The Boston Globe’s headline reads, “3 women to be ordained Catholic priests in Boston.” In fact, they will not be ordained, not Catholic and not priests. The words will be used and the ceremony followed, but what actually happens is nothing. It is not the RC church which is sanctioning the ritual but a rogue group standing at odds with the bishops.
Makes me wonder about many Protestant ordinations. Who really is a pastor, in any legitimate sense of that word? How does that happen and what makes that happen? Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher of Victorian England, was never ordained. He found some satisfaction in that. He called ordination laying idle hands on empty heads.
An insitutional answer is that a man is a pastor (actually, yes, I believe that pastoring is gender specific) when we say he is. A genuinely Protestant answer is that a man is ordained when God says he is. And perhaps a more skeptical approach wonders what ordination is anyway.