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The Question of Women and the Priesthood. Can women be admitted to holy orders? by Sister Vincent Emmanuel Hannon

The Question of Women and the Priesthood

Can women be admitted to holy orders?

by Sister Vincent Emmanuel Hannon
published by Geoffrey Chapman 1967. Republished on our website with the necessary permissions.

When the book was published the author used her religious name, as customary at the time: Sr. Vincent Emmanuel Hannon. She prefers to be called Sr. Rita Hannon now. She also would like to point out that, at the time, the publishers regretfully insisted on omitting many of her footnotes!

Nihil obstat: Patricius O'Connell, S.C.A., C.B.B., S.T.L., Censor deputatus Imprimatur: 44 Theodericus Worlock, Episcopus Portus Magni Portus Magni, die 11 septembris 1967

The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions and statements expressed.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION to the Book 13

CHAPTER I. CATHOLIC TEACHING ON THE EXCLUSION OF WOMEN FROM HOLY ORDERS

Introduction 21
1 The teaching of the magisterium 23
2 Foundation in scripture as expounded by Catholic authors 25
3 Arguments from tradition for the exclusion of women from the priesthood 34

CHAPTER II. WOMAN IN ANCIENT CULTURES

1 The status of women in ancient Babylon 45
2 The status of women in Assyria 50
3 The status of women in ancient Greece 51
4 The status of women in ancient Rome 54
5 Women in the Old Testament 58

CHAPTER III. THE ORDER OF DEACONESSES IN THE EARLY CHURCH

1 In the apostolic Church 71
2 In post-apostolic times 73
3 Evidence from the Councils 88
4 Heretical sects 94

CHAPTER IV. SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE TRADITIONAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXCLUSION OF WOMEN FROM HOLY ORDERS

1 The evidence of sacred scripture 97
2 Arguments from the examples of Christ 108
3 Historical development 112

CHAPTER V. TACKLING THE PROBLEM

1 A suggested approach 127
2 Some apparent advantages of women priests to the Church 135
CONCLUSION 139

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AAS Acta Apostolicae Sedis
Denzinger H. Denzinger & A. Schoenmetzer, S.J Enchiridion Symbolorum, ed. 31, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1963.
PG Patrolagia Graeca, Ed. J. P. Migne, Paris, 1857-1903.
PL Patrologia Latino, ed. J. P. Migne, Paris, 1855-1904.
S.Th. Summa Theologica, St Thomas Aquinas, traps. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, New York, 1947.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author expresses gratitude to her superiors of her Congregation for the time and opportunity to pursue her interest in writing this book. Her thanks are extended to the Dominicans of San Clemente, the Franciscans of St Isidore's, the Servites on the Janiculum, and the rector of the Biblical Institute, Rome, for their kindness in allowing the use of their respective libraries even during vacation. Special thanks are due to Reverend Robert Nogosek, C.S.C., for reading the manuscript and for the improvements he kindly suggested. The interest and encouragement of many other friends, too numerous to mention, are also gratefully acknowledged.

One person in particular however was an unfailing inspiration and guide to the author in her research and assembly of the material for this book. This was the Right Reverend Aidan Williams, O.S.B., since deceased.

Scripture quotations, with the few exceptions indicated, are from the Revised Standard Version. Translation of Latin texts is by the present author unless otherwise stated.

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