Why the Church does not admit women to Holy Orders

In latest events,

Women’s ‘ordinations’ in Pittsburgh invalid, lead to excommunication

What a scandal! Many people wonder, “What’s the big deal with ordaining women to Holy Orders?” But the Church recognises it as an issue to be taken seriously.

I’ve decided to write this, because I am sick and tired of hearing girls tell me that it is sexist what not… Yeah, they are Catholic. They probably had crappy catechism, but so did I. Anyway I’m not here to condemn, but to inform that….it begineth.

The Church has always taught that women cannot be admitted to Holy Orders, simply because the Church has no such power to ordain women. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“1557: Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.”66 The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.67 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.681

Why doesn’t the Church ordain women? Rather, we should ask, why can’t the Church ordain women?

Now for you raving Catholic girls who are about to say that the Church is being sexist, consider this:

The 12 apostles were made up of men. There were no women amongst them. All the people at the Last Supper were men. Even Blessed Virgin Mary was absent. (And no, Mary Magdalene was not there, so you gnostics and conspiracy theorists can go elsewhere.)

Are you accusing Jesus Christ of being a sexist? Don’t forget that he broke many social conventions of that time, regarding men interacting with women. If you read the Gospels, in one scene he talks to the Samaritan woman at the well, alone. In another seen he lets this sinful woman wipe his feet with her hair. What a scandal it would have been during that time! But it goes to show how revolutionary Christ was. But if He did not go as far as ordaining women as bishops, how dare we? Do we claim to be more revolutionary then He is?

Since this is the Tradition of the Church, which is started by Christ himself, we have no right to change it. The Church Fathers speak of this in great detail.2

Some of us think that women can make better priests than men. They probably have more sympathetic ears for Confession. But again we return to our question: why women cannot be priests.

The 2nd reason why we cannot ordain women is that the Priest is acting in the Head of Christ (In persona Christi capitis3). Christ is borrowing the body of the man to represent His sacrifice on the Cross. The Holy Mass is a representation of the sacrifice on Cavalry. This is the substance of the Sacrament. It’s like, you can’t baptise people with wine or coke, because water has always been used. Similarly, you can only use bread during the consecration, and not famous amos cookies or the sort. Sure, we hear stories of Masses being celebrated with biscuits, but these are not valid. There are even certain Protestant churches using Milo for Holy Communion (no names mentioned, ask me if you really want to know.) Then again Protestants don’t believe in the Mass, and neither do they have valid Masses. But that’s a story for another day..

In any case, I feel that the root of this issue stems from the blurring of gender roles in modern society. A man now does the housework; a woman now dies on the battlefield. ‘Gender equality’ has created a messed up society. It is actually a nice name for Feminism, which by the way is not in compliance with Catholic doctrine. Men are not better than Women, nor are Women better than men. They are complementary and play important roles. As a matter of fact, Sex (a person’s state, not the act of intercourse) is not merely confined to bodily structures, but also extends to the mind and the soul. It is obvious that a man thinks differently from a woman.

Some things can never change. A man cannot give birth, but a woman can. If not for women, where will we men be? As they say, the hand which rocks the cradle rocks the earth. Men were not made to give birth, God forbid that scientists enable that to happen. May God have mercy on me and my colleagues. Christ has intended many vocations for women, but not Holy Orders. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis states:

The presence and the role of women in the life and mission of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable. As the Declaration Inter Insigniores points out, “the Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission; today their role is of capital importance both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church”.4, 5

It is therefore obvious that women cannot be admitted to Holy Orders. Of course, you ladies are more than welcome to join the religious orders as nuns, or to take part in the other ministries of the Church. We need more of you girls.

I leave with you this excerpt from Raymond T. Gawronski, S.J:

“In this male world run wild, there is nothing but contempt for the truly feminine, and for the “gentle man.” In a well-ordered world, the feminine is loved and treasured as the only stance worthy of the creature before God: And the masculine is ordered to learn from the feminine how to receive from God, and how to die in order to nourish life. The Church must help men learn to do this, and the Church must insist on the dignity of the feminine, for the sake of those who so beautifully bear the dignity of femininity as a symbol for the world in their bodies.”6

Here are some references for you to educate yourself with. Remember, it is every Catholic’s duty to educate him/herself in the Faith.

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1577.

