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August 30th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Catholic Church defends male-only priesthood

Barring women from being Catholic priests is not the result of sexism 2,000 years ago, it's because women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, "standing in the place of Jesus," a leading British Catholic thinker argued Monday.

"This teaching is not at all a judgment on women's abilities or rights. It says something about the specific role of the priest in Catholic understanding - which is to represent Jesus, to stand in his place," argued Father Stephen Wang in a statement sent out by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

It's rare for the Catholic Church to defend its fundamental positions in this way.

Wang was responding to the announcement that campaigners for female priests will plaster posters on London buses next month during the pope's visit to London.

The ads read "Pope Benedict - Ordain Women Now!" and will be on 15 double-decker buses running in some of London's main tourist areas, including Parliament and Oxford Street, said Pat Brown, a spokeswoman for Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO).

The group spent "in excess of 10,000 pounds" ($15,500) on the ads and is hoping donations will help make up at least part of that cost, Brown told CNN Friday.

Wang rejected both the tone and the content of the ads, saying that while an atheist ad campaign last year was "hesitant and ended with gentle exhortations," this one ends "with a shout."

And it's based on a fundamental misunderstanding, said Wang, the dean of studies at London's main seminary for Catholic priests, Allen Hall.

Pope John Paul II declared in 1994 that the church has no authority to ordain women, a position confirmed a year later by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time, Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the arbiter of Catholic Church dogma.

Wang called the late pope's position "surprising," saying John Paul had meant he did not have the power to change "something that has been such a fundamental part of Christian identity from the beginning."

The bottom line is that Jesus chose 12 men - and no women - to be his apostles, Wang argues.

The choice was "deliberate and significant, not just for that first period of history, but for every age," Wang says.

Men and women are equal in Christianity, he continues, but "this does not mean that our sexual identity as men and women is interchangeable. Gender is not just an accident."

He compared the role of a priest to that of an actor playing King Arthur or British soccer star Wayne Rooney in a movie.

"No one would be surprised if I said I wanted a male actor to play the lead," he said, admitting the analogy was "weak."

But, he said, "it shouldn't surprise us if we expect a man to stand 'in the person of Christ' as a priest, to represent Jesus in his humanity - a humanity that is not sexually neutral."

The Catholic women's group says that in addition to its bus campaign, it plans to hold a vigil September 15, the day before the pope's visit, outside Westminster Cathedral.

The group also plans to demonstrate at Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury - the head of the Church of England - during his meeting with the pope.

And members plan to hold a banner along the route of the popemobile, the secure vehicle which carries the pope, in London.

Pope Benedict plans to visit England and Scotland September 16-19. It will be the first state visit to the United Kingdom by a pope, according to the British Foreign Office. John Paul's trip in 1982 was officially a pastoral visit.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene and Melissa Gray contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Catholic Church • Leaders • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

soundoff (1,334 Responses)
  1. maine liberal

    1) The Catholic Church knows that it is lying when it says women were not priests in the early church: "Giorgio Otranto, an Italian professor of church history, has shown through papal letters and inscriptions that women participated in the Catholic priesthood for the first thousand years of the church's history." page 2
    2) "He [Jesus] addressed women as equals, gave honor and recognition to children, championed the poor and the outcast, ate and mingled with people across all class and gender lines, and with bold rhetoric attacked the social bonds that held together the patriarchal family. When Jesus gathered disciples around him to carry his message to the world, women were prominent in the group. Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and Mary his mother are women whose names survived the retelling of the Christian story in the language and literary conventions of Roman patriarchal society. Pauls' letters reflect an early Christian world in which women were well-known evangelists, apostles, leaders of congregations, and bearers of prophetic authority." page 4

    August 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Kirstyloo

      I would agree if you're discussing the "well educated" leaders; however, the rank and file priest doesn't fit that bill. Because demand outpaces the supply, priests are often taken for their passion and ability to do the nuts and bolts of the job. They weren't selected for their reasoning or learning.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      maine liberal

      1) The Catholic Church knows that it is lying when it says women were not priests in the early church: "Giorgio Otranto, an Italian professor of church history, has shown through papal letters and inscriptions that women participated in the Catholic priesthood for the first thousand years of the church's history." page 2
      2) "He [Jesus] addressed women as equals, gave honor and recognition to children, championed the poor and the outcast, ate and mingled with people across all class and gender lines, and with bold rhetoric attacked the social bonds that held together the patriarchal family. When Jesus gathered disciples around him to carry his message to the world, women were prominent in the group. Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and Mary his mother are women whose names survived the retelling of the Christian story in the language and literary conventions of Roman patriarchal society. Pauls' letters reflect an early Christian world in which women were well-known evangelists, apostles, leaders of congregations, and bearers of prophetic authority.

