Ordination of women and the Catholic Church

"Adam and Eve" by Albrecht Dürer (1504)
The dogma of the Catholic Church on ordination, as expressed in the current Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is that "Only a baptized man (Latin: vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Catholic Church teaches that this requirement is a matter of divine law and thus doctrinal. Only men can receive ordination to the diaconate. Pope Francis, speaking of priestly ordination of women in February 2014, has stated that "with regards to the ordination of women, the church has spoken and says no ... That door is closed." The installed ministries of lector and acolyte, when formally conferred and exercised on a long-term basis (as opposed to an altar server, who only fills in for them), are reserved solely for men preparing for diaconal and priestly ordination.

Some supporters of women's ordination have asserted that there have been ordained female priests and bishops in antiquity. The church's position is that, although "a few heretical sects in the first centuries, especially Gnostic ones, entrusted the exercise of the priestly ministry to women: this innovation was immediately noted and condemned by the Fathers who considered it as unacceptable in the Church." In response some supporters of women's ordination argue those sects were not heretical but orthodox, and that in fact the Catholic Church itself had become heretical.

There is evidence that women were deacons within the Christian community. For example, Paul's letter to the Romans, written in the first century CE, mentions a woman deacon:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.

— Rom 16:1,

Pope Gelasius I apparently condemned the practice of women officiating at altars; inscriptions near Tropea in Calabria refer to "presbytera", which could be interpreted as a woman priest or as a wife of a male priest. Furthermore, a sarcophagus from Dalmatia is inscribed with the date 425 and records that a grave in the Salona burial-ground was bought from presbytera Flavia Vitalia: selling burial plots was at one time a duty of presbyters. There have been some 15 records so far found of women being ordained in antiquity by Christians; the Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox, and the Assyrian Church of the East, as noted, all agree that those ordinations were by heretical groups, while the Women's Ordination Conference contends those same groups were orthodox and that the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches were in fact heterodox.

This page was last edited on 18 May 2018, at 19:25.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_doctrine_on_the_ordination_of_women under CC BY-SA license.

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