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Chapter 20. Holy Orders • 269

Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood


Inter Insigniores


nos. 9‑10, 13, 20‑21, 26‑27). Pope John Paul II reaffirmed this teach-

ing in these words: “In order that all doubt may be removed, I declare

that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordina-

tion on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all

the Church’s faithful” (

On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone


Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

], no. 4). In that same document, the Pope under-

lined the incomparable achievements of women for the benefit of the

People of God:

The New Testament and the whole history of the Church give

ample evidence of the presence in the Church of women, true dis-

ciples, witnesses to Christ in the family and in society, as well as

in total consecration to the service of God and of the Gospel. “By

defending the dignity of women and their vocation, the Church

has shown honor and gratitude for those women who, faithful

to the Gospel, have shared in every age in the apostolic mis-

sion of the whole People of God. They are the holy martyrs, vir-

gins and mothers of families, who bravely bore witness to their

faith and passed on the Church’s faith and tradition by bring-

ing up their children in the spirit of the Gospel.” (

On Reserving

Priestly Ordination to Men Alone

, no. 3, citing

On the Dignity

and Vocation of Women


Mulieris Dignitatem

], no. 27)

Ordination to the priesthood is always a call and a gift from God.

Christ reminded his Apostles that they needed to ask the Lord of the

harvest to send laborers into the harvest. Those who seek priesthood

respond generously to God’s call using the words of the prophet, “Here I

am, send me” (Is 6:8). This call from God can be recognized and under-

stood from the daily signs that disclose his will to those in charge of

discerning the vocation of the candidate.

When God chooses men to share in the ordained priesthood of Christ,

he moves and helps them by his grace. At the same time, he entrusts the

bishop with the task of calling suitable and approved candidates and of

consecrating them by a special seal of the Holy Spirit to the ministry of

God and of the Church (

Admission to Candidacy for Priesthood

, 5).