I raise this question only because in this day there are still those who wish to betray two-thousand years of Church History, a strong tradition of conservative theological interpretation, and an unwavering testimony of Sacred Scriptures affirming that women must not be ordained to the ministry of the gospel.
One historical dimension that came to my attention recently concerns the religious atmosphere of the first century. Historical records prove that the first century was replete with priestesses. Some today assert that if the cultural norms of the day were more favorable to women in places of authority–such as in our own day–then Jesus would have been more prone to ordaining women as apostles. However, Fr. Mateo dispels this historical myth by asserting:
It is unhistorical and simply false to say that in Jesus’ day priestesses would have been unacceptable to people at large. Our Lord never hesitated to violate cultural taboos (John 5:1-18). He spoke to women in public (John 4:4-42; 8:3-11). The first witnesses of his Resurrection were women (passim). Furthermore, the lands around the Mediterranean teemed with religions with priestesses. The famed Vestal Virgins of Rome were priestesses. There was a priestess functioning at Delphi. The Sybil was a priestess and the many temple prostitutes were priestesses.
Jesus would not have been the first to ordain women to places of authority in his ministry. However, he chose twelve male apostles. Jesus was a taboo breaker and it would have been a simple task for him to choose women who were among his followers. But the divine pattern prevailed; a pattern begun in the Older Covenant. Jesus shows that the nature of the Church and the Scriptures is that the authority to administer word and sacrament be limited to men only.