I know that, for example, a woman would be ex-communicated from the Church if she “became” a priest. I am aware of the Church’s standing on this. I am curious, though, for opinions on this rule?
Also, what are some good things to remember if ever debating this subject? I am on the side of the Catholic Church on ALL matters, and have heard a lot of complaints about this particular rule, and plans to “reform” it. What are some ways that YOU would defend your faith when it comes to this? Any personal experiences?
having been raised in the Episcopal church and later mortified to learn
they were ordaining female priests (I had lapsed for many years!), I began to seriously question the Episcopal church that I so loved as a child (although from a very young age felt drawn to Catholicism).
I don’t really have a good argument developed yet, but I believe in a male priesthood. I don’t believe Jesus intended for women to be priests. Women are fulfilling many other good ministries.
I agree with what the Church teaches on this subject. If it ever comes up I say that Our Lord only ordained men to the priesthood and the Apostles did the same. This is in line with the Old Testament in which only men could be priests.
For me it comes down to the function of the priest as representative of Christ HIMself. Christ is a man, and that matters because our physical identity matters. I hope that is in line with th e Catholic view, it is not my intent to disagree with the church.
What rule are You asking about? About the excommunication? Or about the impossibility for a woman to become a priest? Not only the word ‘become’, but even the word “priest” should be put in quotes, because the Catholic Church considers it impossible. There can be no “plans to reform”, because it is already part of the infallible Magisterium.
As far as “complaints” go… All this is caused by the modern society’s denying the substantial differences between sexes/genders. This is one of the reasons the modern society is dysfunctional in many ways, especially in the field of man-woman relationships.
Priesthood is not gender-neutral. The priest represents Christ, Who is related to His Church as the Bride-groom to the Bride, not vice versa.
St. Paul (1 Corinthians 14:34-36) commanded the women to keep silent in the church. It should not be followed literally in our days, as the society changes and the things that might have caused disorder in Paul’s times do not necessarily cause it today. However, the Paul’s precept is still valid in so far as the worship of God at all times must be orderly and gender-specific. And it reveals that “female priesthood” was unthinkable in the Apostolic times.
If women think this reduces their potential and dignity in the Church, let us remember that the Church venerates a Woman as the best Christian of all times, immeasurably meritorious and immeasurably glorified for that. Nevertheless, Jesus only chose men to be among the 12 apostles - not because they deserved it more (in fact, unlike Mary, they failed Him over and over), but because the apostolate was simply a men’s job.
One thing that has helped me a great deal is to realize that some things are just not possible, and it has nothing to do with equality or fairness. Men make excellent parents, but they cannot be mothers. Women can be great teachers, public speakers, and they can love God and the faith…but they cannot be priests (and for that matter, most men aren’t called to it, either.)
I think the confusion really resides in a view of religion that does not have Sacraments. In most Protestant churches, a pastor is a charismatic person who connects with the faithful, and he (or she) may have great talents for that, but a Protestant pastor does not consecrate the Eucharist or absolve sins. His (or her) work is all spiritual, not corporal. The body matters a great deal to Catholics. And there are many ways to serve Christ in the Catholic Church - though some are ignorant of this, and think their options are priesthood or nothing.
I don’t spend much time thinking about, but haven’t heard a good reason for the rule yet. The only justification I have heard is “it’s always been that way”, which of course isn’t a reason at all.
We must consider that there we terrible things done to and thought about women in history. Like they we considered unclean during menstration and other absurd thinking… The Church has come a long way and still has a ways to go regarding women. Pope Francis had noticed this deficiency and has called for a comprehensive theology of women… Hopefully he will involve women in the discussion
St John Paul II’s great Apostolic Letter *Mulieris Dignitatem *1988, *On The Dignity And Vocation Of Women *had shown why the Saviour chose only men.
‘26. Against the broad background of the “great mystery” expressed in the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church, it is possible to understand adequately the calling of the “Twelve”. In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behaviour, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time. Consequently, the assumption that he called men to be apostles in order to conform with the widespread mentality of his times, does not at all correspond to Christ’s way of acting. “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men” (Mt 22:16). These words fully characterize Jesus of Nazareth’s behaviour. Here one also finds an explanation for the calling of the “Twelve”. They are with Christ at the Last Supper. They alone receive the sacramental charge, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24), which is joined to the institution of the Eucharist. On Easter Sunday night they receive the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:23).
‘Since Christ, in instituting the Eucharist, linked it in such an explicit way to the priestly service of the Apostles, it is legitimate to conclude that he thereby wished to express the relationship between man and woman, between what is “feminine” and what is “masculine”. It is a relationship willed by God both in the mystery of creation and in the mystery of Redemption. It is the Eucharist above all that expresses the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegroom towards the Church the Bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental ministry of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts “in persona Christi”, is performed by a man. **This explanation confirms the teaching of the Declaration Inter Insigniores, published at the behest of Paul VI in response to the question concerning the admission of women to the ministerial priesthood.50’ **[My bold].
In 1994 St. Pope John Paul II published Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which he reiterated the Tradition (capital T) that the Church does not now, nor has it ever, had the power to ordain women:
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. Lk 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
The fact is, if Jesus wanted to conform to prevailing custom and times, he could have easily created a female priesthood, or included them in the priesthood. It was present in all of the contemporary gentile religions to have women priests.
The fact is, Jesus created the New Covenant priesthood to fulfill and perfect the Aaronic Priesthood as prescribed very specifically, and in great detail by God Almighty Himself in the Torah and prophesied throughout the prophets. So women who have a beef about this should go right to the source of the all male priesthood: God Almighty.