Women's Ordination
by Sebastian R. Fama

While there are Catholics who favor ordaining women to the priesthood, it is important to note that the driving force behind this movement comes from the more radical elements in the Church. These individuals usually challenge the Church on a wide range of issues. They reject the authority of the Church and yet they demand that women be allowed to be a part of the authority they reject. If the Church has no divine authority, what purpose would it serve to be a part of it? Such an obvious contradiction discredits their argument. Their real goal seems to be the promotion of rebellion.

The Church's position on women priests is not a matter of prejudice but a matter of differing roles. That there are differing roles in no way implies that one gender is superior to the other. Can women legitimately claim that men are inferior because they cannot conceive and bear children? Can men claim that God is unfair because He created them for what surely seems to be a less glorious role? Of course not. God, who is perfectly just, determined that men and women were to have different roles. Hence the Church rejects the feminist notion that women have no worth unless they are exactly like men.

The Church's position on women priests is not a comment on leadership capability. There are many women within the Church who are the leaders of religious orders, television networks, retreat houses, schools, etc. The Church's position has to do with the practice of priestly functions. The primary function of a priest is to be a priest to offer sacrifice to God. Jewish priests in the Old Testament as well as the New were exclusively male. Jesus chose twelve males to be His apostles and ultimately His first priests. If He wanted women priests He would have chosen some, thus setting the precedent and avoiding future conflict.

In his "Apostolic Letter on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis), Pope John Paul II noted the following: "The fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe (no. 3).

The Church does not choose priests; rather, God calls them. The Church merely ratifies or authenticates a vocational call. Only those who are called to the priesthood should be priests. This would exclude not only women but the vast majority of men as well.

Some women will say that they feel called. If they truly were, however, we would have women priests. The idea that a group of men can stop God from accomplishing His will in someone's life is ludicrous. The only one who can prevent God's will from being accomplished in your life is you.

Was Moses able to free the Israelites from Egypt because Pharaoh feared him? No he was able to do it because God called him and he said yes. At first he refused, claiming that he was ill suited. He worried about his credibility with the people and his lack of eloquence as a speaker. But God told Moses that He would be with him (Exodus Chapters 3-4). God called Moses for a purpose, Moses said yes and then God made it happen.

If God calls a woman to the priesthood and she says yes, God will make it happen. The fact that we haven't had any women priests in the last two thousand years means one of two things. Either God hasn't called any women to the priesthood or He did and they all said no.

If God were calling women to the priesthood, would it not be reasonable to expect that He would have called some of the women who were closest to Him? And yet when we examine the writings of women like St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton we don't find any claims of being called to the priesthood. We only find loyalty to God and His Church.

Pope John Paul II has made it clear that the Church's view in this matter is not subject to change. In "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," he said the following, "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" (no. 4).

Copyright © 2004 StayCatholic.com 


For Further Study

Full text of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Free)
Books -
Women in the Priesthood? by Manfred Hauke and Deaconesses by Aime Georges Martimort
E-Book - Ungodly Rage (E-Book) by Donna Steichen


Prev.   Essays   Next