I’m not sure what Fr John Shea expects to accomplish here. I think I perceive his hope. It’s an unrealistic hope at this juncture. There will be no theological discussion. The people responsible, with the probable exception of the Bishop of Rome, and the possible exception of a minority of prelates probably lack the theological depth to engage it. Fr Shea tries to make a distinction between theology and history. But the recipients of his letter won’t get it. Even if they understand it. But they will probably send him a few more books. Interesting way to build a library.
My own sense is that the ordination of women has no compelling theological reason against it. But given that, the issue is so d***ed contentious, and by the collateral threat to Church unity, the time has just not arrived for Rome and the Orthodox to confront it. So it’s not going to get confronted. It’s just too d***ed scary to even consider talking about it.
The best I can offer, and it seems rather paltry compared to the personal frustrations suffered by a few women I know, is that the Church (meaning the larger entity) is currently incapable of resolving this issue, so we suffer the loss and focus on what we can renew. If not the Sacrament of Orders, then Baptism.
John Shea is asking for theological justification. Just for asking, the man is toast, theologically speaking.