Women as priests

Hi Edwin,

Point taken. I’ve often thought about this. But read 1 Corinthians 12:24-28. We all have our place in the church.

I’m assuming, by your signature, that you are not Catholic. So, you probably think our whole priesthood is irrational, and not just the “nuptial relationship” bit.

Did you know that the two most important things a priest can do (and we can’t do) is to i) turn the bread and wine into the body and blood of christ and ii) hear confession and say “I absolve you of your sins”. You probably think we Catholics are a whacky bunch of people.

Did you know that when we call a priest “Father”, it is not out of reverence or respect, but we do because we realise the special ministry that he is a part of that, together with The Church, gives us spiritual life.

I like the Eucharistic sexual explaination. Sex is an image of us recieving Christ into us in the Eucharist to give us new life. We the Church are faminine to Christ and the Priest is in the Person of Christ. Therefore a women priest would be a sign of homosexual sex not the total self giving sex between husband and wife.

Two conditions are required for valid ordination, the male sex and baptism. That women cannot be validly ordained is clear from St. Paul’s epistles, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12, from Apostolic Tradition and from the constant practice of the Church. St. Epiphanius remarks that if it were lawful for women to be priests, Mary, the Mother of God, would certainly have been the first.

What’s wrong with a mystery?

Grace & Peace!

I too found this reasoning somewhat incomprehensible. Contarini is a better apologist than I, but I’ll state my misgivings nonetheless.

To state that the individual soul bears a certain individual character (personhood) is one thing. I can accept that. But to say that the soul is gendered like the body is gendered is, to me, a bit materialistic.

In the classical sense, all souls are feminine in that they are meant to receive the Divine. No soul, in relation to God who is Lover of Souls, is masculine in this sense.

One may be able to say that two basic activities of the soul at prayer are vigilence and receptivity; and one could further add that the former can be referred to as masculine, the latter as feminine. But the masculine vigilence serves the feminine receptivity, not vice versa–it guards and protects it, nurtures it, if you will. Still, the soul is not gendered as the body is gendered. Masculine and feminine here refer to the classical notions of activity and receptivity, and gender shares in these symbolic notions, not the other way around. That is, maleness is a physical expression of a principle of activity, femaleness a physical expression of a principle of receptivity.

Still, a woman is not incapable of activity, nor is a man incapable of receptivity for all of their respective sharing in the principles to which their genders correspond. Moreover, both masculinity and femininity are quite deep concepts and ultimately defy the easy (though helpful) activity-receptivity dichotomy. One need only look at mother goddess cults (such as the cult of Kali) to see how complex this principle of femininity has been understood to be. In fact, while we as a culture generally consider the feminine to be a civilizing force, the ancient Greeks understood the masculine ordering principle to be the civilizing force, taming the violent feminine (see, for instance, Aeschylus’ fantastic Oresteia trilogy and the taming of the Furies in the ironically titled “Eumenides”). But I digress.

The bottom line: the soul of a man is in need of being conditioned to receive and bear its Lord; and this quality of soul, this receptivity which characterizes the soul qua soul, is no more natural in women than in men.

In other words, we are all called to be mothers in the spiritual sense. Just as the Theotokos bore the Eternal Word, we are called to bear the Son of the Father in our souls. Further, we are called to guard and nurture the seed of the Word planted in us, insofar as God has given us the grace to do so.

To me, therefore, it is a theological absurdity to claim that the souls of men and women are distinctly and absolutely gendered. We don’t even need to get into the absurdity of sexuality in heaven (as sexuality is predicated on gender–so if the soul is gendered, there must be a sexual use to which that gender is put), nor do we need to quote St. Paul who tells us that in Christ there is no male or female.

Under the Mercy,

Deo Gratias!

Of course I don’t know for sure but I would think that it is more or less a combination of the symbolic and the traditional.

The Apostles from whom all ordinations must flow were all male. Jesus had prominant female disciples who were by all means spiritually equal to the men one could even argue superior to the men often in understanding, courage and devotion. Yet none of them were made Apostles. Jesus was also not shy about upsetting the apple cart so it would seem unlikely he didn’t chose men simply because of the standards of the time. My belief is that the Church saw significance in all of these things and so has kept the preisthood male. We’ve done well under the system and so the Church has seen no reason to cease.

Now I on a personal level don’t have a knee jerk bad reaction to the idea of women’s ordination. However, I do have to admit that the fact that Jesus didn’t do it does seem significant.

You asked why though. My personal opinion is that it is because it was through man that sin entered the world. Remember that it was Adam not Eve that was blamed for the fall. As such I think it is the responsibility of men to serve in this way as a sort of gender attonement. We whose ancestor was lord of the earth and who brought sin into the world must now be the servant of all.

