Is the "Priests can only be men" teaching infallible?


I went to see a priest from out of town speak at my parish this evening, and he made it a point to tell a story about women in his parish being drawn to “strong female leaders”, and proceeded to make jokes and basically downplay the teaching that only men can be priests. I want to write a letter to my parish priest about the visiting priest expressing my concerns, but I’m not sure what to say exactly.

I know Popes as recent as JP2 have said “No, not happening”, but has it ever been declared infallibly? If so, where can I find the documentation?

Thanks :slight_smile:


“Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4).

Rome has spoken, the matter is settled. This is an infallible teaching.


Yes, it is a constant and infallible teaching.


Thank you guys very much :slight_smile:


Even after JPII made the matter very clear in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, people still doubted. Some claimed that it was still only a discipline and not a doctrine that is part of the deposit of faith. Finally, someone posed the question to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and this was the response:

Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: In the affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

You’d be hard pressed to find a recent example where the Church spoke more clearly and definitively on a particular issue.


I’ve heard Fr. John Corapi say that even if a Bishop ordained a woman, that woman would still not be a Catholic Priest. He said it is a theological impossibility.


The popes made clear that the infallible declaration of the Magisterium (i.e. the infallible teaching authority) of the Catholic Church has declared that this is impossible. The Catholic Church does not have any authority to ordain priestesses. This is one of the most clearly defined issues ever. No Apostolic Church can ordain women.


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