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Guido de Baysio. Reasons why women cannot be ordained to the priesthood

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Guido de Baysio

Author of the Rosarium Super Decreto, written between 1296 and 1300 AD.

As reasons why women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, Guido mentions the following:

Translation from the latin by John Wijngaards

Women are not perfect members of the Church

“Women are unfit to receive ordination, for ordination is reserved for perfect members of the church, since it is given for the distribution of grace to other men. But women are not perfect members of the church, only men are”
“Add to this that woman is not an image of God, only man is”. (gloss added to the text)

Causa 27, quaestio 1, chapter 23

Woman was the effective cause of damnation

“Moreover, woman was the effective cause of damnation since she was the origin of transgression and Adam was deceived through her, and thus she cannot be the effective cause of salvation, because holy orders causes grace in others and so salvation.”

Causa 27, quaestio 1, chapter 23

Even Mary helped salvation only in a material way

“A woman can be the cause of salvation in a material way, indeed because woman was (after all) taken from man in a material way since she was made from Adam's rib. And so the Virgin Mary had to be the cause of salvation, and this is true that the female sex was the material cause of our salvation since Christ our salvation proceeded materially from the Blessed Virgin.”

Causa 27, quaestio 1, chapter 23

Note. Guido says that the extent of Eve’s guilt cannot be balanced even by the fact that Mary is the Mother of God, since Mary was only the “material cause of salvation”. Because woman was created from man, Guido allows the female sex in general only the ability to be the material cause of salvation, though, paradoxically, she can be the only efficient causation for sin, according to Guido.

The meaning of ‘deaconess’

“A ‘deaconess’, that is: an abbess, or formerly a woman who ministered to a priest was called a ‘deaconess’ .... Today this does not exist any more.”

Source: Ida Raming, The Exclusion of Women from the Priesthood, Scarecrow Press, Metuchen 1976, pp. 68-69.


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.

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