Letter to Women

Did Christ rule out women priests?

by John Wijngaards


1. First Vatican Council, Constitutio de Fide Catholica, ch. 4, in Enchiridion Symbolorum, ed. H. DENZINGER, Freibourg, Herder, 1955 (30 ed.), no. 1795-1800.
2. Vatican Council II, Ed. A. FLANNERY, Dublin 1975, pg 379.
3. F. A. SULLIVAN, De Ecclesia, vol. I, Rome 1963, pgs 355 357.
4. ‘Decree on the Means of Social Communication,’ no. 8; Vatican Council II, I.c. pg 286; see also the Pastoral Instruction of 29 January 1971, in which the same idea is elaborated, especially no. 26, pg 303; no. 125, pg 333.
5. ‘Church in the Modern World,’ no. 62; ib. pg 968.
6. K. RAHNER, ‘Magisterium’ in Sacramentum Mundi ed. K. RAHNER, London 1969, vol. III, pg 357.
7. K. RAHNER. ib.
8. ‘Renewal of Religious Life,’ no. 14; Vatican Council II, o.c. pg 619.
9. ‘Decree on Ecumenism,’ no. 6; Vatican Council II, o.c. pg 459.
10. Published in Latin in L ‘Osservatore Romano 2 October 1966; English after Christ to the World 12 (1967) pgs 97-103; here pg 101.
11. G. BAUM, ‘The Magisterium in a Changing Church,’ Concilium I (1967) no. 3, pgs 34-42; here pg 42.
12. ‘Decretum de Authentia Textus I Jo 5, 7,’ Acta Sanctae Sedis 29 (1896-1897) pg 637.
13. E. MANGENOT, Dictionnaire de la Bible, vol. III, Paris 1898, col. 1197.
M.HETZENAUER, Novum Testamentum Greaco-Latinum, Innsbruck 1898, vol. II, pg 387.
14. For a classical discussion of the verse, see e.g. SIMON-DORADO, Praelectiones ad Usum Scholarum, Novum Testamentum, vol. II, Madrid 1952, pgs 440-442.
It is worth recording that the same arguments now generally accepted had already been published by Catholic scholars before the Holy Office issued the Decree. Cf. R. CORNELY, Historica et Critica Introductio in Utriusque Testamenti Libros Sacros, vol. III, Paris 1886, pgs 668-681.
15. A. LOISY, Memoires pour servir à l’Histoire religieuse de notre Temps, vol. I, Paris 1930, pg 437 (translation my own).
16. Letter to Wilfred Ward, published in the Guardian of 9 June 1897.
17. Notable were: A. BLUDEAU who wrote articles in Der Katholik (1902-04) and in Biblische Zeitschrift (in 1903 and 1915); K. KUNSTLE, Das Comma Johanneum auf seine Herkunft untersucht, Freibourg 1905.
18. ‘The Decree had been issued to bring to order the audacity of some private scholars who seemed to presume to have the right either to reject the authenticity of the comma joannaeum or at least to call it into doubt. The Decree had not in the least the aim to forbid that Catholic writers should study the question further…’ 2 June 1927. Enchiridion Biblicum, Naples 1956, ed. 3, no. 136 (121).
19. Much more information on the whole background for the decision is given by S. LYONNET in ‘Le verset des Trois témoins célestes en 1 Jean 5, 7 et les décisions du Saint-Office,’ Rome 1963 (manuscript, unpublished as far as I know).
20. J. KAHL, ‘The Church as Slave-owner,’ in The Misery of Christianity, Penguin 1971, pgs 28-33 (transl. from the German Das Elend des Christentums, Hamburg 1968).
21. LEANDER, Quaestiones Morales Theologicae, Lyons 1668 – 1692, Tome VIII, De Quarto Decalogi Praecepto, Tract. IV, Disp. I, Q. 3.
22. BARTHOLOMEW DE LAS CASAS, Discourse against Juan Queredo, Bishop of Darien, 1519, in L. HANKE, Aristotle and the American Indians, New York 1959, pg 17.
