WSJ: Wymynpryst Liberation Ordination

From the Wall Street Journal:

HOUSES OF WORSHIP
   
The Problem With Liberation Ordination [The choice of title is important.  Most of the feminist thing in the Church is rooted in a Marxist starting point.]
By KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ
August 22, 2008; Page W13

A few weeks ago, a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests staged what it called an ordination, [This writer gets it!  Brava!] vesting three Boston-area women in white chasubles and red stoles. It told the local papers that the ordinations were valid, despite the Catholic Church’s teaching to the contrary; it even asserted episcopal approval from a rogue bishop whose name it won’t reveal. But, as a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston put it: "Catholics who attempt to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the women who attempt to receive a sacred order, are by their own actions separating themselves from the Church." In other words: The ordinations were not Catholic.

Don’t tell that to Judy Lee, one of the "priests." She insists that the archdiocese’s pronouncement will be a dead letter: "We are Roman Catholics. . . . The all-male hierarchy and their legal traditions came along with the spiritual package that we embrace.  ["spiritual package"... ?!?.... Tradition?  Sacraments?  Regula Fidei?] We do not have to embrace both if they are contradictory." Bridget Meehan, spokeswoman for Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which claims 61 priests in North America, including one bishop, insists: "Nothing or no one can stop the action of God’s Spirit moving in the Church. . . . We are not discouraged by excommunication. In fact, in many ways, it is a catalyst for growth." Ms. Meehan, who was ordained in 2006, believes that a "more transparent, community model" can bring nonpracticing Catholics back into the fold.  [Sure!  Look what that has done for the Anglicans!]

The Womenpriests come from a dissenting feminist tradition in the Catholic Church — one in which a leading religious sister has even declared the Eucharist "defective and inadequate" for women. [Not part of their "spiritual package"....  What deep theological reflection... "spiritual package".] This tradition argues for renewing the church with a model "not geared to a hierarchy but inclusivity," as Ms. Meehan explains it. But those who are faithful to Rome argue that it is precisely the focus on the Eucharist — and Christ’s identity — that necessitates an all-male priesthood. In 1994, Pope John Paul II declared that "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women."  [So... what is ordination for?  You have to ask what they think priesthood is for.]

Mother Assumpta Long, a statuesque, media-savvy Dominican sister in Ann Arbor, Mich., says that the Catholic Church already recognizes the equality of women — and that the dissenters confuse equality with identical opportunity. "All people are created by God equal in that we each possess an immortal and individual soul. [But] we are each unique in our talents. . . . Women are called upon to be mothers (spiritually and, for many in marriage, physically as well); whereas men are called upon to be fathers (spiritually and, for many in marriage, physically as well)." These sound like roles in a healthy family — not the artifact of a stifling, misogynistic patriarchy.

The same weekend as the "ordinations," I joined 30 fellow lay Catholics gathered in Birmingham, Ala., for a sold-out retreat at the Casa Maria convent. The retreat is run by a group of Dominican-Franciscan (they follow both saintly models) religious sisters. Now in their 18th year as an order, the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word are as far away as one can imagine from that scene in Boston.

"As an active woman religious working in the field of retreats and catechesis in the Bible Belt South, I have to say that I am far too busy . . . to feel slighted by the fact that the priesthood is not open to women," insists Sister Louise Marie, a member of the order. She suggests that if Catholics and non-Catholics understood what a "powerful role women religious have," they would never "feel sorry for [us]."

The Sister Servants, like many relatively new orders, are filled with young, orthodox enthusiasts. The nearby cloistered Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, seen on the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network, have a waiting list of young women wanting to join. Whenever they get more space, "there’s always someone right around the corner waiting to move in," says Sister Marie St. John, speaking for the group. Most of the new orders are members not of the notoriously liberal Leadership Conference of Women Religious but of the newer, more strict Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. Their energy appears a personification of "the New Pentecost" that Pope Benedict XVI talks about, calling on faithful Catholics to be apostles in the modern world.

Not all religious sisters are happy. Overall, their numbers have been dwindling — from 179,954 in 1965 to 59,208 today, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. And some frustrated women "priests" do come from their ranks.

But the women’s ordination movement may well be dying. It has neither momentum nor standing within the church, and the momentum surrounding papal events and traditional orders appears to suggest that Catholic sentiment is flowing in the opposite direction. Sister Sara Butler, the author of "The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church," says: "These women do not represent most Catholic women, and they do not represent most women religious."

