Goofy wymympryst ideas in Cincinnati… again

From the blog Ten Reasons, with my emphases and comments:

"Carries an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati"

Carol Ann Morrow, assistant managing editor [and thus not just a staff writer or sometime contributrix] of St. Anthony Messenger magazine, published locally [that is, in Cincinnati] by the Franciscans at St. Anthony Messenger Press, defends the Catholic priestess movement in the Cincinnati Enquirer: [Does that sound like giving public scandal?  The Cincinnati Archdiocese has had more than its share of this goofy though bothersome problem, by the by.]

Gail Finke (”Your Voice” 1/7/10) will not soon be eligible to be a doctor OR a priest. [Watch the reasoning here…] She would need to study for BOTH professions. [See a problem with that?  Being a doctor is surely a profession and a "vocation", in some real senses of the word.  But it is not one to which one is called by a divinely instituted Church.  Graduating from med school does not impart an indelible mark on the soul.  Being a doctor might change your way of seeing the world and people, and even expose you to maladies, but it does not effect an ontological change.  Once you die, you are no longer a doctor.] She implies that the women who are ordained are not prepared by both study and by calling to be so. That is an incorrect assumption on her part. She thinks the refusal of any competent medical licensing board to give her a medical license is comparable to the Roman Catholic Church’s refusal to ordain women. It is not. The licensing board checks education, credentials and worthiness and probably does a background check. If one meets all those criteria, one will receive a license whether man or woman.

The “licensing board” of the Church is being challenged to reconsider its criteria. [See any problem with this?  The "licensing board" of a profession, say, medicine, law, etc., can determine their own criteria for those who would join them.  In the case of the Church’s "licensing board", they received their criteria from a higher authority.  The Church’s "licensing board" doesn’t have the authority to change those criteria.] This challenge is rooted in a study of Scripture and the ancient traditions of the Church. They are subject to debate in the view of many members of the Church, members who wish the Church and the vocation of the priesthood well, not ill. [Ummm…. no, not really.  They are not subject to debate.  They are to be accepted as defined, definitively taught by the Church.  The Church does not have the authority to change that teaching.]  Ms. Finke’s readiness for either profession is inadequate.

It is not clear to many women and men that women are unqualified–by education, calling or gender–for the priesthood. [A woman can be exceptionally well educated in all the things priests must be concerned with, but no woman ever has a "call" from the Church.  No woman can ever be ordained a priest.]  It may be that the licensing boards are not in touch with their ultimate supervisor. [This seems to be a suggesting that the Church is not doing what Jesus Christ wants by not simulating the ordination of women.  Is that a good suggestion for someone who edits a Catholic publication should be making?] That requires openness to dialogue and faithfulness to prayer.  [So… the idea here is, "Let’s dialogue until the Church agrees with my desires.]

Carol Ann Morrow


She is also the author of the publisher’s "Quick Look at the New U.S. Catechism" and a Catholic Update devoted to Mary Magdalene (‘natch). [The idea here is that Mary Magdalen was the "apostle to the apostles".  I think you are supposed to glean from this that women can be ordained.]  As I’ve written before, one of the small but certain things our new shepherd can do to indicate a new direction for the diocese is revoke the rubber stamp imprimatur his predecessor gave to St. Anthony Messenger Press.

I don’t think that the St. Anthony Messenger should be judged by the aberrant musings of an editor in a different publication.  You don’t have to be a faithful Catholic to check spelling and formatting.

However, this would be a good occasion to start paying very close attention to what St. Anthony Messenger is publishing and judge them fairly based on what they produce.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jordanes says:

    My opinion after reading several issues of St. Anthony Messenger is that they’re to be grouped with lefty/dissenting periodicals like the National Catholic Distorter, U.S. Catholic, or Commonsqueal. One thing that stands out in my memory was their favorable review of a piece of cinematic pro-homosexualist propaganda, when not all that long ago such winking at moral corruption would never have occurred to any reputedly Catholic writer or reviwer.

  2. TNCath says:

    St. Anthony Messenger has long been one of those “slippery slope” publications, as has Commonweal and U.S. Catholic. You don’t hear much about them these days, but when you do, it usually follows this type of thinking. I’m not overly surprised.

  3. capchoirgirl says:

    I’ve been following this story in the Enquirer, and Mrs. Finke’s article was spot on. These “womynpriests” make me so angry.
    It’s a shame that the Archdiocese is having so many problems.
    Re: Catholic publications…it’s so hard to find ANY good ones, that all I read now are First Things and blogs like this one! If anyone can recommend good Catholic publications,I”d love to patronize them.

