The Forbidden Subject: The Ordination of Women

The Christian priesthood is therefore of a sacramental nature: the priest is a sign, the supernatural effectiveness of which comes from the ordination received, but a sign that must be perceptible18 and which the faithful must be able to recognise with ease. The whole sacramental economy is in fact based upon natural signs, on symbols imprinted on the human psychology:

“Sacramental signs,” says Saint Thomas, “represent what they signify by natural resemblance.”19 The same natural resemblance is required for persons as for things: when Christ’s role in the Eucharist is to be expressed sacramentally, there would not be this “natural resemblance” which must exist between Christ and his minister if the role of Christ were not taken by a man: in such a case it would be difficult to see in the minister the image of Christ. For Christ himself was and remains a man.

I would like mainly women to comment on the above, though male poster can give their opinion too :slight_smile:

This is one woman’s response :

My initial response was one of disbelief. It seemed impossible to me that the leadership of the Church had reduced ‘imaging Christ’ in such a crass way as being physically masculine. I felt naive, duped, betrayed, lost. I had the distinct sense that now everything in my life had a different meaning. And I knew, with my whole self, that what I had just read was not the truth. These words contradicted everything I had ever been taught and believed about myself, about Jesus, about my Christian vocation.

I knew that I had experienced the living Christ in many women who bore no ‘natural resemblance’ to Christ but who had in so many ways made Christ incarnate for me. I knew that there was much in me that blocked others from seeing Christ, but I knew from the depths of me that my female body was no obstacle.

I knew that I had been led on by a male clerical magisterium who flattered me by telling me that I was created in God’s image, shared in Christ’s mission, while all the while believing that I was basically inferior and would never be a ‘perceptible’ sign of Christ’s presence. I had never wanted to be ordained. I still don’t. But that had nothing to do with being united to Christ. I knew that the document was false, and from that moment on, that I could never presume truth from an institution that had denied my own truth.

I tend to have a similar thought.

When you read it, are you offended by it, does it bother you slightly?


No it doesn’t. Frankly it annoys me and saddens me as to just how little Church history and Catholic theology people have even been exposed to.

As I have said a zillioin times:
Show me a successful priest and I will show you an army of women doin the heavy lifting.
And not for the glory, the prospect of being revered or to be noticed.
For the simple love of God and His Church on earth.

We women who work hard in the church are baffled by this assumption that we are less.
Priests are priests. I am not. God knows the difference, and so do I.
I do not need to be ordained. I have a role. It’s not confect the Eucharist or Sacraments. That’s fine by me. I will help my priest to do his job in any way he needs though.

God bless our priests.

Caveat: I’m a guy.

But I think pianistclare has it right. We shouldn’t confuse “different” for “less than.” Women have a different role than men in the Church, in the sense that they can’t administer the Sacraments. That does not mean that women are less than men, don’t have equal dignity to men, and don’t contribute in huge ways to the Church.

I have never felt as though I was a lesser being for being female. I’ve know the importance of my femininity all my life. In my mind God created man AND woman, not two persons of the exact same nature. He made our bodies different to accomplish the roles He set forth for us.

As far as the Church, I know I am not considered a less because I’m female. In fact, I would be far more concerned if the Church went down the path of female ordination. For 2000 years men have been ordained and I see no reason to change that.

Really - when women believe they have the right to be ordained are they truly seeking the will of God or something else entirely? The virtue of obedience may be in question with them.

This, absolutely this.

:thumbsup: I feel exactly the same way.


It used to bother me, but it no longer does.

If God can arbitrarily limit the preisthood to the descendents of Levi, then He can arbitrarily limit the preisthood to one gender. I don’t see the issue, as long as the church doesn’t act as if they know a reason for God’s descision (ie “Wemens is too dumb for the book learnin.” or somthing like that.)

No angel has ever greeted a Priest with the words, "Hail Kecharitomine"
No Priest has conceived supernatually.
No Priest has even borne God in his body.
No Priest has ever nursed God.
No Priest has ever taught God.
No Priest has accompanied God from virgin womb to virgin tomb.
The most blessed of all humanity is…a woman.
This goes on and on.

It is not equality, it is supremacy that is desired in this evil and corrupt generation.


The subject is not “forbidden” so much as that it is already settled and therefore pointless to talk about it as though it were not settled and could potentially change. :shrug:

I think that inferring that women are “inferior” simply because they cannot be priests belies a gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a priest. I’m a lay Catholic guy. Am I “inferior” because I’m not a priest? Are the clergy “superior” to all non-clergy?

The assertion that the Church views women as “lesser” simply because they cannot be priests only holds water if we believe that priests are exalted above all other humanity. Such putting a priest on a pedestal is—ironically—one of the very things that promoters of women’s ordination argue should not be done. And this same view would mean that all non-priests (whether male or female) are deemed “inferior.”

I know I’m a guy and so maybe I’m not supposed to comment on this, but I can safely say that my wife feels even more strongly about this than I do. :stuck_out_tongue: She doesn’t even think we should have girl altar servers whereas I’m more ambivalent about that. :slight_smile:

The subject is not forbidden and appears here on a fairly regular basis. Pope John Paul II explained it all.


Well stated.

Deaconesses? I see little issue with what male Permanent Deacons do vs historical Catholic teaching being done by women.

Indeed, virtually all non-Catholic communities are welcoming/making female pastors. It’s natural where men shirk their calling and /or duties. The lack of ‘Fathers’ in the Church reflects the lack of fathers in society.

God has no gender.

I have confidence that someday, the Catholic Church will ordain women priests, though I probably won’t be around to see it.

That’s all I have to say.

Thank you, my next question was going to be “what’s so forbidden about it?”

There are a lot of subjects I refrain from posting about very much on the Internet because drama ensues and I’m not here to keep the virtual popcorn booth in business. That doesn’t make them “forbidden” though.

Women have the greatest gift of all, to create life. A Mother will love her child when all others have given up. When men can bear a child, then they can debate on an equal footing.

So it is with our Mother in Heaven. She will love us and fight for us when the whole world has condemned us. She is the best example of all of what women are to mankind. To diminish the role of women, is to diminish the role of Our Lady.

The Church has clearly explained She has no power to ordain women as priests. So I wouldn’t buy stock in that.

The day may come a woman is given the title and advisory role similar to a Cardinal; where ordination is not mandatory. There are women (as Mary Ann Glendon) who have had important advisory roles in the Vatican but a future title may help make this more clear.

God the Father reveals Himself as father, masculine. God the Son is not only a son, masculine, but is literally male after the Incarnation. God the Holy Spirit reveals Himself as masculine, the spouse of the Virgin Mary through whom she conceived.

The Catholic Church will never ordain women, because she does not have the authority to do so. The Church can’t change the sacraments, because she didn’t invent them. They came from Jesus.

I recommend listening to Peter Kreeft’s talk on why only men can be priests, available here:

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