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Sister Christian Churches

Sister Christian Churches

The fact that so many other Churches, after a long and conscientious examination of Sacred Scripture and Tradition, have come to the conclusion that women can be ordained priests and bishops, is of great significance to the Catholic Church.

For the Catholic Church acknowledges that the Holy Spirit is also at work in those Churches and that it has to learn from what the Spirit is saying through the action of those Churches.

“Many of the most significant elements or endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church herself can exist outside the boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, along with other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit and visible elements.” (Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism § 3)

“Nor should we forget that whatever is wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can contribute to our own building up. Whatever is truly Christian never conflicts with the genuine interests of the faith; indeed, it can always result in a more ample realization of the very mystery of Christ and the Church.” (Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism § 4)

At present we can offer information and documents on the position of women in the following Churches:

Bishop Chilton KnudsenThe Anglican Communion

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Methodist Churches

The Old Catholic Churches

The Orthodox Churches

Presbyterian Church USA

Reformed Church in America

Southern Baptist Church

United Church of Canada

The World Council of Churches

Other Christian Churches

Some relevant texts

The Churches Speak: On Women's Ordination. Extracts from reports by various American Denominations

What is ordination coming to? Report of a Consultation on the Ordination of Women held in Cartigny, Geneva, Switzerland 21st-26th September 1970, first published by the World Council of Churches 1971

Pro and Con on Ordination of women. Report and papers from the United States Anglican-Roman Catholic consultation, held in Cinncinnati, June 1975.


“Is the ordination of women an ecumenical problem?” by Prof. Dr. Anne Jensen, Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift 84 (1994) vol.4, pp. 210 - 228.

Ministry and Theological Education. From Daughters of Dissent, by Elaine Kaye, Janet Lees and Kirsty Thorpe, Ch. 4. Published by The United Reformed Church 2004

Women as Bishops. Edited by James Rigney, Continuum, 2008. See chapter 4 on line.

Read Vatican II's Decree on Ecumenism.

Please, visit our photo gallery of ordained women bishops.

Dates from which Churches opened up to women as ministers:

1852 United Church of Christ
1863 Universalist denomination, now Unitarian Universalist Association
1865 Salvation Army
1911 Mennonite
1914 Assemblies of God
1920s Some Baptist denominations
1939 United Methodist Church. (African Methodists had ordained women for decades.)
1956 Presbyterian Church (USA)
1972 Reform Judaism.
1970s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
1976 Episcopal Church
1994 Church of England



Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.


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