A 2007 study found that 66% of those considering religious vocations were drawn to them most by a "desire to live a life of faithfulness to the Church and its teaching." The young women in this majority don’t feel the need to remake Catholicism in their own image. Christ’s is more than good enough for them.

Ms. Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.

My gloss… mutatis mutandis….

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y75OwTuQpqI]

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35 Responses to WSJ: Wymynpryst Liberation Ordination

  1. Ttony says:

    “… do thou, prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Stan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.”

  2. Great article by Ms. Lopez.

    If you look at the average age of women entering traditional religious orders, many of them new, and compare that to the number and average age of “wymynpriests”, it shows clearly the latter is dying. It’s old and gray.

  3. Paul Stokell says:

    It bears repeating Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s line about how dissenting Baby Boomer Catholics are a lot like Bugs Bunny: they are gray and white.

  4. Fr. Steve says:

    So be it. Poor sacristian who has to clean up that mess.

  5. Ronald Webber says:

    *“… do thou, prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Stan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.”*

    Poor old Stan, whats he ever done wrong?

    (maybe you meant Satan!)

  6. Geoffrey says:

    I read this in the WSJ this morning and was very pleased. Great article.

  7. Donna Quinones says:

    Nah. I like Stan better.

  8. Mac McLernon says:

    White chasubles and RED stoles?

    I mean, if you’re going to play dress-up, rule number 1 is that you get the costume right…!

    ;-)

  9. rosebudsal says:

    Interesting article, thanks for the link, Father. I was glad to see the reporter write something that was fair and rational, rather than emotional and self-centered. I also liked that she talked to women in religious orders to get another perspective, which I don’t think we’ve seen done. When I was in journalism school, I was taught to be objective and look at all sides of the story. I guess that’s not important anymore and I’ve only been out of school 10 years.

    Aside from all the legitimate teaching and tradition of the Church against women’s ordination to the priesthood, the idea of a woman priest (or pretending to be a priest as the case would be) makes me uncomfortable. Even as a feminist, (Gen Xer not Baby Boomer variety) I don’t feel like I’m betraying my gender by opposing women’s ordination, it’s just how I feel.

    Maria

  10. Jim says:

    Is there an American bishop called Stan? He may be the ‘one bishop’ who supports these ladies.

    Then it would all make sense.

  11. Phillip says:

    It’s good to see that there are still respectable newspapers in this country. Yesterday, the SF chronicle had an article which was kinda favoring a “Catholics for Choice” group in San Diego. At least the WSJ can maintain its integrity. Thanks for that awesome clip, Father. I have to see that movie sometime.

  12. Thomas says:

    Powerhouse article by Mistress Lopez. Reading this has certainly ameliorated the anger I’ve had for the past hour since hearing my pastors homily that said Benedict XVI was a “so-so” pope. Dinosaurs are on the wane. The young are in the ascendancy.

  13. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Can someone tell me who the nun was who said the Eucharist was “defective and inadequate” for women? Just wondering.

  14. Can someone tell me who the nun was who said the Eucharist was “defective and inadequate” for women? Just wondering.

    From Adoremus Bulletin (1997) – Grinding Old Axes: Women’s Ordination and Inclusive Language
    Theologians, Liturgists Occupy Common Ground of Dissent:

    Sister Mary Explains It All
    Feminist theologian Sister Mary Collins, OSB, in her keynote address to the CTSA, said that a “priest-centered theology of the eucharist is defective and inadequate”. Use of the metaphor of “sacrifice” to describe the Mass suggests that the priest’s action is “cultlike”, she said. Sister Mary teaches at Catholic University of America, and is a long-time member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the body which translates liturgical texts for all English-speaking countries-most recently a revised Sacramentary, prayers used for Mass.

    “The very possibility of a magisterial teaching about eucharistic sacrifice that sees no necessary relationship between the ecclesial and the eucharistic body of Christ exposes the inadequacy of the controlling metaphor [sacrifice],” according to Sister Mary……

  15. Bailey Walker says:

    From “Adoremus Bulletin” (Online Edition – Vol. III, No. 6: September 1997):

    Feminist theologian Sister Mary Collins, OSB, in her keynote address to the CTSA, said that a “priest-centered theology of the eucharist is defective and inadequate”. Use of the metaphor of “sacrifice” to describe the Mass suggests that the priest’s action is “cultlike”, she said. Sister Mary teaches at Catholic University of America, and is a long-time member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the body which translates liturgical texts for all English-speaking countries-most recently a revised Sacramentary, prayers used for Mass.

