Ordination by media

womenpriests2Here at GetReligion, we’re fond of highlighting danger zones where the media struggle to understand religious issues. And we try to help reporters see nuance, or find angles they may not have considered.

But sometimes a story is so poorly written and reported that one look at the headline brings forth waves of despair and exasperation. Such was the case with a puff piece by Philadelphia Inquirer writer and editor (for 23 years!) Edward Colimore. The headline? “Female Catholic priest has first Mass.”

Colimore writes about a woman who was ordained by a non-Roman Catholic group to become a priest in a non-Roman Catholic church. He quotes only supporters of the woman, including her son. Nobody who frowns on the practice or advocates for the Roman Catholic teaching on female ordination is included in the story. Nobody. He cheerleads her throughout the entire article. He implies, repeatedly, that she is Roman Catholic. Here’s how it began:

Eileen DiFranco sang the hymns, prayed and took Communion as she had done at countless other Catholic Masses.

But yesterday, for the first time, she led the service as an ordained priest — and received a warm reception from hundreds of Catholics and others.

It’s hard to pick what to pull out from the story because it is so consistently bad, congratulatory and misleading. He mentions that DiFranco was ordained by a group calling itself Roman Catholic Womenpriests and that dioceses have pronounced such ordinations invalid, but it’s cursory. He then goes right back to rah-rahing DiFranco. This was one of my favorite quotes for him to include in a contentious news piece:

DiFranco’s son, Ben, 17, who attends La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, said his mother’s service as a priest “is going to be a catalyst for women being ordained in the church.”

“A couple of my friends say she is not a priest, that her ordination was not valid,” said Ben DiFranco, who assisted his mother at the altar during the Mass. “But I also have friends who are really for it.”

Oh, well, I guess if DiFranco’s son and his friends are for it then we don’t need to talk to anyone else. Good reporting there, Skipper! The thing is that Colimere’s readers destroyed his article in a series of questions to him that were posted in an online forum. Kudos to the Inquirer for making such responses possible. Each reader who complained about the article did so in unbelievably cordial terms. And in each case, Colimere flubbed his response, avoided responsibility for his errors and generally didn’t get it. Here are two questions, one response:

[Question:] About your story on the woman, claiming to be a Catholic priest, having her first “Mass.” I don’t want to beat you up; I assume you’re trying to be fair in this. But I’d ask you to appreciate that the validity of her ordination is akin to someone, showing up in the United States, claiming to be ambassador from Britain — only that’s not what the Foreign Office in London says. For that matter, it is akin to someone claiming to be a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter; only the Philadelphia Inquirer says otherwise. . . .

[Question:] In your answers above, you say that you make it clear that Mrs. Difranco isn’t a Roman Catholic and belongs to a community of 20 people who aren’t Roman Catholic and which rents space in a church that is not Roman Catholic. Why is it newsworthy, then, that someone who isn’t a Roman Catholic has been part of some sort of service that is not part of the Roman Catholic Church?

[Answer:] Though not Roman Catholic under Vatican authority, the Old Catholic Church of the Beatitudes in Lansdowne conducts itself largely as a Roman Catholic church — with the same sacraments, liturgy and confession. It also has drawn members/visitors from other Roman Catholic churches and Sunday’s Mass was attended by many from a Roman Catholic church in Germantown. The ordination and first Mass — though not recognized by dioceses across the country — was of interest to a segment of readers. We reported the event and left it up to people to make their own judgments about its value. As you point out, we indicated that the members of the Church of the Beatitudes rent space in a United Methodist church and held the Mass in another United Methodist church. Readers will make up their own minds about the issues involved.

The questions and answers are all very interesting — particularly because after writing an article that blatantly diminishes the fact that no Roman Catholic organization was involved in the ordination of the woman, Colimere acts as if he had made that perfectly clear. As if the readers were to blame for not picking up on the facts.

And I also love his line alleging that Roman Catholics and non-Roman Catholics use the same sacraments. I suppose the reporter means that both the Womenpriests and the Roman Catholic church administer Holy Communion and Baptism, etc. But to toss it off as the same sacraments, when Rome obviousy doesn’t consider the Womenpriests to be administering valid sacraments, is to be ignorant or to be taking sides in this story, which is not Mr. Colimere’s place. Where are the voices for the other side?

This really was a low point for coverage of this issue. I’m not familiar with Colimere, but I hope this isn’t normal. The kind way in which his readers tried to correct him makes me think he makes mistakes like these infrequently. Either way, I hope he isn’t so quick to dismiss his readers next time they offer such gentle words of wisdom.

It’s also worth noting that Inquirer reporter Susan Snyder wrote about the ordination of eight women by the organization. Her reader responses are also interesting.

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  • Joel

    Is it the reporter, or is it part of an effective PR campaign (playing off of ignorant or sympathetic reporters)? All the coverage I’ve seen of female “Catholic” priests has followed exactly the same playbook, i.e. this is a “Catholic” priest, as in this college newspaper story.

    These reporters aren’t reading each others’ stuff, so if they’re writing the same story then they’re getting it from a common source. Other social change movements have sophisticated PR campaigns to change public opinion, why isn’t anyone looking for one here?

  • Joel

    After catching up on the back GetReligion articles, I noticed your July 31 posting on the Washington Post treatment of a similar story. It supports my point that this is a concerted message that is being promoted nationwide. But by whom? Where did the playbook come from? Can you get a copy?

  • Elle

    Is this photo from the “Mass” reported in the article? Sorry, but it looks more like a Pampered Chef party (apologies to Pampered Chef kitchen consultants everywhere). Is that a waffle that she’s holding? As an Episcopalian who used to attend RC Mass back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, I’ve thought for some time that the RC liturgy just isn’t what it used to be,m but this looks like a new low.

