Is there scriptural support for male only priesthood?


Is there scriptural Support for Male only priesthood? I am asking in order to respond to a letter to the editor from a woman wanting to know an exact quote where God said only men can oversee His Church.
Thank you very much.


There is no exact quote from scripture where God says only men can be priests. This “prove-it-to-me-from-scripture” argument has no biblical basis. Scripture says nothing like this. The Church has always taught that scripture is to be read and interpreted in the light of the Church’s tradition. Scripture must be interpreted by tradition; tradition must be interpreted by scripture. And, scripture must not be privately interpreted (2 Peter 1:20-21). The divinely-appointed authority to interpret scripture (in the light of tradition) is the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

The following verses will help to shape your rebuttal:

Jesus chose certain men to participate in his mission: Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; 1 Tim 3:1-13; 2 Tim 1:6; Titus 1:5-9

Jesus gives the Twelve a share in his authority: Luke 9:2:

Through them he directs the Church: Luke 22:29-30:

The priest acts in the place of Christ: Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 2 Cor 5:20; Gal 4:14

No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders: Hebrews 5:4

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled both men and women, but the proclamation of the fulfillment of the prophecies in Jesus was made only by “Peter and the Eleven”: Acts 2:1-14

The women who worked with the Apostles were never considered for ordination
Rom 16:3-12; Phil 4:3, Acts 18:26

Further notes:

The Blessed Virgin Mary was not invested with the apostolic ministry
Pope Innocent III repeated later, at the beginning of the 13th century, "Although the Blessed Virgin Mary surpassed in dignity and in excellence all the Apostles, nevertheless it was not to her but to them that the Lord entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Declaration on the Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood

Further reading:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Women and the Priesthood

Women Priests–No Chance
By Joanne Bogle

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

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