A new low for NCR: hating the Church while begging for its affirmation

The NCR hits a new low.

Before we begin what is going to be a brutal evisceration of a deeply confused essay, we need a few points as a preface.

The literary form of this piece is "protest". The substance "groveling".  You’ll see why.

A note about the writer, Jamie Manson.

If you look on the NCR bio, you get a little information.  If you look on Jamie’s own site you get this.  This is what she is proud of. My emphases and comments:

About Jamie

Jamie Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, [Ah yes… the coveted MDiv from a protestant/secular school.] where she studied theology, spirituality, and sexual ethics. [Are we getting the picture?]

She most recently served as the Director of Social Justice Ministries at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City where she ministered to the needs of Manhattan’s poor and homeless populations. Previous to this work, Jamie was the Pastoral Associate and Director of Faith Formation at St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan. [St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan… right a bell?  This is the notoriously homosexualist parish recently in the news.]

Jamie began her career as Director of Publications at Yale Divinity School where she relaunched the School’s magazine Reflections and served as its editor-in-chief.

She writes a monthly column for the National Catholic Reporter, addressing the plight of the poor, the future of the Church, issues of gender and sexual orientation, [Are we getting the picture?] and ways of finding God’s presence in our everyday lives.

Jamie is a board member of the Women’s Ordination Conference, [There’s a surprise.] and, for the past five years, she has offered college courses, workshops, and retreats on spirituality, relationships, and sexuality. She is also a member of Spiritual Directors International.

Okay, there is some of Jamie’s background.  This is helpful to understand why NCFishwrap thinks she is a good spokesman and what she is trying to achieve.

I want to draw your attention especially to the following points.

  • She compares the new norms concerning graviora delicta ("more serious crimes") to the killing of baby girls in China, burning of widows in India, and trafficking of women for sex in Colombia.  It takes a special sort of hysterical imagination to do that.
  • She misunderstands the point of the new norms. A fruit of her protestant formation?
  • She hates the "institution", the Church, while nevertheless begging it for affirmation.

How does she proceed?  Watch how Jamie sets up pairs of terms with the purpose of demeaning and marginalizing one of them.

Here are some:

  • female – male
  • church – institution
  • service – power

and probably as a subtext

  • queer – straight

What is Jamie’s essay about in a nutshell?  Look toward the center of the piece and you find repeatedly the word "power".

Let’s do the autopsy with my usual emphases and comments.

New norms are much more than a PR disaster
by Jamie L Manson

In reading about the Vatican’s calling clergy sexual abuse and the ordination of women equally [no] delectia gavioria  (or grave sins), [No, Jamie.  It’s delicta Spelling error? I doubt it.  Also, the Holy See explicitly stated that abuse of children and ordination of women are not being equated.  She either didn’t read that and is therefore poorly prepared to write, she read it and didn’t understand it, and it therefore not capable of writing this, or she read it and is telling a purposeful falsehood.  Anyway you look at it, from the first sentence she is making serious errors.] I was struck by how many commentators reduced this incident to yet another public relations disaster for the Roman Catholic church.

For women across the globe, it is so much more than this. It is a statement of profound spiritual violence [Blah blah blah… this is the tired old language of ’80’s Dworkin feminism where everything is violence against women.] against half of the human race already routinely victimized on the basis of their God-given anatomy. [But this next bit is over the top.  No sane person goes here unless they are filled with hate and rage.] In a world where 39,000 baby girls die in China annually because they do not receive medical care equal to male infants, brides in India are burned once every two hours, and 35,000 Colombian women are trafficked to the sex trade every year, the church’s [always small "c"] statements only reinforce the idea that female bodies are not of equal value in the eyes of God, that they do not hold the same potential to be a sacred vessel of the life of God in our world[Neither the norms nor the Church’s definitive teachings do anything of the kind.  It could be that the writer is working out her own problems.]

At the same time that the Vatican freed bishops from being accountable for criminal activity (by failing to order them to report every instance of abuse and refusing to create sanctions against those who cover up abuse), [This is a canard.  The Vatican doesn’t have a law enforcement arm.  Also, the new norms are explicitly applied to bishops, cardinals, patriarchs, etc.  But look at this howling error in the next part….] it saw fit to define new kinds of crimes that have everything to do with gender, but nothing to do with sexual abuse.  [Did she read the new norms?  They are explicitly about defending the sanctity of sacraments.  The graviora delicta which are treated in the revised norms deal with sexual abuse of children by clerics because there are sacraments involved (Holy Orders always and sometimes Penance.  They cover the attempted ordination of women because a sacrament is involved.]

Women, and those who attempt to ordain them, were classified as committing crimes against the sacraments. [Ahhhh… she gets something right.] Such crimes are metaphysically serious in that they constitute any action that desecrates the Eucharist. [Nooo… the issue of woman’s ordination is about the sacrament of Holy Orders.] Not only can God not work through the body of a woman, now, it seems, women’s bodies actually defile the Eucharist. [That’s just plain stupid.]