23. A good survey of the whole question is given by J. F. MAXWELL, ‘The Development of Catholic Doctrine concerning Slavery,’ World Justice 11 (1969-70) pgs 147-192; 291-324. He notes that even throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the majority of ‘approved’ moralists continued to support slavery with the traditional theological arguments.
24. Ed. A. FLANNERY, Vatican Council II, Dublin 1975, pg 930.
25. ‘Declaration on the Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood,’ Acta Apostolicae Sedis 55 (1963) pgs 267-268; Briefing 7 (1977) no. 5 and 6.
26. The substance of this chapter was already published by me as a research paper; cf J. N. M. WIJNGAARDS, ‘The Ministry of Women and Social Myth,’ in Ministries in the Church in India, ed. D. S. AMALORPAVADASS, New Delhi 1976, pgs 221-250
27. F. J. J. BUYTENDIJK, De Vrouw, Utrecht 1961, pg 81 ff; 162-64.
28. R. SCHEIFLER, Zur Psychologie der Geschlechter, Spielinteressen des Schulalters, Z.f.Ang. Psych. 8 (1914), pgs 124-44;
F. HATTWICK, Sex Differences in Behaviour of nursery school children, Child Development 8 (1937) pgs 343-55;
J. CUMMINGS, The incidence of emotional symptoms in school children, Brit. Journ. Psych. 14 (1944) 1, pgs 151-61;
N. G. BLURTON-JONES, An Ethological Study of some aspects of social Behaviour of Children in Nursery Schools, in Primate Ethology, ed. D. MORRIS, London, Weidenfeld Nicholson, 1967.
29. I. DE VORE, Primate Behaviour, New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston 1965.
30. W. C. YOUNG, R. W. GOY and C. H. PHOENIX, Hormones and Sexual Behaviour, Science 13 (1964) 212-218;
D. A. HAMBURG and D. T. LURDE, Sex Hormones in the Development of Sex Differences in Human Behaviour, in The Development of Sex Differences, ed. E. E. MACCOBY, Tavistock, London 1967.
31. G. W. HARRIS and S. LEVINE, Sexual Differentiation of the Brain and its Experimental Control, J. Phys. 181 (1965) 379-400.
32. L. TIGER and R. FOX, The Imperial Animal, St Albans 1974, pg 136.
33. R. G. D’ANDRADE, Sex Differences and Cultural Institutions, in The Development of Sex Differences, ed. E. E. MACCOBY, Tavistock London 1967, pgs 174-204.
34. M. E. SPIRO, Kibbutz: Venture in Utopia, Harvard Univ. Press 1956;
L. TIGER and J. SHEPHER, Women in the Kibbutz, Harcourt Brace Jovanowich 1975.
35. M. F. ASHLEY-MONTAGUE, Ignorance of physiological paternity in secular knowledge and orthodox belief of the Australian aboriginees, Oceania 12 (1940-42), pgs 72-78.
M. ELIADE, Traité d’Histoire des Réligions, Payot, Paris 1959, pgs 221-31.
36. H. KUHN, De Kunst van het Oude Europa, Pictura, Utrecht 1959, pgs 20-22; 31-33; 50, 58.
37. R. G. D’ANDRADE, Sex Differences and Cultural Institutions, ibid. (see note 33), pgs 182-85.
38. For the urban revolution, see the excellent description in V. GORDON CHILDE, Man Makes Himself, Mentor, New York 1951, pgs 114-42.
39. R. G. D’ANDRADE, Sex Differences and Cultural Institutions, ibid. (see note 33), pgs 174-204.
40. M. ELIADE, Traité, etc. (see note 35), ibid. pgs 47 ff.
41. C. S. FORD and F. BEACH, Patterns of Sexual Behaviour, Harper and Row, New York 1951, pgs 103, 110, 123, etc.
42. W. N. STEPHENS, The Family in Cross-cultural Perspective, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963, pgs 256-58.