      Why would Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and Mary the mother of Jesus tell a Christian story. They were women of Jesus' faith, which was not Christianity. What Jesus said was not being said in reference to the Catholic Church. The Catholic doctrine has nothing to do with what Jesus taught. Catholicism is based on what apostle Paul wrote, which is a bunch of opinionated letters to different peoples in different countries and churches. The New testament consists of very little scripture except for the few words of what Jesus and the other lessor quoted prophets in the New Testament said. Apostle Paul was not a prophet or a disciple of Jesus. He was just a man from a powerful sect of Jews whose writings were accepted over more authentic writers who actually knew Jesus. As the Bible says, the devil is the ruler of this world until the return of Jesus.

      August 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  2. Dan C

    One of many reasons I left the Catholic Church. One step forward Three steps back.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  3. Midwestmatt

    This is sexism, plain and simple.

    And just ONE more reason I'll never be a Catholic (despite being confirmed as one as a child).

    August 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  4. Billiethephillie

    Women in the Catholic Church is similar to woman in Afghan and Iran society. they have no privleges in a male dominant society. why anybody wants to part of this god forsaken religion is beyond me!

    August 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • cajunlady

      Amen.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • DavidMichael

      Interesting comparison especially given that traditional nuns habits looked very similar to a burka.

      August 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      You don't know what you are talking about. In Iran, where women do cover their hair and wear long-sleeved, ankle-length outfits in public, they constitute the majority of university students, hold many professional positions, and serve in parliament. A woman is Vice President in this Islamic Republic. Most women in Islam choose to follow what's in the Qur'an and in the sunnah of the prophet. Perhaps you should pay more attention to women in America who chance being raped or domestically abused every 3 minutes.

      August 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  5. sweety pie

    Why waste so much time on that issue, protect the catholic religion by not allowing secten. Neo-Catechumenal Way should have never been approved by his HOLINESS the Pope. He thought he would get priest out of it, Think again, they are all against the Holy Mass. What a terrible mistake Mr Pope 🙁

    August 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  6. Billy

    Never occurred to me that Jesus' role was so dependent on his manhood. I'd go so far as to say this Catholic 'thinker' needs to do a little actual thinking for himself rather than rationalizing what he's been told.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  7. Carly

    Never once in the Bible does Jesus make a reference to his penis. Why then does the church think that having one is a prerequisite for being able to be ordained and not having one is some sort of deal breaker? One is either called to the ministry or not, regardless of what resides between their legs.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Carly,
      Once a vocation to the priesthood is discerned, a man is Sent by the laying on of hands in Holy Orders to be a priest and is SENT out to serve. Jesus Christ said that the Father had SENT Him and now He was Sending the Apostles in like manner. When someone is Sent, there has to be someone doing the Sending as no one can Send themselves.

      September 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  8. light

    Jesus himself never gave any reason why he had 12 dude friends so therefore the fact that they were male IS random.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Stephen

      Or maybe Jesus was gay? Who knows?

      August 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  9. Carlton

    I'm a true believer in Jesus Christ and I can say regilious rules that people make up is oe of the biggest problems as to why so many people reject anything that makes any claims about GOD. These rules are not in the Bible but they say they are Christians. These are not Spirit-filled and spirit-lead people, they are simply religious. Read Galatians chapter 2 which completly kills the basis for gender distinctions. Why should there be any when we serve GOD who is Spirit? Ig GOD can speak through a donkey then why won't He speak through a women? Don't believe people but believe the Bible and those who follow the Bible by the power of the Holy Spirit!!!

    August 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • NOVANative

      Actually, Carlton, your excellent point here reflects one of the most pressing points of Jesus' time on earth: to free people from man-made religious rules. is it any wonder his chief enemies were the Pharisees and Sadducees?

      August 30, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Amen, Carlton! They day that people start putting they eyes on God and read the Bible for themselves instead of trusting God, they will realize that God is the only one that can be fully trusted!

      August 30, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Carlton,

      …..since sin is essentially a blindness of spirit, the more a man sins, the more he is blinded; his faith grows weaker and weaker; the light of this divine torch decreases, and soon the least wind of temptation or doubt suffices to extinguish it."
      Saint Cyprian , Bishop of Carthage (martyred 258 A.D.)

      August 31, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  10. diane

    The position has always been that Jesus selected only men as apostles, therefore implying that he only intended for men to stand in his place as priests. That theory has never held water for me (not just because I am a woman), as it derives a very broad opinion based upon a very small “sample size”.