For many women living in the West, where the Roman Catholic church’s moral authority holds far less power than do the opinions of Oprah, [For Jamie it is all about power.] these latest pronouncements are little more than the institutional church’s reassertion of fundamental fear of female power and its antiquated belief that the female body is incapable of realizing the power of God[Power Power Power.  Violence and Power.  But note what she did.  She is setting up a pair of terms.  There is institution and there is church.  Institution is "Roman Catholic" or "Catholic church".  She will soon begin to describe what she sees as church.  She does this to demean and marginalize the institution, which is the Catholic Church.]

But for those women struggling to worship or work in the Catholic church, [Not all are struggling.  Some are pretty happy.  But, no doubt, they are unknowing victims of violence, what her paradigm Dworkin would call "domesticated" women.] these latest norms demonstrate unequivocally [norms she doesn’t understand, btw] a painful truth: The church can be, and often is, a very toxic place for women[There it is: institution is baaad.]

This latest act of codified violence against women [as she continues to channel her Dworkin-feminism.  But she is getting to a key moment. Read on if you still have the stomach for it.] leads me to ask: Why shouldn’t Catholic women allow God to act to God’s fullest potential in them? [There is the opposition of female-male.  But it gets better and the irony will not be lost on you later on.] Why shouldn’t they seek ordination or create lay-led eucharistic communities that will truly nurture anyone who seeks the peace, community, sacramental nourishment, and social justice that is sorely lacking both in our society and in our church[A couple things here.  She is setting up her sort of "church" over and against "institution".  But note that juxtaposition of "seek ordination" and "lay-led".  Okay, Jamie, let’s see what this is about.  What’s it going to be in your "church"?  Is your "church" a "eucharist community" where lay people lead?  Where the ordained lead?  Which is it?  What is ordination?   Is it some sort of institutional affirmation of a pre-existing innate ability?  Does ordination confer something special?]

There is a long-held belief among many members of the Catholic reform movement [that’s not a vague chain of terms…] that change can only come by working from within the Roman Catholic institution. [There’s that institution again.] Breakaway groups that ordain women, like Spiritus Christi, the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests, though respected by many reformers, have a compromised view in the eyes of some because they did not "stay in the church and fight." I know many liberal Catholics who will occasionally attend Masses led by ordained Catholic women, but, whether out of fear or love of their particular parish, continue to also attend a local Roman Catholic parish Mass so as not to break away completely from the institution. [That’s not what Jamie wants.  Jamie wants them to break away from the institution.  Remember, institution is baaad.]

But, really, what do women have to lose at this point? In the Roman Catholic church, [bad male homophobic institution] they have no status and no potential to work in a church environment that will courageously and creatively supportive their callings to and gifts for ministry. [A canard.  Women have been in "ministry" from the beginning of the Church.] Unless their jobs or livelihoods depend on at least appearing to keep within the fold, what is the real risk? As a young adult grappling to understand the future of the church — and my own role in it — the benefits of the emergence of new kinds of smaller, alternative eucharistic communities seem to far outweigh any risk. [Jamie’s eucharistic communities (what ever they are) v. institution.]

Such communities, I believe, will be a vital remedy for the aching need for communal support and spiritual nurture that will define new generations of women and men. [Lots of buzz words there.] These new forms of Catholic communities would be uniquely positioned [Now watch this!] to convey the best parts of the Catholic tradition, those fundamental beliefs — in ritual and sacrament, mysticism and spirituality, the preferential option for the poor and the pursuit of social justice — that keep them calling themselves Catholic. ["fundamental beliefs"… not much there about what we have considered Tradition from the beginning.  This is "call a new church into being" time.  They want the best parts of tradition.  Who determines what the best parts are?  Not an institution, of course.  Everyone would be able to determine what are, for themselves, the best parts.] They would also teach the next generation that they do not need to participate in their own oppression in order to be a member of a church community. [eucharistic community v. institution] These communities can begin to model now what may very well be the life-giving future of the church. [But not to the Catholic Church.  Some other church.] 

