The relationship between male and female is the union of ‘a kneeling with a sceptred love,’ as C.S. Lewis puts it. Modern people, brought up within a world view largely contemptuous of divine order, even when they are Christians, tend to see every social relationship in terms completely alien to nature that are the product of mere thinking.
The so-called ‘age of enlightenment’ is really just another ideology. Christ is not ideology, and if we follow Him, we follow nature as well, for it is patterned after Him. Nature and life. Modern man has let his thoughts carry him away.
Why didn’t I say ‘modern man and woman’?
Because Man includes Woman: The two are one, and are meant to reflect the divine order in the most perfect way. Now, I just noticed that I seem to be expressing myself as the proponent of an ideology and gotten off course. What I wanted to say was something much simpler; it is just this:
Modern people thinking of ‘church’ think of it in modern terms, where only the leaders, the high profile visibles, matter. That is not, however, how Christ thinks of ‘church’.
Being a priest, or whatever the equivalent is in any Christian community, is not something that most people, not even most men, are called to be. Literally, we are all priests in the holy nation of God, male and female, and no one is more preeminent—despite the titles and ceremonial forms of address—than anyone else.
Priests are men because fathers have to be men. Where does that leave women in the Church? Everywhere, but only a woman can be a mother. There is no trans-gender in the Body of Christ (speaking now metaphorically, not addressing the issues of trans-sexuality).
I can only explore from my home base, Greek Orthodox Christianity. A community is pastored by a presbyter and presbytera, ideally. A family becomes a priestly family, each with his and her role to play.
If the male dies, the female remains a presbytera and continues her ministry within the community: She never marries again. The same is true if the female dies: The male remains a presbyter and continues his ministry without remarrying. In those situations, the community itself replaces the lost partner in various ways, to help the presbyter or presbytera to continue fulfilling the role that Christ has assigned them.
The Orthodox Christian family is the basic unit of the Church, and within it the same divine order prevails.
When married, husband and wife are crowned king and queen, priest and priestess (though we don’t use those words, I don’t think, in English) of what will be a new cell in the Body of Christ.
Everything, absolutely everything, is laid out according to divine order. What we see in reality, though, is a Church that is struggling against a constant invasion by the world at the family level. That is where our struggle lies, and not every family fulfills the call. Feminism and secular attitudes invade and capture us, and we come to question and analyze the Word of God with an attitude of superiority to it.
I have visited a website of Catholic feminists where nuns want to become priests, and some actually have, I think, though it is without canonicity. This is all too stupid for words! As if canonicity mattered!
If the canons of the Church were changed to admit women priests, bishops, etc., that would not change the divine order, nor could it cover up the mismatch and disobedience we would be trying to hide under our new regulations.
All this has been better and more fully said elsewhere, but I try to explain it without a polemic motivation: Every essential ministry is open to every man or woman in the Church, excepting those ceremonials which are ikons of the Divine Nature in humanity.
We all can be spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers: In fact, that is what God expects us to be, what Christ calls us to. What else can it mean to be ‘called to be saints’, if not this?