  4. Supertradmom says:

    I gave up on St. Anthony Messenger about the year 2000 for some silly articles. One of the most common errors in the liberal-leaning press has been softly-softly approaches on the heresy of “universal salvation”. Stick with the good, really Catholic press…

  5. Wayne NYC says:

    I received my first copy of St.Anthony Messinger
    magazine two years ago…it was also my last.
    I called and canceled my subscription.
    An article on the excellence of the world view
    of author Garry Wills (extreme liberal detractor
    of Pius IX and Pius XII among other progressive nonsense)
    was too much the tone throughout the entire
    Latin Mass Magazine is excellent.I highly recommend it.

  6. AngelineOH says:

    Please pray for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. After decades of Bernardin and Pilarczyk, we need all the help we can get.

  7. uptoncp says:

    no woman ever has a “call” from the Church.

    Hang on, hang on, hang on – no-one has a call from the Church – the call comes from God. [The “call” or “vocation” is also from the Church. It happens in a formal way at an ordination when the man’s name is called and he responds “Adsum!”]

  8. JosephMary says:

    Someone used to leave their used copies of this rag at the parish for anyone to take. If I saw one, I would take it and file it in the proper place (the trash bin outside the door). Why expose anyone to this rubbish?

  9. moon1234 says:

    I also recommend Latin Mass Magazine. Excellent articles and beautiful photos. The Wanderer is also a good paper, but some of the guest writers were on the fence about Obama. I stopped my subscription to them when they were bashing president Bush and on the fence about Obama. It seemed like a veiled support of Obama and I could not continue to read the paper. I really only got it for Fr. Z’s articles. Once I found his blog I did not see a reason to sub to The Wanderer anymore. [NB: Very little of what I write for The Wanderer gets posted here!]

    I also like reading the Remnant. It is VERY skewed towards the Latin Mass and problems with VII, but the articles are thought stimulators and enjoyable to read. I never come away feeling like my faith has been attacked.

  10. John V says:

    For context, do click on the link to Gail Finke’s piece, which was so over-the-top satirical that Ms. Morrow seems to have missed the satire completely.

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    I gave up on St. Anthony Messenger years ago. The print those ubiquitous “Parish Updates” that show up in parish bulletins and RCIA packets that fly under the radar. Nevertheless, some of the information in them is dissenting to the extreme. And it’s badly written and stupid to boot–aimed at the lowest common denominator.

    Unfortunately, the lowest common denominator is where Catholic religious education in the US is.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    For evidence, just go to the St. Anthony Messenger site and do a historical search on the articles in those flyers. You’ll see some “interesting” topics and “interesting” authors. Do your homework!!

  13. The Egyptian says:

    Us poor faithful stuck up here in the northern reaches of the sin-sin-atta diocese don’t hear much from the diocese offices and like to keep it that way, seems that as long as we keep sending our money to them they will leave us alone. Even the diocese paper the Catholic Telegraph isn’t much to read.

  14. I don’t think that the St. Anthony Messenger should be judged by the aberrant musings of an editor in a different publication.

    Father, thanks for linking to my post. The problems with St. Anthony Messenger Press are longstanding. Your readers might find this expose of their Catholic Update publications informative:

  15. boko fittleworth says:

    There’s something about Cincinnati. For whatever reason, it was an important center of modernist (and gay) revolt. Pray for the new archbishop there.

  16. Ralph says:

    And why are we surprised that a diocese publication would equate an employment choice with vocation? Aren’t we living in the time of USCCB’s “Coworkers in the Vineyard”?

  17. St. Anthony Messenger has a split personality. It can have very solidly orthodox articles one minute, and the next minute they’ve got some piece of weirdness going. Most of the time when there was a big Catholic movement going on, like charismatic stuff or Mother Angelica conservatism, it would take them a long time to acknowledge its existence or review books relating to it. They wouldn’t review the weirdest liberal stuff, either, but they often would published softened versions of those ideas.

    It seems clear to me that the editorial staff wants their magazine to be moderate. The problem is that they obviously read America and Commonweal and so forth; so their idea of demure moderation is not necessarily yours or mine. But as long as I can remember, the letter column every month has featured both conservative and liberal people cancelling their subscription over some article that was the last straw.

    Shrug. My mom still subscribes every year, just like she always has. She skips any article that looks stupid (ie, lame or liberal) and reads what looks good. That’s their core audience, I guess.

  18. idatom says:

    Fr. Z.;

    The Cincinnati Enquirer printed my letter to the editor on this subject.


