This tweet by @rare_basement (a girl) arrived in my twitter timeline today:
"why cant i be pope. this is the WORST sexism"
Actually, I'd say it is the BEST sexism. Why? Well, the reason she can't be pope is that she can't be a Bishop. Why? Because you must be a guy to validly receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Why? As John Paul II put it, the Church doesn't have the authority to change what Christ established. The Church's authority is limited. She cannot augment the Deposit of Faith that was passed to the Church by Christ through the Apostles. She is a steward of God's decrees. She is not an innovator, modifier, or redactor of the Catholic faith. Christ alone has the authority. A ramification of this is that the Church can't change the all male priesthood because Christ established it. Even if the Church wanted to admit women to the priesthood, she doesn't have the authority to do it. She can't.
So, why does this get branded as a form of sexism? I think it has to do with two contemporary mentalities. The first is that there is a belief that the sexes are in a power battle. The second is that there is a belief that the solution for a perceived lack of equality is to deny the distinction between the sexes and impose structures that support this denial.
There was a famous song performed by the characters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler in the production "Annie Get Your Gun." It captures the mentality of the "war between the sexes." Everyone knows the words, "Anything you can do I can do better." Men and women are typed as being competitors in a struggle for power and prestige. There may be some truth to this in our society today. However, such a competition ought not exist in the community of the faithful. We must reject the "conflict theory" view of human life. Power, if it may be so called, resides simply in holiness, not position.
Joined to this mentality is the erroneous belief that equality equals sameness. While this is a common belief it is more false than the conflict theory approach. At least there is evidence for conflict theory! However, sameness is an assertion. It is an authoritarianism of the secular will. Biology and the whole of the natural order deny the proposition of sameness. Nietzsche would call the imposition of sameness a perfect example of "slave morality." He would be mostly correct. Even the contemporary virtue of diversity is opposed to the sameness mentality. But for some reason such diversity is anathema in our culture when applied to the sexes. But the Church is a great supporter of diversity. She is not bound by the errors of any particular culture or time.
When all things are considered the Church, and the faithful Christian, is able to affirm the dignity of each person and of each difference that expresses the perfection of humanity. It would be an act of violence against the dignity of the diversity of God's creatures if we were to embrace the sameness mentality. We would do violence to both masculinity and femininity if we were to confuse the two.
This is one reason why it doesn't make sense to have women as priests. We call priests father for a reason. Their function in the Church is essentially fatherly. It is not essentially motherly. A mother can never be a father, nor can a father ever be a mother. For one to try and replace the other would be to do violence to the dignity of both fatherhood and motherhood. One only needs to point to the disfunction of our contemporary culture as a proof of this.
When women want to be fathers or when men want to be wives or both desire to be neither there is something profoundly wrong with society. We definitely have these problems in our own society today. What I have said here will be nonsense to the worldly. However, we are not supposed to be of this world. We are in the world but not off the world. Many people say that this problem will be solved by helping restore the family. Maybe the beginning is really through reforming the priesthood?