Women who are interested in using their bodies [ho hum] to allow God [This is the second time she has used this "allow God" thing.] to continue to build up the body of Christ only need to consider the extraordinary, sacramental work that has been done and can be done outside of the walls of an institution [sacramental but not in the institution] bent on fortifying its spiritually violent, [Feel the dark-side.  Use that anger, Jamie.] paranoid and medieval structure. As they gather together in community, [bzzzz  But, she is now making an appeal to break with the Catholic Church…. ] one of their first orders of business may be to reach out to the women in developing countries who do not have even a modicum of the privilege and power held by many women in the West. They must use their money and their influence to help free these women from the poverty to which they are enslaved. [Actually, this sounds to me like "Let’s find uneducated and desperate women we can exploit, we can use to swell our already inflated numbers."] And they must reach out to those places where the institutional church’s oppressive stances on women only support the social and cultural beliefs that subject women to so much abuse, violence and exploitation. [Uh huh.  Okay… let’s drill for a moment.  Imagine some international gathering of these former victims of patriarchal violence who are now freed from the institutional oppression to allow God to work in their bodies.  I know.. I know….  Any way, picture this big gathering.  They have their pep rallies and their talks.  They are being liberated from the violence.  Moved by Spirit/Gaia they are inspired to be church and have eucharist.  Who will preside?  Will she be white?  Black?  It won’t be a male.  Isn’t that marginalization of males who also should allow God to work through their bodies?  No.  Who should preside?  You can bet the entire contents of your wallet that they won’t draw lots and leave it to chance.  As they discuss who will preside, looks are shot around the room.  Tensions build.  How do they decide?  Will it be the one who has the most NCR articles?  Who has more education?  What about seniority?  Should newcomers be excluded from presiding because they haven’t put in the time to reach the top of this spirit-filled heap? What we see, inevitably, is an institutionalization of the very thing she wants to free from institutionalization.  Replace one she doesn’t like, with another that is in her image (read her bio again now).  Who will lead their eucharist there at the hotel conference center?  It won’t be a straight male ordained priest.]

The Vatican’s new norms are only proof that movements that empower women to answer God’s call are being perceived as viable threats to an institution desperate not to lose control over people who are too educated and faithful to be controlled. [Yah… tens of women are feeling the power by now. But watch for the error in the next sentence…] By claiming that the ordination of women is a grave sin against the Eucharist, [Noooo…. it is against Holy Orders, a whole other Sacrament.] they have continued their legacy of perpetuating spiritual violence against women. [What ’60’s -’80’s song would go well with this. What about that Nancy Sinatra, "One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you!"  They just want to change the institution for the sake of their own power.]  But the graver sin has been committed against God.

It is the human institution [read: the Catholic Church.  Jamie is protestant.] that believes it can control and regulate how and where God chooses to become fully present that truly commits a sin against the Eucharist. [Aside from the error (the Catholic Church is of divine institution with human members), consider what she is saying.  First, the Church doesn’t say it controls where God can chose to act.  That would be daft.  She, however, is saying that they can control how God acts by saying that they can ordain women and have "eucharist" apart from the Church Christ founded.  They can chose the "best parts" of Tradition which is a matter of revelation.  And now look at her "eucharistic theology"] Like the meal Jesus celebrated with his disciples, [No mention of sacrifice.  It’s "meal".  No mention of Apostles.  Just "disciples"] the Eucharist always rises out of the people. [Sorry, the Eucharist did not rise out of the people at the "meal" Jesus had with his disciples.  It came from Jesus and not from them.  Christ is Lord in the Eucharist, not the people.  Now we get a better idea, I think, of that strange language about "allowing God to work in their bodies", and so forth.  It sounds like they are reducing eucharist to something like theurgy or even magic.  But no feminist who works has a career in working with gender-issues would ever have anything to do with that.] Women who feel called by God must be, in even greater and more creative ways, a living, ministering reminder that the Eucharist is present anywhere that the people of God gather to live the teachings of the Gospels and to honor the life of God in all of creation. [Yah. It lacked only that pantheistic touch.]

[Jamie Manson is a lay minister who has worked extensively with New York City’s homeless and poor populations.] [And that, together with her coveted MDivi gives her credentials that by far outstrip the violence driven male hierarchy over the last 2000 years.]


Return to a few points with me.

She compares the Catholic Church to China where girl babies are killed, Colombia where women are trafficked, and India where widows are burned.  That is sheer nutty hysteria.

She puts the issue of power in the center of her piece, nearly the word-count center.

She sets up a conflict between the Catholic Church (institution) and her eucharistic communities. 

She calls for ordination.

While this is supposed to be a long protest, it is actually an exercise in begging the very institution she is resisting to affirm her.

The very institution she sets out to marginalize and belittle, is where she is seeking approval.  She wants to have the ordination of women from the Church. 

She asserts the reality of ordination of women apart from the institutional Church.  But she wants acknowledgment… pleads for affirmation.  If this is all about allowing God, etc., why should ordination be necessary at all?  Or… is this about imposing a new institution and new politics?

We have to ask: In Jamie’s new church community why should there have to be ordination?  Who will be the new class of the oppressed? 

You see what she does, dear readers.  She wants recognition from the very Church she hates.  She empowers the Church even
as she demeans it and seeks to reassign its power.  She recognizes that male/Vatican recognition is essential.  Men have to approve her and her project.

This is what happens when you get the coveted MDiv from a secularized protestant school, and you spend your life on the fringe in utter confusion about who you are with people who don’t understand what they say they believe.

They want to "allow God to act".  Fine.  Do that.  If Jamie Manson wants lay-lead eucharistic communities fine! Do that!  You don’t need Rome for that.  You don’t need ordination for that.  But… this is about who has power. 

To whom shall the new regime of their new institution do the violence

This is a new low for NCR

Just remember that this is the fringe.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill, Throwing a Nutty and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Oleksander says:

    I want nor wish nobody to leave the Church, but these people have all threy want in the modern lutheran church (both in america and in europe) – if the want the pomp and ceremony and episcopal orders like structure, there is always the anglicans

  2. Oleksander says:

    which makes one wonder why target Catholicism

  3. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oh, my goodness.

