A critical survey of the history and development of the present ban on the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church.

Waller, Joanna Christian (2015) A critical survey of the history and development of the present ban on the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

The Roman Catholic Church maintains that women cannot be ordained to the ministerial priesthood because of its unbroken tradition that only men can be priests, based on the example of Jesus, who chose only men to be ‘Apostles’. Vatican documents published during the late twentieth century use the writings of several mediaeval theologians and canonists to support this ruling. The topic is of present-day importance for understanding the origins of the exclusion of women from the priesthood given the current shortage of priests in the Catholic Church. This thesis looks first at the present ruling in the Vatican documents, and then considers the mediaeval writings, canon law and theology, from scholars such as Gratian, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure and Duns Scotus, looking especially at their Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Subsequent chapters analyse in more detail the arguments from scripture and biology, drawing together strands of thought in the Middle Ages on these subjects, including judgements about women’s intellectual and emotional capacity, and the contemporary anthropological and Christological understanding of the Incarnation. Language and translation are also significant but often neglected factors in the discussion, which the thesis studies by highlighting the recovery of Greek writings in medicine and philosophy, along with choice of terminology and use of metaphor, in the mediaeval period and in modern Church documents. By this approach, a critical survey is made of the most salient aspects of the debate. This thesis seeks to dissect systematically the origins of the prohibition, based on attitudes towards women which, while not always intentionally misogynistic, were nonetheless rooted in a world view that, the thesis argues, is no longer relevant today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ordination of women Women priests Roman Catholic church
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2016 11:51
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2019 09:33
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/702

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