The Info List - Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

--- Advertisement ---

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (English: Priestly Ordination) is an ecclesiastical letter issued by Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
on 22 May 1994 in which he discussed the Catholic Church's position requiring "the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone" and wrote that "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women". While the document states that it was written so "that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance", it has been contested by some Catholics, as to both the substance and in the authoritative nature of its teaching. Many scholars agree it is not an infallible statement, as it does not define a teaching related to faith or morals. Yet this prevalent opinion ignores that the document itself specifies that this matter does pertain to faith since it is "a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself", and it is the Pope's prerogative to make such definitions: "It is the province of the Magisterium
to decide if a question is dogmatic or disciplinary: in this case, the Church has already decided that this proposition is dogmatic and that, because it is divine law, it cannot be changed or even reviewed"[1] Citing an earlier Vatican document, "Declaration Inter Insigniores on the question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood" issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
in October 1976, Pope
John Paul explains the official Roman Catholic understanding that the priesthood is a special role specially set out by Jesus
when he chose twelve men out of his group of male and female followers. Pope
John Paul notes that Jesus
chose the Twelve[2] after a night in prayer (cf. Lk 6:12) and that the Apostles themselves were careful in the choice of their successors. The priesthood is "specifically and intimately associated in the mission of the Incarnate Word himself."[3] The letter concludes with the words:

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of Our ministry of confirming the brethren.[4] We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.[a]

One opinion is that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not issued under the extraordinary papal magisterium as an ex cathedra statement, and so is not considered infallible in itself. Some consider its contents infallible under the ordinary magisterium, saying this doctrine has been held consistently by the Church. In a responsum ad dubium (reply to a doubt) explicitly approved by Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
and dated October 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
issued its opinion that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis had been "set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium" and accordingly was "to be held definitively, as belonging to the deposit of faith".[5][6] In 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
issued another opinion, a Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem,[7] which said that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not taught as being divinely revealed explicitly, although it might someday be so taught in the future, that is to say, it has not been determined as to whether the doctrine is "to be considered an intrinsic part of revelation or only a logical consequence", yet in either case it is certainly definitive and to be believed infallibly, comparing it to the Dogma of Papal Infallibility:

...with reference to those connected with revelation by a logical necessity, one can consider, for example, the development in the understanding of the doctrine connected with the definition of papal infallibility, prior to the dogmatic definition of the First Vatican Council. The primacy of the Successor of Peter was always believed as a revealed fact, although until Vatican I the discussion remained open as to whether the conceptual elaboration of what is understood by the terms 'jurisdiction' and 'infallibility' was to be considered an intrinsic part of revelation or only a logical consequence. On the other hand, although its character as a divinely revealed truth was defined in the First Vatican Council, the doctrine on the infallibility and primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff was already recognized as definitive in the period before the council. History clearly shows, therefore, that what was accepted into the consciousness of the Church was considered a true doctrine from the beginning, and was subsequently held to be definitive; however, only in the final stage – the definition of Vatican I – was it also accepted as a divinely revealed truth. A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed.


1 See also 2 Notes 3 References 4 External links

See also[edit]

Dogma (Roman Catholic) Ordination of women Roman Catholic Church Pope
John Paul II Sacerdotalism


^ Declaramus Ecclesiam facultatem nullatenus habere ordinationem sacerdotalem mulieribus conferendi, hancque sententiam ab omnibus Ecclesiae fidelibus esse definitive tenendam.


^ [Cardinal Müller, The Cardinal Müller Report, https://www.ignatius.com/Products/RPTH-P/the-cardinal-mller-report.aspx quoted by https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vaticans-doctrinal-chief-the-church-has-not-changed-teaching-against-contra]. ^ cf. Mk 3:13-14; Jn 6:70 ^ cf. Mt 10:1, 7-8; 28:16-20; Mk 3:13-16; 16:14-15 ^ cf. Lk 22:32 ^ http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/teach/ordisace2.htm CDF's Reply to a Doubt, approved by Pope
John Paul II, in which the Congregation affirms that the doctrine of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis has been set forth infallibly ^ http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/teach/ordisace3.htm Letter of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on the CDF's Reply affirming the infallible character of the teaching contained in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis ^ "DOCTRINAL COMMENTARY ON THE CONCLUDING FORMULA OF THE PROFESSIO FIDEI", Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Originally published in L'Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 15 July 1998, 3-4. Accessed 28 January, 2014

External links[edit]

