In most discussions with proponents of a female priesthood there is invariably an argument that recurs quite often. This is usually inserted after it is pointed out that the Apostles were all men and that they only ordained men as replacements or additions to their priestly ranks. Then the familiar counter argument usually is made that sounds something like this: “Well, you must take into account the social and cultural conditions of the times because women were seen as little more than possessions. Also they were primarily Jews who only had a male priesthood but there is no reason to forbid women from the priestly ranks in our days.” And, of course, there is something to be said about the culture of the time in respect to modern Western European cultures which look much different to even the most undiscerning eye.
However, I have a hunch that Christ, Who came to do His Father’s Will, would not have let cultural standards of the day stand in His way. Christ was seen as a revolutionary who defied many cultural norms: He went against Moses and his writ of divorce, He allowed His disciples to pick wheat on the Sabbath, He healed on the Sabbath, He said that we must drink His Blood and eat His Flesh (which violated the prohibitions of Leviticus concerning blood as well as hinted at cannibalism), His Apostles would go on to loose the requirement of circumcision of men, He dined with sinners and spoke to women adulteresses and pagan Samaritans when it was culturally forbidden. So Christ would have been either frightened of the people, though he stood his ground with the sadducees and the pharisees, or was sensitive to the scandal that He might cause and left it for a more enlightened time to lift the male only priesthood requirements on His Apostles. I find it hard to accept that Christ, who would suffer and die, to do His Father’s Will would be frightened or fear causing scandal among His disciples. After all, after his insistence on eating His Body and drinking His Blood in John 6, He allowed many of His disciples to leave and He did not call them back or explain that it was just ‘symbolic’ language. He simply let them depart to walk with Him no more.
It seems that the Father who gave the Jews a male priesthood and Christ who mirrored that priesthood in His newly formed Church simply followed and in fact fulfilled and completed a true priesthood that would deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him . . . doing that which Christ did at the Last Supper. He appointed them to act as He had done, in the person of Christ, and share His Body and Blood with His followers for all time. The same, of course is true in the forgiving of sins which was also conferred on these same men. In both instances these priests acted as ‘other Christs’ and continue to do so even to the present day.
Cultural conditioning did not stop Our Lord from doing anything during His incarnation on earth nor has the Holy Spirit moved the Church to change what Christ established in His male-only priesthood. That which was begun in the OT Church and perfected in His NT Church is the Will of the Father and instituted by Christ Himself.