    Cinti Enquirer — Edited and Printed it 01/06/10

    Church cannot ordain woman

    I must come to the aid of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczk (“Woman priest will no longer be contained,” Jan. 4) He and Father Dave Sunberg, who was also drawn into this woman’s ordination, were merely doing what was required of them. They were courageously defending John Paul II’s and the church’s continuous teaching on male only priesthood. When the subject come up some years ago, this pope said that he could not authorize the ordination of woman, that Christ Himself determined 2’000 years ago only men can become priest.
    Both she and the bishop who went through the motions of ordination have excommunicated themselves and put their eternal souls in jeopardy. She and the 100 others like her are not priest.

    Tom Lanter

    My latest letter to the Enquirer 01/04/10

    The original unedited


    With regard to “Womenpriest will no longer be contained”, I must come to the aid of Archbishop Pilarczyk. He and Fr. Sunberg, who was also drawn in to this woman’s ordination controversy because of dissidents within the church, were merely doing what was required of them. They were both courageously defending John Paul II’s and the Church’s continuous teaching on male only priesthood. This Pope said when the subject came up some years ago, and I am paraphrasing here, “I cannot authorize the ordination of woman, Christ Himself determined 2000 years ago that only men can become priests, and further more I want no more discussion on why this should be changed”. In other words Rome has spoken. Both she and the bishops who went through the motions of attempted ordination have excommunicated themselves and put their eternal souls in jeopardy. She and the 100 others like her are not priests no matter how many names of those who agree with her she mentions, using the Old 500 Million Frenchman can’t be wrong trick. Please pray for these misguided women.

    Tom Lanter


    Women priests will no longer be contained —Enquirer 01/04/10 >>>

    January 4, 2010

    Women priests will no longer be contained

    By Janice Sevre-Duszynska

    Several months ago, former Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk barred Sister Louise Akers from teaching in archdiocesean schools because she supported the ordination of women. Recently, when a reporter asked him why he did this, the archbishop said: “The formal teaching of the church is women cannot be ordained to the priesthood. I am bound by that … She was representing the church. You can’t represent the church and teach things that the church doesn’t teach. I believe I was forced to take some action.” (The Enquirer, Dec 21, 2009)

    There are numerous publications by theologians which attest to the history and tradition of women’s leadership in early Christianity and up until the 12th century – as deacons, priests and bishops. See, for example, the calendars of archaeologist/theologian Dorothy Irvin and books by scholars Gary Macy, Karen Jo Torjesen, John Wijngaards, Lavinia Byrne, Ida Raming, Ute Eisen, Joan Morris, Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek.

    Catholics must search for the above information by themselves because male priests do not mention the words “women’s ordination” from the pulpit at Sunday Masses. Those who follow their conscience and have spoken out for women’s justice within our church and world community have been severely reprimanded by the Vatican. One such person is Father Roy Bourgeois, Maryknoll priest of 38 years and founder of the School of the Americas Watch. He and SOAWatch have been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Theologian Dorothy Irvin, who has a pontifical doctorate in Catholic studies from the University of Tübingen, Germany, with specialization in Bible, ancient Near-Eastern studies and archaeology, has found archaeological evidence that women were priests.

    I traveled with her to Rome, Naples and North Africa. We visited catacombs and churches. We studied frescoes, mosaics and tombstones. I have seen firsthand frescoes of a woman at the altar celebrating Mass and women celebrating Eucharist. I have seen the Roman mosaic of four women ministers, including a woman bishop, which attests to a continuous succession in church office from Mary through Praxedis and Pudentiana to Theodora.

    Above her head is her title, “Episcopa,” with the feminine ending, meaning a bishop who is a woman.

    Jesus treated women and men as equals and partners in ministry. Among his disciples were many women. Mary Magdalene, the first to encounter the risen Christ, was commissioned by Christ to be the “Apostle to the Apostles.” St. Paul called Junia “an outstanding apostle.” In 1976, the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded that there is no biblical reason to prohibit women’s ordination.

    This past July former President Jimmy Carter severed his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention because he believes that “we are all equal in the eyes of God – as confirmed in the Holy Scriptures.”

    His July 12, 2009, statement entitled “The Words of God Do Not Justify Cruelty to Women” was published in the Sunday Observer in the United Kingdom. (See In this powerful essay, he challenges male religious authorities saying that “discrimination and abuse wrongly backed by doctrine are damaging society. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.”

    In polls conducted by the National Catholic Reporter, the sensus fidelium – the voices of the faithful – believe that women are called to the servant priesthood.

    Many Catholics have left the Church because they consider it unbalanced without women on the altar to interpret the Gospels from their feminine living and dying.

