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Why can’t women become deacons or priests?

Pope John Paul II believes that it was determined by Christ himself that only males be ordained to the priesthood and that he, John Paul, has no power to deviate from what Jesus has determined. The 1994 apostolic letter of John Paul II to all bishops in the Catholic Church, Priestly Ordination Reserved to Men Alone (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis) is basically an appeal to tradition and the consistent understanding of the Church. In that apostolic letter Pope John Paul II referred to the response of Pope Paul VI to the debate among Anglicans concerning the ordination of women. Paul VI had said that it was inadmissible to ordain women because of the example of Christ in the Scriptures–he chose apostles from among men only. Paul VI appealed to the constant practice of the Church and said the teaching authority of the Church has consistently held the exclusion of women from the priesthood to be in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.
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