Some Reasons Why Women Can’t be Priests

Swedish Lutheran ‘bishops’ Antje Jackelén (L) and Eva Nordung Byström Swedish Lutheran ‘bishops’ Antje Jackelén (L) and Eva Nordung Byström (Magnus Aronson/IKON, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
“Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. … 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.”  Angelo Stagnaro

The main problem with illicit ordinations is that they destroy the Church’s unity by creating a competing authority structure. This is not in keeping with the Scriptural admonition:

Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. (1Cor 12:12)

When dissident Christians decide they have the authority to ordain as they wish, they’re destroying the Church’s unity. This was one of the major problems with the Protestant Reformation. In John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, the Pope explains that any division in the Church is a scandal. In 2010, the Catholic Church added the attempt to ordain women on a list of the very grave delicts or sins that are punishable with excommunication.

It’s imperative to praise the role of women in the Church. As Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington explained during a news conference discussing the Church’s stance against women’s ordination, “The Church’s gratitude to women cannot be stated strongly enough. Women offer unique insight, creative abilities and unstinting generosity at the very heart of the Catholic Church.”

It’s also important to understand that women are in God’s eyes the equal to men in dignity. This, however, is not an indication that the genders are equal in terms of their mission to lead the Church. Simply put, the Church doesn’t have the authority to include women in the clergy. The argument that Jesus was hampered by the cultural mores of the time 2000 years ago is silly for several reasons:

Reason #1. With the exception of Judaism, 100 percent of all of the religions in the world at the time of Christ had priestesses. It’s inconceivable to suggest that Jesus believed, wrongly, that converts to Christianity would not accept a female priesthood.

Reason #2. It’s ludicrous to suggest that God, had He wanted, couldn’t have done exactly that which He wished. He chose to suffer horribly and die in the most ignominious manner possible. In fact, Christ’s entire life, ministry, Passion, death and resurrection is so complex and well worked out, it’s hard to imagine that had He wanted women in His priesthood, He could not have chosen to do exactly that. Considering that He taught many things that were countercultural and, according to the interpretation of the Temple’s High Priests, contrary to Mosaic Law, it’s odd in the extreme to think He couldn’t have ordained a giant, purple cow if He thought it was moral and fitting to do so. Because He was God, He could have, at any time, easily made one more rule — that of including women in the Church’s priesthood. But the salient, undeniable point is: He didn’t.

Reason #3. The idea that women had been Christian priests in some point in the Church’s history, but due to a secret male supremacist, ecclesial cabal which usurped women’s “rightful” leadership in the Church, has no bearing on historical reality or on the Church’s theology. Conspiracy theories are by their very nature, irrational and illogical and can’t be taken seriously.

Reason #4. Those who advocate for women’s ordination point to polls of American Catholics that suggest large support for the idea. The poll of American Catholics by The New York Times and CBS News, released in May 2010, showed that 59 percent favored ordaining women, while 33 percent were opposed. The point that these feminists have missed is that morality and theology are not matters of democratic popularity. If they were, I would immediately leave the Church. The reason I’m content with being Catholic is because the Church understands and accepts that Truth is eternal and not dependent upon fads, trends, polls, arbitrary whims, rarified tastes and “personal revelations.” If it was true 2000 years ago, it continues to remain true even today and will be so in 2000 years in the future. Ordination has been without exception, reserved for men and this fact can’t be changed despite changing times.

The idea that the Catholic Church should change to remain “relevant” in the modern world is silly. As G.K. Chesterton said, “We do not want, as the newspapers say, a Church that will move with the world. We want a Church that will move the world.” Protestant organizations struggle to remain relevant all the time and to their detriment. Eleven Protestant denominations shutter their doors every day in America. This is not because they are on the right track but rather because they’ve left it far behind them. Why do we know this? Jesus tells us so:

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)

Thus, if a Christian denomination is “overcome,” it obviously wasn’t the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church which Jesus had in mind.

We are not like the pagans or Mormons whose gods are mumbling, stumbling and fumbling, unsure of what to say and constantly changing their minds. I flat-out reject any proposed religion ― including any feminist fabrication ― that is built on the presumption, “Had God had the foresight to consult me, I would have urged Him to [fill in the blank].” This is not only narcissistic and spiritually damaging but, frankly, stupid. If someone chooses to announce their own prophethood, claiming a direct hotline to God, they need a bit more than just their “sincere feelings” to show for it.

God will not change His mind. He doesn’t need to, as He is God and already knows what He wants.

And the Catholic Church, with her male-only priesthood, is what He wants.