Skip to comments.St Thomas Aquinas on "Whether the female sex is an impediment to receiving Orders?"
Posted on 12/12/2004 4:01:01 PM PST by sionnsar
St Thomas answers this question in Summa Theologica, Supplementum Tertiæ Partis Q.39 Art. 1. He shows how Sacred Scriptures exclude the possibility of Orders being conferred upon a woman. He also explains that the female sex does constitute the correct matter, just as a healthy man would not constitute the correct matter for the sacrament of Unction. If you administer Unction to a healthy man, the sacrament is invalid. So likewise, if a bishop administers Orders to a female, the sacrament is invalid. I sight his response:
On the contrary, It is said (1 Tim. 2:12): "I suffer not a woman to teach (in the Church), nor to use authority over the man."
Further, the crown is required previous to receiving Orders, albeit not for the validity of the sacrament. But the crown or tonsure is not befitting to women according to 1 Cor. 11. Neither therefore is the receiving of Orders.
I answer that, 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 (32, 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.
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Hey - you knew someone had to say it. LOL :-)
Yet I can see how others would feel comfortable with either female or male. I must draw the line when a priest's homosexual or aberrant heterosexual lifestyle is so blatant and public that one loses focus on the service.
I sight his response: ...
I cite the author's mis-use of the word 'sight'.
I sighted that one too. Thought about leaving him a note, but didn't.
The ordination of women has always been the point of Methodist doctrine upon which I have never been fully convinced. I wonder whether that means I can't be ordained in the UMC. X, do you know the policy on that?
The question is: "Does reject female ordination disqualify me from Methodist ordination?"
Female ordination is not one of the articles of religion. Therefore, it is not necessary to your faith.
However, your district board of ordained ministry should ask if you'd truly be happy in a setting that encourages and practices a behavior that you disagree with.
As I said to another the other day, (1) I can make a good case for women speaking in the church while exercising gifts, (2)I can make a reasonable case for a female deacon, (3) I can make a weak case for a female elder/bishop.
One of the most striking bits of data was posted on FR last week. It dealt with men attending church and the percentage of children who then also attended church. When men attended, then children attended in large numbers. When women did and children didn't, then they lost their next generation in huge numbers. Their interpretation said that both sexes of children take their cues about what in life is significant from the father.
Male elders would more send the message that this church thing is significant.