  • Dan Crawford

    Sadly, a certain religion reporter for a large newspaper in Southwestern PA has consistently written stories about ECUSA based on propaganda pieces put out by VIA MEDIA and the “Progressive” Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. He apparently dislikes doing more than summarize press releases. Colimere isn’t the only lazy reporter around. Which raises the question: what do editors do? Check articles for typographical errors? (And even then, they don’t do a very good job at that.)

  • Larry Rasczak

    You know Elle I think that IS an Eggo she is holding! (Then again making up your own chuch sort of means the nuns who make the hosts won’t sell you any I guess…)

    “He apparently dislikes doing more than summarize press releases.”

    Which makes him different from the rest of the media how?

    I am sorry to be so harsh, but between Reuters Photoshop, Rathergate, Jason Blair, and the just plain lazy reporting I see almost everywhere in the media, I am begining to think that the lazy reporters give the other 5% a bad name.

    This is really unfair to the reporters that DO work hard, research, and check their facts. I am sorry about that, but just go check out LGF, or google The Passion of the Toys. Dan is right… where are the editors? Perry White and J. Jonah Jameson… where are you now we need you?

  • Martha

    Might I suggest the gentleman looks up this website? They seem quite confident that they *are* different from the Roman Catholics.

    http://www.americanchurch.org/history.htm

    It’s a bit confusing, but Reverend DiFranco’s (hey, she’s not a Roman Catholic, so I’ll happily give her the title her denomination grants her, as much as Bishop Jefferts Schori’s denomination grants her the title of bishop) home church, the Old Catholic Church of the Beatitudes in Lansdowne, is part of the Apostolic Catholic Church which seems to be one of the cluster of Old Catholic churches which have set themselves up in America – and very tangled the history gets, too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Catholic_Church

    Even if you grant some validity to the Utrecht lot, as soon as they hit American soil, they seem to have succumbed to the fissiparous tendency and gone off ordaining, consecrating, seeking alternative consecrations, setting up their own churches, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

    Basically, this lady is a Protestant.

  • Martha

    I wonder if Edward Colimore (“When I said ‘Catholic’, obviously I didn’t mean ‘Roman Catholic’, you illiterates!”) and Susan Wood (“Catholics were Episcopalians to start with”)were classmates?

    Goodness, I’d love to know where the other graduates of *that* school of journalism ended up.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    Note that the paper ran a correction Tuesday:
    Clearing the record

    A headline in yesterday’s Inquirer, “Female Catholic priest has first Mass,” erred in stating unreservedly that Eileen DiFranco was a Catholic priest. The Roman Catholic Church says that women cannot be ordained as priests and that her ordination was invalid. DiFranco was ordained through the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which says the service was a valid Catholic ordination under apostolic succession.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    And a followup on Wednesday:
    http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/15229021.htm

    Phila. church says rites invalid
    Unlike other jurisdictions, the archdiocese has taken no action against a woman who says she was ordained.
    By Susan Snyder
    Inquirer Staff Writer

    One woman faces excommunication. Another says a Catholic publisher has pulled her books.

    But so far, the Philadelphia woman who participated in an unsanctioned ordination ceremony in Pittsburgh last month says she hasn’t heard a word from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Eileen McCafferty DiFranco, 54, of Mount Airy, said yesterday that, since the ceremony, she has received no communication from the archdiocese, which called the ordination “invalid.”…

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jeffrey,

    Thanks for posting those as I hadn’t seen them. I thought, by the way, that Snyder’s initial article, which ran on Aug. 1, was much better than Colimere’s follow-up. (Although some of her readers had valid complaints)

    It still forces questions about the coverage, but Snyder’s initial story put RC response up high and repeated it.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    Martha: Regardless of claims by some “Wandering bishops, the only body in the US which is in communion with the union of Utrecht is the Polish National Catholic Church.

    Regrettably, there are some groups which obsess on posessing a “valid” apostolic succession to the exclusion of all else. (And please, I did not come here f/o/r/ a/ c/o/n/t/r/a/d/i/c/t/i/o/n/ to get dragged into arguments about the doctrine of “intention”.)

    I keep asking some of my associates whether they really think that anyone who worries about will stay near us long enough to find out whether their orders are “valid” or not (something which is essentially pointless to anyone who does not believe in *opus operatum*) before he flees screaming.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    And finally…kids don’t try this at home. This is why papers needs religion reporters who know their stuff. A couple of paragraphs would have made the first story OK:
    Outsiders may be comnfused by the name of the group. But the Roman Catholic Church, led by Pope Benedict XVI and claiming a billion members worldwide, has a 2000-year tradition of not allowing women to become priests. Some dissident Catholics, like this group, are pushing for a change. But the Vatican has been steadfast in not changing the rules.
    QUOTE (from just about any Catholic theologian. Like the ubiquitous Tom Reese.)
    That they have no formal standing in the Catholic church has not deterred this group, however.
    QUOTE.
    And so on…

  • Martha

    Well, this is just asking more questions than it answers.

    First, “DiFranco and others who participated believe they were being ordained Roman Catholic priests.” Huh? How on earth did they believe that? Is she or is she not a Roman Catholic, or why has she been attending an Old Catholic church for twenty years? Or has she? Or does she split her time between whatever church takes her fancy?

    Secondly, why on earth – if she believes she is validly ordained – would she be worried about being excommunicated? Or why would she need to sneak into larger parishes where she would not be known in order to receive Communion? Lady, you can consecrate the Host yourself! Wasn’t that the point of this farrago?

