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Warren Perrotto wrote:

Hi, guys —

The Catholic Theological Union (CTU), in Chicago, Illinois places a lot of emphasis on pushing for women priests. I was at a Mission conference last year, and a professor from CTU bashed the Church for not accepting women to the sacrament of ordination. He stated that Bishops laid their hands on thousands of women; but the Church in its patriarchal structure suppressed women and denied them priesthood.

Would you please forward to me a solid theology of the Magisterium's view on this, and let me know about this "laying on hands" of women?

Currently, they are saying that in the early Church women played an equal status of priesthood as did the men.

I look forward to hearing from you.


  { Would you please forward to me a solid theology of the Magisterium's view on women priests? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Warren —

These links should help.

My colleagues may be able to provide other suggested magisterial documents as well.

Pope John Paul II - May 22, 1994

Inter Insigniores
Documents from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Declaration On The Question Of Admission Of Women To The Ministerial Priesthood — October 1976

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church see this paragraph.

Note: The Catechism was prefaced with the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum; In Section 3

3. The Doctrinal Value of the Text

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium.
I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

The Union may be taking the word deaconess out of historical and cultural context OR confusing the meaning of the word ordain.

They may be referring to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
If you go down to the end of this document to Canon 15 it states:

No woman under forty years of age is to be ordained a deacon, and then only after close scrutiny. If after receiving ordination and spending some time in the ministry she despises God's grace and gets married, such a person is to be anathematized along with her spouse.

The word ordain here, does not mean to bring into Holy Orders. Ordain can also mean:

to establish, install, choose or appoint.

Back in the 400's women deaconesses were "ordained" helpers or assistants to the priests,
like female altar servers or women involved in other Church ministries today.

One of my colleague's Eric replied to a similar question below.  In Eric's answer below, where he says, "They were not ordained" in his reply, he is referring to Holy Orders.

Does the Catholic Church have women deacons or deaconesses?

These postings from our colleagues at Catholic Answers should slam the door on THIS heresy at the Union:

Here are some other related questions and answers:

Q: Have there ever been female deacons?

A: There were women in the early Church, such as Phoebe, who assisted the clergy. Phoebe aided the local church in Cenchreae and was called a "deaconess" by Paul (Rom. 16:1). Such women, in certain ages of the early Church, assisted in the baptism of women, which was necessary because baptism often was performed without benefit of clothing.

Although the Catholic Encyclopedia recounts that there is some historical evidence that deaconesses were charged with their ministry in a manner resembling the ordination of deacons, it is certain that there was a fundamental difference in the rites. The First Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) made it clear that "deaconesses" did not receive sacramental ordination. If there was a special liturgical rite for deaconesses, it likely resembled the modern non-sacramental installation ceremonies that charge extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion with their responsibilities.

Q: Why would women in the early Church be called deaconesses if they did not receive the same sacrament the deacons did?

A: The term diakonos simply means "servant" in Greek, and it was some time before it became an exclusive term for the ordained office. In the meantime, women who served in church were sometimes called diakonai, without implying that they were ordained. In ancient times the difference between male and female deacons was understood and unquestioned. In modern times this imprecise language has led to some confusion on the part of people who do not understand that women cannot validly receive the sacrament of holy orders.

Analogously, in medieval times, the blessing given church bells was popularly called "the baptism of the bells," although no one really believed that the bells were given the sacrament of baptism. Only after the Protestant Reformation did controversialists begin to misunderstand the blessing, although they did not misunderstand the practice of "christening" ships.

Now that there is widespread misunderstanding of the nature of holy orders, the Church is especially careful and precise in its sacramental language and no longer refers to female assistants to the clergy as "deaconesses."

Pray for the Professor. He is part of the false or Judas magisterium. He has NO authority to teach Catholic doctrine or Theology in the Church at all.

Your Cardinal or bishop should be made aware of what he is teaching.

Hope this helps,


Warren replied:

Thanks so much.

I appreciate it.

Brother Warren Perrotto, MSC
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
Aurora, Illinois

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