You hear it all the time. When will the Catholic Church ordain women? It is only a matter of time. The “old boys club” can not go on forever.
There are many flawed arguments why Catholics should ordain women priests. Such arguments are akin to arguments for swapping the colors of the sky and grass or accepting the Trinity as three separate and independent persons. It is simply impossible in the Church Jesus founded which remains faithful to Him.
Jesus chose only men to be His Apostles. He did this at a time when pagan priestesses were common. Not that Jesus cared about culture or convention. He was a rebel who frequently acted in opposition to established norms. Our Lord could have easily chosen from quiet a number of women followers. Blessed Mary would seem to be a much stronger “candidate” for the priesthood than those chosen as Apostles.
Jesus, the one true High Priest, chose only men as priests of His Church – the Catholic Church. No one has the authority to change that. This was addressed in 1994 in an Apostolic Letter entitled Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4 (“priestly ordination”):
Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22:32), I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
Pope John Paul II
Understand that this doctrine is not subject to change, ever. It is not a matter of discipline that priestly celibacy is. In contrast, while that is unlikely to change, it theoretically could. It is also not improper for Catholics to respectfully discuss priestly celibacy (but it would be wrong to mount a campaign, organize demonstrators, attack the Magisterium, try to “pressure” the Church, and so on). No, the so called issue of “women priests” is settled and as Pope John Paul II said “this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”
Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) priests have a greater role than Protestant ministers. Priests, with authority passed from the Apostles, act sacramentally in persona Christi (the person of Christ). Protestant ministers do not claim this. Even so, not all Protestant churches ordain women.
Opponents of the Church often claim Catholic women are not respected by the Church (which is only faithfully following Christ). They also claim that we venerate Mary too much, totally missing the irony. No, the male priesthood instituted by Jesus Himself is in no way disrespectful of women.
All the baptized, men and women alike, share equally in the dignity, freedom and responsibility of the children of God… Women are called to bring to the family, to society and to the Church, characteristics which are their own and which they alone can give – their gentle warmth and untiring generosity, their love for detail, their quick-wittedness and intuition, their simple and deep piety, their constancy… A woman’s femininity is genuine only if she is aware of the beauty of this contribution for which there is no substitute – and if she incorporates it into her own life.
St. Josemaría Escrivá, Conversations, 14 and 87
If you are looking for a church inclusive of ordained women clergy, recognition that an abortion decision is truly a personal choice, modern perspectives on birth control, tolerance of sexual preferences and lifestyles, understanding of living arrangements that work for you, and know – deep in your heart – that living as a good person is all that really matters… then the Catholic Church will not meet your requirements.
Do you seek the the one Church Jesus founded, the fullness of the Christian faith, the unchanging truth and unwavering commitment to the word of God? If yes, then come home to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is not a church for the times. It is the Church for all time.
Further Reading: Catholic Answers has a good article entitled Why No Women’s Ordination by Michael J. Tortolani that delves into the flawed arguments for women priests.