    Thirdly, nice way to start with the understated opening. “One woman faces excommunication.” Can’t you just hear the ominous organ chords and the sinister cackling of the scarlet-robed prelates deep in the candle-lit dungeons as they rack the wretches who have fallen into their clutches?

  • Martha

    So I Googled them, and St. Vincent’s, Germantown, does seem to be a Roman Catholic parish (going on the level of factual accuracy in this saga, I thought it couldn’t hurt to check.)

    So has Mrs DiFranco been a parishoner there? Or has she dropped away? Or is she attending two churches? It seems more and more like the original story should have been “Confused local lady hires Methodist church for something or other.

    ‘Well, I’m Roman Catholic – but I attend an Old Catholic parish – and they’d ordain me, but I wanted to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest, even though that’s impossible, so a group of women who say they’re Roman Catholic bishops (even though that’s impossible) said I’m a priest.

    So naturally I celebrated my first ‘Mass’ in a Methodist church’.”

  • Larry Rasczak

    Serious suggestion….

    As an Army Reservist I grew used to seeing reporters doing stories on the military that ranged from poor to outright laughable. (Anyone remember Peter Arnett and his “Tailwind” story on CNN? He had the evil CIA guys gasing villages with nerve agent then jumping from ‘copters into clouds of nerve gas wearing street clothes and gas masks. Since nerve agents A) are invisible and B) are absorbed through the skin this would have resulted in about a half dozen CIA guys limiting their own life span to about four and a half minutes. Since it is highly unlikely the CIA would design the operation that way, this should have been a clue that the story was false.)

    That being said, I heard nothing but good things about the CENTCOM “embedded reporter” program. The media liked it, the military thought it was a great sucess. It seemed to work all around. The problem wasn’t that the media couldn’t tell a story, it was simply that ALL they had ever learned in J school was HOW to tell the story. This meant they knew far less about the military than they thought they did, and therefore often got the story just plain wrong. Once they learned how things really worked the accuracy of their stories improved greatly, and everyone was happier.

    So here is a serious proposal. How could one go about “embedding” reporters in churches, so they actually know a little about the subjects they are reporting on?

    Any suggestions?

  • Joe

    Colimore says in several answers: “We covered an event that was of interest to a segment of our readers.” EWTN held a 25th Anniversary convention in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, drawing thousands, but the Inquirer did not cover it. Why did they choose to cover something “of interest” to a miniscule group but not cover something “of interest” to a much larger “segment” of their readers? Is it because they endorse Voice of the Faithful and disdain enthusiastically faithful and happy Catholics? Is the latter group “irrelevant” to their editorial policies? Their choice of events to cover suggests advocacy in the boardroom rather than objective reporting.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    When I just looked at the original article again, I noticed they had changed or added a subhead in addition to offering the correction.

    Also, I pulled Larry’s comment out for further discussion in a new post, just fyi.

  • http://hillcountrywriter.blogspot.com Mark Goodyear

    I like Larry’s idea of embedding reporters in the church. Or better yet, how about embedding Christians in the media?

    I’m not talking about any kind of “take America back” nonsense.

    I’m talking about churches encouraging Christians to serve God in journalism (or any other vocation for that matter). Instead, too many churches set up sandbags to keep out the sinners and their messy lives.

    My church is as guilty as the rest of them. We spend too much time pointing fingers and complaining. And we never get around to encouraging Christians to serve God in the workplace. We never talk about what it looks like to be a Christian journalist.

    It doesn’t look like prosyletizing. It isn’t a combative campaign to fight the left or the right. It just tells a good story. It just speaks clearly. It’s just good, balanced journalism.

  • Fred Furia

    Last night “Father” DiFranco appeared on the Dom Diorgano show (local Philly talk radio — http://domtalk.com). She made a few things explicitly clear…

    1. She DOES consider herself a Roman Catholic (in contradiction to what Mr. Colimore implied in his online response to me and other readers).
    2. She was “ordained” by three female Roman Catholic “priests”, who were themselves “ordained” “in Germany by a priest who is in good standing with the Catholic church.”
    3. She deeply despises her Roman Catholic Church, calling them historic and current “oppressors” of women, and complaining about their threats of excommunication with the feeble logic that other church members have done far worse (i.e. child molestation and cover-ups) without suffering that fate. (Thankfully, Giordano was astute enough to recommend excommunication + prison + Hell for such evil-doers, and just excommunication for DiFranco — but I wish he had stated it as bluntly.)
    4. DiFranco offers virtually no religion-related reasoning behind her decision to defy the Church. Her every justification was based on a combination of feminist instincts and self-centered reasoning. Eg. “Why shouldn’t I be allowed?”
    5. DiFranco also defies all celibacy beliefs, as she is actively married to a “Catholic” husband who supports her decision. (She also claimed celibacy was not instituted for over a thousand years after Christ, and that it was mainly done as a practical matter related to property. Anyone able to verify or debunk this?)

    Honestly, at some level I sympathize with her sense of fairness. But I do not feel that lying about one’s status, running a PR campaign against the Church, and committing sacrilege is an appropriate course of action. And I disapprove of the Inquirer’s participation in her obvious publicity campaign. (Ditto for Diorgano, although he, at least, was challenging her.)

    Regards,
    Fred

  • http://www.dontracy.com Don

    I’m a former parishoner of St. Vincent’s in Germantown Philadelphia. Eileen DiFranco is a longtime friend of mine. We met at the parish.

    She stated to me, not more than three or four months ago, that she had left the Church and had joined the Old Catholic Community.

    I have to be careful here and clarify what I just wrote. She may indeed have said that she left “St. Vincent’s”. Actually, I don’t remember exactly. Anyway, I took it to mean that she was saying that she left the Church.