43. Good background reading to the various implications of the term ‘myth’ used in this sense is provided by P. MARANDA (Ed), Mythology. Selected Readings, Penguin 1972.
44. L. KOHLBERG, A Cognitive-Developmental Analysis of Children’s Sex-Role Concepts and Attitudes, in The Development of Sex Differences, ed. E. E. MACCOBY, Tavistock London 1967.
45. H. BARRY, M. K. BACON and I. I. CHILD, A crosscultural survey of some sex differences in socialization, J. abnorm. so. psychol. 55 (1967), 837-853.
46. This is the meaning of ‘femina est mas occasionatus,’ i.e. the female is the result of a defect in propagation; ARISTOTLE, De Generatione Animalium, II 3; THOMAS, Summa Theol. I Q 92, art II; ibid. Q 99, art 2 ad 1.
47. L. HUDSON, Frames of Mind. Ability. Perception and Selfperception in the Arts and Sciences; Penguin 1970, especially pgs 32-33; 46-47; 86-90.
48. G. PARCE, Le Italiane se confessano, Florence 1959.
F. SULTANI, Mentalità e comportimento del maschio italiano, Milan 1965.
49. J. T. NOONAN Jr, Contraception: A History of its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press 1965, pgs 46-49; 76-81; 150-51.
50. R. NOWELL, Sex and Marriage, in On Human Life, ed. P. HARRIS, London, Burns & Oates 1968, pgs 45-71.
51. J. DELORME, ‘Résurrection et Tombeau de Jésus,’ in La Résurrection du Christ et l’Exégèse Moderne, ed. P. DE SURGY et al., Paris 1969, pgs 105-51.
52. H. C. KEE and F. W. YOUNG, The Living World of the New Testament, London 1960, pgs 111-12.
53. Instruction of the Holy Office, 20 June 1866. Quoted in J. F. MAXWELL, ‘The Development of Catholic Doctrine Concerning Slavery,’ World Jurist 11 (1969-70) pg 306 ff.
54. ‘The Church in the Modern World,’ no. 27; Vatican Council II, ed. A. FLANNERY, o.c., pg 928.
55. Ph. DELHAYE, ‘Retrospective et prospective des ministères feminines dans l’Eglise,’ Rév. Théol. de Louvain 3 (1972) pgs 55-75;
F. P. CHENDERLIN, ‘Women as ordained priests? Should women be allowed to consecrate?’ Hom. and Past. Review 72 (1972) no. 8, pgs 25-32; ‘Women priests – more thoughts but no second thoughts,’ ib. 73 (1973) no. 5, pgs 13-22;
J. GALOT, La donna e i ministeri nella Chiesa, Assisi 1973.
56. G. R. EVANS, ‘Ordination of Women,’ Hom. and Past. Review 73 (1972), no. 1, pgs 29-32.
57. H. M. LEGRAND, ‘Views on the Ordination of Women,’ Origins, Jan. 6 1977. Reprinted in Briefing 7 (1977), no. 6, pgs 22-35; here pg 27.
58. G. O’COLLINS, ‘Ordination of Women,’ Tablet 288 (1974) pgs 175-76; 213-15.
59. E. C. MEYER. ‘Are there theological reasons why the church should not ordain women priests?’ Rev. for Religious 34 (1975/76), pgs 957-67.
60. J. L. ACEBAL, ‘El laicado feminino: Missiones y ministerios,’ Ciencia Tomista 98 (1971), pgs 55-71.
J. J. BEGLEY-ARMBRUSTER,’Women and Office in the Church,’ Am. Eccl. Review 165 (1971) pgs 145-57.
R. GRYSON, Le ministère des Femmes dans l’Eglise ancienne, Gembloux 1972.
I. RAMING, Der Ausschluss der Frau vom priesterlichen Amt, Cologne 1973.
J. M. FORD, ‘Biblical Material relevant to the Ordination of Women,’ Journal of Ecum. Studies 10 (1973), pgs 669-94; synopsised in Theology Digest 22 (1974) pgs 23-28.
