“People are literally fighting over who gets to give me communion…”

That’s one of the more bizarre quotes by an excommunicated Ohio woman who yesterday attempted ordination as a Catholic priest.

Get Religion notes that the Toledo Blade did a better-than-average job of covering the run-up to this event; the paper actually mentioned prominently that Beverly Bingle’s ordination was not recognized by the Catholic Church, and took note of her excommunication.

Terry Mattingly runs the full quote from Bingle:

“The whole excommunication thing, I don’t accept,” she said. “Neither do the members of the church. People are literally fighting over who gets to give me communion every day. It’s beautiful. …

“I go to Mass daily, or at least try to,” she said. “That’s my most important prayer, is the Mass, the assembly of the people of God acknowledging that they are the body of Christ, and that we are called to make a difference in the world. I go various places. I normally go to Corpus Christi [in Toledo]. I’m still a member, and they can’t take away my baptism. I just go and I sit there at Mass, and and I will receive communion. Somebody will break a host and give me one surreptitiously, or I’ll receive it before or after. I drive a good distance sometimes to go to Mass where nobody knows me.”

This morning, the Blade has a write-up about the ordination itself: 

Seventeen women from Roman Catholic Womenpriests, including ordained priests, deacons, and a bishop, as well as candidates and applicants for ordination, stood at the end of the service to show their numbers. The Rev. Dagmar Celeste, former first lady of Ohio and the first American to be ordained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, was among them.

She said that acceptance by the Vatican will come.

“It’s a matter of time, but it’s God’s time,” she said…

…In her homily, Bishop Joan Houk of Roman Catholic Womenpriests spoke of the sacred call.

“We are all one in Christ,” she said, “and so when someone is called forth for the community, they can be priests and deacons.” A member of the congregation responded, “Yup,” and drew chuckles.

But she also spoke of fear. “There is fear in our country, as you read in the news. There is fear in our church, as the leaders of our church are afraid of women serving. So it is our job, we are commissioned, we are blessed, all of us, through our baptism, as priests, prophets, and royalty, to go out and take the fear away. Bring God’s love, bring God’s caring, bring God’s healing. Ann and Beverly are going to be leaders that you can call on.”

Fear was present in the sanctuary: there was an area where no photos were allowed. Sitting there were a professor from a Roman Catholic college, a nun, and others. But in announcing the area, the Rev. Mary Ellen Robertson, a Roman Catholic Womenpriests member from Deltona, Fla., and Muskegon, Mich., said, “not many back there, I notice.”

Once the ordination rites were finished, Bishop Houk announced: “It is with great joy that I present to you our new priest, Beverly Bingle.”

More than 30 seconds of applause followed.

Before the service, the Reverend Bingle had said, “I believe that sacraments are celebrations of something that already happened. You don’t get married and then fall in love. You don’t get ordained and then become a priest. So it’s a process, and this is community recognition of what I’ve been going through. It’s pretty wonderful.”

After the Reverend Bingle was ordained a deacon Sept. 13, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo stated her participation “in an invalid and illicit attempted ordination” meant she was automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

You can watch video of the event at the link. 

Photo: Jetta Frazere/Toledo Blade

Browse Our Archives