    It would be a common assumption. The culture at the parish is such that members often identify themselves as belonging to St. Vincent’s, rather than belonging to the Church. For example, many state that they want their children baptised into “St. Vincent’s” rather than into “the Church”.The growing denominationalism there is a large part of why I left.

    Also, I believe she is finishing her divinity degree at the Lutheran seminary here in Philadelphia.

    I’ve had coversations with Eileen going back many years over the issue of women’s ordination. She is a very nice and sincere person. I’m afraid, though, that she does not understand what she has done and what she has gotten herself into. Nor do many of her supporters.

    Over the past week I’ve written letters to the editor, letters to the journalists, letters to my friends in that parish, and yesterday a letter to another friend who had an op-ed piece published in yesterday’s Inquirer that was in support of Eileen. (he raised the issue of natural law as a defense of her actions… not sure if that was his intention… I’m hoping that the internal logic of that argument will lead him to oppose legal abortion on similar grounds… I’d be interested from any of you who look it up and could give some insight into it… )

    I’m torn about going public with any of this. These folks continue to be my friends, despite the fact that I’ve left the parish and despite the fact that I completely disagree with them.

    I’ve very concerned about them. I’m concerned about their having put their souls in jeaopardy.

    Please keep them in your prayers. Please pray for their conversion.

    - Don

  • Alexei

    Martha,

    St. Vincent’s is an RC Church, but they have a reputation that suggests otherwise. They were the headquarters of the Black Panther Party in the 60s and seem totally immersed in the Social Gospel.

    A old friend’s mother was a catechumen there before she entered a convent. I asked the mother how she felt about going back to church (she was raised RC, but left because of her sexual orientation), and she told me that she loved God, but wasn’t so crazy about “this Jesus guy.”

    Wow. In Wisdom let us attend, right?

  • http://www.dontracy.com Don

    One other journalistic error in the first article last week and the one on Monday.

    If I remember correctly, both articles quoted Carl Yusovitz (sp) as a Catholic supporter of Eilenn.

    I believe, in fact, that Mr. Yusovitz (sp) is actually a former Catholic who is now a minister in another church. I think it’s Menonite.

    - Don

  • Alexei

    My curiousity got the better of me, and I went and looked at their site. On the History page is an ordination speech, and my “Find…” returned 0 matches for ‘Christ.’

    It’s a long speech, too.

  • Chip

    Mollie,

    Let’s come at this story from a different angle: a thought experiment. Imagine a different story with a different headline: “Female Lutheran Pastor celebrates first Holy Communion.”

    How far into the story does the reporter have to identify the pastor as an ELCA Lutheran?

    At what point does the reporter have to state the LCMS Lutherans don’t ordain women as pastors and don’t recognize wome ordained by other Lutherans as pastors?

    At what point does the reporter have to state that some Lutherans don’t recognize this woman as a pastor?

    Does the reporter have an obligation to seek out and quote a LCMS spokesperson for comment on this ELCA service?

  • Gary McClellan

    Chip,
    The essential difference there is that you are dealing with a large, well known group (the ELCA) that has a practice, rather than a very small splinter group that is bucking the practice of the group that is known (the Roman Catholic Church).

    There are indeed times that the Media would do well to remember the differences between the LC-MS and the ELCA (the debacle over the “Joint Statement” some years back for instance.) However, this was a story about a group that is trying to pass someone off as a Catholic Priest. In that case, it’s well worth noting the truth. Not doing so at best creates confusion, and at worst can be considered an intentioal deception.

  • Deborah

    Fred:
    At the Council of Nicaea in 325, St. Paphnutius is said to have argued that clergy who were married prior to ordination should not be prohibited from having conjugal relations; such a prohibition had been enacted in 295. He did not argue in favor of a married clergy and he was not married himself. The first papal decree on a celibate priesthood was issued by Pope Siricius in 385. Allow me to repeat: 385.

  • Bob

    Asking a reporter to get a religious story straight…Let them start with an easier one; like why some people take offense at Madonna being on a cross with a crown of thorns? Who/what is she mocking, blaspheming? What exactly *is* blasphemy??

  • Fred Slimp

    To the secular media, the entire topic is at the same time so arcane and so irrelevant that general journalistic standards simply do not apply. If your crazy great aunt wishes to dress up funny and serve communion, who cares? The secular’s media’s response is “It’s harmless fun. More power to her!”

  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    (She also claimed celibacy was not instituted for over a thousand years after Christ, and that it was mainly done as a practical matter related to property. Anyone able to verify or debunk this?)

    Celibacy was not made mandatory for all Roman Catholic priests until the 12th/13th century, it is true. But …

    (1) Celibacy has always been the normal, customary and preferred state for clergy;

    (2) Celibacy has been required of higher-ups (bishops, etc.) even in cases when it wasn’t of other clergy (current Orthodoxy, e.g.);

    (3) Never have already-ordained priests been allowed to marry, although married men could sometimes become priests;

    (4) Often married priests were required/expected to live apart from their wives, live in a state of continence, and forbidden to remarry if widowed;

    What people are generally referring to when they say “the Church made celibacy mandatory only in the Middle Ages” is the (true) fact that the First Lateran Council of 1123 declared all forbade priestly marriages and declared existing ones null and void, and the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 reiterated that all clergy must live continently.

    There were contemporaneous issues of what to do with the children of the few married priests that did exist prior to First Lateran — property inheritance being one issue among others. No doubt, humans being human, hanky-panky (i.e., simony; which is actually the subject of much more of First Lateran’s text than celibacy) took place, and the campaigns against such bad practices included other bad practices (the Catholic Encyclopedia article I linked to refers to in some places declaring the children slaves, i.e., property of the Church).