    The Holy Spirit moves in grace and truth among the grassroots and cannot be deterred – even by the Vatican. In recent years, women have reclaimed their ancient heritage within the Church. Today there are about 100 women ordained as Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

    Your farewell article on Archbishop Pilarczyk contained a chart indicating that there are 482 Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. That is an error you may want to correct for the incoming archbishop, Dennis Schnurr.

    As an ordained Roman Catholic Womanpriest, I make the total 483.

    Additional Facts
    Janice Sevre-Duszynska was ordained a Roman Catholic Womanpriest on Aug. 9, 2008, in Lexington, Ky. Since autumn she has lived in Cincinnati.


  19. btb says:

    That word “gender” again. Yet another person who knowingly or unknowingly is assisting in the redefinition of our society’s understanding of sexuality by employing imprecise and manipulative language. “Sex” is the word which describes our state of being male or female; “gender” is a linguistic concept. Unless, of course, one subscribes to the tenet that one’s sex is a personal decision thereby necessitating a neologistic use of the term “gender” as a means of inculcating the concept that sexuality is not limited to being male and female, but is a specific choice that includes the option of being essentially “transsexual”, “bisexual” or “homosexual.” Language is important, and “sex” is the word.

  20. Father, perhaps you can clear something up for me. My understanding, based on this responsum ad dubium issued by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, is that the recognition of a male-only priesthood is in fact an infallible teaching of the Catholic faith. I have heard others argue that while it is a teaching which requires assent as part of the Magesterium, that it is not infallible. Can you help clear this up for me? Thanks!

  21. Gail F says:

    Carol Ann Morrow responded an article I wrote — here it is in full:


    I was very interested to read “womanpriest” Janice Sevre-Duszynska’s “Your Voice” column (“Womenpriest will no longer be contained,” Jan. 4). She’s very inspiring, and I hope she will back me up with my efforts to become a physician.

    I haven’t studied medicine, but I feel a very strong call to be a doctor. I believe that the state medical licensing board is discriminating against me because they refuse to grant me a license.

    A doctor licensed in Kentucky talked with me for an hour, though, and considers me ready to start practice immediately. I can’t tell you his name, because it might endanger his license (Kentucky’s medical licensing board is as medieval and discriminatory as Ohio’s, if not more so), but I assure you he is real and well-qualified.

    Throughout history many people practiced medicine without any formal training at all, and I think it’s high time to return to that ancient custom.

    My Kentucky mentor agrees, and because neither of us accepts the legitimacy or authority of state licensing boards, we have set up our own.

    We plan to start meeting in secret to grant permission to act as a physician to anyone we decide has been called to this noble profession.

    I call on all “womanpriests” (or is that “womenpriests”?) to support our work in taking the medical field from the so-called experts, who jealously guard their “schools” and “requirements” from anyone who doesn’t meet their definition of a qualified candidate.


    I wanted to satirize the whole idea of claiming to be ordained by a valid member of a church whose authority you are simultaneously denying. (Thanks to Tom Lanter for posting the original piece by the self-proclaimed “womanpriest” above). Obviously Carol Ann Morrow either missed or ignored the satire, but she is spot-on about why I satirized it. I am shocked that she wrote what she did, considering her job, and a little scandalized by the “It may be that the licensing boards are not in touch with their ultimate supervisor” remark. I guess, if it’s true, they have been out of touch with their ultimate supervisor for more than 2000 years.

  22. Supertradmom says:

    Look at Venerable John Paul II’s apostolic letter:

  23. Re priestesses:

    If women could be ordained, then the Blessed Mother should have topped the list. But she wasn’t ordained; that should tell us everything we need to know.

    At any rate, women who want to be priestesses don’t want it for the same reason that men want to be priests. Women who want to be ordained and think they can and should be ordained seem invariably to want it for reasons of politics and personal ambition. But men who have a true calling understand that they are being called upon to make a great sacrifice.

  24. An American Mother says:

    As a former Episcopalian, I have a practical perspective to offer on this one.

    For 28 years, I was a parishioner at the “training parish” for my former diocese – the largest parish outside cathedral parish. All candidates ordained in the diocese went through a training period with us.

    With one exception, none of the female candidates made good priests. They were interested in ‘making a statement’ or ‘being inclusive’ or delivering their opinions from the pulpit, but not so much in BEING a priest. Particularly not in celebrating the Eucharist (looking from my perspective at that time). Perhaps they felt uncomfortable with the obvious incongruity of a woman standing at the altar – I certainly did. They also were uncomfortable with the Blessed Virgin (which was odd in a “high” church) but I think that Anita Moore has pointed out the reason for that.

