We all know Jesus had chosen his apostles who are all men. But is there any passage in the bible that says Women cannot become priests?


1 Answer 1


The closest Scriptural verse that could support why the Sacrament of Orders cannot be conferred on a woman is 1 Tim. 2:12: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence."

Plus, is there any biblical precedent for priestesses "according to the order of Melchisedech" (Psalm 109/110:4)?

Here's St. Thomas Aquinas's explanation for why "the female sex is an impediment to receiving Orders:"

Certain things are required in the recipient of a sacrament as being requisite for the validity of the sacrament, and if such things be lacking, one can receive neither the sacrament nor the reality of the sacrament. Other things, however, are required, not for the validity of the sacrament, but for its lawfulness, as being congruous to the sacrament; and without these one receives the sacrament, but not the reality of the sacrament. Accordingly we must say that the male sex is required for receiving Orders not only in the second, but also in the first way. Wherefore even though a woman were made the object of all that is done in conferring Orders, she would not receive Orders, for since a sacrament is a sign, not only the thing, but the signification of the thing, is required in all sacramental actions; thus it was stated above (Question [32], Article [2]) that in Extreme Unction it is necessary to have a sick man, in order to signify the need of healing. Accordingly, since it is not possible in the female sex to signify eminence of degree, for a woman is in the state of subjection, it follows that she cannot receive the sacrament of Order. Some, however, have asserted that the male sex is necessary for the lawfulness and not for the validity of the sacrament, because even in the Decretals (cap. Mulieres dist. 32; cap. Diaconissam, 27, qu. i) mention is made of deaconesses and priestesses. But deaconess there denotes a woman who shares in some act of a deacon, namely who reads the homilies in the Church; and priestess [presbytera] means a widow, for the word "presbyter" means elder.

Thus, a female cannot receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders just like a priest cannot baptize with motor oil or consecrate a dorito chip.

Every sacrament requires the proper:

  1. Matter (e.g., unleavened bread for the Eucharist or water for baptism)
  2. Form (the correct words pronounced to effect the sacrament)
  3. Intention (to do what the Church does)

If any of these are lacking, the sacrament is not valid.

  • Do Catholic Priests claim to be in the order of Melchizedek? Wow, I've never heard that before.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 27, 2014 at 1:50
  • But in my opinion, I believe that women are capable of administering the sacraments the priests are doing. And I believe that women can fully represent God.
    – Ragnarok
    Jun 27, 2014 at 1:55
  • @curiousdanii, actually of course it is Christ who was "in the order of Melchizedek", but the priest is acting "in the person of Christ". Jun 27, 2014 at 2:11
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    @Ragnarok, Then become a Methodist, because obviously the RCC ain't changing its position anytime soon. :) Jun 27, 2014 at 2:42
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    @Ragnarok, My point is what you think might matter somewhere else, but not in a hierarchical church where the laity gets no say, just as it wouldn't in a purely scriptural church where neither clergy nor laity have power to change doctrine. One strange thing is the RCC would have a better argument if they didn't reject the rules in the pastorals (like 1 Tim 3:2) that the presbyter and bishops must be "the husband of one wife." They could easily say "see, has to be a man" but since they reject this in favor of priestly celibacy... Jun 27, 2014 at 2:57

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