    But to reduce the whole issue to property inheritance in the High Middle Ages is just coarse, vulgar and ahistorical. It’s like saying the Great Schism occurred in 1054, or the Protestant Reformation occurred in 1521. They’re not *false* — rather important events did occur in 1054, 1123 and 1521. But in the earlier two dates, they merely made formal, mandatory and undeniable what had long been de facto the case. As for the last date, Luther opened a can of worms no doubt, but they still had to crawl out.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    With the media–through incompetence, ignorance, or bias so heavily a propaganda machine tearing down traditional teachings and doctrines of Christianity and Catholicism–it makes it very clear why no church should pay any attention to polls except to redouble its efforts to educate people–especially their own people–about the Truths that Faith lives by regardless of mob media indoctrination. The women’s ordination issue is a classic example with Mollie’s case study being far too typical of what passes for news coverage on religion.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Curious.

    Are those vestments made out of plastic?

  • Martha

    Chip, let’s run with your thought experiment:

    Why would a newspaper run a story “Female Lutheran Pastor Celebrates First Eucharist”:?

    (1) It’s on the local news page, along with the dates of the dog show and the blood drive, and it’s a couple of paragraphs on the new minister arriving at the local Lutheran church.

    or

    (2) It’s a Big Deal story because the local Lutheran church is in the midst of splitting over whether or not to accept women pastors.

    or

    (3) It’s a Really Big Deal story because the Lutheran church does not permit the ordination of women pastors.

    So, which of these applies? If we’re talking about (1), then we might or might not mention that it’s ELCA as distinct from LCMS, but it’s not really germane to the story.

    If it’s (2), then we’d make a point of mentioning that there are the ELCA and the LCMS, and one group permits the ordination of women, and one group doesn’t, and our local church is belonging to one or the other group. Because this is a fact which materially affects the story.

    If it’s (3), then we would definitely inform readers about the ELCA and the LCMS (and any other Lutheran bodies out there) and their rules on this, particularly if the Lutheran church worldwide did not permit the ordination of women, and we’d make a big, splashy point of how unique, original, first time and controversial this event was.

    We certainly wouldn’t just say ‘Lutheran’ and then, to the objections of readers who corrected us on this, brush them off with ‘Oh, everyone knows ELCA allows women pastors, so it was self-evident from the story that it was an ELCA not an LCMS church.’ – or at least I’d hope we would, in the name of accuracy and the public interest.

  • Ashley

    I was present at the ordination of Eileen, although I could not attend her first Mass. And no, the vestments are not made of plastic.

    Eileen, just “Eileen” not “Father Eileen,” was validly, if illicitly, ordained a Roman Catholic [not Old Catholic, not Protestant] priest.

    Some facts:
    1. In 1976, experts of the Pontifical Biblical Commission determined that there were no scriptural reasons preventing women’s ordination.

    2, Women have already been ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood.

    On December 28, 1970, Bishop Davidek ordained Ludmila Javorova in the underground church of Communist Czechoslovakia. In 1991, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of Prague confirmed that in addition to Javorova, up to five or six other women had also been ordained priests during that time.

    3. Paul, as in Saint, confirmed women’s leadership in the early church: “Phoebe, our sister, who is a servant (diakonos) of the church at Cenchreae. She has often been a helper both to myself and to many others.” — Romans 16:1-2.

    4. The bishops who ordained her were ordained in full apostolic succession.

    From a talk by Bishop Patricia Fresen:

    “Well, they found a bishop: Romulo Braschi of Argentina. Of the fourteen women who had been in the groups, seven remained to the end. The ordination of the first seven R.C. Womenpriests took place on 29 June 2002 on the ship ‘Passau’ on the river Danube. It was a tremendous breakthrough for justice and for claiming the equality of women with men in the RC Church. The media took up the story and it sent ripples all around the world and brought hope to many of us. Photographs and articles appeared in newspapers and journals in many countries and dozens of television programs were made about the ordination. The world was aware that something of the utmost importance had taken place. That the Vatican took this very seriously is shown by the subsequent excommunication of the seven women, on 27 January 2003, signed by 12 cardinals and archbishops. If it had been of no consequence, the Vatican would have simply ignored it.

    Two of the seven womenpriests, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Forster, were later ordained as bishops by several (male) bishops whose identities must be protected. The reason for ordaining women as bishops was really only so that they in turn can ordain priests, not to get locked into the hierarchical structures of the church.”

    4. Women served priestly roles in the early church.

    Fact: Fifteen archeological inscriptions have been found that indicate women were sacramental ministers in the first three centuries after Jesus’ resurrection.

    For more detailed information, [and for my sources] please see:
    “Traditional” arguements against women’s ordination and answers to them
    http://www.womenpriests.org/trad_ac.asp

    The Roman Catholic Womenpriests webpage:
    http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/

    The Womens Ordination Conference:
    http://www.womensordination.org

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    “4. The bishops who ordained her were ordained in full apostolic succession.”

    As I was saying….

  • dpt

    “”"She deeply despises her Roman Catholic Church, calling them historic and current “oppressors” of women…”"‘

    This tired charge reveals a real self-centeredness in the individual. Sorry, when I think of oppressed I think immigrants forced to circumvant the border across a blistering desert, or those in refugees camps or imprisoned by horrific regimes. I do not see well-fed and well educated Westerners as oppressed or facing the abuse of that bogeyman oppressor in the Vatican.

    So self-centered…

  • Paul Barnes

    Ashley…

    Sigh…

    1. Pontifical Biblical Commissions do not make doctrine in the Catholic Church. Secondly, Roman Catholics do not follow the Protestant idea of the Bible alone.

