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Peter de la Palude
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Peter de la Palude


Data published by John Hilary Martin, O.P.,'The Ordination of Women and the Theologians in the Middle Ages', published in Escritos del Vedat 16 (1986) 87-143, here pp. 103-106; also in , A History of Women and Ordination, Volume 1, The Ordination of Women in Medieval Context, ed. by Bernard Cooke and Gary Macy, the Scarecrow Press, London 2002, pp. 31-160, here pp. 83, 85, 138, 139,165.

Information on the author

Peter de la Palude, the sixth son of the Lord Knight of Valembone, was a skilled diplomat and polemicist. He began his studies in the Dominican Orden at Toulouse, but was sent to Paris, becoming a Master of Theology there in 1314. The previous year, he had been appointed to a commission by the Dominican General Chapter to examine the works of Durandus. This commission drew up a list of 90 objectionable theses. He was appointed to a second investigatory commission in 1316-17, which again reported negatively on the theology of Durandus. Peter examined Books II and III of Durandus' Sentences. His criticisms there did not prevent Peter however, from borrowing Durandus' text verbatim in his own commentary on the Sentences! In 1329, John XXII made Peter the Patriarch of Jerusalem and sent him to the East to negotiate the return of the Holy Places. He was also called upon to examine the suspect views of John XXII on the question of the immediacy of the Beatific Vision after death. Peter was a vigorous defender of Thomas' theological doctrine and reputation, yet he was not always aware of its particular details.

Latin Texts

Selections (paragraph numbering by John Wijngaards)

§ 1. "Tertio inquiritur de impedimento ordinis... Primo de impedimento naturae... Quantum ad primum de impedimento naturae sunt tres conclusiones:'Prima quod mulier non potest ordinari nec de iure, nec de facto, etiam Papa dispensante, quia non potest mutare materiam sacramenti licet posset sibi dare corona[m], quia id est positivum."
Magistri Petri de la Palude Patriarci Herosolymitani ordinis fratrum praedicatorurn Commentaria in Petri Lombardi Sententias (Paris 1514), IV Sent., dist. 25, q. 3, a. 1, fol. 133 rb.

"In the third place it is asked about the impediments to orders . . . . First about the impediment of nature . . . . As far as the first [question] concerning the impediment of nature there are three conclusions: first, that a woman is not able to be ordained either by law nor in face, even if the Pope were to dispense because the Pope cannot change the matter of a sacrament (sacramentum), although he might give himself such an honour [lit. he might give himself the crown] because this principle [sacraments cannot be changed] is definite."
Magistri Petri de la Palude Patriarci Herosolvmitani ordinis fratrum praedicatorum . . . (Paris, 1514) , Commentary on the Fourth Book of Sentences, dist. 25 q. q. 3, a. 1, (Paris edition, fol. 133 rb).

§ 2. " ...Omnis ordo est sacramentum et non tantum sacramentale. Unde si vera esset opinio dicentium quod omnes ordines preter sacerdotium essent solum sacramentale et dispositive, non essencialiter ad sacramenta pertinentia videretur, Papa posse et formam et materiam et suscipientem mutare sicut potest in aliis sacramentalibus ut in cathecismo et exorcismo nisi quis dicat quod non est simile, quia ista sacralia sunt a Deo instituta et non illa".
ed. cit., fol. 134 va.

" . . . every [holy] order is a sacrament (sacramentum) and not merely a sacramental. Hence if it were a true opinion to say that all orders outside of the priesthood were only sacramentals and adaptable, so that they would not be essentially belong to the sacraments, the Pope would be able to change the form and the matter and the recipient as he is able to do regarding other sacramentals such as in the teaching order and exorcism, unless some one says that this is not similar since these sacred functions [holy orders] are instituted by God and not the others."
Ibid. (Paris edition, fol. 134 va).

§ 3. "Est igitur sexus virilis de necessitate sacramenti cuius causa principalis est institutio Christi tam quoad ministrantes, quam quoad suscipientes. Christus autem non ordinavit nisi tantum viros in Cena quando potestatem consecrandi eis tribuit, et post Resurrectione[m] quando Spiritum Sanctum eis debit dicentes, 'Quorum remiseritis peccata etc.'; Nec matrem suam, quamvis omnium mulierum sanctissimam, ad aliquem gradum ordinis promoverit. Apostolus etiam qui tradidit nobis quod a Domino accepit ut habetur prime ad Cor. 11 innuit mulieres non debere ordinari nec habere gradum doctrine in ecclesia quod competit ordinatis dicens, 'mulierem in ecclesia loqui non permitto'. Nec potest dici quod illud solum sit ex ordinatione Apostolorum et non ex statuto Christi, quia auferre alicui sibi utile ad salutem et concessum a Christo non potest esse sine preiudicio, maxime in rebus spiritualibus. Sed dignitas ordinis utilis est ad promotionem salutis in talibus. Sed dignitas ordinis utilis est ad promotionem salutis in recte utentibus. Ergo, si fuisset concessum a Christo quod mulieres potuissent ordinari, non potuisset sine preiudicio eis auferri... Ratio autem congruentie est, quia per Ordinem aliquis ponitur in gradu excellentie super alios non ordinatos, sed talis gradus non competit mulieribus super viros, sed potius status subiectionis propter infirmitatem corporis et imperfectionem rationis, propter illud Gen. 3 [167 'Sub viri potestate eris...', etc.)."

