The priesthood in the Church is reserved for men only, according to the will of Christ himself, who, during his public life, as highlighted in the Gospels, chose his apostles from among men, while not even the Virgin Mary “wanted to be a priestess”.
This was emphasized by the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, pointing to the source of the teaching on the priesthood that the Catholic Church shares with all Orthodox churches and the ancient churches of the East.
In an interview broadcast by an Egyptian television station on Friday, January 7th, on the occasion of Coptic Christmas, the patriarch of the largest Christian community in the Arab countries repeated in a few sentences the reasons why the Catholic Church and all the churches of the East do not have the faculty of conferring priestly ordination to women. In his televised speech, Pope Tawadros also repeated that the conferral and exercise of various roles in the Church does not respond to the logic and claims of “rights” and “duties” according to worldly models.
The words of Patriarch Tawadros on the priestly ministry reserved for men appear in full harmony with what is recognized in this regard by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. In May 2018, also Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reiterated in a long and detailed article published in L’Osservatore Romano, that Christ himself wanted to confer the sacrament of Holy Orders “To the twelve apostles, all men, who, in turn, communicated it to other men”. The Church – Cardinal Ladaria continued in that article – “has always recognized herself bound by this decision of the Lord, which excludes the valid conferral of the ministerial priesthood on women”. In this context, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith referred also to the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, published by Pope John Paul II on May 22, 1994 (cf. No. 4).
In the TV interview, Pope Tawadros II also distanced himself from positions that consider the existence of a so-called “Abrahamic religion” into which Judaism, Christianity and Islam flow indiscriminately. “This idea”, said the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, “is categorically unacceptable”. It denies the three monotheistic religions and is mostly used with political intent to blur the special characteristics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.