Women cannot be ordained as priests or bishops in the Catholic Church. The Church teaches that priestly ordination is reserved for men and that this is a tradition that has been consistently upheld throughout its history. The Church has stated that this teaching is based on its understanding of the example set by Jesus, who chose only men as His Apostles, and the tradition of the early Church, which also ordained only men. The Catholic Church has consistently maintained this position.
There are some historical references to women serving as deaconesses. “Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant (diakonon) in the church, which is at Cenchreae, so that you may receive her in the Lord with the worthiness of the saints, and so that you may be of assistance to her in whatever task she will have need of you. For she herself has also assisted many, and myself also.” (Romans 16:1-2) St. John Chrysostom said that St. Paul “added her rank by mentioning her being deaconess.” In the Catholic Church of Jerusalem, women may serve in the capacity of deaconesses. The Council of Trullo sets the age of deacons and deaconesses at forty. “Let no deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five, nor a deaconess before she is forty.” (Canon 14)