A Short Catechism on "Women Priests"

by John Vennari

What is the Church's teaching on women in the priesthood?

The Church's constant teaching can be summarized in three points.

1) God Himself determines who will exercise the function of the priesthood in the public liturgy. Not even Christ as man takes the honor to Himself, and to the Apostles He says, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and have appointed you." [John 15:16]

2) God chose men both in the Old and New Testament exclusively for the priesthood.

3) Only men are to exercise the ministerial priesthood, representing all mankind before God in things pertaining to God.

Is there any foundation for woman priesthood in the Old Testament?

There is none. From the beginning God chose only men to offer sacrifice. Adam, created before Eve, is the head of Eve and the whole human race. He is the first official priest through the primacy of his creation to offer sacrifice to God. It is also through Adam that sin was passed on to the human race. If only Eve had sinned and not Adam, the human race would not have fallen. Noah offered sacrifice when leaving the ark. Melchizedech, King of Salem and priest of God, offered sacrifice of bread and wine. Abraham, whom God called to be the father of many, offered sacrifice. Under Moses, Aaron was chosen by God as high priest. This Levitical priesthood [the sons of Aaron] continued until the coming of Christ, Who annulled all former priesthoods. There is no record of women offering sacrifice anywhere in the Old Testament.

Is there any foundation for woman priesthood in the New Testament?

There is none. Christ, the new Adam, through Whom are born all the children of of God in the supernatural order of Grace, offered Himself in sacrifice as both Priest and Victim. Christ chose only men as Apostles to act in persona Christi, i.e. to act in the person of Christ, particularly in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Is there any foundation for woman priesthood in the Sacred Tradition of the Church?

There is none. St. Irenaeus and Tertullian of the early Church, both condemned heretical sects that attempted to admit women to priestly orders.

Is there any foundation for woman priesthood [priestesses] in the history of the world?

Yes, but in the paganism and witchcraft of the pre- and post-Christian era, as well as the condemned heretical sects mentioned above. It should be noted that every time such paganism and witchcraft is mentioned in Scripture, it is mentioned as something evil, to be condemned. This is why today's feminist "theologians" openly declare how "right" were the pagans and how "wrong" were Christ and the Church fathers.

Could it be that Christ did not institute woman priesthood because He was victimized by culture, custom and prejudice of His time?

Christ was no peaceful conformist. It is evident that Christ broke many of the conventions of His surroundings. He cleansed the temple of accepted commercial conventions and revoked the convenient custom of divorce [which is Rule #1 of "How to be unpopular"]. He spoke to Samaritans and that of a woman, He disregarded the legal customs of the Pharisees. Christ, being God, did not conform to the age. but commanded His age [and all ages] to conform to Him.

Didn't St. Paul say that "In Christ there is neither male nor female," therefore, women have a right to be priests?

This quote from St. Paul [which actually refers to sanctifying grace received at Baptism and not Holy Orders] is often cited by woman-priest advocates as an argument from infallible Sacred Scripture. Yet these feminists ignore the same St. Paul who wrote elsewhere in Sacred Scripture: "Let women keep silence in the Churches." [1 Cor. 14:34-35]

Didn't  the early Church have Deaconesses?

Yes, but it is unanimous from early Church documents that the term "deaconesses" had nothing to do with the Sacrament of Holy Orders. St. Epiphanius gives unquestionable testimony as to the non-ordination of "deaconesses." They were only women-elders, not priestesses in any sense, and their mission was not to interfere in any way with sacerdotal functions, but simply to perform offices in the care of women. [Haer. 1xxix. cap. iii]

Does the non-admission of women to the priesthood have anything to do with "inferiority" and superiority?"

It has nothing to do with "inferiority" and superiority," but upon the roles which God has ordained for men and women. According to Divine Plan, God did not call women to the priesthood any more than He called men to motherhood. Our Blessed Mother was the most perfect being ever to walk the earth, outside of the God-man, Jesus Christ. So much does Her excellence surpass allof God's creatures that She is Queen of Angels and Saints. Yet Our Lord did not choose Her as one of His priests, but twelve unlettered men, one of whom betrayed Him.

  Is there any example to help us understand God's order?

The example of the Holy Family bears out God's order. St. Joseph was the pure and just head of the Holy Family. Our Lady was lovingly obedient to St. Joseph and Our Lord was subject to both of them. Yet in the order of excellence it was the other way around. Christ is the most excellent, then Our Lady, and then St. Joseph. Heaven recognized Joseph as head of the family as the Angel always went to Joseph with instructions to "Take your family to Egypt" and "take your family back to Nazareth." Unfortunately, a Christian understanding of the proper order of man, woman and family is practically non-existent in our modern atheistic world, which makes an understanding of the supernatural order of Christ's Church and His priesthood quite difficult for modern minds. But it is the modern world that is wrong, not Christ.

Will any of these arguments convince the feminists that they are wrong?

No, because they are based on Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Teaching of the Catholic Church established by Christ. Feminist "theologians" do not believe in the Divinity of Christ, nor in Sacred Scripture as the Word of God nor in an infallible Church instituted by Divine authority, nor ---- for that matter ----  in God the Father. [One of the latest trends in inclusive language is to replace "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" with "In the name of the Creator. the Redeemer and the Sanctifier." Some priests have Baptized using this inclusive language, thus nullifying the Sacrament and committing the mortal sin of sacrilege].

On what, then, do the feminists base their "theology?"

On pitiful fantasy, wishful thinking and the lies of occultism.

Reprinted from the  February 2001 Issue of Catholic Family News.