That is all my opinion though.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with a mystery… but I’ll tell you later. :wink:

Anyway, back to the thread…

If something had to be gender related, then it must be “creating life” related :twocents:. What other possible reason could there be?

If the priest has to be male, then it would imply that he is engaging with some other entity that is female (ie, The Church - The Bride of Christ). And the life they are generating is spiritual everlasting life that Adam and Eve lost for us. (It has always been God’s plan for male and female to come together and create life.)


Yes to say something is a mystery is a fall-back position that is irritating, but despite the angst that causes it is a simple truth that God has not always been forthcoming in his reasons for anything. One could ask why did God not make all reproduction parthenogenic or why couldn’t every creature be made to reproduce like the amoeba. I am saying sometimes things just are the way they are and there is no good answer to why.

Why did Jesus choose only men for apostles? I don’t think there is an answer beyond some human suppositions. God tells Job my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts… so in some things He must have felt it was none of our business and even if he bothered to explain we might not understand. The Church has put out several reasons for why it cannot ordain women. None of them seem to have been convincing to everyone. I just accept that we have never done it before and we aren’t going to start now and that is the way it is. :shrug:

Is their an inherent inferiority to following in the foot steps of the Mother of God? Seems like being a Nun/Sister would be a tremendous vocation and clear path to the Kingdom of God.

I think this is true. I do not view male priesthood as a slight against women but as burden on men. People I think get this idea that because priests hold pastoral positions that this is the same as being a manager or CEO and that they’re setting around all day drinking Margaritas and buying yachts.

The Priesthood is not glamorous, fun or easy. It is a high stress serving job that to be honest goes against a mans basic instinct. Which I think is part of the point. Most of the problems that exist in the world are at the hands of men so it is upon men to make the sacrifices. In other words we screwed it up so its up to us to help make it better.

I think that area to evaluate when looking at the reason for a male priesthood is that God reveals himself as a masculine person. God created the universe out of nothing, not making it from his own substance. The father begets the Son while in Mary he is conceived and born. Jesus became a Man and referring himself as the Son. Even when referring to the Holy Spirit, masculine pronouns are used.

Anyway, since the Apostles then Bishops and Priests are God’s representatives on earth and carry out his full priestly office then it only makes sense that his representatives would bear God’s and Christ’s masculinity.

Remember that when a priest consecrates the bread & wine it isn’t the priest that offers the sacrifice but Christ himself through the priest. When a priest forgives someone of their sin it is truly Christ through the priest that forgives the sin.

The Catholic church is a liturgical church who relies heavily on symbolism and will remain to do so. As Catholics it is a waste of time to argue the idea of women priest because as long as this church follows Christ it will never happen. Married priest can be argued but not women priest.

This all be said this does not take away the importance of women in the church nor does it make the church a discremater of women. We all have examples of women from the Bible and our saints of women being leaders in the church and that will continue to be the case.

What ERose said.

I’ll add if the Lord wanted to, He could have: the Gospel records women followers (the only ones who were at the Cross, and came to the tomb), and Gentile religions had plenty of priestess, so it wasn’t odd in that society (just in Hebrew Palestinian society). And you think if He intended it, He would have ordained His mother.

Interesting. I’ve never heard a Traditionalist Latin argue against women priests on the basis of married priests (something they’re ordinarily against).

Traditionalist Catholics aren’t the only Catholics against married priests. Theologically it is a long discipline that has existed since the beginning. For clarification. No priest would be allowed to marry after receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders. Women would never be allowed to be ordained if the Church holds fast the the ““T"raditions and teachings” passed on” by the apostles as Paul states. I "T"ed to emphasize the difference between Man’s tradition compared to “Sacred Tradition”.

The reason the married Anglican Priests that were received into the Catholic Church received Holy Orders was the simple position of their Holy Orders not being valid. Just as changes to the Tradition would produce an invalid sacrament say same sex marriage or baptism with flour. Just because you can go through the motions doesn’t make it valid.

BTW: I would prefer unmarried priests, however, I would prefer to be Eastern Catholic and thus accept married priests with no problem. As you can see, I’m a convert. My wife doesn’t want married priests because they are ditracted by their families - my daughter is screaming “NO THANK YOU” because mom is putting on PJ’s that do not have footies. That’s one example of distraction that unmarried priests do not have to deal with everyday. Thus I am the bishop of the domestic church - an ecclesial community within the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. IT IS A MYSTERY that we can only give theological conjecture. Saying a Priest is married to the Church is a metaphor and that doesn’t mean he can’t be married. Women priests on the other hand is a completely different animal. It would change the ordinary or the sacrament and thus render it invalid. My hip shooting quick stab at it. However, the Church clearly explains it and it has already been covered. We, as Catholics, would be wrong to reject the teachings of the Church and to do so would render us a non-Catholic.