    2. Just because a bishop thinks he ordains someone does not make it so. I remember a certain Society that had some problems back in the 80s. Furthermore, individual bisphops have historically been given the boot or chastized because of what they have done (Liberation theology). While I dont know about these particular situations, but I am quite sure there is more to the story than what you have written.

    3. Wow. One sentence and mention of a woman helping St. Paul. Call me unimpressed. Unfortunately, officially ordaining women in the early church is not known to have occured (unless you include heretical sects).

  • Alexei

    It’s fairly well known that St. John Chrysostom’s closest friend and co-worker in the Lord was a deaconness. Neither pushed for her ordination to the priesthood.

  • http://none Ashley

    Paul,

    Be impressed or unimpressed. That doesn’t change the fact that women were ordained in the early church. We even have the rubrics for their ordination to the diaconate. * Which is not to mention the archeological and Scriptural evidence. Nor the fact of the ordination of women in Communist Europe. Nor the endless proclamations of Church Councils forbidding the practice. It’s the sense of the faithful that’s popping up here. Had Holy Spirit wanted women not to be ordained, one proclamation should have ended the practice. It didn’t. The FAithful know that God doesn’t check to see which way you go to the bathroom before asking you to serve God.

    The real issue here is misogyny in the Catholic Church. See below for some examples. The Church is accountable for helping to perpetuate sexism, which is discrimination, which is what keeps the Old Boys Club of Bishops from recognizing that there is not valid reason not to ordain women. And note that I said “the Church,” and not “jesus” or “Christ.”

    Ashley, tired of patriarchy
    Thomas Aquinas — Woman as defective male
    “Objection: It can be argued that woman should not have formed part of the world as it was initially created. For Aristotle says that a female is an occasioned male. But it would be wrong for something occasioned and [hence] deficient to be part of the initial creation. Therefore woman should not have been a part of that world.” (Thomas answers that the female is defective as a particular event; not as part of the general scheme of things). Summa Theologica, 1, qu. 92, art 1, ob. 1

    2. Aquinas — woman is inferior to man
    But woman is naturally of less strength and dignity than man . . . . ’ Summa Theologica I, qu. 92, art. 1, ad 2.

    3 ST. John Chrysostom — women saved only by having kids
    Homily 9, cont. “Shall not women then be saved? Yes, by means of children.

    4. Augustine — women are incapable of reason, so men must rule them
    Questions on the Heptateuch, Book I, § 153. “It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater . . . This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power.” (see also On the Sermon on the Mount, I, 34).

    5. Bonaventure — only men can have a tonsure, so women can’t be priests; woman is not made in the image of God; woman lacks the capacity for power

    From Commentarium in IV Libros Sententiarum Magistri Petri Lombardi by Bonaventure, 1251-1253 AD; published in Opera Omnia, Quaracchi 1882-1902.

    Division XXV. Article II. Question I

    * In the Apostolic Constitutions:
    III, no 19. Let the deacons be in all things unspotted, as the bishop himself is to be, only more active; in number according to the largeness of the Church, that they may minister to the infirm as workmen that are not ashamed. And let the deaconess be diligent in taking care of the women; but both of them ready to carry messages, to travel about, to minister, and to serve, as spake Isaiah concerning the Lord, saying: “To justify the righteous, who serves many faithfully.” Let every one therefore know his proper place, and discharge it diligently with one consent, with one mind, as knowing the reward of their ministration; but let them not be ashamed to minister to those that are in want, as even our” Lord Jesus Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many.”

  • http://none Ashley

    Paul,

    And no, I’m not arguing for Sola Scriptura. My position is that the Hierarchy uses the example of Jesus -in scripture- as a reason not to ordain women.

    And a Pontifical Commission designed to look at that very question says the Bible, the example of Jesus -in Scripture-, does not support the Hierarchy’s position.

    *That* is my point.
    Ashley

  • Martha

    Ashley: the ‘sense of the faithful’ was pretty big on the side of Arianism, too.

    So are we all mistaken, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, since then? Misled by Athanasius? Arius the unheralded leader of the people? Why didn’t the Holy Spirit make one big pronouncement then and set us straight?

  • Martha

    Going right back to the early Church and the spirit of the faithful…

    … isn’t this so much more authentic and uplifting than that gloomy, guilt-tripping old patriarchal, hierarchical, Romanist version with its morbid insistence on death and the ultimate state of our souls? Obviously those envious old men suppressed the ancient traditional Glitter makeup when they wrested control of the rite from the women celebrants after St Paul’s time. Luckily, these brave pioneers have reclaimed the authentic spirit for us!

    http://www.thegreatstory.org/stardust-lent.html

    “THE TREE OF HOPE and THE IMPOSITION OF STARDUST

    Minister: [extemporaneously] Invite congregants to reflect on not only what they may pledge to give up during Lent on behalf of the whole, their larger selves, but also what they may pledge to do in behalf of their communities, their bioregions, their planet. Direct their attention to the list that ends this sample bulletin. Allow time (and offer musical accompaniment) for attendees to meditatively, prayerfully choose one or more actions, and to write these on paper stars so provided.

    Then the ritual will begin: each will come forward and hang their star on The Tree of Hope, then receive stardust (glitter or traditional black ash, as either form truly is stardust) as they choose. The minister may say “Remember you are stardust, and to stardust you shall return” while placing the ashes/glitter on either the person’s forehead or top of their hand.”

    And who can fail to be uplifted and inspired by this stirring – and scientifically accurate!, at least by the science of five minutes ago which might change in the next ten minutes and leave this sounding as out of date as “Godspell”, but hey, that’s the chance you gotta take when you’re out there on the edge – relation of the creation? *So* much more poetic and moving than that fuddy-duddy, mythologised old ‘Spirit moving over the waters’.