    Yale was originally a Congregationalist school, although it hasn’t been for decades (any more than Princeton, which isn’t even remotely Presbyterian now).

    But at least they used to teach their students to THINK. As recently as the 70s there was some serious intellectual work going on there. Or so we heard from down the road in N.J.

    I think the Ivies have all run mad. Reading the alumni magazine is like looking into a communist cell meeting. It’s getting to the point that I’m ashamed of my degree.

  4. AndyMo says:

    Honestly, her rant is boring. Yawn. Same old same old.

    The first thing I noticed is the grammatical contortion she goes to to avoid using the pronoun “His” for God:

    Why shouldn’t Catholic women allow God to act to God’s fullest potential in them?

    Congratulations, Ms. Manson. You’re a professional writer. She’s actually calling for these women to leave the Church. I’m not excited for anyone to cut themselves off from the Church, but sometimes I wish they would stop whining and go. We’ll keep all the women who will actually have children.

  5. A. J. D. S. says:

    You know you’re in for a good Fr. Z fisking when there’s more red than black!

  6. Hieronymus says:

    I wonder when Jamie is going to figure out that instead of being the cutting edge rebel she thinks she is, she’s really just a silly Anglican.

  7. gsk says:

    What she actually broadcasts (besides her brokenness and father-issues, poor dear) is the classic difference between the more masculine sense of hierarchy and the more feminine sense of collaboration. [Noooo…. I think for her it is about power.] I’m sure her ideal “eucharist” would be a group hug, with lots of affirmation and god-talk, but without actually any real references to God the Father (much less filial reverence). The beauty of the faith is that there’s room for both — in that the sacraments are entrusted to that Petrine Church while the group hug can be managed on a micro level by the Marian dimension of same. And yet, in the end, neither have power, because it is through our weakness we are made strong. She could use a few prayers.

  8. terryprest says:

    The Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church is somehow responsible for the fact that “39,000 baby girls die in China annually because they do not receive medical care equal to male infants, brides in India are burned once every two hours, and 35,000 Colombian women are trafficked to the sex trade every year”

    That is quite an indictment. I wonder how she would prove her case.

    Further, is she also by implication saying that if tomorrow the Pope changed the Canon Law to suit her inclinations, then such evils would no longer happen ? I do not think that if the ordination of women was allowed tomorrow, it would have the slightest effect on the number of deaths of young girls in [atheist] China, the number of burning brides in [Hindu] India or the number of girls being trafficked in [Catholic] Colombia.

  9. As a young adult grappling to understand the future of the church—and my own role in it—the benefits of the emergence of new kinds of smaller, alternative eucharistic communities seem to far outweigh any risk.

    Even the risk of going to hell?

    Or is there still such a place?

  10. Tradster says:

    The Church (big C) holds down women? Is she kidding? Go to any NO Mass and there’s a small army of females from the “altar angels” on up to the blue-haired lectors, EMHCs, cantor, and choir! The only male is the priest, and even that is questionable half the time. If the priests were female too, there’d be no reason for any man or boy to walk inside a church (small c) ever again. Which, of course, would be just perfect for this man-hater and her ilk.

    Thank you, Father, for one of the best-written dissections I’ve read on your blog.

  11. Thomas S says:

    Father, no knock on you, but I just couldn’t get through your post. I checked out after reading “violence” for the 35th time and lower case “church” for the 28th. These people are so tedious I can’t read them anymore. The banality of evil, I guess.

  12. Traductora says:

    Thank you for commenting on that (so well, too!). I could barely get through it.

    But one thing that is true about all these nutcases is that they WANT APPROVAL. That’s the whole point of “gay marriage” and a host of other bizarre things that are out there. For example, most of us probably wouldn’t know or care if gays in their world wanted to pretend they were married and we would hope it might improve their lifestyle, but the problem is that they want to force society and even the Church to approve and pretend it’s a real marriage.

    I know I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but I think it’s a very Protestant impulse. The fundamental impetus of Protestantism is not to change your own behavior, but to change the institution and make it approve of your behavior (Protestants should pay a little more attention to Luther’s less than laudable life). And while Anglicans don’t consider themselves Protestants in the Lutheran mold, their church was clearly founded on one man’s desire to make the Church approve of his behavior.

    However, as Protestantism morphed into political liberalism, this has now become a fundamental objective of liberals: make the organization approve of you – or destroy it.

  13. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “I love Big Sister!”

    “No, no, Winstonette, sorry, saying it is not enough – it is nothing. You must mean it – believe it completely. We don’t want lip-service, we need conversion.” [1+1+1=3]

  14. Jayna says:

    I stopped reading after “spiritual violence.” What a load of garbage. I’m not even sure if this crap is worth wrapping fish in. It’s a disservice to the fish.

