PRELIMINARIES

In discussing whether women should be ordained to the priesthood or not it will be well, for the sake of clarity, to make some preliminary points.

First of all, it must be recognized that two quite distinct questions are involved, though once their common existence and their mutual distinctness have been accepted it will for the most part be possible to discuss them together. The former is whether it is possible for women to be priests, the latter is whether it is right and desirable for them to be priests; and unless the former is answered in the affirmative the second cannot arise.  This is important, because it is frequently assumed without argument that a woman upon whom the traditional rites of ordination to the priesthood have been performed by a bishop will undoubtedly have become a priest, so that the only questions remaining to be discussed are ethical ones (Is it not unjust to withhold the priesthood from women?) and pastoral ones (Will not women perform the traditional duties and functions of the priesthood just as efficiently as men?).  Continue Reading

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