The debate based on Sacred ‘Tradition’

Tradionalist Argument One. The Church has never ordained women.

“From the earliest centuries on, until our own time, the constant practice of the Church has been not to ordain women to the priesthood.” Pope Paul VI in Inter Insigniores § 6-8, 23

“Yes, women did perform some ministries in the Early Church, but such ministries of women had no relation to the sacramental priesthood.” Commentary on Inter Insigniores § 57,71-77.


1.1  The practice of not ordaining women in the Church was neither scriptural nor informed because of a threefold prejudice among Church leaders who considered women :

1.2  For many centuries the Church has actually admitted women to Holy Orders when she ordained them to the sacramental diaconate.

1.3  A ‘latent’ and ‘dynamic’ Tradition implying the possibility of women’s ordination has shown itself:
* in the practice of ordaining some women as priests;
* in Mary’s perceived ‘priestly’ functions;
* in the devotion to Mary Magdalen who was seen as a woman minister;
* through women’s administering baptism and matrimony.

Conclusion: the so-called ‘tradition’ of not ordaining women was not the true ‘Sacred Tradition’. Rather, this true ‘Sacred Tradition’ does reveal an openness to women as priests.

Tradionalist Argument Two. The Fathers of the Church were against the ordination of women.

The Fathers of the Church rejected women priests whenever the question arose.
Rome’s texts!


2.1 The Fathers of the Church rarely spoke about the ordination of women. Those who did were influenced by their own prejudices about women.

2.2 The same applies to early ‘Church Orders’ [= collections of local laws].

Conclusion: their testimony cannot be validly invoked.

Tradionalist Argument Three. Medieval theologians rejected a priesthood of women.

In medieval theology women were always excluded from validly receiving ordination.

The same applies to the ecclesiastical law book, the Corpus Iuris Canonici, which then came into existence.
Rome’s texts!


3.1  Church Law has incorporated the social and religious prejudices against women, from its earliest codification until now.

3.2 The medieval theologians who spoke about the issue, excluded women from the priesthood on obviously invalid social and philosophical grounds.

Conclusion: their testimony cannot be validly invoked.

Tradionalist Argument Four. The non-ordination of women was considered self-evident.

The doctrine was so firmly settled in later centuries that the Church did not need to publicly defend it. In recent centuries neither theologians nor bishops felt the need to speak about it.

Rome’s texts!


Post-scholastic theologians simply repeated the age-old prejudices without critical examination.

Their testimony cannot be validly invoked.

The true latent and dynamic Tradition of the Church supports the ordination of women.

John Wijngaards