  15. teomatteo says:

    This poor woman is wrong in so many things… least of which is being able to denounce the violence against girl babies in China and never mention that the “evil Institution” (The Catholic Church) has been the only christian denomination that calls for the protection of girls in the womb. And she’s silent. [VERY good comment!] Or the violence of pornography that the evil male institution remains a steadfast voice against. Oh… The humanity… I can’t wait for her to unleash on the muslim faith… anyway… i cant go on.. i just want someone to tell me who are the advertisers in the ‘fishwrap’.. the NCR??? i’ve never read it…

    WDTPRS Gold Star For The Day Award

  16. Gulielmus says:

    I must point out the disgraceful and offensive nature of her citation of horrific abuses against women in the world today. She cites child neglect/infanticide, wife-burning, and sex trafficking, and she— not the Church– dares to equate these with the Church’s refusal to ordain women to the priesthood. The murder and rape of women in situations where they are defenseless is compared to the position of an institution, whose membership is purely voluntary, as to who can and cannot be ordained.

    This is outrageous even as polemic, and she should be called on the hypocrisy of it.

  17. Rachel says:

    I notice she mentions the baby girls in China who die for lack of medical care, but not the huge disproportionate number who are killed by abortion.

    The lesson I draw from this article is that we all, and bishops especially, need to simply not be afraid of criticism. Any remotely faithful bishop is going to get lambasted, and it’s going to be vicious and unfair, and the facts will be distorted, and media will block the bishop’s true message and propagate a false one. That’s going to happen to any bishop who attempts to do his job, which is to teach, sanctify and govern the Catholic faithful. So it’s not worth compromising one iota of Church teaching in an effort to make things easier.

  18. archambt says:

    There is still some serious work that goes on at YDS (in the historical theology area), along with a lot bit of silliness. But such is academe these days.

  19. TJerome says:

    Orthodox Christians do not ordain women as priests. Jews don’t raise women to the rabbinate. Muslims don’t make women Imans. This little nut “misses” these little details, in the interest of pushing her agenda.

  20. revueltos67 says:


    Not to change the subject but, to quote Wikipedia:

    “Today all types of Judaism except for Orthodox Judaism allow and do have female rabbis.”

    A year ago I attended the wedding of an old friend’s daughter who was married by a female rabbi.

  21. Iconophilios says:

    This is a very sad article.
    So I simply remember my favourite things!

  22. dans0622 says:

    Going through this yields at least a partial indulgence for you, Fr. Z. Once I saw “delectia gravioria” I knew there was only one direction we would go, down. I seriously doubt she read the document.


  23. Andrew says:

    “In reading about the … delectia gavioria”

    What was that? Did she mean “delectamenta gaudiosa” perhaps? Or maybe “delicia ganearia”? [delectatio morosa?]

  24. SimonDodd says:

    Father, respectfully, if you’re going to (rightly) highlight one of Ms. Manson’s typos (“No, Jamie … [i]t’s delicta”), perhaps blushes would be spared by proofreading your post (“it get’s [read ‘gets’] better”; “Lot’s [read ‘lots’ of buzz words there”). [Some typos are just that, slips. Others misspellings stem from ignorance.]

    Tradster, can you expand on your 5:54 pm comment? It sounds like you’re buying into these folks’ conceptual framework. You write that “[i]f the priests were female” as well as the cadre of auxilliaries, “there’d be no reason for any man or boy to walk inside a church (small c) ever again.” Why? The statement presupposes that one’s participation in Mass is somehow diminished by not sharing the gender of the celebrant—which is exactly the same (I thought silly) idea advanced by our functionally atheist / nominally congregationalist-protestant correspondent, Ms. Manson. (If you want a real giggle, read her gossamer claim to being a Catholic: http://ncronline.org/blogs/young-voices/why-i-still-call-myself-catholic. That’s my answer to Oleksander, by the way: she can’t leave something she isn’t in.) Perhaps I have misread you.

  25. M Heller says:

    Very sad. When she talks about the Church’s “…antiquated belief that the female body is incapable of realizing the power of God,” she’s forgetting that it was the female body that held the body and blood of our lord for 9 months from the first moment of the incarnation?

  26. Tradster says:


    I was referring to the well-established fact that the increasing feminization of the Church ministries has pushed the NO Mass into an increasingly female-friendly – and nearly female-exclusive – environment (the hug of peace, holding hands during the Our Father, the high-pitched songs, etc., etc.). Men have voted with their feet because there is nothing there to which they can relate. It would only get worse with wymyn-priests who, looking over at the Anglicans for more than enough examples, are all into the “feeeeliings”. In other words, I was not referring to the gender per se but to the baggage that comes with them.

    To put it another way, I believe the vast majority of women, especially conservative ones, have no desire whatsoever to be priests. It takes a certain type for that – the type of “it’s all about me” women who, like Manson, are sisterhood-centric and would drive men nuts until they were driven away.

  27. lux_perpetua says:

    “they do not hold the same potential to be a sacred vessel of the life of God.”

    she’s right. they hold the ONLY potential to be a sacred vessel of the word of God made flesh.

