In addition to criticizing the Church's opposition to the mandate, these critics will often trot out the old charge that the Church discriminates against women because only males are allowed to be ordained priests.
My response to these critics:
One must be careful not to assume that all gender distinctions are discriminatory. One would not argue that God has discriminated against males by not allowing them to become pregnant. Or,that He has discriminated against females by not allowing them to impregnate. There is a greater point or purpose to these distinctions, even if we do not fully understand it.
So, likewise, we cannot assume upfront that an all-male priesthood is discriminatory. If God intended there to be gender distinctions in the physical realm, who is to say he has not also intended gender distinctions in the spiritual realm?
We must remember that the all-male priesthood has its roots in the selection of the twelve Apostles by Jesus Himself. So, if we follow the reasoning that the all-male priesthood is discriminatory to its logical conclusion, we would have to declare that Jesus discriminated against women when He selected only males to be his Apostles. Yet, we know that cannot be, because Jesus was without sin.
Moreover, Jesus bucked the conventions of His day on many issues, so why would He not do so in his selection of the Apostles? Once again, there must be a deeper point or purpose there, even if it is difficult for us to discern or understand.
Many Catholics do not realize that there is a complex theology at the heart of the Catholic priesthood, rooted in the idea of Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride. The priest theologically assumes the role of Christ and becomes the bridegroom in relation to the Church as the bride. If the priest were to be a female, the theology breaks down, because you end up with two brides and no bridegroom.