R. METZ, ‘L’accession des femmes aux ministères ordonnées,’ Effort diaconal, Jan-June (1974) pgs 21-30.
F. KLOSTERMANN, Gemeinde Kirche der Zukunft, Freiburg 1974, especially pgs 269-70.
J. M. AUBERT, Antiféminisme et christianisme, Paris 1975, esp. pgs 156-77.
61. Y. CONGAR, ‘Éclaircissements sur la question des ministères,’ Maison Dieu 103 (1970), pg 116.
62. Y. CONGAR in the preface to E. GIBSON, Femmes et Ministères dans l’Eglise, Paris 1971, pg 12.
63. J. DANIELOU; most recent statements quoted in Informations Catholiques Internationales no. 400 (15 Jan 1972) pg 22; Révue Theologique de Louvain 3 (1972) pg 204; see also J. DANIELOU, ‘Le ministère des femmes dans l’Eglise ancienne,’ Maison Dieu (1961) pgs 70-96.
64. K. RAHNER, ‘Letter to Pastor Bogdam of the Lutheran Synod of Bavaria.’ La Croix, 20 April 1974; cited by H. M. LEGRAND, o.c. (note 57) pg 24.
H. VAN DER MEER’S book (Innsbruck 1962) was published in English as Women Priests in the Catholic Church? Philadelphia 1973.
65. J. F. MAXWELL, l.c. (note 53) pg 315.
66. A. COCHIN, L’Abolition de l’Esclavage, Paris 1861, vol. II, pgs 442-43; quoted in J. F. MAXWELL, l.c. pg 305.
67. CORNELIUS A. LAPIDE, Commentaria in Scripturam Sacram (Antwerp 1616) Paris 1868, vol. 18, pgs 353, 396. Cf V. E. HANNON, The Question of Women and the Priesthood, London 1967, pgs 26-31.
68. Briefing 7 (1977) no. 6, pg 9.
69. Quoted by H. VAN DER MEER, Priestertum der Frau?, Freibourg 1969, pg 150.
70. THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica, III Suppl., Q. 39, art 1; English transl. Burns and Oates, London 1922, vol. Third Part Q. 34-68, pg 52.
71. ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,’ no. 10; Vatican Council II, ib. pg 361.
72. ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,’ no. 30; ib. pg 389.
73. BONAVENTURE, Quartum Librum Sententiarum dist. 25, a. 2, qu. I; Omnia Opera, ed. Quaracchi 1889, vol. IV, pgs 649-55. Cf V. E. HANNON, o.c. (note 67), pg 37.
74. Cf note 46.
75. Cf note 70.
76. J. M. FORD, o.c. (note 60) Theology Digest 22 (1974) pg 27.
77. For a good background study of this theme of Luke’s, see H. CONZELMANN, The Theology of Saint Luke, Faber and Faber 1960 (from the German of 1953).
78. Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, no. 61; ed. A. FLANNERY (see note 2), pg 418.
79. Dogmatic on the Church, no. 57-58; ib. pgs 416-417.
80. Letter from the Congregation for Christian Doctrine, Osservatore Romano 13 Sept 1983. The same is contained in the Pope’s address to 23 American bishops during their ad limina visit (Osservatore Romano, ibidem).
81. The Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission, July 1978, III 3; Ch HOWARD, The Ordination of Women to the priesthood, CIO, London 1984, pgs 102-103.
82. RATZINGER, Rapporto Sulla Fede, Edizione Paoline, Turin 1985, pg 93-94.
83. ‘The Situation of women in the Catholic Church,’ Pro Mundi Vita 83, October 1980, pgs 30-31.
84. ‘Ordination des Femmes,’ Femmes et Hommes dans l’Eglise, December (1982) 24-25.
85. ‘The Situation, etc…’ Pro Mundi Vita 83 (1980) 17.
86. De Rots 9 ( 19791 131.
87. H. SANTER, ‘Stereotyping the Sexes in Society and in the Church,’ in Feminine in the Church, ed. M. FURLONG, SPCK, London 1984, pgs 139-149.
