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In the Image of Christ by Sonya A. Quitslund from 'Women Priests'

In the Image of Christ

by Sonya A. Quitslund

from Women Priests, Arlene Swidler & Leonard Swidler (eds.), Paulist Press 1977, pp. 260-269.
Republished on our website with the necessary permissions

(Sonya A. Quitslund received her M.A. and Ph. D. from the Catholic University of America. She was at the time assistant professor of religion at George Washington University. The founder of the Christian Feminists, she was a core commissioner of Women’s Ordination Conference. Her publications include Beauduin A Prophet Vindicated.)

If woman is just as much in the image and likeness of God, why is she not also in the image of Christ? Is Christ somehow more than God or less than God? Is she not just as much the offspring of a parent as her brother or as Christ the Son of God, and just as fully human as any male, including the Christ as defined at Chalcedon? Femininity certainly expresses as well as masculinity the relationship of the second Person to the frst, for it is a relationship of infinite mutuality that defines the three Persons of the Triune Godhead.(1) If at first glance it is difficult for woman to accept that she cannot image Christ bccause she lacks “natural resemblance,” further reflection on the teaching of the Declaration falls far short of persuading her.(2)

Regarding the maleness of Christ and so of the priest: the argument of the Declaration “convinces” only if its premise is taken as of unquestionable validity, but it is precisely the premise that is at issue.(3) Actually when the Declaration claims “The Word was made flesh in the male sex,” it concedes that Christ “certainly must not be understood in a material perspective” and that “priests do not become representatives of Christ because of their masculinity” because ordination is “of a spiritual nature.” The so-called indelible character of the priesthood is “a sign in the sacramental sense,” which coupled with the Commentary’s reference to what it calls “the deep identity of man and woman” would seem to imply that the statement’s premise based on the precedent of the appointment of male apostles only by Jesus is not valid in the Congregation’s very own words. The Declaration certainly gives an untenable interpretation of the Creed by equating the God-man concept with “God-male,” as it also does in its eucharistic theology: “There is no ‘natural resemblance’ in the Eucharist if Christ’s role is not taken by a man.... For Christ himself was and remains a man.”

Nevertheless a careful and close study of the document can prove extremely enlightening—as much for what it does not say as for what and how it says what it does. By its very inadequacies it calls attention to a host of theological issues which have never before been satisfactorily dealt with. Hopefully it will serve as a needed catalyst to much unfinished theological business. The crux of its argumentation for rejecting the very idea of ordaining women centers on a rather narrowly conceived notion of apostolic ministry, the necessity of “natural resemblance” for the eucharistic ministry and the Church’s desire to remain faithful to a practice deemed the official will of Christ, clearly grasped by the Twelve and so communicated dòwn’ through the ages via unwritten tradition.

In exploring the problem of seeing a woman in persona Christi, some consideration of the impact of sexual identity on tradition as well as the meaning and symbolism of the Eucharist will be necessary. Pertinent comments, but by no means exhaustive or comprehensive on the concept of ministry or sacramental orders should shed additional light.

The examination of data will focus on personal reflections and recent statements and/or documents pertinent to the issue because, by general consensus, we are dealing with a new issue which has never before been systematically explored by the Church. For this reason, arguments culled from antiquity as well as recourse to unwritten tradition have a limited value in advancing the argument. The key issue in this regard is “. . . to discover if tradition is simply repetition or if it has no meaning other than to face the future, a future specifically eschatological where there will be neither male nor fcmale''(4). The former point has already proven itself to bc theologically untenable. Moreover, “formal unanimity is not the guarantee of tradition because tradition does not lie in the lettcr, but is guided by thc Spirit of Christ.”(5) Even Pope Paul VI in a letter to the dissident Archbishop Lefebvre of Oct. 11, 1976, specifically stated that “Tradition is not a petrified, dead reality” but must be interpreted “in adaptation to changing circumstances.” The Berkeley theologians are thus in “safe” company when they fault the Declaration for its notion of tradition described as “the inflexible transmission of past practices, regardless of thc cultures out of which they came and the needs to which they responded.”(6) What is needed are new insights and a genuine openness to the Holy Spirit. Hopefully this essay will suggest some new avenues to explore new ways of looking at the familiar.

Setting the Stage

Reflection on the image of woman and of God in thc New Testament, even the Hebrew Bible for that matter, raises the serious possibility that we have inherited and even been guilty of passing on an image of God which is fundamentally at odds with that communicated by Christ in the Gospels as well as in Paul’s letters. It is an image from our patriarchal culture that vests power primarily in the will which has traditionally viewed woman as belonging to the male, taking her identity from him, and being compliant and yielding to his will. As such she can be the ideal of purity and holiness; she may even be a Doctor of the Church, but she is not to impose her will on men or women.

Have we, however, perhaps mistaken society’s way of pcrceiving and behaving with reality itself, and even taken the idolatrous step of forcing God into these unreal categories, or has the process been the reverse? From a faulty notion of God’s relation to the world, have we structured a pattern of unhealthy social relations which we unwillingly justify as by divine decree? On the natural level we obey our fathers so as to remain in their love. The child fears parental rejection because it attacks his or her fragile sense of selfworth directly, so that fear often motivates love and obedience. Later in life it may be fear of the loss of an inheritance that will continue to motivate love and obedience. But is not this how God has often been presented to us? In masculine terms, as a being out there in a dominating relationship to us?(7) An oppressive force before which we must capitulate or else live in constant frustration and ultimately lose our inheritance?

When the priest is seen as the mediator between God and humankind, as the minister of Christ’s saving grace, and as such an authority, a teacher, a ruler, a judge to whose will we must submit, as sign of our submission to the God represented by the priest, the very idea of a female priest becomes clearly unacceptable on the level of symbol, let alone “natural resemblance,” but this natural resemblance in the final analysis is not so much a resemblance to Christ as savior or the Word of God as to a distorted view of masculinity, a masculinity with which increasing numbers of men can no longer identify.

Is this concept of the divine as a dominating power too harsh? Is it true a woman cannot be a priest because the priest symbolises God’s relation to the world? So long as religion is conceived in terms of domination, of having power and having power over, it encourages and even obliges us to model human relations on this paradigm and to use woman as the archetypal submissive one. As such she certainly cannot function as an adequate symbol. If this is true, then, and if we do not reject the idea of a woman priest outright, we shall have to deal with a serious internal conflict and confusion over some very fundamental religious ideas and feelings.

In the Image of Christ

The mystery of the Incarnation offers another perspective from which to approach this problem. It offers the image of a God who participates in the wholeness of human existence, who chooses not to stand over against humankind in judgment, but rather to become so completely identifed with the human situation as to take on human flesh—not as a fully developed person, not even as a child, but as an ovum in the womb of a woman. Paul himself offers us the image of God as a pregnant mother when he quotes Epimanander’s “in God we live and move and have our being.” Teresa’s insight in her classic spiritual treatise The Interior Castle is also inward-oriented. But how often do we think of ourselves as being outside of God? It is almost inevitable when we use masculine images for God. The priestly vocation, however, is most properly a call to nurture the spark of divine life implanted in each human person, something men and women ought to do for themselves as well as for each other. It is what God does for us. When we limit ourselves to male symbols for God, we end up in the “out there, domination” syndrome. During his earthly ministry Jesus revealed his priestly role in nondominating terms; he came to heal, to make whole, to affirm the human dignity of all whether male or female, tax collector or prostitute. He shied away from those attracted to a too narrowly conceived image of his function—who saw potential and power in terms of domination, rather than in terms of service, of nurturing.

We have arrived at a turning point in human history when even the secular world rccognizes that international relations perceived in terms of domination are ultimately self-destructivc. Nations must share, must serve one another. if we are to create a viable world.

In Persona Christi

What then does the phrase in persona Christi (2 Cor 2:10) actually mean? The Jerusalem Bible translates it as “in the presence of Christ,” i.e. in his place or in his name, with his knowledge, approval and consent. Christ’s presence in the priest is thus mystical, not contingent on sex, it can be shared by all irrespective of sex.(8) It means “Christ, not the priest, is the real celebrant of the sacraments. The priest does not represent Christ immediately but only because he represents the Church—first of all by the very fact of ordination. It is impossible to attribute a privileged role to sexuality in the hypostatic union. Bcsides, all sacraments are celebrated corporately with the Holy Spirit, the Church gathered together being itself the subject of celebration.”(9)

If woman cannot image Christ although our spirituality teaches the “imitation of Christ,” then being a man is clearly more desirable than being a human being. Rejecting the notion that only a male can act in persona Christi, the Berkeley Catholic theologians argue that “the presence of women as priests, as well as men, could be an abiding sign to the faithful that all Christians ‘have put on Christ Jesus’ and in this identification lies their hope for salvation. It is simply a matter of fact that the exclusion of women from priestly ordination in our day does not reinforce ‘the image of Christ’ for a growing number of people, but rather symbolizes sexual discrimination within the Church.... The effect of aligning priesthood with masculinity may identify the Church as regressive for millions of human beings in the future.(10)

In dealing with this issue, many recent commentators have pointed out the significance of the symbols of our Christian faith. Writing in 1975 Hervé-Marie Legrand observed: “In that area [of symbols], one is touching on extremely profound realities where personal and social psychology, sexuality, religious experience and symbols so affect one another and condition one another to such a point that any discussion speedily becomes emotional.”(11) The response to the Declaration by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious echoed similar concerns: “Its most signifcant value may be that it actually identifies the basis for deeper study, the relationship between natural sign and symbology. By using words like ‘image,’ ‘sign,’ ‘representative’ and ‘symbol’ interchangeably, the text calls our attention to the need for continuing study and research into the nature of symbol and its use in a faith community. This focus on the crucial question gives real direction to ongoing exegesis and dialogue.(12)

These same views were reiterated even more strongly and positively by David Burrell when he urged the Declaration be given a theological rather than just a political response: “The heart of the argument is in persona.... The arguments to support this are from fittingness ”articulated in an arena where current theology is relatively tone-deaf: that of symbolic activity.(13 )

Nowhere is the confusion women experience over their ability or inability to image Christ more concretely drawn than in Paul VI’s twice-repeated panygeric on womanhood: “As We see her, Woman is a mirror of the ideal human being . . . in His own image and likeness. . ., a vision of virginal purity.... She is ... the mysterious wellspring of life, through whom nature still receives the breath of God . . . she symbolizes mankind itself.(14) Having read this in 1966 and again in 1974, why should women not have been surprised to learn that Christ took on not humanity or human nature but masculinity, and thus, although woman may mirror the ideal human being, she may not image Christ?


In the area of sexuality the Declaration makes relative symbols absolute. But such an interpretation is far from achieving universal acceptance. “Our likeness to Christ is in no way based on sexual differences, for it is reflected in where our hearts are, in how much we live Christ’s Gospel.(15) In asking why woman cannot image Christ we raise the fundamental question: are womanhood and manhood constructions that imperfectly fit man and woman? If so we can make a case, but not if they are seen as two distinct complementary ways of being human, because then we have support for the thesis of predetermined roles for man and woman.(16)

Kari E. Boressen argues that “the whole doctrine of the nature and role of woman has been evolved from an exclusively androcentric point of view. The foundation of this doctrine is in the equation, man equals human being. Man, that is the male, is the exemplar of human being and woman is considered as being different from him.(17) As will be seen shortly, this essentially is the starting point of canon law. Augustine and Thomas both accepted the subordination of woman as an a priori given ”by the very fact that she is a woman, even though equivalent as human, and thus created after the image of God.(18) “The androcentric structure of their . . . civilization leads them to an interpretation of scripture, which identifies this relation of the sexes with the order of creation itself. This sociological element is found in the presuppositions on which they work....(19) Unfortunately, the Declaration refuses to acknowledge that the exclusion of women from the priesthood could be simply of socio-cultural origin.

Although Christian anthropology affirms the pre-eminence of mutuality between human persons, and the Declaration itself rejects the notion of subordination which Augustine and Thomas took for granted, the Canon Law Society of America has found that an anthropology which retains a conventional understanding of dichotomies (spirit/matter, etc.) underlies some perspectives on the question of women in Church law and is incompatible with the findings of the modern human sciences. In fact, it works a grave injustice by preventing access to mutual sharing in the religious dimension of life.(20) “A woman’s juridical status is directly related to that of her husband, if she is married; or, in many instances, to her father if she is a minor child. A single adult woman enjoys status in law, but the married woman loses her status to acquire another based on necessary factors. No status is assigned directly by reason of sex, yet maleness and femaleness really determine a person’s juridical standing.(21) The Declaration thus presupposes that women and men are essentially complementary in a way that suits men for ordained ministry and women for non-ordained ministry. This presumes that equality is in fact realized through sexually differentiated functions.

Too often it appears the issue of sexuality is used to camouflage the issue of power. At least for the Christian tradition, Jesus’ power came not from asserting lordship or superiority or difference of roles, but from participating so fully in life as to be scorned by the religious purists of his day, and by causing others, the disenfranchised, especially women, to participate so fully in his ministry as to leave the early Church with a paradox it chose to ignore. Instead Christian women have been socialized to accept suffering and taught to offer it up, to identify with Christ the Victim rather than Christ the Priest. But even Christ’s sufferings had limits and even he asked God whether in fact it was all necessary. The question remains whether the distance between Christ the Victim and Christ the Priest is as vast as we have been led to believe.

There is no doubt that the really crucial issue raised by the Declaration is the nature of the symbol of Christ’s human nature. Is it simply a natural symbol which means we must seek some special significance in his maleness? Or must the real meaning be sought on a deeper level? Christ is a mystery and as such to limit the symbolism to the natural, to the obvious, is to risk diluting the very message of Christ, the very self-revelation of the Godhead in the humanity of Christ. The Hebrew scriptures should have given us a clue. The prophets, in whose tradition Jesus placed himself, never tired trying to raise the sights of the people above the literal, material expectations in the light of which popular imagination tended to interpret past promises made to their ancestors.

Traditionally the male symbol has stood for authority, power, but Christ deliberately eschewed this interpretation. He avoided displays of his power which would have overwhelmed people. He rejected those attracted solely by a chance view of his power. His was a participatory ethic: “Go sell what you have and give to the poor, then come follow me.” The Gerasene begged to be allowed to follow Jesus but was told: “Go back home . . . and tell them everything God has done for you.” When the mother of James and John tried to do a little promoting for her sons, Jesus asked them: “Can you drink of the same chalice?” these men all sought to be called, and Jesus in calling them indicated that wealth, special privilege, whether of closeness to Jesus or status positions, were foreign to his concept of call. Each call was a little different but each entailed giving up what meant the most to the individual so that the one called would be truly ready to hear God’s word and respond without hesitation. the obedience of discipleship constituted the key to kinship with Christ as expressed so succinctly in the retort: “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, my mother.” The women in the Gospels are remarkable in that their response to Christ’s call never stands in need of revision. Perhaps there is something to be said in favor of being socialized to serve, to do the will of another.

When the Declaration states then that women cannot be ordained because they are not apt representatives of Christ we MUST ask why. Why are women not apt representatives? Sexuality does not really seem the issue, because a close reading of the New Testament suggests quite another interpretation of the data. Women can be seen sharing essentially the full public life and ministry of Christ, except for being counted among the initial twelve and possibly working miracles or being present at the Last Supper. But the women share whatever they receive, and if they were absent at the anticipation of Christ’s death and resurrection, they were present for the real events. The resolution of the dilemma clearly cannot be achieved without a re-examination of the whole concept of ordained ministry.

Ordained Ministry

There are those today who fear all women want is power. But what power do they seek? There is a power that seeks to dominate and one that seeks to serve, the power of love. Unfortunately there are those for whom power is important. Christ is appreciated in terms of his powers, and the Church has often been viewed as essentially a power structure, a force in the world, even a force to be reckoned with. For such people the male is the symbol of power—from the level of brute force to the level of intellectual accomplishment. Man asserts his physical dominance over woman by raping her; his intellectual, by excluding her for centuries from the academic world, from the very chance to meet him as an intellectual equal. Against such a background woman is the symbol of powerlessness, and it is for this reason she is inadequate to represent Christ, not because of her sexuality or because any of the actual priestly roles are foreign to her. For the priestly act of Christ was the communication of the message of divine love which culminated in his death on the cross, and woman has ever been the Christian educator or proclaimer of the Word and a symbol of love, of self-sacrifice.

Christ did not hesitate to compare God to a woman looking for a lost coin, nor himself to a mother hen (Mt 23:37). God contrasted his own love for us to that of a mother for her child, and added that even if a mother should forget her child, he would never forget us (Is 49:15). Normally it is from our mothers we learn our first lessons of love, forgiveness and selfsacrifice. Christ outdid himself in pointing out that the capabilities of women equalled those of men. But it takes time to effect a social revolution, time Christ did not have but knew his Church would have.

What do we know about the actual origin and nature of the sacrament of Order? A functional priesthood was unknown in the New Testament; the presbyter was but a supervisor of community. Sacramental orders were introduced only around 100-150.(22) In other words, not only are the apostles not associated with the daily pastoral care of the people or the ministry of the Eucharist; according to the criteria for the valid reception of a sacrament, it is hard to find evidence that they even received this sacrament, for one must intend to receive a sacrament in order to receive it. Historically the Church had ministries before it had a theory of ministry; it had laws before it had a theory of law. As theory developed, however, it had immense significance in determining actual practice, even though often based on non-historical assumptions.(23)

Because women. are claiming a call to ministry, a call they maintain flows naturally enough from their own Baptism, the Declaration states specifically that “Baptism does not confer any personal title to public ministry in the Church,” thus choosing to ignore the emphasis of Vatican II on the coresponsibility of the laity for the mission of the Church. It continues: “Vocation cannot be reduced to a mere personal attraction which can remain purely subjective.... Authentication by the Church is indispensable..., a constitutive part of the vocation.” However, what it chooses to forget is that in the past the Church has even obliged some to accept orders.(24) Of course, in those instances, the Church operated out of the context of the people of God instead of exclusively the magisterium. Without denying that the force of orders is not simply declaratory but constitutive, cannot the call of a community for a ministry by women in some very real sense confer the charism for the proclamation of the Gospel and the collegial overseeing of and building up of the Church on a woman as well as a man?(25)

Moreover, although the Declaration denies any discrimination regarding the ministry of women, women remain excluded from the reception of certain ministries.(26) Since lay men and sometimes even women are admitted to many of these functions although women may not be formally installed, “it is evident that the discrimination is based exclusively on sexual differences, at least in those areas which at present do not require the power of Order.”(27) The Canon Law Society of America Statement further cites “two contradictory developments in the Church on the relationship of Orders and Jurisdiction. Vatican II reinforced the theoretical tie of Jurisdiction and Orders. Yct the pastoral practices of granting jurisdiction to non-ordained has been offcially sanctioned, cf. Motu Proprio Causas Matrimoniales. Thus this needs thorough study in order to resolve the contradiction.”(28)

Therefore, we must ask what ecclesiology underlies the insistence that no baptized person has an automatic right to ordination? Can it provide an adequate theology of charism which would recognizc God-given calls and obligations? The consensus statement concludes at this point that “the charismatic Church” and “the institutional Church” are one. The juridical consequences of charisma are such that they will probably lead us to an entirely new understanding of ministry in the Church.(29) Moreover, if the Church lacks the authority to alter major forms of ministry, how is this compatible with historical facts of change? with a sound theology of the Holy Spirit? a theology of the freedom of all persons? with the possibility that we may ultimately still belong to the early formative period of the Church?(30)

The Eucharist

According to the Declaration, St. Paul considered this “ability to represent Christ . . . as characteristic of the apostolic function.” The supreme form of this representation is in the celebration of the Eucharist—to the point of being Christ’s very image when the priest pronounces the words of consecration.

