Alan of Ad Altare Dei descibes a talk he went to given by Fr. Michael Crosby, OFM Cap in his post “Liberal Profits of Doom.” He writes:
He then went into his scriptural argument for women priests by attacking the scriptural argument often used against them. He stated that the common scriptural argument given – that Christ only chose male apostles – was not sound because the culture discounted women. He argued that it was illogical to regard Jesus’ choice within the culture at that time as His intention for the future successors to the apostles because the argument was applying the Christ of history to the Christ of faith. Furthermore, he concluded, in persona Christi has to refer to the Christ of faith, because Christ rose from His maleness.
This idea that Jesus did not choose any female apostles because of the culture at the time I find to be extremely weak. Jesus was not concerned that he scandalized his apostles when he talked alone with the Samaritan women at the well. He rebuked those who complained about the washing of his feet with tears by a public sinner and the women who anointed him with expensive oils. Jesus also didn’t have any problems in challenging people with cultural customs. He scandalized people because he didn’t wash his hands first, healed and plucked grains to eat on the on the Sabbath. The early church went on to remove circumcision as a requirement, mosaic dietary laws were dispensed with, the celebration of the Sabbath was moved to Sunday. Time and time again Jesus and his Church did things that were contrary to the culture at that time. Every Pagan religion at that time had priestesses and if Jesus had wanted to choose a women apostle, then the other apostles would have accepted it just like they accepted everything else that was not in keeping with their culture.
Within the Bible there are many stores of women shown to have played a crucial part in the history of Israel. Deborah was one of the judges, Judith took the head of Holofernes to prevent an attack, and many stories of women instrumental to carrying out God’s plan. So I would find it very difficult to believe that Jesus could bring all the sweeping changes with his new wineskin to bring about the final covenant, but he didn’t believe he would be able to have priestesses if that was his will. Mainly I just find it mistaken to believe that God would withhold a truth he wanted known because of cultural acceptance.
The Pope in his Apostolic Letter Ordination Sacerdotalis conclude with this:
4. 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.
Make sure you read all of Alan’s post and his reaction.