    Here’s the link. Sorry I don’t know how to embed it properly.

    http://www.adoremus.org/997-OldAxes.html

  16. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Thank you both for that link to Sister Mary… I think. Her affiliations explain a lot.

  17. “Cast into hell, Stan……”

    I can see I am not the only one who ever made this faux pas. Once in my forum I was talking about the devil and hell and when I wrote “Satan” I left out the “A” and everyone got really tickled about it. Ever since then we call old Blue Beard “Stan”. They all had a great time ribbing me about it. I probably laughed about it more than anyone.

  18. WFW says:

    Maybe some of our current bishops could take a hint from Thomas Becket here and spice up excommunications a little (or even start issuing them where needed!). I mean if you are going to excommunicate someone you might as well make it look good.

  19. Marcus says:

    I read Diane’s linked article. How sad. I think Sister Mary could take a few (or a great many) lessons from the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Surely, we all can. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we made be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

  20. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Mutatis nullo pacto mutandis…sed nihilominus, mutatis

  21. Doug says:

    The laughable facet of all of this is that these women decry hierarchy; they seem to imply that hierarchy has no role in what they want to establish. Hierarchy, to them, is abhorrent. But ordination is entrance into hierarchy. So, they deeply desire something they view as evil, and by attempting ordination, they enroll in something they deem abhorrent. We have a name for these people: lunatics.

  22. Jayna says:

    “…the Catholic Church already recognizes the equality of women—and that the dissenters confuse equality with identical opportunity.”

    Touché. I’m keeping that one on stand-by. Great article, I’m glad someone finally gets it!

  23. Tim Ferguson says:

    perhaps a “Miss Votiva ad Tollendum Schisma” is in order…

  24. Thomas says:

    Do Richard Burton’s lines as the great St. Thomas originate from the actual texts used in formal excommunication or are they a Hollywood creation/embellishment?

    Do you know the actual words used, Fr. Z?

  25. Thomas: Who cares! That is really fun! o{]:¬)

  26. Tim: Miss Votiva ad Tollendum Schisma
    Indeed!

    BTW.. the mighty Fr GW greets you (my guest right now).

  27. David2 says:

    Thomas, I’ll answer your question:

    The words are pretty much straight out of the old pontificiale, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm (second to last paragraph of the article on Anathamas (as major excommunications).

  28. Paul says:

    I declare “spiritual package” to be unacceptably phallocentric terminology which only perpetuates the ongoing structures of patriarchal sin which are stifling the imminent spiritual renewal of ourselves as Church.

  29. Carlos Palad says:

    “Not all religious sisters are happy. Overall, their numbers have been dwindling—from 179,954 in 1965 to 59,208 today, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. And some frustrated women “priests” do come from their ranks.”

    Of these 59,208, how many belong to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
    and how many belong to the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious?

    A drop from nearly 180,000 to just 59,000… horrible, just plain horrible.

  30. R says:

    We have a name for these people: lunatics.

    I think “subversives” is more accurate, in many cases.

  31. prof. basto says:

    Of course the true formula had the all important part: “…so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church…”

  32. Owen says:

    “”Nothing or no one can stop the action of God’s Spirit moving in the Church…”" And on that point I fully agree with the person who said it, the person who is no longer a part of the Church in which the action of God’s Spirit cannot be stopped.

  33. ThomasB says:

    The fearless St. Thomas Becket really knew how to excommunicate someone. We need some of that kind of pronouncement in our time! One of my all-time favorite Burton scenes, too.

    Paul: That’s hilarious!

  34. Mike says:

    I love the You Tube link! The ole Bell, Book, and Candle. I sure wish our bishops still used this form of excommunication.

    “We separate him (her), together with his (her) accomplices and abettors, from the precious body and blood of the Lord and from the society of all Christians; we exclude him (her) from our Holy Mother, the Church in Heaven, and on earth; we declare him (her) excommunicate and anathema; we judge him (her) damned, with the Devil and his angels and all the reprobate, to eternal fire until he (she) shall recover himself (herself) from the toils of the devil and return to amendment and to penitence.”

    AMEN!!

  35. Christabel says:

    “We are not discouraged by excommunication”.

    Where do I even start?

    I think we really, really need to pray for everyone involved in this very sad situation.