Can women not act in the person of Christ?

The Congregation for Doctrine in Rome

Congregation for Doctrine
in Rome

  “The priest acts ‘in the person of Christ’. Since Jesus was a man, only a male priest can signify Christ at the Eucharist.”
Inter Insigniores § 24-28

“A sacrament is a sign . . . and the priest is a sign of Christ. Since it is not possible for 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 . . .”
Summa Theologica Suppl. qu. 39 art. 1.

Background music?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

This prejudice derives from the Fathers of the Church and theologians in the Middle Ages.

They attributed procreation to the father: the whole future child is carried in the male sperm, they thought; the mother is just like soil in which the seed grows up.

Since women are thus not complete human beings, they cannot represent Christ who is perfect, they thought.

  Moreover, surely when a priest acts in the person of Christ, the quality signified by him is not Christ’s maleness, but his role as mediator!

Christ can be represented by women as much as by men because women are equal in Christ.

Women too bear Christ’s image.

Moreover, women already act as ‘other Christs’ when they are ministers of baptism and marriage.

In fact, women reflect better Christ’s feminine traits

Last not least, women too can represent Christ’s love which is the essence of his priesthood!
The Church is wrong, therefore, to exclude women from the priestly ministry on the plea that they cannot represent Christ!

  Go to the next step?
You are in a simplified, ‘key point presentation’ mode.
To switch to academic mode, click here!

This website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church.

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

Dear visitor, you are welcome to use our material. However: building up and maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but find it difficult to pay our overheads. Please, become a Friend or support us with a donation. Also, as some of you recommended to us, we are exploring how to generate income by advertising. Please, support us in this effort and send us your suggestions.
John Wijngaards

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

Miriam Duignan

Please, support our campaign
for women priests

Visit our new websites:

Natural Law and Conscience

Synod on the Family 2015

Catholics and Contraception

Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.