the catholic position on the ordination of women n.
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The Catholic Position on the Ordination of Women. By: Lizz Birchall.

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Jesus never mentioned ministerial priesthood, but Catholic teaching developed since The Second Vatican Council holds that Jesus established an ordained clergy through his maleness and his choice of only men to join the group of twelve Apostles

  • Rome holds itself unable to validate or acknowledge a woman’s call to priesthood
past views of women by the church
Past Views of Women by the Church
  • In the decades following Christ’s resurrection, the Christian view of women became based off of the dualism of Greco-Roman culture, where women were considered both pure because of their feminine nature and unclean because of their menstrual cycle
  • Aristotle said “The female is, as it were, a mutilated male….for there is only one thing they have not in them, the principle of the soul”. From the woman’s lack of soul ….”the male is by nature superior and the female inferior; and the one rules and the other is ruled
  • Followed by Augustine who said that; men were primary human beings and women were secondary…the woman by herself possessed only the image of the body and therefore could not represent Gods divine image …only in her relationship with a man could a woman possess the image of God.
  • This was taken into the middle ages by St. Thomas Aquinas, who taught that women were misbegotten males(Aristotle) and secondary beings(Augustine) and therefore they were unfit for the priesthood.

In the middle ages, it was taught that women were the pure daughters of Mary as well as the sinful daughters Eve

  • Because a woman’s natural inferiority could lead to sin when she acted independently, apart from her ties to a man, a key item of subordination was the scapegoating of a woman for the origin of sin. Meaning, a woman, acting on her own, caused the fall of humanity
  • Catholic encyclopaedia published in 1914, read that women were “inferior in some respects to men in both body and in soul.”
the second vatican council
The Second Vatican Council
  • The Second Vatican Council finally denounced their anthropologic subordination:

“All women and men are endowed with a rational soul and are created in gods image; they have the same nature and origin and, being redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling and destiny; there is here a basic equality between all and it must be accorded ever greater recognition”

inter insigniores
Inter Insigniores
  • Inter Insigniores (“Declaration on the Admission of Women in to the Ministerial Priesthood”) Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith October 15,1976
  • Women were unable to act in Persona Christi ---in the person and role of Christ because they did not resemble Christ in his maleness. This theme contained 3 interlinked claims:

 The priest acts in person Christi

 In the person of Christ, the priest is a sacramental sign of Christ; and

 As a sign of Christ, the priest must be male.

  • Made numerous references to the bible; Genesis 2:18-25---the creation of woman from man’s rib to explain to explain Paul’s injunction against women from teaching in Churches
ordinatio sacerdotalis mulieris dignitatem
OrdinatioSacerdotalis & Mulieris Dignitatem
  • In OrdinatioSacerdotalis: On preserving priestly ordination to men alone - Apostolic Letter of his Holiness Pope John Paul II
  • Reasons compounded by Pope Paul VI, concludes the church does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination
  • It also clearly shows that Christ’s way of acting did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to his time
  • John Paul wrote in Mulieris Dignitatem: “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.”
mulieris dignitatem
Mulieris Dignitatem
  • Mark3-13-16 13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve[a] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed
  • Matthew 10:7-8 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
  • The fact the blessed virgin Mary, received neither the mission proper to the apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of woman to priestly ordination cannot mean that woman are of lesser dignity nor can it be constructed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe.

The presence and role of women in the life and mission of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable

  • The Inter Insigniores points out, “The Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission: today their roles is of capital importance both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the church… defending the dignity of women and their vocation, the church has shown honour and gratitude for those women who-faithful to the gospel- have shared in every age in the apostolic mission of the whole People of God. They are the holy martyrs, virgins, and the mothers of families, who bravely bore witness to their faith and tradition by bringing up their children in the spirit of the Gospel.”
john paul ii
John Paul II
  • “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.”
  • In John Paul’s “Letter to Women” he states - “in fact, there is present in the “womanhood” of a woman…a highly “iconic character” which finds its full realization in Mary and which also aptly expressed the very essence of the Church as a community consecrated with the integrity of a virgin heart to become the bride of Christ and mother of believers.