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THE RELIGION GUY (instead of answering a question posted by a reader) raises this topic that he discussed with a house guest who advocated an all-male clergy on biblical grounds, while The Guy (full disclosure) favored having pastors of either gender.
Most Christians have belonged to church bodies that limit clergy leadership to men. A watershed occurred in 1975 when Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggan wrote to inform Pope Paul VI about a growing consensus within the international Anglican Communion in favor of allowing women priests.
Response - Paul - Catholic - Church - Change
In response, Paul stated that the Catholic Church believes this change is “not admissible” due to: (1) Jesus Christ’s choosing of only male apostles. (2) “The constant practice of the church” from the apostles onward to follow Jesus’s example. (3) The consistent belief of Catholicism’s “living teaching authority” that male priesthood fits “God’s plan for his Church.”
The following year, a 5,500-word explanation from the Vatican’s doctrinal office, approved by Paul VI, called this tenet “immutable” and “normative." It argued that even Jesus’s mother Mary did not hold “apostolic ministry” despite her “incomparable role,” and that the women who worked closely with the Apostle Paul weren’t ordained either.
Section - Mass - Role - Christ - Point
A separate section said the priest celebrating Mass takes “the role of Christ, to the point of being his very image,” having a “natural resemblance” that’s difficult to see with a woman. However, this was not considered a “demonstrative argument” that defines Catholic theology.
Pope John Paul II issued a 1994 apostolic letter to all bishops that summarized those prior documents and reaffirmed “the constant and universal Tradition of the Church." Furthermore, John Paul declared that “all doubt” should be removed on such a “matter of great importance” and that “this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”
Orthodox - Christianity - Tradition
Orthodox Christianity holds to the same unbroken tradition, holding that...
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