Reasons behind the rule
Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 28, 2009
I’m Catholic and I think that God can bless women to lead others to Himself. In fact, both parents of a good friend of mine are Presbyterian ministers; I have no problem with his mother, a woman, being a minister. The Roman Catholic priesthood is different, however; it is not a position that is about power. Clearly there are occasionally those who abuse their vocation, but the priesthood is in its essence a position of service.
Jesus is not sexist. The Catholic Church is not sexist. Jesus was not a man who was afraid to break with customs [Lk 6:3]. In a time when women were scorned, he loved, healed and forgave males and females alike [Mt 9:22]. Though the misogynistic culture continued after Jesus’ death, the Church demonstrates through its history that women and men can be as holy as saints, as wise as Doctors of the Church and as able to lead as priests and nuns. It has honored Mary, a lay woman, as the perfect Christian model. We believe that Jesus is God. We believe that he founded one Christian Church [Mt 16:18], and that Peter taught from the center of civilization, Rome, which currently houses his 266th successor.
He is omniscient. When Jesus established the priesthood, He knew the effects that his actions would have across all time; he knew that the Apostles would ordain male successors by the laying of hands [Acts 8: 17] and that they would continue the breaking of the bread [Acts 2:42] as He commanded [Lk 22:19]. In other occasions, when Jesus knew that He had been misunderstood by the Apostles, He corrected them [Jn 11:14].
The Church cannot add to or subtract from anything that has been revealed to it. Because Jesus did not correct the Apostles in this case, the Church states that it cannot ordain women. The statement is not “will not” but “cannot” ordain. This is not because the Church deems women as inferior, but because it cannot change what its God instituted. The priesthood is a life of service to Christians, but not necessarily their ultimate goal.