Problem

Religious discrimination against women in priesthood

Other Names:
Bias against ordination of women
Active religious prejudice towards female priests
Opposition to admission of women to priesthood
Prohibition of women as ordained priests
Rejection of women priests
Nature:
Discrimination against women in priesthood limits both the potential of women and also the potential of Church members being aided by having a female rather than male priest.
Incidence:
Although still not permitted in many countries, and officially not permitted by the Anglican Church, women priests are found in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Claim:
1. The Scriptures do not forbid women in priesthood; the only reason that Christ's apostles were male was due to the socio-cultural conditions of the time. The greater participation of women in public life and their new biological freedom as a result of contraception means that old attitudes must be reconsidered; the priest represents the Risen Christ, not Christ the Man, thus female priests could represent the feminine aspects of God.

2. Those who support such erroneous doctrine, that is incompatible with faith, exclude themselves from the communion of faith under canon law. Rejection of women priests is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church. It is to be considered for always, everywhere and by everyone as part of the repository of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church could not accept the ordination of women and remain true to itself.

Counter Claim:
1. "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a women to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression". (Bible: I Timothy 2, 11-15).

2. The Scriptures state that Christ did not ordain women apostles; the tradition of male leadership is continued in the subsequent threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon, reflecting a division in human sexuality with complementary roles for men and women; for the Anglican church to break with tradition would disrupt ecumenical relations with the orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, to which a majority of Christians belong. A solution would be for an alternative but satisfying role being found for women in the Church hierarchy.

3. It is theologically impossible for women actually to perform the very specific role of the sacramental priesthood. Had it been appropriate, a woman would have been present at the Last Supper.

4. For the Catholic Church, it is questionable whether women can have a natural vocation for the priesthood. Priesthood is not a right for anyone, either women or men. It is a "gift from the Holy Spirit". Women's mission, at all levels, is that of a "magnificent position of motherhood", while priesthood was a gift delegated only to certain men.

Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
12.02.2000 – 00:00 CET
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