Monday, November 19, 2018

New Evangelizers Post: 7 Reasons for an All Male Priesthood

I have a new article up at  

Recently, I had a former student ask me why the Catholic Church only ordains men to the priesthood. Below is my admittedly long-winded answer.

I know that this is a stumbling block for many. As a young Catholic, I did not understand, nor did I accept the teaching. I couldn’t see how it was fair that men could have access to something that women could not. It wasn’t until I had my conversion experience at 17 that the matter became clear to me. For me it comes down to this: did Jesus know what He was doing or did He not? Knowing Jesus, I knew my answer.

In his 1994 encyclical Ordonatio Sacerdotalis, Pope St. John Paul II settled the matter once and for all. He stated that the Catholic Church has no power whatsoever to ordain women to the priesthood. It should be clear that his statement does not say the Church will not ordain women. It says the Church won’t ordain women. That is an important difference. The encyclical is incredibly short and does not elaborate much on the rationale. You can read the letter yourself at your leisure. Here are a few explanations as to why this teaching holds. Many of these ideas are from John Paul II himself and Sr. Sara Butler

1. Christ did not choose women for priesthood.

All of the ones that Christ chose to be priests were men. This is an undeniable fact of Scripture and Tradition

2. This choice was free

Some have argued that He was only acting in accord with His culture. But even a simple glance at the Gospels would dispel this notion. Jesus broke many social taboos, especially regarding women. We see this with the Sinful Woman in Luke and the Samaritan Woman at the Well in John. The Gospel portrait we have of Jesus is of a Person who cares little for social opinion if it gets in the way of the morally correct thing to do. It was one of the reasons why He was killed.

3.This choice was done under the influence of the Spirit.

The choice of the 12 was down after Jesus had spent the night in prayer. Acts 1:2 makes clear that this choice was made under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This was not a simple bureaucratic or random choice. God the Son, in prayer to the Father and through the Spirit chose only men.

4. None of the successors to the Apostles were men

We must always go to those who knew Jesus as the first interpreters of Jesus’ words and actions. When they chose bishops and priests to follow them, they understood what was changeable and what was not. All of the Apostles were Jewish. But their successors were Jews and Gentiles. But not one of the bishops believe that they had the capacity to ordain women to the priesthood. And this has been the consistent teaching, unbroken, for centuries. This makes it part of unchanging Sacred Tradition

You can read the whole article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment