Pope Francis Reaffirms Teaching on Male-Only Priesthood

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During an interview for a book released Tuesday in Italy, Pope Francis reaffirmed Church teaching on the priesthood being an exclusively male role. When asked why he was opposed to expanding the priesthood to include women, the Pope said doing so would pose a number of theological problems. 

“I think we would undermine the essence of the Church if we considered only the priestly ministry, that is, the ministerial way,” he said, pointing out that women mirror Jesus’ bride, the Church. “The fact that the woman does not access ministerial life is not a deprivation, because her place is much more important… I think we err in our catechesis in explaining these things, and ultimately we fall back on an administrative criterion that does not work in the long run.” 

When questioned over whether admitting women to the priesthood would bring more people closer to the Church, and optional priestly celibacy helping with priest shortages, Pope Francis told reporters that other Christian sects have attempted similar measures, finding little to no success. 

“Lutherans ordain women, but still few people go to church,” he said. “Their priests can marry, but despite that they can’t grow the number of ministers. The problem is cultural. We should not be naive and think that programmatic changes will bring us the solution… Mere ecclesiastical reforms do not serve to solve underlying issues. Rather, paradigmatic changes are what is needed,” the pope said.

October 27, 2023 - 3:29pm

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