Can the Catholic Church ordain women? No, She can’t! Why? Because, even if She tried, it wouldn’t work!
The Church did not invent the Sacrament of Orders – She received it from Christ. Now, the Sacraments are only effective and valid under the conditions that Christ has set down for them to be effective and valid. This is because, of themselves, the ceremonies of the Sacraments are just that … pure ceremonies. So, Christ decided that water was necessary for a valid Baptism. As a result, if a priest uses grape-juice, the Baptism will not be valid. For the Sacrament of Orders, Christ decided that only men could be ordained; so, if a bishop tried to ordain a woman, it would simply be invalid. The woman would no more be a priest than a man who has never been ordained!
Scripture and Tradition are absolutely clear that women cannot be ordained. All of the Apostles were men, as were the priests they ordained, right down to the present day. No-one can argue that Christ was simply following the conventions of His time, simply because Christ didn’t follow conventions for their own sake. For example, He changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, He rejected many human traditions of the Jews and He re-instated the ban on divorce which God had relaxed because of the hardness of the hearts of the Hebrews. You can’t call Christ a revolutionary and then turn around and call Him a conservative when it suits!
But, this was not just an arbitrary decision on the part of Christ. It was a decision based on human nature, which He Himself created. The God-made relationship between man and woman reflects the order of creation. Man is the symbol of God; woman is the symbol of creation. So, woman by her nature is not capable of being the authorised representative of God, which the priest is.
The man’s natural role is to act on the world and transform it, again corresponding to the role of the priest. The woman’s natural role belongs to the family circle and the children. This is not to say that the man has a greater dignity than the woman. Both are equally dignified before God, but nature gives them a particular role which is different, but complimentary. There is an order in everything, the mark of the Intelligent Creator.