Q7. Was genuine Catholic Tradition against the ordination of women?
The authorities in Rome maintain that the Catholic Church has never given sacramental ordination to women. This claim is simply not true.
From the earliest times onwards, women were involved in various ministries: mainly as apostolic helpers, prophets, members of the order of widows, and women deacons.
As the Council of Trent defined in 1563, the diaconate is part of the sacrament of holy orders. Even though in the early Church, the term sacrament was not yet applied to holy orders, it is crucial to understand that women deacons were given a sacramental ordination as defined by the Council of Trent. Read Women were Deacons and The Sacramental Ordination of Women Deacons.
The sacramentality of the womens diaconate can be proved by the fact that women deacons were ordained through an ordination rite that was entirely equivalent to that used for male deacons. It is worth looking at the actual texts found in these ancient rituals:
The point is that women did, therefore, receive holy orders. And if they could be ordained deacon, they can be ordained priests. Moreover, the womens diaconate was widespread in the Church for at least nine centuries, as can be seen from historical records. Church Councils endorsed the practice of ordaining women as deacons. Women deacons enjoyed a variety of tasks in the parish. We have an impressive list of Women Deacon Saints. The causes for the decline in women deacons are the prejudice against women in Roman law (Roman law became the basis of Church law!) and the taboo of menstruation.
Women ordained as priests?
Though this never became general practice, there is evidence that in some parts of the early Church women functioned also as bishops and priests:
In other words: the fact that women received sacramental holy orders, especially as fully ordained women deacons, is indisputable. Catholic Tradition does include the practice of ordaining women.
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