2 Women and the Priesthood

3Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1548.

4 Apostolic Letter on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)

5 Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood (Inter insigniores)

6 Why Was Christ A Male & Why Did He Ordain Only Men? Raymond T. Gawronski

Additional resources:

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic.com

Why Can’t Women Be Priests? Jason Evert

Priestesses in the Church, C.S Lewis

8 Responses to “Why the Church does not admit women to Holy Orders”

  1. 1 Constantine August 10, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    “What would you say to a woman who wants to know why women shouldn’t be priests?”

    My first response would be to avoid the question all together. I find that most who ask such things have no intentions of listening, but rather in finding a scratching post.

    My next response would be to wonder what would make a woman want to become a priest? Why? Why would a woman want to pursue such a thing? When a woman pursues such a thing it always strikes me as a desire to destroy “otherness.” In that, it destroys beauty. And abolishes love. So again, I ask “Why?”

    Is it not ultimately a self-love that causes the pursuit of such things; to pursue the enmeshment of women with the ontology of men?

    How then should a woman respond to this role she “cannot” obtain? Behold… respect… silence. Certainly not with possession… violence. More so, dear ladies, do not be embittered and do not think this is a fence, a barrier into a world you cannot know, but rather, an invitation into the full onotology of humanness and thereby, for you, beautiful life-bearer, an invitation into feminity. It’s an invitation into a world of gentleness and strength. Kindness and fortitude. Grace and protection. Boundaries only give the perception of limits, but know this — those boundaries are only for those who live on the surface of life. For those on the journey inward, where we’ll find the Kingdom of God and fullness of community, there are no limits. Life-bearer pursue the inner kingdom and do not fear or embitter yourself against the graces bestowed for our external lives. Inward is your priesthood.

  2. 2 war in the pocket August 10, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    well said.. all are priests in the common priesthood, not all in the ministerial.

  3. 3 Anonymous March 15, 2008 at 2:18 am

    I am extremely offended by your article! Learn how to spell and use spellcheck!

  4. 5 Katie November 2, 2008 at 8:15 am

    You forget that when Constantine allowed what would go and would not go into the bible it was a council of men who admitted the new testament. Its not sexist but gods will to have us be equal. We are not man or women but children, children of god! Please quit letting your male religious leaders tell you what is and what is not!

  5. 6 War in the pocket December 11, 2008 at 5:36 pm


    Emperor Constantine had little to do with the compiling of the books of the Bible. Let us recall some events during his time. Constantine lived from 272 AD to 337 AD. In 325 AD he called for what we know as the First Council of Nicaea. This council was supposed to resolve the Arian heresy. It had nothing to do with the compilation of the New Testament. In 331 AD Eusebius of Caesarea delivered fifty copies of the New Testament for Constantinople. The canon used by these copies were based on lists that were compiled before that. Constantine had nothing to do with it.

    Being male or female does not contradict the fact that we are God’s children. There is no need to pit these two facts against each other. He made us that way and it is God’s will. That being said being male is not the same as being female, for Man has his role and Woman hers. None is more superior to the other. Let us be humble and accept this.

    There is nothing wrong with listening to the Apostles who are inspired by the Holy Ghost. It does not make sense that we disdain them simply because they are male. We recognise that women do play an important role in the Church. Take our Blessed Mother, Mary the Mother of God for instance. She commands us to do everything Christ tells us, and we do. The fact that she was not an Apostle does not remove the honour from her. In fact we honour her all the more, because she is the Mother of Apostles. The influence of this one woman was so great, because she contained the Saviour of the world in her womb. If you are asserting that the Church gives no voice to the ladies, I have already shown you that this is not so.

  6. 7 War in the pocket December 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm


    If you are that offended, explain yourself and maybe we can reason. Attacking my poor spelling capabilities does not show that what I have written is wrong.

    Oh yes, the very least you could have done is leave an email address and a name. If not I might assume that you are a bot or a script.

  7. 8 Jason December 18, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I agree with the article written. It was a good defense made regarding the doctrine. However I hope for a new council like Vatican II to once again re-energise the Church and possibly refine the duties and responsibilities of the clergy, and if possible to make the complementary roles of men and women of the Church more prominent. Perhaps an in-depth account of the Arian heresy would be nice. St. Augustine is one of my favourite saints

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