    “READERS THEATER
    Group 1: In the beginning, the energy of silence rested over an infinite horizon of pure nothingness.

    Group 2: The silence lasted for billions of years, stretching across aeons that the human mind cannot even remotely comprehend.

    Group 3: Out of the silence arose the first ripples of sound, vibrations of pure energy that ruptured the tranquil stillness as a single point of raw potential, bearing all matter, all dimension, all energy, and all time: exploding like a massive fireball.

    All: It was the greatest explosion of all time!”

    Remember, we are *all* stardust.

  • Paul Barnes

    Ashley

    About all those quotes: so? What does that all mean? You state that it equals mysoginy. Quite frankly, (and heres the kicker) women HAVE had leadership roles in politics, and they have been just as bloodthirsty as men. We would just be replacing one group of bastards with another.

    You keep stating that we have the achealogical evidence supporting womens ordination. Ok, where is it? Preferably from a source that is not known as ‘womanpriests’.

  • Ashley

    Don’t you get it?

    “Glitter makeup”
    “Pampered chef”

    You’re being dismissive just because the objects of your conversations are women. That’s the sexism I’m talking about.

    archaeologists –
    There are three: Dorothy Irvin, Ute Eisen and Joan Morris

    re: Arius –
    So, when was the last time anyone was excommunicated for being a Disciple of Arius?
    I’m not saying that the “sense of the faithful” is infallible — not even the Holy Father [despite what he may think]is.

    At least since Constantine, women have been seeking and receiving Holy Orders. 1700 years is a long time. But Holy Spirit nudges. And She is persistent.

    Bis spaeter,
    Ashley
    [women do care about souls. Why else would we want to answer God's call to be a priest?]

  • marK

    Ashley,

    A record of someone ordaining women in ancient times is still no proof that it is right in the sight of God either now or 2000 years ago. People back then were just as capable of thinking of themselves as “modern”, “sophisticated”, and “progressive” as we are. They were also just as capable of dismissing the revealed words of the apostles and prophets as “less enlightened”, and “misogynic” as people today do.

    Such sophistries are not new. They’ve been around since the time of Adam. Why should the first few centuries following Christ be any different from every other period of human history?

    No, what you need is the revealed word of God on the subject; and as far as I know, God has been pretty adament that his ordained servants be male, not female. If you wish to get that policy changed, I suggest you take it up with him.

  • Ashley

    marK,

    But I have.

    And She says it’s ok.

    Ashley

  • http://weblog.theviewfromthecore.com/ ELC

    “And She says it’s ok.” Christians call God “Father” and refer to Him as… “Him”. Excuse me for being blunt… but quit trying to screw up my religion. Become an honest person, “found” your own religion, and screw that one up. Leave mine the hell alone.

  • Martha

    Ashley: the point about the glitter makeup was that, although these ladies are, God bless them, trying to introduce Ash Wednesday and Lent as a time of reflection into their tradition, they haven’t quite got the point.

    It’s not about how fabulous we all are in our unalloyed okayness; it is about considering the state of your soul and your latter end, as a prompt to fruitful reflection and change of heart. So yes to ashes, no to glitter.

    And my point in using them as an example was that it was just one more way in which traditions were wrenched out of context and turned around to fit our modern preoccupations.

    Let’s say that the eeevil Romanists (boo! hiss!) (of whom I am one myself) are wrong, wrong, wrong about ordaining women and your sources are right about this being an early practice. Where is the tradition of it? Where are the deaconesses/priestesses in the Orthodox, Oriental, Ethiopian, churches? The reformed churches?

    Where is there any sign that this was an actual practice, in other words, and not just quibbling over translations of inscriptions that *could* refer to a woman as deaconess meaning that she was the wife of a deacon or *could* mean that she was a deacon herself?

  • Ashley

    Glitter–
    Have you ever considered that just maybe God made us good? Sure, you’re going to answer “Original Sin.”

    But think about it. Let’s posit a human parent said, “Child, don’t touch the hot oven,” and a kid who did touch that hot oven. What kind of parent would this be if she punished not only her child for touching the oven, but every other child she had, plus all her grandkids, etc.? That’s one messed up parent. Surely God is better than that. Maybe Holy Spirit is saying, “Yes, we are all glitter.”

    And no, the Roman Church is not eeevil. If it were, why would we still want to be part of it? The Church is like Christ: it has two natures, divine and human. Unlike Christ, the Church messes up, gets things wrong, repents, starts over and does things better. The Church is in a constant state of conversion.

    For some reason, the Cahtolic Church (and most other ones) embraced patriarchy. That is the point at issue. We women are calling the Church’s attention to Her sin and asking for the Church’s conversion. (You remember that story about Peter denying Christ and the one where Paul had to convince Peter that Christians didn’t have to have circumcision, right?)

    Eventually, the Church will come ’round, and we’ll be there to be reconciled to it as it is to us.

    And those inscriptions–
    Why are you so willing to disbelieve that they say what they mean? Why do you argue that “presbytera” means “wife of” or “mother of” a certain male priest? Why are you not willing to consider that “presbyter” means “husband of” or “father of” the female priest?

    If your answer has anything to do with man’s dominance over women — think hard here — that’s patriarchy. And it’s wrong.

    “Stop messing up my religion” –
    To whoever it was who is upset by the image of God as a woman, I ask you to go back to the New Testament.

    Jesus used parables about women, when the woman was the God-figure in the parable. If Jesus teaches that God can be considered in feminine terms, why can’t I [or you]?