    She has also hit the nail on the head with her observation that politics and personal ambition play a large role; I would add that way too many female priests were wrestling with personal problems and psychological issues. Many of them disliked men intensely; one was an aggressively ‘out’ lesbian.

    All in all, aside from the sound theological and doctrinal reasons which the Church has put forward, ‘womynpriests’ just don’t work in a liturgical church where the Eucharist is the center of worship.

  25. JAZ says:

    I used to subscribe to the St. Anthony Messenger, and at one time considered it to be very good, but over the years, my opinion of it declined and eventually I let my subscription run out. For the party looking for recommendations for good Catholic publications, I suggest The Catholic Response (, the National Catholic Register (, or The Catholic Answer (

  26. Penguins Fan says:

    St. Anthony Messenger was a decent (not great) magazine perhaps a few decades ago but today it isn’t worth anyone’s time.

    An article instructing parents how to raise “peace-loving” children was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    There is far better information about the Church on the ‘net and in blogs like this one than in the old magazines like St. Anthony and Maryknoll.

  27. JP says:

    Good Catholic Magazines:

    Sacred Heart Messenger (small devotional mag)

    Columbia (the Knights of Columbus mag)

    Catholic Insight (more political than devotional, but very orthodox, strongly pro-life,)

  28. Emilio III says:

    I would like to add The Catholic World Report published by Ignatius Press to the list of Good Catholic Magazines.

  29. Actosrep says:

    As a catechumen whose RCIA class has been using the Catholic Updates, I can speak first hand to the “Catholic-Lite” nature of the writing. There is very little that I have found to be helpful. Since we have used these to the virtual exclusion of all other materials (a few handouts from the CCC have been tossed into the mix), I feel woefully unprepared for my conversion. Can anyone PLEASE recommend some good resources other than a good bible and the CCC? I love to read and would welcome any and all suggestions.

  30. Actosrep,

    Welcome aboard the Barque of Peter! For resources, I suggest you work your way through the Knights of Columbus’s catechism course, adapted from Peter Kreeft’s Catholic Christianity. It’s available free online in a variety of formats: an ebook style reader, a downloadable PDF, and audio recordings you can easily port to your iPod. Enjoy.

  31. Also, in the event your program director is using lectionary-based catechesis, the favored, flawed method preferred by the catechetical class, you should get yourself a solid study Bible. The two best series are the Navarre Bible and the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. You can also use the following online resources:

  32. Mike says:

    A friend sent me a subscription to The Latin Mass magazine. I liked most of it. However, an article in it said that work was a punishment for Original Sin.

    I emailed the editor, saying, nope, not true. Check Genesis. Never got a response.

  33. paladin says:


    I second Rick’s welcome and suggestions! And if you need resources more specific to RCIA per se, try here:

    The Association for Catechumenal Ministry is a fairly solid, orthodox alternative to the “Catholic Lite” RCIA programs, while still supplying invaluable information about the rites, their timing and preparation, etc. We use their materials for the RCIA program which we coordinate, in our parish; they’re not perfect, but they’re good enough to “supplement” without worrying about squashing a “heresy-a-week”.

  34. An American Mother says:


    From a recent convert – I found This Is The Faith most helpful, overall:

    Canon Francis Ripley wrote this book back in the 50s – it’s been updated by the editors, but all the original book is still there [the additions are in a different typeface].

    He is thorough, well-organized, unflinching (he doesn’t water things down or mince words), and it’s written in a very readable style.

    Michael Pennock wrote a similarly titled book, This Is Our Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, which is the book that our OCIA classes use. It’s a perfectly good book, but it simply doesn’t have the scope or the depth of Canon Ripley’s work. If you like to read, I’d go with the Canon.

  35. When you grew up Catholic in Cincinnati “back in the day”, subscribing to the St Anthony Messenger was virtually de rigueur. To this day, is it a somewhat of a contradiction. Many related publications (Catholic Update comes to mind) are theologically lost in the early 70s. But in the Messenger itself (at least the last time I looked), you can still find sage advice, even on moral issues, from “the Wise Man”, as well as a listing of thanksgivings from subscribers for articles lost and later found.

    Oh yes, pray to St Anthony, find what you lost, and read all about it later. If only in that regard — I said only; simmer down now! — it doesn’t get more Catholic than that.

  36. “Comment by augustinianheart — 9 January 2010 @ 6:41 pm”

    Freedom from error in matters of faith and morals, is not limited to a solemn “ex cathedra” definition. After all, the Resurrection is a central belief of our faith, and not only do the Scriptures fail to give a narrative of the event itself, it has never been solemnly defined.

    Probably because it is too important. (An old Jesuit told me that once. He was also a Catholic.)

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