Why the Debate about Women Priests?

Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000
Subject: Women's ordination within the Catholic Church

I wanted to make a comment, even though I may not be qualified. WHY IS THERE SUCH DEBATE? Over women's ordination. Who are we to say that someone is or is not 'called'/worthy/or otherwise 'fit' based on gender?

I understand that there is a great rift that has been forming within the Church over various issues, but if someone could direct me to a reliable place to get some sort of perspective, as close to unbiased as possible, on which issues are of most importance that would be GREAT.

I'm really confused, at my age (22) I usually am, because I don't seem to be getting any straight forward answers and there doesn't seem to be any. Especially why the presence or lack of a penis at birth disqualifies anyone from anything. Of course maybe I'm just a Post-Vatican II Catholic, who has been totally immersed in the American culture of violence all my life, trying to answer for traditions I have no personal experience with to people, who on occasion, still think that Catholics are heathen.


Elizabeth King
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC


Oh, Elizabeth. I do enjoy hearing from college students. The bluntness is refreshing. I will try to respond without being smart-alecky (sp?). I certainly agree that the presence or lack of the appendage you mention should not qualify or disqualify anyone from any job - doctor, police, firefighter, whatever. However, the argument is that the priesthood is not a job, but a vocation - like marriage one of the three central vocations in the church. When you chose someone to be your husband, I assume the said appendage will be an essential (altho surely not the only) qualification.

In a homily a couple weeks back, I tried to show the importance of Jesus' self-identification as the bridegroom. The "divine nuptials" are the central message of the Bible (see Women Priests?) While masculinity is not the only qualification for being a priest, it is an essential one.

As a college student you could help me by reviewing the homily and the article and pointing out any weakness in the logic. Some have done that which has led me to correct things which I did not put very well, but so far the central argument seems to hold.

My prayers that you will maintain and witness your faith at ASU.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

P.S. We are all Vatican II Catholics. There is no other kind. Anyone who rejects Vatican II simply isn't a Catholic. If you feel I am in some way going against Vatican II, I would much appreciated being corrected on that score.


For a beautiful presentation of the theme of the divine nuptials (complete with pictures from Christian art) please see The Bridegroom Web. It is part of the Catholic Page for Lovers.

CIN's Fr. Mateo gives a more concise explanation why there cannot be women priests (Also explains why we call the priest "father.")

Papal Quotes re Women

Women and the Priesthood What Early Christian Writers Say

Vocations to Priesthood and Religious Life