Church teaching

More About Women Priests

The dogma is true, Christ did not give His Church the authority to ordain women as priests. However, once Christ returns, that could change. Christ Jesus could give His Church this authority.

For this to happen, a certain minority opinion on the interpretation of the book of Revelation would need to be true: that Jesus returns twice, once at the end of the tribulation, and a second time for the general Resurrection. During the time between, Jesus ascends to Heaven and reigns from there, while the Church reigns on earth. People on earth are still sinners, and they still need the seven Sacraments.

[Isaiah]
{65:19} And I will exult in Jerusalem, and I will rejoice in my people. And neither a voice of weeping, nor a voice of outcry, will be heard in her anymore.
{65:20} There will no longer be an infant of only a few days there, nor an elder who does not complete his days. For a mere child dies at a hundred years of age, and a sinner of a hundred years will be accursed.
{65:21} And they will build houses, and will inhabit them. And they will plant vineyards, and will eat their fruits.
{65:22} They will not build, so that another may inhabit. They will not plant, so that another may eat. For according to the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people. And the works of their hands will be long-standing.
{65:23} My elect will not labor in vain, and they will not bring forth in disorder. For they are the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their posterity are with them.
{65:24} And this shall be: before they call out, I will perceive; while they are still speaking, I will hear.
{65:25} The wolf and the lamb will pasture together. The lion and the ox will eat hay. And dust will be the food of the serpent. They will not harm, and they will not kill, on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

The above passage describes that time, between the two Returns. The world will see great peace and holiness.

But this is not the error of chiliasm or millenarianism, which hold that Jesus reigns on earth. Rather, this is the reign of the Church and of humanity, after the reign of sin has ended.

During that time, there will be persons who have received the first Resurrection, a true permanent Resurrection. They have received the benefits of the general Resurrection early, at the time of the end of the tribulation. Among these Resurrected Just, will be women as well as men.

[Revelation]
{20:6} Blessed and holy is he who takes part in the First Resurrection. Over these the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him for a thousand years.

They shall be priests of God and of Christ during that time. They will not die, and they cannot sin. And since women are among the Resurrected Just — the past Saints and Martyrs come to life — these women may perhaps be given the Sacrament of Ordination. The women will be priests, but not Bishop or Pope.

This idea is speculative, but it in no way contradicts the infallible teaching that Jesus did not give His Church the authority to ordain women as priests. Instead, the idea proposes that Jesus might give His Church that authority, in the future.

Women Deacons

It is an open question as to whether or not the Church has the authority to ordain women as deacons. I opine that the Church does possess that authority, and I expect Pope Francis to teach the same, and to authorize their ordination.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

Categories: Church teaching

9 replies »

  1. When the Catechism talks about ordination, I believe it is talking about all ordination even deacons since ordinations flows from the same sacrament. Never have there been ordained women.

    1577 “Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.”66 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.67 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.68

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    • Currently, only baptized men can receive ordination. The Magisterium has not decided the question as to whether women can be ordained as deacons. The CCC simply reflects the current state of practice.

      Notice that “vir” is used, instead of “homo”. Both words mean “man”. Vir is derived from a word meaning virtuous or strong, so it is used to refer not so much to any men, but to qualified men.

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  2. Is not the teaching that only men can be ordained as priests a dogma? If so it would make sense only men can be ordained as deacons as well and is atleast a non infallible teaching.

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    • The teachings is that Jesus did not give his Church the authority to ordain women to the priesthood. If the Pope thought it made sense to include the diaconate as well, he would have said so. Instead, he left the question open.

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    • Ron, you seem to suggest a simplistic approach to the problem: the CCC does not simply reflect the current state of practice, it does reflect the practice of the Church of all times. This is a substantial difference and, for me, stands as an insurmountable obstacle to women ordination. Two thousand years of practice cannot be simply neglected and replaced with a different practice which in fact is an opposite practice. Rather than change it just for the sake of novelty, it would be wiser to try and find the theological reason for such a long term practice.

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  3. Jesus is a man (i.e. a male person) and he will remain a man until the end of time and for eternity. This might not be politically correct according to modern standards, but this is a fact, a solid genuine fact; and since priesthood and diaconate are sacraments (i.e. effective signs because they effect what they sign) of the priesthood of Christ, the ordination of women priests or deacons either makes no sense, or would be a false sacrament, therefore a sacrilege.
    Obviously, I do not pretend to have closed an issue that the Pope left open, but I hope that if he will decide eventually that women can be ordained to whatever level of priesthood, he will also counter-argue the above in a convincing way.

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    • “discipline is not dogma. Jesus dispensed all the OT practices, which stood in place for many centuries”. Well, to be precise discipline and practice are two different matters; otherwise, on the same line, the Church could equally decide to change the practice of the Sunday mass with the practice of the Monday mass, or to change the discipline of the weekly mass with the discipline of the monthly mass.

      But, most importantly, we ought to consider that the priestly ordination “is a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself” (OS, 4); so, it is not just a matter of changing a practice, but a dogmatic matter which requires a solution, in order to demonstrate that most certainly diaconate does not pertain to priesthood, and, consequently, that the Church was wrong teaching differently – albeit not indefectibly – for the past twenty centuries, which, by the way, does not seem to be in the best interest of the Church, in my humble opinion.

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