So in a discussion supporting the Church’s teaching against the ordination of women Catholic often proffer this: Jesus gave this sacrament only to his 12 apostles who were men, therefore women cannot be ordained.
Someone else countered with: Jesus only gave the Eucharist to his 12 apostles as well. So why do you allow all Catholics to receive?
Jesus taught the sacrament of the Eucharist to many people; some of the people who could not tolerate the literal, Catholic understanding (John 6) walked away. There are other scriptures that suggest this sacrament for many Christians, both in the gospels and in St. Paul, for instance. Holy Orders is not presented in this way at all. There is a very clear distinction in the gospels between the apostles, and the Christians in general, so that all persons are invited to Christ (and all Christians or all Catholics invited to the Eucharist), but only a select group chosen for priesthood. The hierarchical nature of the Church in the gospels and the NT overall is so heavily documented, and so understood by the early Church fathers, the question is answered by the Bible.
The idea on the male priesthood is hardly founded in the idea that Jesus ordained men only––that is only the natural result of the sacrament demanding a male representative to act in persona Christi as the male bridegroom. Also, since Scripture is clear there is neither male nor female with regards to whom can receive salvation in Christ, and since Christ says unless you eat my flesh you have no life, then obviously, women are to partake in the Eucharist.
I get that. But it’s an argument that’s oft proffered. (In fact, I just did a search and this very argument was proffered today, here.)
I happen to think it’s a poor argument for a lot of reasons, but one in particular is because it sets up this very question: then why doesn’t the CC only offer the Eucharist to males, since he did so at the Last Supper?
Jesus instituted the Sacrament with the 12 apostles at the Last supper, and at that moment made them priests to offer the new Sacrifice (Jesus himself in the Eucharist) instead of eating lamb and pouring out lambs blood he commanded them to do prepare bread and wine which will become his body/blood and to do this in memory of him
and because the priests act in “persona Christi” they are to be male and Jesus made it this way
The Gospels only tell us that the 12 Apostles were present and received the Eucharist from Jesus. It does not tell us how many more disciples may have been present at the passover Last Supper. They also do not tell us if Jesus gave the Eucharist to the other disciples that may have been present or if the apostles after receiving the Eucharist first gave it to those other disciples.
The Bible and Tradition both make a distinction between sacraments for which all are welcome, and sacraments for which certain persons are selected. I receive the Eucharist because I need it. Nobody has a “need” to be ordained.
Some people are now arguing that the Magisterium has no right to exclude women from priesthood, and also no right to exclude the great majority of gospels from the canon.
If your friend is willing to accept the Magisterium’s authority to choose 27 books for the NT canon, and exclude many others, they are in effect accepting the Magisterium as authoritative regarding Scripture. Then the Magisterium must be authoritative in interpreting it, on subjects like ordination. (Some groups who support women’s ordination are starting to use the other gospels; after all, if the Magisterium has no authority, who’s to say the Vatican has the right to “close” the NT canon, or to exclude most ancient or even modern religious writings from Scripture?)
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