Women priests.... why not?


#1

First and foremost, I’m not saying I think women should be priests. I honestly don’t really have an opinion on that either way.

I’m just wondering… is the no women priest thing an infallible Church dogma/doctrine of some sort? Or is it mostly a tradition thing that we want to keep because our popes so far have all agreed that its best that way?


#2

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/1994/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19940522_ordinatio-sacerdotalis_en.html


#3

So basically its the latter… ?


#4

No, the letter makes very clear that it is a infallible church teaching. In particular it says:

She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; **the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held **that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.

When a teaching of the magisterium is taught universally by the bishops in union with Rome, it is infallible. The bolded part makes it clear this it has certainly been taught universally.

Further more, the final paragraph clears up all doubt:

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.

So it is not just that “a tradition thing that we want to keep because our popes so far have all agreed that its best that way”. As a matter of opinion, I suspect there are many people who don’t really want to keep it, but they understand that there is no choice. No one has the authority to change it.


#5

Here is what John Paul II says in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

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.

After he said this, people still quibbled as to whether this was something Catholics really had to believe. And so clarification was sought from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is the question posed and the CDF’s 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: 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.

The CDF explains their answer further here:

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_commento-dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

The issue has been settled. There can be no change. There will be no change.


#6

I wonder if women priests are warranted. In other words, are women priests necessary?

Rather than ask why the Church does not consecrate women priests…I would ask: Why should the Church consecrate women priests?


#7

Check out Sr. Sarah Butler’s book titled, “The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church.” Sr. Sarah was at one point in her life in favor of women being priests, but is no longer. At any rate, it’s a good book to get an overview of the question.


#8

Im just curious because a very devout catholic family friend of ours told us that she’s torn on the matter because hasnt seen any sort of dogma (i think thats the word she used) that states it as infallible teaching.


#9

Maybe she is unfamiliar with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. :shrug: Most Catholics aren’t up on Church documents.


#10

^But is Ordinatio Sacerdotalis an infallible Church doctrine? She is a Theology professor at a Catholic institution and a very holy woman. So I’m sure shes up on her stuff.


#11

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not per se an exercise of papal infallibility. That is mostly because it is not necessary in this case seeing as how this teaching has always been part of the deposit of faith and is part of the teaching of the ordinary magisterium (which is also infallible).

I’d be curious to hear her explanation as to why there would still be a question mark over this issue. I have seen explanations from groups who are proponents of women’s ordination who attempt to explain these statements away, but I have never found them to be convincing.


#12

Yeah I was stumped too, so now Im just being open minded and trying to figure out the truth.

Does the magisterium say that it is intrinsically, infallibly wrong for women to be priests?


#13

Does the magisterium say that it is intrinsically, infallibly wrong for women to be priests?

It’s not “infallibly wrong”, it’s impossible. The Church teaches that priesthood is not possible to confer on women.

It is sinful to “simulate” sacraments - that is, to imitate sacraments sacrilegiously.


#14

Thank you for the clarification. Do any infallible Church doctrines say that it is infallibly impossible for women to be real priests?


#15

I don’t think the church would phrase it like that. As SyroMalankara said, it’s not a matter of being “intrinsically, infallibly wrong”, it’s just not possible. It’s like saying that men cannot be mothers. It’s not that it’s “infallibly wrong” for them to be mothers. They simply cannot be.

Basically, the Church considers Herself bound to the choice that Jesus made in conferring the priesthood only to men. She does not consider that She has authority to alter Christ’s choice on the matter.


#16

Did Jesus explicitly say anything about only men being able to be priests and not women? Playing devils advocate here, the fact that it was only men who were apostles who became priests could just be due to practicality… considering the sexist traditions of the time. No one would have listened to a woman.


#17

Thank you for the better understanding. Do any infallible Church doctrines say that it is infallibly impossible for women to be real priests?


#18

It is a part of the Church since her birth–via Christ and His Spirit. Jesus chose 12 men to be his apostolic pillars in the Church, even though there were many holy and spirit-filled women who were disciples at the time (Mary, Martha, Mary Magdalene and others noted in scripture). The Spirit has enlivened the Church ever since and has led her to understand that Holy Orders is open only to men, who minister in the person of Christ. It simply cannot be changed, and St. Pope John Paul II wrote his Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to quell any questions in this regard. It is final.


#19

Yes-the infallible doctrine that only men can be Priests.


#20

Is there any sort of infalliable church doctrine that states that men only priests is an infalliable teaching.


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