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The theological reasons the Vatican gives for excluding women from holy orders contradict Scripture, Tradition and Theology

The arguments adduced to bolster the ban of women priests do not
stand up to scrutiny. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome is  simply wrong.

For a detailed discussion of these claims and their refutation, please visit our lively debates found here:

Here we will point out some plain facts.

1. Jesus gave women an equal status in his community, and empowered them in principle, like the men, to preside at his Eucharist.

2. Until at least the ninth century AD the Church gave to tens of thousands of women the full sacramental ordination of the diaconate.

3. Through baptism women, as much as men, share in Jesus’ priesthood.

This predisposes women, no less than men,  to receive all the sacraments including holy orders.

Discussion: Is the exclusion of women from holy orders Infallible Teaching?

“Yes!

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has declared this to be infallible doctrine!!!

Cardinal Ratzinger, when Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated: ‘This teaching has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium’. ”  Response to a Doubt, 28 October 1995

“Did he indeed?

Infallible, heh?

The  ‘ordinary and universal magisterium’ refers to the combined teaching of all the Catholic bishops in the world.

But the combined episcopate has never taught this doctrine.”

“Hold on!

The vast majority of bishops in the world believe that women cannot be ordained.

We know this for certain because they were chosen because they agree with the Pope on this point!”

“Look again!

It may be that all bishops of the world hold this as their opinion of faith.

This is known as an opinio communis  (common view). Opinio communis means nothing in terms of Church teaching. A hundred years ago most bishops still rejected evolution. In those days all firmly believed that the world was created in six days! This does not mean it was their combined teaching.

“Then what makes it combined teaching? Doesn’t Vatican II say: ‘Bishops, teaching in
communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth’?
Lumen Gentium § 25b.
“Well, read the full text!

Vatican II says: ‘The Bishops proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, they maintain the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, authentically teach matters of faith and morals, and are in agreement on one position as definitively to be
held.’
Lumen Gentium § 25b.

Five conditions are therefore required:

  1. Collegial action.
    It is clear that the bishops must be involved in an exercise of teaching authority as one body.
  2. As ‘judges’.
    The bishops must be free to express their own considered opinion.
  3. In service of the faith of the whole Church.
    The bishops must listen to the Word of God and the ‘sensus fidelium’.
  4. Regarding faith and morals.
    The teaching must concern matters relating to the object of faith.
  5. In a teaching consciously imposed as ‘definitive’.
    The bishops must want to impose the doctrine as definitely to be held.

None of these five conditions have been met!

“You put your opinion against that of
Cardinal Ratzinger?!
On what authority do you base your
assessment?!”
“Top theologians all over the world have rejected Cardinal
Ratzinger’s claim of infallibility.

  1. The Catholic Theological Society of America
  2. Nicholas Lash, professor of divinity,  Cambridge University, UK
  3. Francis A. Sullivan SJ, emeritus  professor Gregorian University Rome
  4. Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., professor of  theology at Fordham University, New York
  5. Gisbert Greshake, professor of theology  at the University of Freiburg, Germany
  6. Ann  O’Hara Graff, professor of theology at Seattle University,  Washington
  7. Peter Hünermann, professor of theology at Tübingen University, Germany
  8. Sidney Cornelia Callahan, pastoral theologian, USA
  9. David Knight, pastoral theologian, Memphis,  USA
  10. Richard Gaillardetz, associate professor,  University of St. Thomas, Houseton, USA
  11. Klaus Nientiedt, ‘How Binding? “Ordinatio sacerdotalis” unleashes debate on the Magisterium’, Herder Korrespondenz 9 (1996) pp. 461-466.
  12. John H.  Wright, ‘That all doubt may be removed’, America 171 (July 30-Aug. 6, 1994) pp. 16-19.
  13. Fr. Joseph Moingt SJ, editor of Recherches de Science Religieuse.
  14. Hugh  O’Regan, editor of the on-line magazine, San Fransico Bay Catholic.
  15. The commission on “Woman and the Church” of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference
Prejudice has often distorted ‘doctrine’. The Vatican arguments are wrong. The Magisterium has proclaimed errors in the past. We have a duty to speak out. The faithful reject the exclusion of women.

John Wijngaards