    Mary, spiritual vessel, vessel of honor, singular vessel of devotion, pray for us!!!

  28. Supertradmum says:

    I am sorry to say at least two heretical ideas about Church and God as stated in the articles are becoming less fringe. Firstly, the priests in our area constantly use the word “church”, as in “we are church” and the particular gathering on Sunday for Mass as the coming together of “church”, meaning not the institutional, but only the Eucharistic community. I first heard this from my pastor in 2008.

    Secondly, the implied idea behind “allowing God” to use females is part of this idea that the People of God “bring God” to the Eucharistic celebration, as stated plainly by our priest this past Sunday. In other words, the people create God’s Presence, and therefore, the institutional Church must “allow God” to use women, just as the people allow God into the physical building on Sunday. I have been surprised and then fed-up with this misuse of the idea of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, as well as the goofy idea that God is only present in His People and not in the tabernacle. That women want to allow God to use their bodies is the same strange sensibility that we in the church on Sunday allow God to come to us. Ick.

    The idea of substituting the Institutional Church with “Eucharistic communities” is creeping into the language of our parish and others nearby. I partly blame the bishops who have allowed females to be “parish life administrators”, who are charge of everything, including passing out consecrated Hosts and leading Eucharistic celebrations in the absence of priests on a regular basis. There are two such parishes not too far away, and the ladies, who are not nuns even, act in clerical forms.

  29. Jackie L says:

    The NCR and its unintentional humor is a guilty pleasure, they actually have a column over there called “Distinctly Catholic”, which is about as Catholic as a Call-To-Action newsletter. Ms Manson is one of the “Young Voices” of NCR, consisting of four “young” people from “different backgrounds” (three white lesbians, and a hetro white male).

  30. Supertradmum says:


    There are female rabbis, including one in our area. Or, maybe I misunderstood your comment.

  31. PostCatholic says:


  32. Robbie J says:

    Sorry… I just couldn’t read past the 11th or 12th line of Ms Manson’s rant (for that’s what it is). I think any level-headed Catholic would think, “you’ve got to be kidding!” The scary part, for me, is that she really believes in what she is saying. And the REALLY scary part is; there are probably many women out there who will, too.

  33. Agnes says:

    Again, there is dignity in the pew. There is dignity in receptivity, in womanhood. We do not need to be men. We do not need to be priests. We simply need to be who we are – cherished daughters of God, created in His image. At the creation of Eve, remember, Adam responded in joy “AT LAST!” Why on earth would a true feminist shuck her femininity for a hollow imitation of manhood? If moral theology is the study of the way we make sense of our lives in relation to God, this article presents perfect nonsense – taking who we are and tipping right reason absolutely upside-down. Get it right, lady.

  34. Rich says:

    Though, in a sense, this IS a new low for NCR, at the same time I find it refreshing that they are finally revealling their true colors. These are the sorts of ideas that are pushed all the time by NCR, only with much more couched and suggestive speech. I see this as a sign that they’re getting desperate, and in the short term are surely emboldened by such acts of courageous protest laughably delivered in academic language found almost exclusively as proceding from the lips of professors in your run-of-the-mill post modern philosphy/theology departments (who uncannily seem clever in presenting such ideas, yet upon further study appear very lacking in logic and consistency, as Fr. Z. points out with Jamie). In the long term, however, I think NCR will either have to 1) put its foot in its mouth, 2) pretend this never happened, or 3) spiral down this same path into silly irrelevance.

  35. Patrick J. says:

    Careful Father, the employment of the – yes, quite sexist – term “hysterical,” from, (obviously?) “hystera” – Gr. for “womb.”

    Well, I digress, and I am just repeating, (with tongue firmly implanted in cheek_, a common complaint from the usual suspects.. “Hysterical,” etymologically speaking, is a particularly womanish way of going a bit nuts,( as if you did not know that), [NO! Say it ain’t so!] but this is for the sake of who may not have encountered this before.

    `heard ths.

  36. In which diocese is the NCR produced?

    If it uses the name “Catholic” what options are available to an Ordinary? NCR has no business with it in their name. Their “young voices” section has promoted all kinds of things which are contrary to the constant teaching of the Church.

    Our Holy Father said something recently about the shepherd’s staff and how it must be used sometime in order to protect the flock. This is a case for consideration. How many souls are being led into scandal because this paper bears the Catholic name without at least an advisory note?

    And, where, in Sam Hill, is Mary Ann Walsh?

  37. shellac says:

    [Feel the dark-side. Use that anger, Jamie.] I almost spit out my coffee. ;-)

  38. shellac says:

    ROFL I just read this in the comments at the NCR “How ignorant! The only thing that has failed is your courage to accept the bold teachings of Vatican II.” Folks that is the battle cry of a liberal Catholic.

    We can say serviam! Serviam is Latin for “I will serve.” This was the cry of St. Michael the Archangel
    as a response to Lucifer’s “I will not serve” (Non
    serviam) when God put the angels to the test.

