Responsive image
Nederlands/Vlaams Deutsch Francais English language Spanish language Portuguese language Catalan Chinese Czech Malayalam Finnish Igbo
Japanese Korean Romanian Malay language Norwegian Swedish Polish Swahili Chichewa Tagalog Urdu
Rome's Main Documentson the ordination of women

Rome’s Main Documents

on the ordination of women

Document Name Description
Report of the Pontifical Biblical Commission This report by international Catholic Scripture scholars concluded that the ordination of women could NOT be excluded on the basis of Scripture.
1975 - 1976
Correspondence between Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Paul VI The Archbishop of Canterbury informs the Pope of Anglican studies regarding women priests.
15 October 1976
Inter Insigniores Declaration by the Congregation for Doctrine giving reasons why women cannot be ordained.
27 January 1977
Commentary on Inter Insigniores Official commentary by the Congregation on its text.
The new Code of Church Law The exclusion of women from ordination again entered into law.
1984 - 1986
Correspondence between Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope John-Paul II and Cardinal Jan Willebrands of the Secretariat for Christian Unity The Archbishop of Canterbury informs Rome of the reasons why the Anglican Communion intends to ordain women as priests
30 September 1988
Mulieris Dignitatem Encyclical by John Paul II on ‘the Dignity and Vocation of Women’
30 December 1988
Christifidelis Laici, The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and the World Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of His Holiness John Paul II. Says women cannot be ordained priests in §. 49 and 51
13 March 1989
Profession of Faith & Oath of Fidelity Oath imposed on theologians and parish priests. See also Ad Tuendam Fidem, below
24 May 1990
Donum Veritatis Instruction by the Congregation for Doctrine on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian
11 October 1992
The Catechism of the Catholic Church Says women cannot be ordained priests in § 1577.
22 May 1994
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Apostolic Letter by Pope John-Paul II on reserving priestly ordination to men alone.
28 October 1995
Responsum ad Dubium Response by the Congregation for Doctrine concerning the binding nature of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
28 October 1995
Letter by Cardinal Ratzinger Commentary on the Congregation for Doctrine's Responsum .
29 June 1995
Letter to Women Papal Letter to prepare the Beijing Conference.
Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium Interview of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger with Peter Seewald (Ignatius Press, 1997)
28 May 1998
Ad Tuendam Fidem ‘Motu Proprio’ of John Paul II tightening norms for theologians in the Code of Church Law.
29 June 1998
Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Contains the judgment that those who hold women can be ordained priests, are ‘ no longer in full communion with the Catholic Church’.
23 March 2000
Letter to priests Holy Thursday letter of Pope John Paul II to priests.
27 July 2001
Regarding Female Altar Servers Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship on the Bishop’s authority to allow women to serve at the altar.
10 July 2002
by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Warning ‘regarding the attempted ordination of some Catholic women.
The secret examination of new Bishops Contents of document with questions submitted to candidates to Episcopal office.
21 December 2002
Decree ‘On the attempted priestly ordination’
by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Affirmation of excommunication of the women who ‘attempted to receive ordination’.
31 May
The Collaboration of Men and Women
by the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World
30 May 2008
Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman

by the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith
General Decree to impose automatic excommunication on those who ordain women and women who receive ordination.
'Benedict XVI Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times', A Conversation with Peter Seewald Excerpt translated by Michael J. Miller and Adrian J. Walker (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010)

  1. Relevant Texts from recent Church Councils
  2. Papal Documents on Homosexuality

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.

Visitors to our website since January 2014.
Pop-up names are online now.

The number is indicative, but incomplete. For full details click on cross icon at bottom right.

Please, support our campaign
for women priests
Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.