Monday January 18th 2021

Can Women Become Catholic Priests?

The Catholic Church teaching that males only can become priests cannot change.

Pope John Paul II, using his full authority as the successor of Peter, states categorically that the Church cannot — not will not, but cannot — ordain women, now or in the future. The Catechism of the Catholic Church sets it out clearly, quoting the decree Inter insigniores:

“Only a baptized man (vir) receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord Himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

This basically is stating that Christ was a man and He only chose men to be His Apostles.  Those Apostles, who were being led by the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, also only had males as bishops, priests and deacons.  This was God’s choice. We have no power to change God’s will.

Further, in 1994 Pope John Paul II formally declared that the Church does not have the power to ordain women. He stated,

“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. Luke 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” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4).

And in 1995 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in conjunction with the pope, ruled that 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)” (Response of Oct. 25, 1995)

The all-male priesthood, the Pope wrote, does not represent discrimination against women, but fidelity to Christ’s actions and his plan for the church. In summary, God does not make mistakes.  He was and remains omnipotent. He knew exactly what He was doing.  The Church will never change because now society feels it should.  God, the Father knows best.

Nevertheless, woman have a very important role in the Church and always have.

During the last 30 years, woman have become even more influential holding high power positions in the Church.   Woman have positions of pastoral and administrative duties in priestless parishes; have been appointed to chancellor of dioceses; and have held positions on the International Theological Commission.

The Church teaches that woman do have “equal dignity” with men but they are different roles and make up.  Describing discrimination against women and male-female rivalry as results of sin, the Church said the differences between the sexes are part of God’s plan for creation — not social constructs — and that church and society benefit when the gifts of both.

The fact that God chose a woman, the Virgin Mary, to play such an important role in the world’s salvation leaves little doubt about the God-given dignity of women, the pope wrote.

Acknowledgements:

Catholic News Service –  http://www.catholicnews.com/jpii/stories/story12.htm

Catholic Education Resource Center – http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0001.html

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