88. M. CONDREN, ‘The psychological roots of male resistance to women priests,’ Movement 34 (1978) 2-3; 22-23.
89. S. CALLAHAN, ‘Misunderstanding of Sexuality and Resistance to Woman Priests,’ in Women Priests ed. L. and A. SWIDLER, Paulist Press, New York 1977, pgs 291-294.
90. ‘Ministries which are performed outside the sanctuary may be entrusted to women;’ General Instruction on the Roman Missal, 26 March 1970, no. 70. However, in agreement with no. 66, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has allowed women to proclaim the scripture readings from within the sanctuary (!).
91. During an international pilgrimage for mass servers in 1985, Pope John Paul II only addressed himself to the boys. Sixteen year old Sigrid Dieckmann from Gronau wrote to him afterwards, requesting an explanation. Mgr. Giovanni Battista Re replied on behalf of the Holy Father saying that the Church did not officially approve of girls serving in the sanctuary; Katholiek Nieuwsblad 16 August 1985, pg 2.
92. R. BECKWITH, ‘The Bearing of Holy Scripture’ in Man, Woman and Priesthood, ed. P. MOORE, SPCK, London 1979, pgs 45-62.
93. G: W: WENHAM. ‘The Ordination of Women: Why is it so Divisive?,’ Churchman 92 (1978) no. 4.
94. S. B. CLARK, Man and Women in Christ, Servant Publications, Ann Arbor 1980, pgs 438-439.
95. W. ODDIE, What will happen to God? Feminism and the reconstruction of Christian Belief, SPCK, London 1984.
96. R. RUETHER, The Role of Women in Society and in the Church, Canadian Religious Conference, Ottawa 1975; New Woman/New Earth, Seabury Press, New York 1975; Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Chrislian Traditions, Simon & Schuster, New York 1974;
R. RUETHER and E. McLAUGHLIN, Women of Spirit: Female Leadership on the Jewish and Christian Traditions, Simon & Schuster, New York 1978.
97. E. SCHUSSLER FIORENZA, ‘Feminist Theology as a Critical Theology of Liberation.’ Theological Studies 36 (1975) 605-626; ‘Towards a Liberation and Liberated Theology,’ Concilium 15 (1979) 22-32; In Memory of Her. A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins, SCM, London 1983.
98. Bishop KALLISTOS WARE, ‘Man, Woman, and the priesthood of Christ,’ in Man, Woman, Priesthood, ed. P. MOORE, SPCK, London 1978, pg 80.
99. T. HOPKO, Women and the Priesthood, St Vladimir’s Seminary, New York 1983, pgs 183-184.
100. J. KEIFER, ‘The Priest as Another Christ,’ in Women and Priesthood: Future Directions, ed. C. STUHLMUELLER, Liturgical Press, Collegeville 1978, pg 110.
101. R. A. NORRIS, ‘The ordination of women and the “maleness” of the Christ, in Feminine in the Church, ed. M. FURLONG, SPCK, London 1984, pg 83.
102. C. STUHLMUELLER, Women and Priesthood (see note 100), pg 16; see also ‘Bridegroom; a biblical symbol of union, not separation,’ in Women Priests, ed. L. and A. SWIDLER, Paulist Press, New York 1977, pgs 278-283.
103. G. OSTDIEK, ‘The Ordination of Women and the Force of Tradition,’ in Women and Priesthood, (see note 100) pg 93.
104. D. DONNELLY,’What is more basic than women priests?’ National Catholic Reporter 14 (1978) 3 March, pg 13.
105. L. LEGRAND,’Did Christ rule out Women priests?,’ Indian Theological Studies 16 (1979) 362-363.
106. E. SCHILLEBEECKX, Ministry: a case for change, SCM, London 1981.
107. The demand for such new ministries was clearly expressed by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Colloquium, Hong Kong 1977; Pro Mundi Vita 83 (1980) 22-23.
108. Origins 18 October 1979, pg 285.

© Copyright 1986 by J.N.M.Wijngaards
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