On why women cannot be priests

The holiest human creature –if we don’t consider Jesus Christ, God and man- is a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yet she was not a priest: therefore, those who consider a desirable privilege for a woman to become a priest are wrong, since the Holy Virgin, a model of sanctity and humility was not one. If the Lord didn’t see suitable that His Holy Mother was a priest, it would be reckless that other women would aspire to become one.


It wouldn’t be the searching for a higher sanctity but a social promotion. Aspiring to be more important would be a poor baggage indeed in order to become a priest, inasmuch as a priest must be everybody’s server and inasmuch as what we have to aspire to is to be holier, not being necessary for this goal to be a priest, as it is clear with the example of the Blessed Virgin.


People also say that, although Jesus didn’t ordinate any woman as priest, this was just because in that historical time this would have been astonishing and it wouldn’t have been seen with good eyes. Yet Jesus didn’t adapt himself to the prejudices of the Jewish nation at that time against women, but “…Jesus smashed the prejudices of his time, transgressing very often the discriminations with regard to women”[44]


Jesus Christ didn’t call any woman to be part of the Twelve (the twelve apostles). Doing so was not to adapt himself to the customs of his time, since his attitude towards women contrasts sharply with the customs of his environment and shows a voluntary and courageous breaking away from them. Thus, to the astonishment of his disciples themselves, he publicly talks with the Samaritan woman (cfr Jn 4, 27), he doesn’t bear in mind the impurity of the woman who suffers from an abnormal discharge of blood (cfr Mt 9, 20-22), he allows that a sinner woman comes to him in the home of Simon the Pharisee (cfr Lc 7, 37 ss.), he forgives the adulterous woman…


Jesus doesn’t hesitate to move away from the law Moses in order to ratify the equality of duties and rights between man and wife, with regard to the bonds of marriage  (cfr Mc 10, 2-11; Mt 19, 3-9).


During his itinerant ministry, Jesus accepts the company not only of the Twelve, but also of a group of women:“Mary, who is called the Magdalene, liberated from seven devils, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanne, and many others, who used to provide for them out of their own means”.(Lc. 8, 2-3)


In contrast with the Jewish mentality, which, as we can see in the Jewish laws, didn’t assign much value to the testimony of female witnesses, it was women who had the privilege to first see the resurrected Jesus Christ, and they are the ones who, sent by Jesus, gave the first Easter message even to the Eleven, in order to prepare them as the official witnesses of the Resurrection”[45]. (cfr. Mt. 28, 7-10; Lc 24, 9-10; Jn 20, 11-18).


Therefore, we see that Jesus doesn’t bear in mind the prejudices of the epoch with regard to women and that, if he chose men for apostles, excluding women and even his Holy Mother, he did it unconditioned by his epoch, because he wanted it so, as it has been along the centuries and as it is compiled in an uninterrupted Tradition:


Thus, the election of just men for priests, made by Jesus, must be a standard norm for the Church.


So, one can understand that in the ritualism of the sacred ordaining orders, there is said that the priest has to be a male because, in his ministry, the priest represents Christ and Jesus Christ was a male. 


On the other hand, if there is still some doubt, the teaching of the Church is clear about the matter: thus, the (Universal) Catechism of the Catholic Church in his  N1 1577 says: “Only the baptized male (“vir”) validly  receives the sacred orders” (CIC, can 1024). Our Lord Jesus chose males (“viri”) to create the college of the twelve apostles (cf  Mc 3, 14-19; Lc 6, 12-16) and the apostles did the same when they chose their collaborators (cf 1 Tm 3, 1-13; 2 Tm 1, 6; Tm 1, 5-9) who had to follow them in their task (Saint Clement Roman, Cor 42, 4; 44, 3).


The college of bishops, to whom presbyters are affiliated as priests, performs and brings up-to-date the college of the Twelve, until the return of Jesus Christ. The Church knows herself bound by this decision of the Lord. That is why women do not receive the holy orders to become priests (cf John Paul II, MD 26-27; CDF.Decl. “Inter insigniores”: AAS 69 (1977) 98-116)”.

Let us remark that, according to Catechism, the ordaining of women as priests would not only be illegitimate, but also void, since one of the essential requirements to fulfill the sacrament of ordination as it was instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ would be missing. Therefore, if a bishop arbitrarily ordained a woman priest, the woman would stay as before: without the imprint of priesthood or any power as a priest.

[44]Document of the Sacred Congregation  for the Faith's Doctrine: “ Declaration about  the question to admit women to the ministerial priesthood”, 15th October of 1976