published : 2023-10-26

Pope Francis Reaffirms Male-Exclusive Priesthood, Excludes Women from Holy Orders

The Catholic Church's Doctrine on Female Ordination Remains Unchanged

Pope Francis delivering a sermon at St. Peter's Basilica, taken with a Nikon D850

Pope Francis has recently restated the Catholic Church's firm stance on the impossibility of women becoming priests.

In his book titled 'The Shepherd: Struggles, Reasons, and Thoughts on His Papacy,' Pope Francis highlighted the unchanging nature of doctrine and the role it plays in excluding women from holy orders.

According to translations from Catholic News Agency, the pontiff reminded readers that women's absence from ministerial life shouldn't be seen as a deprivation, as their place within the church is deemed to be far more essential.

Pope Francis criticized the administrative criterion often relied upon to explain the exclusion of women, asserting that it is an inadequate approach in the long run.

While acknowledging the great ecclesial intuition of women based on his personal experience, Pope Francis firmly emphasized the Church's inability to alter its doctrine on female ordination.

The recent release of the Italian-language edition of his book has once again brought attention to the pope's reaffirmation of the male-exclusive priesthood.

A group of male priests in traditional attire during a religious ceremony, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Despite ongoing debates and calls for discussions on female ordination, the Catholic Church has held its position for over a thousand years.

During the Synod on Synodality, currently taking place at the Vatican, many activists had hoped for a chance to address this issue.

However, the pope questioned whether allowing women to join the priesthood would address the underlying challenges faced by the clergy.

He cited examples of other Christian denominations that ordain women and permit priests to marry, yet struggle to attract more followers to their churches.

According to Pope Francis, the issue lies in cultural factors rather than specific programmatic changes.

He called for paradigmatic shifts rather than mere ecclesiastical reforms as a means of addressing deeper-rooted issues within the church.

Women actively participating in a church community event, taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has maintained a consistent stance on matters concerning women in ministry and church leadership.

In a speech to the International Union of Superiors General of Women in 2019, the pope reiterated the Catholic Church's adherence to its dogmatic expressions and the path of revelation.

While acknowledging the freedom of choice, he reminded the audience that founding another church remains an option for those seeking different paths.

As the Catholic Church remains firm in its doctrine, the question of female ordination continues to be a subject of debate and longing for change.

However, Pope Francis's reaffirmation of the male-exclusive priesthood serves as a reminder of the enduring nature of tradition and the challenges that lie ahead for those advocating for greater inclusivity.