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In what is undoubtedly a milestone in the history of the Anglican Church, the very first woman Anglican bishop was ordained this past weekend. Many applaud this move as a triumph for equal rights; others decry it noting that Christ particularly chose men as His apostles. As Catholics, however, you might be wondering, will we be the next to ordain women?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is also no, but a bit more nuanced. The reasons are fairly straightforward.

Christ established an all male priesthood. While some of Jesus’s closest friends on earth were women, He chose only men to be priests, making them his apostles and giving them the power to forgive sins.

The Catholic Church will never depart from what Christ taught us during His life. The Catechism tells us “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 (CCC 1577).”

In the authoritative document on this subject, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, St. John Paul II said, “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.”

The Priesthood isn’t a “right”. Christ and the Catholic Church have always held women in the highest regards. After all, what Church honors Mary more than the Catholic one? Not only that, but there are a number of woman Doctors of the Church, legions of women saints and entire encyclicals dedicated to the subject of the dignity of women. None of us have the right to be priests, it is a vocation God asks of some men, but each of us has a vocation equal in dignity with an equal capacity for holiness. It’s not like priesthood is the ticket into eternal life!

I should add that it is important to realize that this decision is different for the Anglican Church than it is for the Catholic Church. Back in the time of Henry VIII they made a similarly significant decision that separated them from the Catholic Church—they rejected the authority of the Pope. It is not surprising, then, that the Anglican Church would go on to make a number of decisions based on the will of the people. Women ordination and women bishops are two of them.

Look, I’m a woman and I’m all about equality. I grew up being told that I could achieve any number of things—from being a professor to a chemist to the President. But it would have been dishonest of my parents to teach me that I could (or should) become something I will never be. Ultimately, human beings don’t decide who priests are, God does.

I’ll admit to not knowing all of the ins and outs of why men can’t bear children and women can’t be priests. But I know that it is so. And I trust God who created both men and women, but asked men to be His priests.

 

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Comments

6 COMMENTS

  1. I CAN’T RECALL ANYWHERE IN THE 4 GOSPELS JESUS — USEING THE WORD PRIEST. I ALSO DON’T BELIEVE APOSTLE AND PRIEST ARE THE SAME. ARE WE SURE ONLY THE “12” WERE ” ORDAINED APOSTLES “? HOW DO WE KNOW? JUST A FEW STATEMENTS AND QUESTIONS.

  2. I grew up with my dad saying that women should do the house cleaning and cooking for the men and I hated it. I wanted to be something more. My brother still pushes that since he is the oldest son, he should get more money then I a woman who is the oldest.
    Ordaining a woman is not wrong. Jesus had men as apostles according to the era where men were more highly looked upon and when there were no equal rights.
    As language evolve and culture evolve, why can’t this act?

  3. As God created us to be thinking, loving beings, ever evolving I cannot imagine that He would call women to be priests, as He surely does, only to have them frustrated and denied. That would be cruel and my God is not cruel.

  4. Hi everybody. Thanks for your thoughtful commentaries. I must admit, however, a solid reason for which, I think, the all-knowing God made that choice: sacrifice.
    All commentators so far can readily confirm that from their read or witnessed experiences of pre- and post-biblical ancient sacrifices the victims have always been of a male, never a female, gender. The rational ground for this is clearly furnished by the fact that both have been naturally and inalienably assigned roles which they should spontaneously play. The same happens in our case as humans: every woman, on the one hand, has been given, in the order of nature, an enviable extraordinary role of conception, nuture and procreation of new life, while a few men, on the other hand, have been given, in the order of grace, the unmeritable divine priestly vocation to mediate between God and man, reconciling humankind with the Godhead by offering sacrifice in Christ’s stead and in his memorial, after his own desire. It is, therefore, both reasonable and convenient to think that the priestly call and mission, in the Christian, especially Roman Catholic way, have been probably ‘reserved’ to human beings of the male gender because of the libation which they must, after Christ’s example and in his person, commemorate and actualise. For more on sacrifice, see ‘the Letter to the Hebrews’.
    Thanks for taking time to read down.. I hope it was a little helpful contribution!

  5. I declare… actually Pope JP2 said we declare (declaramus in the Latin means we declare). Jesus went against many societal norms but not this one. He only ever had male priests (presbyter is the Greek term) and in his Church, necessary for salvation, this has always and will always be the case. Jesus is God, so he could have had female priests to offer sacrifice if he wanted, such as the Virgin Mary, but he didn’t – and I don’t recall any female saints complaining about it either.

  6. I m so proud that the landmark we , have our first women Bishop this is a landmark for all Christians this let it become a new beginning in bringing us together as one that with this that the lord will allow the healing of violence towards women be felt in the hearts of all and may the lord be pleased that we are striving to become one GOD BLESS OUR NEW BISHOP I came from a home of violence against my mom and the violence she went through physical and emotion I hope she prayers for all women of the world to end this and become respectful for there dedication to there children and families

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