(1) PF's Post Synodal Exhortation early last year was completely explicit on the question of the 'Ordination' of women to the priesthood.
Para 101: "Jesus Christ appears as the Spouse of the community that celebrates the Eucharist through the figure of a man who presides as a sign of the one Priest.".
In the Italian, uomo. German eines Mannes. French homme. Spanish varon. Portuguese varao. All these terms refer unmistakably to maleness. Kind readers have assured me that the same id true of Arabic, Polish, Chinese terms used in the various versions of the Exhortation.
(2) Now the Pope has decided that women may be admitted to the Ministries of Lector and Acolyte. But in doing so, he has clearly distinguished between Holy Orders and those other 'Ministries' which may be open to all those who are baptised. About such Ministries, he writes: "essi sono essenzialmente distinti dal ministero ordinato che si riceve con il Sacramento dell'Ordine".
This document was issued motu proprio. It has a distinct magisterial status. I wouldn't have thought there was much doubt that Cardinal Ladaria had a hand in it, since PF refers to "having heard the opinion of the competent dicasteries". (This, in itself, is reassuring, since it upholds the dogmatic truth that the Petrine Office is not to be understood individualistically, in terms of one man playing his private games, but in terms of the collegiality of the Roman Church.)
So, in two distinct but complementary steps, PF has added to and strengthened the position established by his predecessors, particularly, of course, S John Paul in his Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
Moreover, while the Exhortation concentrated on the Priesthood, this Motu proprio clearly indicates an "essential" barrier between the 'Ministeries' concerned, and the Diaconate. Thus the Paradosis has been strengthened. It is not surprising that Liberal Elements are very unhappy about this.
I can see why some traditionalists are troubled by thought of women robed and in sanctuaries. For a generation, heterodox Anglicans demanded priestesses in the Church of England, and started off with Women Readers, Deaconesses, and Women Deacons. Just so, our Catholic trouble-makers will be concentrating on the first 'stage' of their plot. Once you get women lectors/acolytes wearing clerical garb and posturing around altars, you are gradually habituating a congregation to a feminised ministry which makes 'the next and logical stage', women deacons, followed soon by women priests, more culturally acceptable. The heretics would, of course, very soon forget the force of PF''s Essenzialmente distinti.
This makes it all the more remarkable that PF is actually jumping one step ahead of the heretics. Like those orthodox Catholics who point out that the Sacrament of Order is essentially indivisible, PF treats Holy Order as one. In his Post Synodal Exhortation, he took the claim that "women would be granted a greater status and participation in the Church only if they were admitted to Holy Orders", and then remarked "But that approach would in fact narrow our vision; it would lead us to clericalise women, diminish the great value of what they have already accomplished, and subtly make their indispensable contribution less effective".
On the whole, I think Traddies should be rather pleased with both the Exhortation and the Motu proprio, and with the evolution of the Magisterium in this area..