidence that they did treat men the same way… I hadn’t heard that before.

It’s a little funny to me that you are arguing that if the church treated women poorly, but they treated men poorly to, that it’s okay.


To speak to your point, perhaps we should move on from the topic of ordination. Speaking of marriage, does the Church teach that women have equal authority to men within a family?


He only ordained men.


In my marriage prep classes 5 years ago, I don’t recall the people (mostly women) who taught the class alluding to the question ‘who has authority over whom.’

We were taught (not only in those classes, but in the Catholic marriages I observed growing up, in Catholic school, and by priests) that husband and wife are to respect and love each other, the husband should love his wife as Christ loves his Church, according to Paul, women should obey their husbands, too. Of course, if said husband is a fool, abusive, or just plain dumb, he is not imitating Christ, and his wife has every right to correct him and the situation accordingly.


That’s kind of the definition of patriarchy. Without claiming it’s right or wrong, I think we have to acknowledge that the Church is, by definition, patriarchal.


Fine, but if loving one’s wife as Christ loved his Church—dying for Her! This is the definition of selfless, self-giving marital love.


Indeed. But that’s not the point in question.


Very well then.


This isn’t true at all. She was conceived without sin. The rest of us weren’t.


What chapter and verse?


No, you are not correct. The Pope cannot 'make or change any rules."

He cannot decide that the Trinity is now “the Fab Four, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and St. Paul” for example.

If you agree with that, then how can you not see that there are other teachings which likewise cannot be changed.

If you don’t agree, if you think virtually anything in the Church’s deposit of teachings is up for change, then you don’t really understand the Church itself.


Adam and Eve were created without sin. But obviously they were capable of choosing to sin. . .and did.

Mary. . .did not.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit