What may we read into Jesus omitting
women from the apostolic twelve?
The answer is: nothing!
Rome maintains that this omission was a deliberate act by
Jesus. For his openness to women shows that he did not yield to social opinions
of the time. Read the official text
So by this omission Jesus established a permanent norm. It
barred women from ordination for all time to come.
Read the official text here.
To be able to judge the meaning of the Scripture
texts in questions such as these, we need to be aware of two principles:
the difference between the
literal meaning and the literalist meaning;
how literary forms should
be taken into account.
Now, the omission of a woman from the twelve is a
non-fact. The NON-FACT of Jesus not having
chosen women among the twelve apostles does not prove that he decided
against them for ever.
We should also remember that Jesus, though the
incarnate Son of God, was also human. We may not read the Gospels without
taking this background picture into account.
- Jesus possessed many of our human limitations.
- He had to learn and discover new things as we have to do. He
shared the knowledge and the ignorance of his contemporaries. Only in that way
did he become truly like us. Click
- Like all of us, Jesus had to grow in character, maturity and
the understanding of his own mission. Click here!
- We can, therefore, understand that Jesus did not and could not
solve all the important questions that would face his Church in the future,
such as the inclusion of women in the ministry.
On the other hand, by his words and deeds Jesus
had expressed the full equality of women, a principle that implied their
inclusion in the future ministry.
Read also: The twelve apostles were men -
- by Ida Raming, Orientierung 56 (1992) pp. 143-146.
The answer is therefore: the omission of women
from the apostolic twelve proves nothing. Jesus radically including women
in his general priesthood implies that they should be included in his
If you have questions at any stage, please, let me
know. Click on the envelope and send me an email!