A FaceBook friend sent me this question earlier wanting to know my take on the issue on women priests based on this article:
So there are a couple of questions in this. CAN women be validly ordained as Priests in the Catholic Church? If the answer is NO, is that discriminatory?
Let's talk about the first question. To fully understand the stance of the Catholic Church on ordination of women, you must first understand the Old Testament. The Church fully believes that the New Testament Christian Church in the first Century was fully founded as a completion to the Old Testament, not a "re-do" or a "start-over".
All through the Old Testament we see God's requirements for the Hebrew priests. They were ALWAYS to be men. There were women judges, and prophets, but the priests were always to be men. Why? because the Old Testament priests were precursors, or shadows of Christ, the Man. Once Christ came and fulfilled the Old Testament, He added the power to the priesthood that it lacked previously. When he chose his Apostles, notice that he did not choose women, but chose men. There are numerous reasons for that, but none of them are discriminatory. The Father's plans for the Church was that these men, these Priests are to stand "en persona Christi" or in the person of Christ to us as the Body of Christ. As Christ was a man, then the Catholic Church, in conjunction with the first Century Christian Church has stated: "Only a baptised man can validly receive Sacred Ordination".
What needs to be mentioned at this point is that as Catholics, we believe that when Christ appointed Peter to be the first head of the Church that anointing that was given him has been continually passed down to each Pope thereafter, and in return, to the Bishops that he ordains, and therefore to the Priests that are ordained by the Bishops.
There are always schismatic groups inside the Church that are pushing for many things, but the fact of the matter is that if a Bishop "ordains" a woman as a priest, that is NOT a licit ordination and it is NOT sanctioned by the Church. No matter how much that person wants it to be valid, or no matter how good the intent, this person is not in line with the teaching of the Church and is not a priest, but in name only. These people that push for ordination of women in the Church are doing so for personal gain, ignoring the laws that God has laid down throughout history, from the beginning of time.
The Catholic Church hasn't just arbitrarily made this rule to discriminate, but has done this in conjunction with the entire Church history. Those who disagree to that extent with this teaching could, I am sure find some church out there that would fit what they believe is right and they could be "ordained" in that church. However, as a Catholic, I am tired of people from outside the Church, who have no stake or faith telling the Church how to run ourselves. We are not a political organization, nor a company, we are The Church of Jesus Christ and we under the guidance of the Holy Spirit lead the Church as Christ directs.
Now, the second question. Is this discriminatory? I would like to point out that throughout current history the Catholic Church has done more for the liberation and freedom of women throughout the world than any other world religion. We have 3 women that have been named as Doctors of the Church: Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Avila and St. Teresa of Lisieux. We honor Mary, the mother of Christ for the role that she chose to take, we have stood against women held in slavery and tried to free women that are imprisoned in sexual trade. We don't force women to wear clothes that cover them from head to toe and believe that they have God given roles in our world. They can be Presidents, Senators, mayors, governors, doctors, lawyers, broadcast journalists and farbeit...even mothers. In addition, there is a great attack by the Enemy on the Church, and that attack sometimes comes from within. This area of attack is specifically to degrade the roles that God has set in place that differentiate men and women. We have equality under God as Children of God, but clearly defined roles as shown not only in the physical world, but also in the spiritual world as well. Just as men cannot bear children, women cannot be priests.
I fully believe that the two main reasons that people find the Catholic Church "discriminatory" are 1) we stand against artificial contraception and 2) we don't believe that women can be priests. They can be nuns, and they can have great effect on our society as the examples I listed above but they have separate roles.
So in closing, no, the Catholic Church will not ever change it's mind on the ordination of women, though schismatic groups may press and threaten. Leave it they will, but the Catholic priesthood will forever an always be reserved only for men.