Some time ago, John Paul II made it clear that the ordination of women was not a question of if or when but of ability. He insisted that the Church does not have the ability to ordain women -- it is beyond the purview of the Church to do so (habet facultatem). In other words, this cannot be discussed on the basis of what the Church should do but on the basis of what the Church can or cannot do. There are things simply beyond the purview of pope or council. This is, then, not simply a matter of Church discipline but of doctrine. Yet there are those in Rome who are now agitating for a decision from the pope or from a council to do just that. They frame the issue of the ordination of women to the priestly office as a matter of priestly discipline -- similar to the issue of celibacy.
Lutherans against the ordination of women have similarly insisted that the ordination of women is not simply a matter of choice or decision but of ability. The Church does not have the choice to violate the Scriptural warrant, the apostolic tradition, and the divine order. While Rome may have the structures of a papacy capable of ex cathedra doctrinal definition or conciliar authority to adjust things from time to time, Lutheranism has no such facility. If only the Confessions had simply written such prohibition in black and white without any wiggle room, then perhaps the whole question would be irrelevant. But because it was not a question even conceived of at the time of the Reformation, Lutherans have come to different decisions about the immutability of the prohibition of female clergy. Though the Confessions do not give ground to the argument for the ordination of women, Lutherans have framed the issue more on social justice terms then on Biblical warrant. Like those who promoted the GLBTQ decisions of late, the justification for ordaining women has sprung from a gospel principle which allows and even encourages choices that contradict the Biblical Word and the apostolic tradition.
In the end, tinkering with such things as who may or may not be ordained, is a rather slippery slope in which one choice may have more consequences than what anyone could have imagined. We face trouble beyond trouble when we depart from the Biblical truth and apostolic tradition because they find tough going amid the modern mood or are deemed offensive by the cultural moment. It is no slight to women that the Church cannot ordain them and it is no slight to men that a woman was deemed favorable in the Lord's sight and from that woman was born the Savior of all. It does not show love or compassion or even justice to approve of things condemned or to change the order God has established to give equal place to all. In fact, it does just the opposite. The change presumes that they have suffered in an inferior place when God has not intended such at all and that the order God has intended is unjust and the best course for the Church is to undo God's injustice. Where this leads is not simply a dead end but a wrong destination.