    None of the apostles were American, either. Were any of them diabetic? Chinese? Alcoholic? Blond-haired? Abnormally short? Deaf? Blood type AB Positive?

    If not, does that mean that no man with any of those characteristics can be a priest?

    August 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • Carly

      Thank you! Good point!

      August 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • Lisa

      FIrst of all , some historical teachings show Jesus DID chose female apostles. Mary Magdalene was one, Lydia and others followed him as well and he treated them all as equals. The catholic church does not and it's NOT following Jesus'. Read the Gnostic gospel of Mary.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • JDD

      "That theory has never held water for me (not just because I am a woman), as it derives a very broad opinion based upon a very small “sample size”.

      So you disregard it alltogether?

      "None of the apostles were American, either. Were any of them diabetic? Chinese? Alcoholic? Blond-haired? Abnormally short? Deaf? Blood type AB Positive? If not, does that mean that no man with any of those characteristics can be a priest?"

      I think that's actually a good question – look up the difference between genes and chromosomes.

      August 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Ezra F.

      This is for Lisa...yes those women followed Christ...but He did not call them to follow Him in His footsteps as he did with the Apostles. He sought those men out for who and what they were...HOWEVER women DO play a big role in the Church today, and I thank the women at my parish all the time for their hard work. But women are also called to be Religious Sisters...if a women desires to serve God and His Church the Sisterhood is for her. She is able to pray for the people of God the way a priest can't...a priest has to deal with the workings of the parish, staff, meetings...where the Sister is able to spend her time with the people of God in prayer!

      August 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • Evan

      Lisa, Extremely valid point and it should be answered with honesty, though it never has been. Now by a man anyway.

      Ezra, your mother must have been a real caldron boiling witch because you are one messed up lunatic. Why is it you discriminate against women so much? Is it you’re afraid you can’t (shall we say) measure up to them or is it the BLOOD?

      August 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Rachel

      Great point, Diane.
      @JDD: Wang's excuse, err, reason, is that they are different; why should it stop with a chromosome comparison?! Why not go further? We could discriminate against women (Jesus wasn't a woman), disabled people (Jesus wasn't blind or otherwise disabled), non-Semitic people (Jesus was a Semite), etc., etc. Oh, gosh, that would never do. Why? Well, that would rule out those in power!

      August 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Diane (the other Diane)

      @Ezra, please give me a good reason why Sisters can pray for people in a way that Priests can't? This makes no sense to me whatsoever. And what is it about a man having particular organs that means he can handle staff and meetings when women can't???

      August 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Agathe

    It's about time that catholic religious women stand up and demand equal treatment. I am raised in the catholic culture all my life and have seen how bad (subtly) catholic religious women are treated. They were maids, cooks,.. for priests. Priests are up on the pedestal and religious women are relegated to second class citizens. The catholic church culture is very patriarchal and male oriented. It reminded me of the "good old white boys country club". This time honor tradition needs to be changed for the sake of the catholic church long term survival.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • Nina

      Your thinking is severely flawed. The Bible says that a man and woman serve different roles. The man's role is to be the spiritual leader. This isn't an issue for all of the feminists to come bash the Catholic Church on. If you are truly a Christian, regardless of your denomination, you should put your faith in the truth of the Bible.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • Amanda

      And you follow EVERYTHING the Bible says, right? Careful how you answer......lying is a sin.

      August 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Nina

      I never said that I'm perfect. We're all sinners. But for the church to blatantly go against God's law is different.

      August 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  12. John

    Let's not confuse Constantine's church of Rome in existtence since 325 AD with anything Jesus taught, or the fact the early Christians were led by as many women as men. None believed they were standing in for 'Jesus', but helping facilitate individual gnosis over a centralized corporation the church became and still is. The early Christians knew very well they were living lives designed to Christ themselves as Jesus had done, and that no one else could do the work, but themselves. All else is heresy, which makes this church of Rome the most heretical of them all.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • Lisa

      Your posts are excellent and historically accurate. I'm sure that will upset people!

      August 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • DavidMichael

      Good thing you didn't mention that the Nicene Creed, which gave rise to the Trinitarian doctrine, came forth through Constantine's gathering of Bishops (council of Nicea),. And especially don't mention this was done as a political, not religious action and that Constantine converted to Christianity only on his deathbed as a safety net having spent his life as a pagan.

      Humorously enough, there were those at the Council who did not believe Jesus to be Divine for that was only for the One True God, while others believed Jesus to be a Demi-god.

      August 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Mike

    Women are inferior. So says the bible.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • John

      I think your response says more about the value you place on women, Mike, rather than anything the Bible told you.

      You've got the right attitude to be a Catholic, though. Uninformed and lost in your hubris.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      Yeah........ well...... the Bible also says that if you sin with your eyes, cut them out! Many would be blind today! And IF you sin with your hand cut it off! Oh.... and its okay to have slaves!

      August 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Victory Gin

      Apparently your mother most of all, Mikey.

      August 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • tati

      That is not what the bible says. Maybe that is what you think?

      August 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • Lisa

      The Bible also says to stone to death a disrespectful child, Go ahead and try that, huh? Use that as your defense.

      August 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  14. charles hubbard

    So the church will never erase to stigma of a woman being a woman; yet the chucch will remove child abusers from parish to parish. Is there something misleading here? The child abusers have psychologically damaged human after human, but it's ignored by the church. Let's not forget the Hitler Youth Movement members or the silence of the church during the Holocaust.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • McCluck

      hurray for godwins law!

      August 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      charles hubbard,

      Do you have any idea how many thousands of priests were killed during the Holocaust? They will not be forgotten…..

      August 31, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  15. Justin

    Has anyone here read the Bible? It says women can't be leaders over men in the church. Whether anyone agrees with it or not, it would be unreasonable to ask Catholics to change their stance on Biblical doctrine. Anyone who doesn't agree with that is welcome to not be a Catholic, and then they won't have to have an opinion about it.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • John

      Are you even remotely aware the church of Roem redacted the entire New Testament so that men and only men were in positions of power, or do you still think Patrick was a Roman Catholic, rather than the Gnostic he truly was?

      Would knowing that both the Old and New Testaments were written astrologically, rather than truthfully make a difference to you? They were.

      What else might you take the time to learn?

      August 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • McCluck

      Yep, and the earth is the center of the universe, and is about 8000 years old. We would never change our stance if its in the bible!

      August 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • DavidMichael

      Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah....all female, all prophets. Romans 16:7 Junia is a female name and is listed as an Apostle. Bummer, perhaps YOU should have read the bible and even studied the History of the Bible.

      August 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  16. tati

    If you do not like what the bible says – do not follow. Create your own religion or follow another. Do not try to change the religion based on your feelings.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Billy

      You mean the way man changed the Bible based on man's feelings?

      August 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      People do. That’s how we have gotten the: African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist, Episcopal Zion, African Orthodox Church, American Baptist Churches USA, Amish, Anabaptist, Anglican Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Antiochian Orthodox, Armenian Evangelical Church, Armenian Orthodox, Assemblies of God, Associated Gospel Churches of Canada, Association of Vineyard Churches, Baptists, Baptist Bible Fellowship, Branch Davidian, Brethren in Christ, Bruderhof Communities, Byzantine Catholic Church, Calvary Chapel, Calvinistds, Cell Church, Celtic Orthodox, Charismatic Episcopol Church, Christadelphian, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Christian Churches of God, Christian Identity, Christian Reformed Church, Christian Science, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Church of God of Prophecy, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church of Scotland, Church of South India, Church of the Brethren, Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America, Church of the Nazarene, Church of the New Jerusalem, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Church Universal and Triumphant, Churches of Christ, Churches of God General Conference, Congregational Christian Churches, Coptic Orthodox, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Evangelical Congregational Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Formosan Church, Evangelical Free Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Evangelical Methodist Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Family, The Children of God, Fellowship of Christian Assemblies, Fellowship of Grace Brethren, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, Free Church of Scotland, Free Methodist, Free Presbyterian, Free Will Baptist, Great Commission Association of Churches, Greek Orthodox, Hutterian Brethren, Independent Fundamental Churches of America, Indian Orthodox, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Churches of Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses, Living Church of God, Local Church, Lutheran, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Mennonite, Messianic Judaism, Methodist, Moravian Church, Nation of Yahweh, New Frontiers International, Old Catholic Church, Orthodox, Orthodox Church in America, Orthodox Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church in America, Primitive Baptist, Protestant Reformed Church, Reformed Baptist, Reformed Church in America, Reformed Church in the United States, Reformed Churches of Australia, Reformed Episcopal Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Revival Centres International, Romanian Orthodox, Rosicrucian, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Seventh Day Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Shaker, Society of Friends, Southern Baptist Convention, Spiritist, Syrian Orthodox, True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days, Two-by-Twos, Unification Church, Unitarian-Universalism, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ, United Church of God, United Free Church of Scotland, United Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Uniting Church in Australia, Unity Church, Unity Fellowship Church, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, Virtual Churches, Waldensian Church, Way International, Web Directories, Wesleyan, Wesleyan Methodist, and the Worldwide Church of God. Maybe you have heard of a few of these.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Joot

      If you believe the Bible, live it! God teaches that women are not to be in certain roles. If you don't agree with that, then take it up with the author, God. If you just can't bring yourself to worship God because of this, that's your decision. If you choose to harass and mock Catholicism and/or Christianity because of their teaching, please realize that Jesus predicted such actions would occur.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Lisa

      WE are not the ones "changing ther religion", it is the catholic church who interprets Jesus's teachhing wrong

      August 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Ryan

      Joot,

      So I can take that up with "God"? Do you happen to have his phone number? Id like to talk to him about a few things going on right now.
      So the bible was written by God......how do you know?

