Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Church Does not “Ban” Women’s Ordination, Marriage of Priests, nor Same Sex Marriage

But the Roman Church *does* ban ordination of married men to the priesthood.

I get annoyed every time I see a headline like “Pope Francis Says Ban on Female Priests Is Likely to Endure”.



the act of prohibiting by law; interdiction.

informal denunciation or prohibition, as by public opinion:

society’s ban on racial discrimination.


  1. a proclamation.
  2. a public condemnation.

Ecclesiastical. a formal condemnation; excommunication.

a malediction; curse.</blockquote>
A “ban” suggests something preexisting–for example, all sui iuris Catholic churches used to permit ordination of married men to the priesthood, so that could be called a “ban.”  There is a “ban” in the Roman Church on anyone in but a bishop or a designated exorcist performing exorcisms–previously any priest (or theoretically any deacon) had the faculty of exorcism.  There is a “ban” on giving names to angels that are not named in Scripture (there is a perplexing example of St. Uriel, named in an Old Testament book recognized by Eastern Catholics but not Western).
Of those “big three,” even legal recognition of homosexual couples in pagan cultures was understood differently than marriage, since marriage even among pagans is understood to be tied to the procreation of children and establishment of family lines.  While all three have been attempted at various points in history and recognized, there has never been any presumption they were “OK” or commonplace practices.