"The male sex is a necessary requirement for the sacrament (sacramentum) of which the principle cause is the institution by Christ both in regard to ministers and in regard to recipients. Christ, however, only ordained males at the Supper when he handed over the power of consecration to them, and after the Resurrection when he gave the Holy Spirit to them saying, 'whosoever sins you will remit, etc.' Nor did he promote his mother (even though she was the most holy of all women) to any grade of orders. The Apostle furthermore, who handed over to us what he had accepted from the Lord as 1 Cor. 11 holds, intimated that women ought not to be ordained nor to have the grade of teaching in the church which is required of the ordained, saying 'I do not permit a woman to speak in church'. Nor can it be said that this is from the legislation of the Apostle alone and not from the statute of Christ since it is not possible to deprive anyone of a dignity useful for their salvation and allowed by Christ without prejudice, especially in spiritual things. But the dignity of orders is useful for the promotion of salvation in such persons. But the dignity of orders is useful for the promotion of salvation in those who use it correctly. Therefore if Christ would have conceded that women can be ordained, this concession could not be taken away from them [women] without prejudice . . . .The reason furthermore of appropriateness is that through orders someone is placed in a grade of excellence above those not ordained. But such a grade does not become women over men, but rather a state of subjugation becomes them because of their weakness of body, imperfection of their minds, according to that passage in Genesis 3 [16] 'You will be under the authority of man . . . ,' etc."
Ibid. (Ibid.)

§ 4. "Nec obstat quod dicitur d. 27, q. 1, Dyaconissa; d. 32, c. Presbytera, quia canones vocant dyaconissam non ab ordine diaconatus, sed a benedictione quae competit eis legere omelias in matutinis, non autem Evangelium in Missa vel ministrare circa altare in Missa ut dyacono convenit. Presbyterissam vero vocat canon vidua[m] quae habet custodire res ecclesiae sicut apparet ex sequente c. Si Mulieres, seu presbytera vel presbyterissa uxor sacerdotis Greci vel ebhomadaria quae dicit orationes."

"Nor does what is said in d. 27, q. 1, 'Dyaconissa' and in d. 32, c. 'Presbytera' [in the Decretum],oppose (this teaching) since the canons [of councils] call a 'deaconess' not because of the order of the diaconate, but because of a blessing which allows them to read a homily at matins; not however [to read] the gospel at Mass nor to minister at the altar as is permitted to a [male] deacon. However, the canon calls a 'presbytera' a widow who has care of the church goods as it appears in the following canon, c. Si mulieres: either a 'presbytera' or 'presbyterissa' [is] the wife of a Greek priest; or the weekly choir leader (ebdomodaria) who leads at prayers."
Commentary on the Fourth Book of Sentences, dist. 25 q. 3, a. 1, (Paris edition, fol. 134 va).

§ 5. "...hermophroditus ordinari non debet cum sit monstrum in natura et corpore viciatus, et est approbrium clero, et propter periculum quia nescitur utrum sit vir aut mulier. Oportet tamen quod sit alterum tantum, quia in plantiis possunt coniungi vis masculina et feminina perfecte, sed numquam in animalibus perfectis, et maxime in hominibus. Si ergo sexus virilis praevalet est homo et non mulier, et sic potest ordinari, sed non debet: si autem e converso, sic est mulier, et sic nec de facto ordinari potest...."
ed. cit., d fol. 133 ra; Decreti Commentarium

" . . . A hermaphrodite ought not to be ordained since he is a monster in nature and deformed in body, and a disgrace to the clergy, and also because of the danger since it is not known whether he/she is a man or woman. He/she however must be either one of the other since in plants the masculine power and the feminine can be perfectly joined, but never perfectly in animals, and most especially not in humans. If therefore the male sex prevails, he is a man and not a women and thus is able to be ordained, but ought not to be. If however it is the converse, then she is a woman and cannot even de facto be ordained."
Commentary on the Decretum, causa 4, q. 3, cap. 3, par. 22 (Paris edition, fol. 133 ra)

edited and translated by John Wijngaards

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