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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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Priesthood and Gender

Priesthood and Gender

April 10, 1996

(p.205) 15 Priesthood and Gender
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

The most controversial statement that came from the Holy See during the pontificate of John Paul II concerned the priestly ordination of women. This chapter takes a look at this question of woman's ordination, examining the arguments in the Bible, tradition, theological reasoning, and magisterial authority. The biblical component argues that Christ and his apostles selected only men as members. The argument from tradition is that the Catholic bishops have always observed the norm of conferring sacred orders only on men, whereas sects that ordained women to the priesthood were denounced as heretical. The theological reasoning is to the effect that the ministerial priest shares in a representative way in the office of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church, and must therefore be, like Christ, of the male sex. The teaching of the magisterium is unwavering in holding that the ministerial priesthood cannot be exercised by women.

Keywords:   women's ordination, Bible, tradition, theological reasoning, magisterial authority, Christ

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