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WOMEN TEACHERS
DOES ST. PAUL INSTRUCT US
THAT WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE
TEACHERS?
From the footnotes of the New American Bible (NAB),
1 Corinthians 14:1-5;

"v. 1b returns to the thought of 1 Cor. 12:31a and reveals Paul's primary concern. The
series of contrasts in vv. 2-5 discloses the problem at Corinth; a disproportionate interest in
tongues, with a corresponding failure to appreciate the worth of prophecy. Paul attempts to
clarify the relative value of those gifts by indicating the kind of communication achieved in
each and the kind of effect each produces.

14:2-3a; They involve two kinds of communication:
tongues: private speech toward God in inarticulate terms that need interpretation to be
intelligible to others (see 1 Cor. 14:27-28);

prophecy: communication with others in the community.

14:3b-5; They produce two kinds of effect. One who speaks in tongues "builds himself up";
it is a matter of individual experience and personal perfection, which recalls Paul's previous
remarks about being inflated seeking one's own good, pleasing oneself.

But a prophet "builds up the church": the theme of "building up" or "edifying" others, the
main theme of the letter, comes to clearest expression in this chapter .
14:14-15;

"My spirit", Paul emphasizes the exclusively ecstatic, nonrational quality of tongues.

"My mind", the ecstatic element dominant in earliest Old Testament prophecy as depicted
in 1 Samuel 10:2-3A, 19, 20-24, seems entirely absent from Paul's notion of prophecy and
completely relegated to tongues.

He emphasizes the role of reason when he specifies "instruction as a function of prophecy"
{emphasis added}, (6, 19, 31)."

(ME) So, our conclusion could be, prophecy = instruction.

1 Cor. 11:5 "But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame
upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had  her head shaved."

Modern women have a real problem with these verses, but the commentary goes on to say
that in the Greek culture of Paul's time decent women let their hair grow long, only
prostitutes and lesbians cut their hair.

But, let's get past the problem with hair (which is merely a custom of the day).

Paul is clearly saying that when a women prophecies, this is what she should do.
Remember St. Paul equates "prophecy" with "instruction"!

It would make no sense for Paul to say in the beginning of the chapter that a women should
not teach and yet at the end that she should! So, when we have what seems to be a
contradiction in Scripture we need to look more deeply, we need to look at the "context".

In chapter 14:33b-35 "As in all the churches of the saints,(34) the women should keep
silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as
even the law says. (35)If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands
at home. For it is shameful for a women to speak in church."

The commentary doesn't offer help here.

Since St. Paul is speaking about the early church liturgy in 1 Corinthians, I would think that
the explanation lies there. Paul says women can teach, but not the main teaching or what
we call the homily today, which is left to the priest which would be a man.
Therefore the Dogma that "Women Can Not Be Priests" can be shown here.

This definitive teaching was reaffirmed authoritatively in Pope John Paul II's
1994 Apostolic Letter
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
Catholic Culture on Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Whatever St. Paul meant when he said women should not speak, it is clear that he didn't
mean they couldn't teach! He goes into great detail to explain that prophecy is more
important for the upbuilding and instruction of the church and then he gives rules for
women when they do "prophecy" or "teach"!
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