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Council of Paris

829 AD


Lib 1, Canon 45. We have sought by all possible ways to prevent the illicit admission of women to the altar.(39) We have learned through a report of trustworthy people that in some provinces, in contradiction to the divine law and to canonical instruction, women betake themselves into the altar area, impudently take hold of the sacred vessels, hold out the priestly garments to the priests and — what is still worse, more indecent and unfitting than all this — they give the people the body and blood of the Lord and do other things which in themselves are indecent [quae ipso dictu turpia sunt].

It is most amazing how this practice, unpermitted in the Christian religion, could creep in; that is, how women, to whose sex it is in no way befitting to do what is contrary to the divine law, could ever allow themselves to do what is forbidden to secular males. Doubtless it occurred through the carelessness and negligence of some bishops. Therefore woe to us priests into whose hands the burdens of that priest have passed as they are described in Macch. 2: For they have indeed disregarded their duty which was delegated to them for the cult, and, while God’s temple was without holy service, given themselves to carnal passions and illicit actions, so that women, without anyone preventing them, betake themselves into consecrated houses and therein have been able to introduce unpermitted things.(42)

One would be almost inclined to think when reading this that the actual reason for the statement “to whose sex it is in no way befitting” lies in the danger of “carnal passions and illicit actions.” As a basis for the exclusion of women that would not be exactly convincing.


39. The editor notes in the text: Conc. Paris, lib. I, c. 45; abbrev. Mansi 14, 565.

42. Hefele-Leclercq, vol. 4, p. 67; Mansi, vol. 14, p. 565.

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