Santa Clara County Judge David Cena took one day to decide on the case following a preliminary hearing that lasted much of Wednesday.
He announced Thursday morning that Lynch will be tried on one felony count of assault.
Lynch doesn't deny the assault, but says he did it because Father Jerold Lindner molested him more than three decades ago during a camping trip in Santa Cruz.
Lindner denies the charges.
Through his lawyer Pat Harris, Lynch told reporters Wednesday he wanted the case to go to trial so he can expose the alleged molestation and raise awareness of priest abuse.
Following Thursday's ruling, defense attorney Mark Geragos, who was filling in for Harris, told reporters he is pleased that the case is moving toward trial and looks forward to seeing Lindner testify.
I think the truth will come out," Geragos said. "I don't think this guy will ever take the stand. I don't think he's got the guts. He's a coward. He's just retreated into this church-sponsored anonymity...and we plan on putting an end to that."
If convicted, Lynch could face up to four years in prison. His next court appearance is in two weeks.