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis — complete English text from the Vatican Responsum ad dubium from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with a cover letter from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger EWTN Article About Infallibility of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Article Asserting that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is Ex Cathedra Infallible

v t e

John Paul II

Born Karol
Józef Wojtyła, 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005

(1978–2005) Archbishop of Kraków
Archbishop of Kraków


Emilia Wojtyła
Emilia Wojtyła
(mother) Karol
Wojtyła (father) Early life Papal conclave Assassination attempt Funeral


Beatification and Canonisation

Acts as Pope

Apologies Cardinals created People venerated People beatified Saints canonized Papal mediation in the Beagle conflict Pastoral visits

Ireland Nicaragua United Kingdom

World Day of the Sick World Youth Day


Eastern Orthodox Church Judaism

Other topics

Abbà Pater Criticism Family home (historic house) Health John Paul II Foundation Monuments

Bibliography Teachings

Apostolic constitutions

Sacrae disciplinae leges Pastor bonus Ex corde Ecclesiae Fidei depositum Universi Dominici gregis

Apostolic exhortations

Catechesi tradendae Familiaris consortio Reconciliatio et paenitentia Christifideles laici Redemptoris custos Pastores dabo vobis Ecclesia in America Ecclesia in Asia

Ecclesiastical letters

Dominicae Cenae Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Letter to Women Ad tuendam fidem Novo Millennio Ineunte Misericordia Dei Rosarium Virginis Mariae Mulieris dignitatem


Redemptor hominis Dives in misericordia Laborem exercens Slavorum Apostoli Dominum et vivificantem Redemptoris Mater Sollicitudo rei socialis Redemptoris Missio Centesimus annus Veritatis splendor Evangelium vitae Ut Unum Sint Fides et Ratio Ecclesia de Eucharistia


Love and Responsibility Crossing the Threshold of Hope Memory and Identity

Other writings

The Jeweler's Shop Theology of the Body "Roman Triptych" Testament

Documents endorsed

Catechism of the Catholic Church Quattuor Abhinc Annos We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah Dominus Iesus


Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah Political views Scriptural Way of the Cross

Eponymous places In popular culture

High schools (United States)

Huntsville, AL Boca Raton, FL Tallahassee, FL Slidell, LA Hyannis, MA Greenville, NC Royersford, PA Hendersonville, TN Corpus Christi, TX Plano, TX Schertz, TX Dumfries, VA Lacey, WA

Other high schools

London, Canada Toronto, Canada Greymouth, New Zealand Rotorua, New Zealand Tarnów, Poland

Colleges Universities

John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin John Paul II Institute John Paul II Minor Seminary John Paul the Great Catholic University Pontifical University of John Paul II Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
College of Education


Bari Karol
Wojtyła Airport João Paulo II Airport John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice


El Puente del Papa John Paul II Bridge, Puławy Juan Pablo II Bridge Third Millennium John Paul II Bridge

Other places

Saint John Paul II National Shrine Ioannes Paulus II Peninsula John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization John Paul II Foundation for Research and Treatment Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszyński Museum of John Paul II Collection Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Park Reservation


John Paul II The Papal Chase Have No Fear: The Life of Pope
John Paul II The Pope's Toilet Nine Days that Changed the World

TV miniseries

John Paul II Karol: A Man Who Became Pope Karol: The Pope, The Man In Search of the Pope's Children

Other media

The Planet Is Alive...Let it Live! Red Rabbit The Pope's Children Credo: John Paul II

portal Catholicism portal Book Commons

v t e

Infallible declarations of the Catholic Church


Tome of Leo (449) Benedictus Deus (1336) Cum occasione
Cum occasione
(1653) Auctorem fidei (1794) Ineffabilis Deus
Ineffabilis Deus
(1854) Apostolicae curae
Apostolicae curae
(1896) Munificentissimus Deus
Munificentissimus Deus
(1950) Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994) Evangelium vitae (1995) Ad tuendam fidem
Ad tuendam fidem

Ecumenical councils

Nicaea I (325) Constantinople I (381) Ephesus (431) Chalcedon (451) Constantinople II (553) Constantinople III (680–681) Nicaea II (787) Constantinople IV (869–870) Lateran I (1123) Lateran II (1139) Lateran III (1179) Lateran IV (1215) Lyon I (1245) Lyon II (1274) Vienne (1311–1312) Constance (1414–1418) Basel/Florence (1431–1445) Lateran V (1512/1517) Trent (1545–63) Vatican I (1869–1870) Vatican II (1962–1965)