  39. Esther says:

    I feel very sorry for her. Some man must have done something very, very bad indeed to her for her to be so angry.

    Not that that justfies it, but something very bad must have happened to her.

  40. pelerin says:

    Reading this raises three questions: 1) Why does a Catholic newspaper include an article from a Protestant with such anti-Catholic views? and 2) Why does the editor think that it will benefit Catholic readers to include such an article by a Protestant regarding the Church? and 3) Was there a reply to the article giving the Church’s official teachings in the same edition to form a balance?

  41. mike cliffson says:

    Gor blimey!
    On the fisking, well done that man!Good onyer mate – Don’t meanterbe patronizing, father, I mean your incisive formulations gonna come in handy, I fear.
    M’Mother, despite being LSE, Oxon, WWII officer, consistently opinionated, used to say of female doormats that they needed a dose of women’s lib, of ranters that (euphemisms)they needed a dose of practical motherhood.
    God bought/brought lotser people out the other side this sorter stuff, but how come we get evermore and eviller tripe from schools mags institutions etc got “catholic ” over the door?

  42. Jordanes says:

    Why shouldn’t Catholic women allow God to act to God’s fullest potential in them?

    Note her unnecessary and stylistically inept reuse of the posessive proper noun “God’s” where a normal person would say “his” (or better, “His”). This refusal to use the masculine pronoun in reference to God is a heretically feminist shibboleth. She and those who hold such beliefs aren’t on good terms with the Blessed Trinity, who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — they’ve fashioned a god more to their own liking — one who is not properly referred to as “He” and “Him.” In other words, not the God revealed to us by Jesus Christ.

    P.S. On the tangential matter of women rabbis in Judaism, it depends on whether or not Reform and Conservatism Judaism (which didn’t exist until the 1800s) are really forms of Judaism. Orthodox Jews regard Reform and Conservative Jews as apostates, virtually as Gentiles, and require such Jews to undergo formal conversion or proselytism. On the matter of women’s ordination, one might then compare Orthodox Judaism to Catholicism, and Reform and Conservative Judaism to Protestant sects that ordain women or to heretical groups calling for women’s ordination: and if you look at it that way, it is no more accurate to say that the Jews have female rabbis than it is to say that the Catholic Church has women priests.

  43. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Please, someone, correct me if I am wrong, but I do not see any argument as to what she thinks ‘amiss’ in Magistra (if one may so describe a female Yale M.Div.) Manson’s article.

    It is not a ‘literature’ (journalistic or academic) with which I am really familiar, but I do not know what arguments I have ever encountered – if any(!).

    For example, is it contended that it is necessary that women be ordained? If so, that that has in fact always been the case – or is there some sort of ’emergent necessity’ contended? If the former, is it contended that (so far as there is clear evidence) things have been ‘amiss’ semper ubique – that there has never been a licit ordination of any Bishop, Priest, or Deacon?

    I really want to reread the William Barrett’s novel ‘The Left Hand of God’ (1951) – and I cannot find a dvd of the film with Bogart, anywhere. Anyway, I don’t remember how (or if), exactly, things are sorted out, when (SPOILER alert?) it becomes apparent that someone never ordained has long been acting – and Celebrating – as a priest. But, are such folk as Magistra Manson arguing that that has been universally the actual situation throughout the history of the Church? Or would they contend that those they see as ‘the illicitly-exclusively-male ordained Priests/Bishops’ nonetheless Celebrate validly?

    Or are they constructing some sort of notional parallel to Matthew 19:3-8: that exclusively male ordination has been permitted as a consession, but now that day has passed?

    If exclusively male orders are considered impossible, why? If they are admitted to be possible, then why ‘must’ that change?

  44. Frank H says:

    Venerator Sti Lot –

    The Bogart film is currently available (pricey) on eBay. And it can be downloaded from Amazon.

  45. Gail F says:

    Wow. That is one wild rant.

  46. anj says:

    This is the kind of Fisk that keeps me coming back to Fr. Zed for more.

    power power power

    That is all they understand. It is the product of the political and fallen mind to think in this way.

  47. smcollinsus says:

    I kept thinking of just one word to describe this article:

  48. robtbrown says:


    Good comments, but the Church is not a denomination, a term referring to those groups of people who deny Apostolic Succession and the priesthood.

  49. Martial Artist says:

    This article is not solely a sad example of reasoning. In addition to the numerous errors in understanding (accidental or intentional, it matters not) displayed in her writing, Ms. Manson is alleged to be an educated person. Yet her writing is clothed in a patina of grammatical misconstructions—errors which anyone with a Masters Degree should have sufficient grammatical knowledge to avoid.

    To cite a few examples of her “fuzzy” writing (thinking?):

    • “brides in India are burned once every two hours.” How many brides are burned at a time? Or, does she intend that one bride is burned every two hours, on average?

    • “they have no status and no potential to work in a church environment that will courageously and creatively supportive their callings to and gifts for ministry.” Does she mean creatively support’ or is she simply deficient in recognizing that the verb ‘support’ is called for in the clause?