We must uphold woman’s dignity at every turn and to resist the ways in which gender roles have been exagerated to favor men. But it also calls us to resist the other extreme that views men and women interchangeable.

We call priests father for a reason. Priest efficaciously symbolize Christs giving up his body for his Bride so that she can conceive life “in the Holy Spirit.” Only men can do this. As John Paul II reminded us. “It is the Eucharist that above all expresses the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegrom towards the Church, the Bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts in the person of Christ, is performed by a man.”

If the ministry of the Eucharist were performed by a woman, the symbolism would be become that of bride to bride. There would be no possibility of effecting the nuptuial union.

The Eucharist is the sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride.

For sacraments to be efficacious, the physical reality must properly symbolize the spiritual reality. For instance, if a priest said the words of baptism over someone while pouring motor oil over his head, there would be no sacrament because the cleansing symbolism of water is necessary to bring about the spiritual cleansing from sin. Without an accurate symbol (motor oil symbolizes making dirty), nothing happens.

Similarly, if a bishop laid hand on a woman and proclaimed the words of ordination, nothing would happen because a woman is not an accurate symbol of the Bridegroom. So it’s not a matter of the Church’s stubborn unwillingness to ordain women to the priesthood. It’s a matter of impossibilty.

This was from Christopher West book Good news about Sex and marriage. chaspter 9

If anything women show us what it is like to be the Bride that is awsome! Why would you want to be a priest?

I keep hearing all of this talk about women being marginalized or unimportant. Now I would never talk to my wife like that nor would we appreciate anyone going there. With that said. Start googling Catholic Parishes and look for names and pictures of the staff. I’ve discovered that at least 80 to 90 percent of the staff are women. I think the men are being marginalized, not women. I believe women have pushed way too far and men are dropping like flies from the faith. These men are joining evangelical churches that place men at a higher status than women. Many women seem to fall in line with that too. Now I’m not jumping on anybodies side on this, but I believe God created man different than women. I believe that everyone would agree with that. My favorite Saints are women. I’ve been sensitized to women in my upbringing. But I’ve come to see that the Church has addressed this beautifully over the years. It’s our own sinful pride that gets in the way. We are supposed to submit to our vocations in life, no matter how ordinary they seem… If anybody realizes this, it’s me. I’ve had many issues over the years and I find that the Catholic Church is actually leans too far to the female genger.

But if the Church were put in our hands it would have died a long time ago. That’s why we have a teaching authority. I’m impressed with many of the Catholic responses and am eagar to pursue a graduate degree in theology as soon as the Lord opens the door. I would like ot receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders if the Lord sees me fit for the role of Deacon. In my view, women are far too special to be bishops, priests or deacons. Mary was the most special of all of the disciples and her role is Queen of Heaven. I treat my wife as queen. So women are very special. But they have a place just like us men. I never bought into my previous faith view of women. It took me years to help my wife see through it and realize that it was okay to leave it to look for the real Church of Christ. I’ve never seen her this happy for this length of time. She still will not pray publicly in front of people. It still makes her feel uneasy. Time will tell.

If the Catholic Church ever tried to ordain a woman we’d jump to the Eastern Church. We would have issues because we know that the early church never allowed this.

There is a link to a downloadable lecture on the topic of women priests, given by Dr. Peter Kreeft. It can be fount on his site at this link. This is a comprehensive discussion, that poinbts out the authority for the position, and five other areas of consideration.



Best short answer: The Church does not have the authority to ordain women as priests.

Amen to that.

Many think it’s a decision by The Church and so hold discussions on the subject. John Paul 2 already stated the above, “…that The Church does not have the authority to ordain women as priests.” For confirmation of the reasons why, re-read Scriptures and then check the Traditions of The Church.

Check the Old Testament when God instituted the methods and who to perform the sacrificial offerings. These instructions were given to Moses. Notice the male lineage decreed to perform it!

From Genesis also, Cain and Able, through Abraham all the way to Moses! All sacrificial offerings to God throughout the entire Old Testament were performed by ** male priests without exception! **…until, finally to The Ultimate Sacrifice, performed by The Highest Priest of all, in instituting The New Covenant. Guess what? It’s a male!

The argument has nothing to do with ego, chauvnism, or dominance. Those who argue ‘for’ move the argument base towards ‘ego’ erroneously, or ignorantly of Scriptures and /or Tradition of The Church.

Clearly, FROM SCRIPTURES and Tradition, The Church has no authority to change it.

The only avenue I can see is if “The Keys” were to be used by a Pope to do it. But even here it is a theological argument, at best, because The Keys are for “binding and loosing” and whether it can apply to “changing” a Divine Decree or not, I do not know. Can The Keys unlock some of The Commandments also?

The point about His Holy Mother not being a priest is apt, because she is the highest human created by God, and most assuredly she would have made a GREAT priest! :smiley:


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