      August 30, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • BR

      But if we do that, then by your religion's edicts we'll all be going to hell...right? You don't get to decide to believe in something...you either belive it or you don't.

      August 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Amanda

      @ tati,

      What are you talking about? Practicing Catholics already try to do just that (change the religion to meet personal beliefs). Or are you honestly gonna sit there and tell me that you obey by EVERY rule in the Bible and believe that everything it condones is actually ok (i.e. owning slaves, etc)?

      August 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Amanda

      @Joot,

      I highly doubt that the Bible you read was authored by God. It has been copied and translated probably hundreds of thousands (if not millions of times). Ever play the telephone game? Same concept. And that's not even taking into account the fact that some of the translators probably changed the translations purposefully and maliciously.

      August 30, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • ICEMAN

      @Lisa, it's apples and oranges, which one do you like? not only the Catholics believe this but also other denominations as well. I don't believe they should be priest,i could say the bible concursbut you will say no i'm wrong, so this is one topic that will not end. So let's say this who is suppose the be the head of the household?/ who is the head of the woman?

      September 2, 2010 at 5:40 am |
    • CatholicMom

      ICEMAN,
      The husband is the head of the household just as Jesus Christ is the head of His Church the Bride of Christ. The husband is to love her as he loves his own body and sacrifice for her…just as Jesus Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for her. How many husbands do this?

      September 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  17. McCluck

    We are not se xist and our views are not outdated at all! Quit questioning the truth! *Throws rock* Quick!-look over there!-is that Elvis?

    There comes a point when you must change your views because in new light they are ridiculous. Even if they come straight out of god's mouth, or some dudes' mouth that god borrowed for a bit (as some seem to believe). The church has changed views before and no one seemed to care....I guess if you move the goalpost quickly enough no one will notice after a few decades.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  18. JDD

    Kate,

    The Church has been trying so pointedly to not notice Mary Magdalene, that she shows up more than just a few times in our Scripture, and is venerated by us to the extent that you have been made aware of her. Her name is one of the few names recognizable outside of Christian circles.

    And then the Church calls a woman – Mary, Mother of Jesus – the most perfect 'simply created' person.

    Maybe it needs to be said over and over again – the Catholic teaching on priesthood being a role only for men does not hinge on ability – and we hardly try to hide it. For a few examples, see Moses, see Peter.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Kate

      @JDD

      It *does* hinge around relegating the Magdalene to being the equivalent of a camp follower – or worse, a loose woman redeemed. Catholicism seems to not want to look into *why* the Magdalene is mentioned so prominently. Not even the Paulines could filter her into obscurity, which implies that her role was rather more than is being acknowledged, if her contemporaries wouldn't have let her be erased from the revisions.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • John

      And those 'seven devils' Mary the Magdalene had driven from her?

      The Seven Deadly Sins the church of Rome knew all along.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      The "myth" of Mary Magdalene being a prostitute is just that – a MYTH by the early church to discredit her and give prominence to Peter. The Gnostic Gospels clearly show Jesus had female followers, the Nicene council (I believe it was that one) CHOSE which books/gospels to include it the Bible. It also allowed the priests to marry for the first 4 centuries of it's existence. That only changed because the church is greedy and wanted all the money left to it, not to sons and families.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • JDD

      "Not even the Paulines could filter her into obscurity..."

      Or else they didn't want to.

      Serious persons who want to keep claiming that Catholicism tries to diminish the role of women, need to keep asking themself why the Church's written teachings keep exalting the role and legacy of women.

      And as a side note, why we don't hide, in those same teachings, the failures of many men.

      August 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  19. Rob

    Yes, wouldn't want all those women running around, messing things up with all those nice young boys the priests like.....

    August 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Mexican Catholic

      You are one ignorant person!!!!!!!

      August 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  20. Brian

    As a Catholic man, I strongly disagree with the church's stance to not ordain women. The Catholic church's reasoning is that priests stand in Jesus' place, but did Jesus die on the cross only for men? Women should be able to become priests.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • bdhutier

      Brian, don't confuse redemption with ordination...

      August 30, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.