Should the Catholic Church allow women to become priests? | The Tylt
Should the Catholic Church allow women to become priests?
The Catholic Church is skeptical of innovation in the Church and how it operates. Pope Francis, despite his reputation as a forward looking reformer, reaffirmed the position that Pope John Paul II took on ordaining women. Pope John Paul II wrote in the apostolic letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" the church's position is that women cannot be ordained.
While modern society holds that men and women are inherently equal, the Church's position is different. The Catholic Church says there are fundamental differences between men and women—the two are different expressions of humanity. Men have a particular role to play in the Church and so do women.
At a fundamental level, Jesus only took men to be his apostles. Pope John Paul II explained in "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis"that Jesus chose 12 men out of a group consisting of both men and women and gave them the mission that priests carry on today. This selection of only men has been reflected in the Catholic Church's long history. The Catholic Church is not making up rules—it's carrying on and preserving the tradition that originated with Jesus himself.
In "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," Pope John Paul II quotes Pope Paul VI:
"The Church holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church."
Activists point out the bible does not explicitly say anywhere that only men can be priests. It's a Catholic teaching that only men can be priests but the basis for it is a tradition. They point out early churches had women who were ordained as priests. The Catholic Church maintains these early churches were heretical, but activists argue they were Orthodox. In a 1976 study by the Catholic Church examining whether or not women could be priests, the study wrote in its conclusion:
It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate.
If women are not explicitly barred from the priesthood, there's no reason why the Church should enforce such rules. Tradition is not good enough of an answer. On a utilitarian level, there are not enough priests to go around. In an interview, Pope Francis said "the Church is weakened, because a Church without the Eucharist doesn’t have strength: the Church makes the Eucharist, but the Eucharist also makes the Church. The problem of vocations is a serious problem."
Opening the doors of priesthood for women would solve this "serious problem." Tradition alone is not good enough of a reason to bar women from becoming priests.