Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Church's Consensus on Women and the Priesthood

The Church is not a democracy in which sacred tradition, doctrine, and discipline can be changed by consensus. The Church already has a consensus...the Apostolic Consensus. When it comes to the question of women priests, the consensus is clear.

Consider what these Church Fathers have to say about women and the priesthood.

St. Irenaeus, "Against Heresies" (1.31.2) wrote, "After this he gave women mixed chalices and told them to give thanks in his presence. Then he took another chalice much larger than that on which the deceived woman gave thanks, and, pouring from the smaller... to the much later. . the larger chalice was filled from the smaller chalice and overflowed."

Tertullian, in "The Prescription of Heretics" (41), says: "How wanton are the women of these heretics! they dare to teach, . to dispute, to carry out exorcisms, to undertake cures, it may be even to baptize."

In his work "On Veiling Virgins" (9.1), Tertullian wrote: "It is not permissible for a woman to speak in church, nor may she teach, baptize, offer, or claim for herself any function proper to a man, and least of all the office of priest."

Firmilian, in Epistle 75.1-5 to Cyprian, tells of a woman who went into an ecstasy (shamanism?) and came out a prophetess. "That woman who first through marvels or deceptions of the demons did many things to deceive the faithful, among other things... she dared to do this, namely that by an impressive invocation she feigned she was sanctifying bread, and offering a sacrifice to the Lord."

Origen, in his commentary on 1 Cor 14:34 tells of the four daughters of Philip; who prophesied, yet they did not speak in the Churches. "We do not find that in the Acts of the Apostles... . For it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church."

St. Epiphanius, in "Against Heresies" (79.304) wrote:
"If women were ordained to be priests for God or to do anything canonical in the church, it should rather have been given to Mary... . She was not even entrusted with baptizing... Although there is an order of deaconesses in the church, yet they are not appointed to function as priests, or for any administration of this kind, but so that provision may be made for the propriety of the female sex [at nude baptisms]. Whence comes the recent myth? Whence comes the pride of women or rather, the woman's insanity?"
In 49. 2-3 St. Epiphanius tells of the Cataphrygians, a heretical sect related to the Montanists. He wrote:
The Cataphrygians pretended that a woman named Quintillia or Priscilla had seen Christ visiting her in a dream at Pepuza, and sharing her bed. He took the appearance of a woman and was dressed in white."Among them women are bishops and priests and they say nothing makes a difference' For in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female... '' [Gal. 3:28]
St. John Chrysostom, in his treatise "On the Priesthood" (2.2) points out that Jesus said, "Feed my sheep" only to Peter. "Many of the subjects could easily do the things I have mentioned, not only men, but also women. But when there is question of the headship of the church... let the entire female sex retire."

In the same treatise (3.9) St. John Chrysostom wrote: "Divine law has excluded women from the sanctuary, but they try to thrust themselves into it."

St. Augustine, "On Heresies" (27) speaks of the Pepuzians mentioned by St. Epiphanius. "They give such principality to women that they even honor them with priesthood."

Related reading: Why Women Were Never Priests; The ACNA and the Priesthood of the Church; Men at Altar, Woman at the Empty Tomb; The Priesthood in Anthropological Perspective; God as Male Priest; C. S. Lewis on Women Priests

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