    • “that keep them calling themselves Catholic.” Huh? What keeps anyone “calling (oneself) Catholic” varies with the individual. If they are faithful to the teachings of the Church, then the Church will call (recognize) them as Catholic. But I know Anglicans who call themselves “Catholic.” There is no distinct and rational way unambiguously to understand this sentence.

    I have but one question. What does the National Catholic Fishwrap hope to accomplish by publishing such a logically incoherent piece of (alleged) writing?

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  50. Fr_Sotelo says:


    The National Catholic Reporter needs to report on the issues of dissent and discontent in order to stay in business. They fancy themselves the thorn in the side of the “institutional church.”

    I believe that far worse than Jamie’s poor grammar is her accusation that the pope and the bishops not only do not care about women, but wish to marginalize them in the Church. There are indeed angry women, and irresponsible articles like this only provide them with the fuel to become enraged and disgruntled over perceived injustice.

    The irony is that bishops and priests constantly worry over how they treat women, and are thus easily manipulated by women toward more and more sensitivity. Yet more is never enough.

  51. stpetric says:

    Oh, my. I’m a Yale Divinity School alum, too, and although I didn’t know Jamie Manson, I knew people like her and I can make a guess about who she studied with (one of whom, now retired, was a “progressive” Catholic religious who taught ethics). Please don’t tar everybody at Yale with her brush. The “wymynist” contingent was certainly represented, but there were some good solid Catholics there as well.

  52. Martial Artist says:

    Father Sotelo,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the relative demerits of the two issues, and I believe that Fr. Z’s emphases and comments make that quite clear. I was simply appalled that the author of the screed not only mischaracterized almost every aspect of the norms and of related Catholic teaching and the reasoning behind it, but she is patently less than competent as an author of what ought to be a straightforward essay.

    I see no sign therein of any qualification on her part, whether in logic, rhetoric, or writing, which would have admitted it to publication in any sort of journal which is sold to the public, whether by subscription or by individual issue. Looking at the post by stpetric, following yours, I wouldn’t wish to be thought of as casting aspersions at Yale, unless Ms. Manson’s writing is indicative of that of the average graduate. If such is the case, the exemplar provided on this thread would cause me to retreat to res ipsa loquitur as my defense.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  53. Athanasius says:

    The reason people like this do not leave the Church is that if they did then this big evil oppressive Church would still be telling them that they are wrong. They could be wymyn priestesses all they want in the Anglican Church, or in some Methodist thing, but the Catholic Church would still be saying no. It gnaws away at them. So, they say we need to change what the Church teaches and that way we can feel better.

  54. tech_pilgrim says:

    Jeez Father Z, I thought being a priest was all about being a servant, silly me, its about power. I’m so glad to be so inspired by a woman..opps said man….female..opps said male…..she-person of such great faith and humility, a true example of evangelical meekness and gentleness.

    sigh….. *smacks face in frustration*

  55. Sedgwick says:

    A disordered lifestyle will always produce disordered thinking. And vicey-versey.

  56. ChantalM says:

    tech_pilgrim: My thoughts exactly. As a (relatively) recent convert to Catholicism (Praise God!), it always amazes me that these articles get published at all. Though I suspect my mom (a Lutheran minister, one of the many reasons I converted) would disagree with your comment. I suspect that my mom only became a minister because she could. Another of the many reasons I became Catholic. For her, and for the writer of this article, it’s all about power. Servanthood, they couldn’t even fathom such a thing. I get tired real easily of these kinds of things. Same old, same old, just leave already!

  57. irishgirl says:

    I couldn’t read the article-I would only get angry if I did (I had my own ‘rant’ just last night calling the utility company to restore my ‘juice’ after it was shut off-I don’t need another one).

    I get tired of these ‘she-males’ who are only looking for power.

    As ChantalM said, ‘Same old, same old, just leave already!’

  58. TJerome says:

    ChantalM, your conversion must have caused your Mom to flip out. That took guts. Welcome.

  59. ChantalM says:

    TJerome: Thank you! I’m still dealing with the fall-out, and this was 4 years ago! She’s kind-of accepted it, but, I think she thinks it’s a betrayal (women’s lib, and all that). Get over it already! I’m Catholic. It’s been a wild ride, that’s for sure. It’s almost come to blows at my niece’s baptism (my oldest sister’s Lutheran, in Kentucky) when I didn’t receive (which I knew was the right thing to do), but all hell broke loose when we got back. The priest that confirmed me is quite liberal, so that didn’t help. She basically ordered me to set up an appointment with him, and when we met, he essentially agreed with my mom (I should’ve received “for the unity of the family”). Sure, and go against Church teaching, I don’t think so. Needless to say, when my most recent niece was born (same family), I said I wasn’t going. I wasn’t going through that again. My soul can take only so much.

  60. trespinos says:

    Jamie’s going the way of Mary Daly. Very sad to see. And the NCR needs to be officially read out by the bishop.

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