Are nuns ordained? (can a nun be ordained?)

I have an aunt who is a nun, and as a theologian, I got interested in knowing what it took for her to become one. During my research, I visited the local Catholic Church, and a catechist taught me all about the process of becoming a nun. Recently, one of my college theology students came to me for advice since she felt that she was receiving the calling of being a nun. I scheduled some time to have a meeting with her where I could answer all her questions about becoming a nun based on my research on this topic. During that meeting, she had a very interesting question which I have decided to answer in this article. Her question was, “Are nuns ordained?”

Nuns in the Catholic Church are not ordained. They only take solemn vows to live according to the evangelical counsel of poverty, obedience, and Celibacy. Therefore, an ordination ceremony is not carried out for any nun since they are not members of the Catholic Clergy. However, nuns in Buddhist traditions are ordained together with the monks. In addition, Anglican nuns can also be ordained.

Join me in this article as we know whether nuns are ordained. We will also learn the meaning of to be ordained, so read to the end.

What does it mean to be ordained?

To be ordained in the Christian Church means being invested in ministerial, priestly, or rabbinical functions. Ordination is a rite for the commissioning and dedication of ministers in the Church. During ordination, the ordaining minister lays a hand upon the head of the one being ordained and prays for them through the Holy Spirit. Christianity derived the ceremony from the scripture. In Numbers 27:18-23 Moses ordained Joshua, and in Acts 13:3, Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by prophets and teachers of Antioch. Therefore, when you are ordained, it means you have been given the responsibility to lead the people of God by serving them and teaching them the will of God.

Can a nun be ordained?

Are nuns ordained?
Can a nun be ordained? Image source: Freepik

Yes, a nun can be ordained, though this fact varies depending on the religion of a nun. For example, Anglican nuns can be ordained, while Catholic nuns cannot be ordained. In Roman Catholicism, only members of the clergy are supposed to be ordained. That said, it is good to note that nuns are not part of the clergy. Clergy is persons who have been ordained via the sacrament of the Holy Order, and they include; Bishops, Priest, and deacons. Nuns are known as “Women Religious,” and they only take solemn vows before starting their mission to serve God.

Why aren’t nuns ordained in the Catholic Church?

Nuns are not ordained in the Catholic Church because they do not receive the Sacrament of the Holy Order. Nuns are known as Religious, and though religious are dedicated to serving the Church and God in special roles, they are not ordained. Rather, they take a solemn vow of Celibacy, poverty, and obedience.

Can nuns conduct Mass even if they are not ordained?

No. Nuns cannot conduct Mass because they are not ordained clergy, but women religious in the Catholic Church who have taken solemn spiritual vows. For one to conduct Mass, one has to have received the sacrament of the Holy Order, and since nuns have not received it, they are not allowed to conduct Mass. Only ordained Bishops and priests are supposed to conduct Mass.

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