But what is the meaning of the Eucharist? It symbolizes the spiritual nourishment of the Christian under the natural symbolism of bread and wine, which, for the Christian, “represent” the body and blood of Christ. If we approach this from the external “out there-dominating” syndrome, we ultimately are forced to deal with very unpalatable, cannibalistic implications: a man says we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. This is how the contemporaries of Jesus interpreted the symbol. His words “. . . led to a fierce dispute among the Jews.... Many of his disciples withdrew and no longer went about with him” (Jn 6:52,66).

Such a development is inevitable if we can approach God only through masculine images. “But there are some dimensions of love and ministry which can only be conveyed by feminine images.”(31) If we are accustomed or become accustomed to seeing God through both masculine and feminine imagery, then the Eucharist takes on new meaning in the light of the most fundamental symbol of life in human experience: that of the unborn child who draws its very sustenance and life from the flesh and blood of its mother.(32) It is thus only through Epimanander’s image of the pregnant God and our own understanding of the beginnings of human life that we can draw close to a truly profound understanding of the nature of the Eucharist and the intimacy of the relationship Christ sought to establish with his followers and offers to us today when he says: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells continually in me and I dwell in him (her). As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he (she) who eats me shall live because of me” (Jn 6:56-58).

How then can we agree that “in actions in which Christ himself. . . is represented . . . in the highest degree the case of the Eucharist—his role (this is the original sense of the word persona) must be taken by a man”? If Paul and Christ could represent the feminine dimension, why cannot women represent the masculine? If Mary, through the power of her own fiat was the first actively to cooperate with the divine Will and so to make divinity incarnate in our midst, why has it ever since been the case that women have been and must continue to bc excluded from a ministry that is in so many ways similar? Filled with the Divine Fire, Mary immediately began her priestly ministry of the Word by bringing the Good News to Elizabeth and to her unborn child. Mary “listened to the WORD of God and put it into practice.” Can her daughters be blamed for wanting to respond in like manner?

The Declaration magnanimously proclaims: “The greatest in the kingdom . . . are not the ministers but the saints.” This is a particularly weak solution to the argument and hardly a strong note on which to end, for women seeking ordination are not looking for status in heaven but rather are driven by that same zeal that moved the Apostle Paul to cry out: “I would willingly be anathema and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers (and sisters) of Israel, my own flesh and blood” (Rom 9:3). Like Jesus, those who support the ordination of women are not half so concerned with what people might think about the company they are keeping as with the unmet pastoral needs of the people of God today.


1. Margaret Farley, “Moral Imperatives for the Ordination of Women”, in Women and Catholic Priesthood: An Expanded Vision, ed. Anne Marie Gardiner (New York: Paulist Press, 1976), p. 44

2. As Peter Ellis rather facetiously put it during a panel discussion of the Vatican Declaration at Fordham University on March 30, 1977: “Trying to understand the Declaration’s argumentation is like trying to comb your hair in a 50-mile-an-hour gale while standing on your head.” Cited in National Catholic Reporter, Vol. 13, No. 24 (April 15, 1977), p. 24

3. Cf. Richard A. Norris, Jr., “The Ordination of Women and the ‘Maleness’ of Christ,” Anglican Theological Review, No. 6 (June, 1976), pp. 69-80, reprinted in Living Worship, Vol. 13, No. 3 (March, 1977). Norris argues that to accept that Jesus’ maleness as the crucial aspect imaged by the priest is to alter the meaning of tradition.

4. Hervé-Marie Legrand, “Views on the Ordination of Women,” Origins, Vol. 6, No. 29 (Jan. 6, 1977), p. 467.

5. Ibid.

6. “An Open Letter to the Apostolic Delegate,” Commonweal (April 1, 1977), p. 205.

7. 1 am particularly indebted to Dr. Beatrice Bruteau for this insight into God as dominating force which she has developed in several unpublished lectures.

8. Bishop Joseph L. Hogan, as quoted in the Rochester Courier-Journal, Feb. 9, 1977.

9. Legrand, op. cit., p.466. Farley op. cit., agrees with Tavard in attributing a “social origin” to the theological view of the image as applied to women but insists theology is quite capable of incorporating sociologically based ideas into itself and so reinforcing what it might otherwise have served to correct, p. 59f. Tavard argues on p. 54f. that not the theology of the imago dei but its sociology has been detrimental to women. Cf. La Liturgie après Vatican ll: Bilans, Etudes. Prospective, ed. J. P. Jossua and Y. Congar (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1967), pp. 283-88.

10. Commonweal (April 1, 1977), p. 205.

11. Legrand, op. cit., p. 465.

12. “Declaration on Women in Ministerial Priesthood,” Origins, Vol. 6, No. 34 (Feb. 10, 1977).

13. David Burrell, “Men best symbolize Christ,” National Catholic Reporter (April 1, 1977), pp. 9 & 13.

14. Address of Paul Vl, Dec. 8, 1974, to the Italian Catholic Jurists, originally included in an address to the Italian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Oct. 29, 1966.

15. Hogan, op. cit.

16. Gardiner, op. cit., p.57. Cf. the four serious consequences Farley foresees if the Church continues to choose not to ordain women, pp. 46-48.

17. Kari E. Boressen, Subordination et équivalence. Nature et rôle de la femme d’après Augustin et Thomas d’Aquin, (Paris Oslo: Mame, 1967), p. 251, as cited by Legrand, op. cit., p. 464.

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid., pp. 259-260, or pp 464f. in Origins.

20. “Consensus Statement” from the Symposium on Women and Church Law, Canon Law Society of America, Rosemont College, Oct. 9-11, 1976, Rosemont, Pa., p. 2. Published in Sexism and Church Law, ed. James Coriden (New York: Paulist Press, 1977).

21. Ibid., p. 5. The CLSA thus proposes adoption of a “single juridical personality” so the male will no longer represent the norm, with special status assigned for the female, p. 7.

22. Rev. Josef Bommer, Professor of theology at Lucerne, in Vaterland, Feb. 12, 1977.

23. CLSA “Consensus Statement,” p. 3.

24. Legrand, op. cit., p.468. Cf. Y. Congar, “Ordinations invitus, coactus, de l’Eglise ancienne au canon 214,” in Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques, Vol. 50 (1966), pp. 169-197.

25. Legrand, op. cit., 462f.

26. Motu Proprio Ministeria Quaedam, norm 7, even though it earlier speaks of the rights and responsibilities of all the faithful.

27. CLSA “Consensus Statement,” p. 5.

28. Ibid., p. 10.

29. Ibid., p. 9. The CLSA proposes yet another study of juridical effects of charisms among the baptised, including these points: a) the juridical development of the notion of charism as a gift from God for the building up of the community, b) the criteria and process for the recognition of charisma, c) the conditions for the exercise of charisms, d) the system to evaluate and up-date the above criteria and process.

30. Ibid., p.3. Richard McBrien, “Women’s Ordination: Effective Symbol of the Church’s Struggle,” in Gardiner, op. cit., p. 91.

31. Joseph A. Komonchak, “Appendix E: Theological Questions on the Ordination of Women,” in Gardiner, op. cit., p. 252. In this context he takes up the marriage symbol which would be fascinating to explore, but due to the limitations of space must wait for another time.

32. Original idea suggested in response to a homily preached by the author on March 25, 1977, by Sr. Kevin Bissell.

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