    And yes, there are many more where God is imaged as a man. But here is one that comes to my mind:
    8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  • Stephen A.

    Alexei notes (12:48 pm on August 9, 2006, above) that the ordination speech on the womenpriests’ Website doesn’t mention Christ. I checked it out and that’s correct. What a thing to leave out!

    On the same page is their draft Constitution, and among a *few* mentions of Christ there, these interesting “discussions” it wants to start can be found:

    “The end of enslavement of women through old fashioned rules about birth control”

    “Lowering of the risk of infection from HIV/AIDS through permission to use condoms”

    “Diminishing the stresses in cases of divorce by re-working the rules governing the divorce of Catholic marriages and the remarriage of divorced Catholics.”

    “A more lasting and honest engagement in ecumenism: Full recognition of the other Christian religions and a formation of common principles with the other religions in the world.”

    Why haven’t reporters dug into these aspects of the group? Certainly this list would raise the eyebrows of some Catholics. Or maybe not. Perhaps innovation is what’s expected from womanpriests.

  • Ashley

    Stephen,

    You do not think birth control, AIDS prevention, “allowing” more people to come to Eucharist, and ecumenism are good things?

    I know that for the first three, women and children are the biggest losers under current Church policy. [Sexism again, for those you who are counting]

    Ashley

  • Alexei

    Ashley,

    Conversations like this one remind me of something you might find interesting.

    Do you know which magazine was one of the most vocal supporters of legalized abortions in the 60s?

    Playboy.

    See, the perfect Playboy woman is ‘liberated,’ both sexually and socially, and in her liberation, men are liberated, too. They will never have to worry about supporting a child or committing to a relationship. Give thanks to God that Playboy has been such a supportive ally in your struggle against the patriarchy.

    At any rate, these things you’re talking about–birth control, ecumenism, the rejection of “Original Sin”–these all prove the point that so many people have been trying to make: there is nothing Roman Catholic about these Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Their mission is false; they do not seek to merely change one word in a canon. This is _almost always_ the case with any group promoting women’s ordination. And it is almost always the case that such groups fail to mention Christ as often as they should.

    I am truly sorry for your sake that the Christ was not a woman. Then this all would be so much easier for you.

  • Ashley

    Golly,

    We seem to be talking about two different things. I am talking about institutionalized oppression in the Catholic Church. I am not denying the divinity of Christ, apostolic succession, the Trinity, the Communion of Saints, the dogmas about Our Mother. That is what I thought Catholicism is all about.

    I don’t seem to recall Jesus saying too much about birth control or ecumenism. When asked why a man was born blind — was it his sin or his parents? — I recall that Jesus said “neither.”

    I believe the Creed, I believe in the sacraments. I believe there are non-negotiable issues for people of faith: See Matthew 25.

    I don’t believe in oppression, which, unfortunately, is something the instutional Catholic Church has a long history of perpetuating.

    Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe all the Institutional Church cares about is who is sleeping with whom, how, and why.

    I recognize that you, Alexi, are trying to be helpful when you say you are sorry for my sake.
    What I need from you is not pity or sympathy. I need you to listen to what I am saying and believe me.

    All I want is the same amount of dignity and credence you would give a man.

    Ashley

  • Alexei

    Ashley,

    I don’t seem to recall Jesus saying too much about stem cell research–does that mean there can’t be a Christian position on the issue?

    The Divinity of Christ, the Creed, Apostolic Succession–these are all things that we catholic Christians get from Tradition. And the overwhelming majority of that same Holy Tradition does not favor your position. Q.E.D.

    Please trust me when I say that I would write the exact same things to a man. What’s more, I can tell you that I only learned how to respect women because of my conversion to Orthodoxy. My girlfriend will be attending seminary very soon to be a theologian, and I couldn’t be happier. Even though she has some liberal tendencies, and would never be mistaken for a submissive Barbarella, she is scandalized by the mere mention of female ordination.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    UH, is anyone going to discuss whether the coverage of this issue — you know, the subject of the post — was accurate and balanced?

  • Stephen A.

    Ashley asks:
    “You do not think birth control, AIDS prevention, “allowing” more people to come to Eucharist, and ecumenism are good things?

    Sure. But my view is irrelevent here.

    I know that the Roman Catholic Church has specific policies related to these issues, and you’ve put quite a “spin” on them in that one sentence.

    Birth control is a great thing. I’m not Catholic, so I view it a bit differently, though I understand the Roman Catholic view on life issues. Apparently, these women do not share those views. That’s newsworthy and should be explored in print, especially if this leads to the “liberation” of women through abortion-on-demand for any female of child-bearing age (That, I believe, would be a break with tradition and RCC policies.) (/end ironic tone)

    AIDS prevention is a great thing. (That’s a straw woman. Who said it wasn’t?) The point was that the womenpriests apparently want to use this as a club to beat up the RCC and its policies. That’s newsworthy.

    “Allowing” more people to come to the Eucharist? I see by you putting “allowing” in quotes, you (and they) seem to think it should be freely given to all, even us protestants, and perhaps even to nice Buddhists. That’s not current policy, and is newsworthy that this fringe group seems to believe in Universalism, as opposed to mere ecumenism.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    A question, for those still on this thread: Why don’t these women join the Episcopal Church?

  • marK

    tmatt: A question, for those still on this thread: Why don’t these women join the Episcopal Church?

    That is an excellent question. If these women cannot accept the guidance of the Pope, then why are they hanging around?

  • Stephen A.

    Terry, even as a non-Catholic, I understand that being a Catholic has a lot to do with spiritual obedience to the pope’s leadership on moral and doctrinal issues.

    I can’t figure out why Catholics can’t understand that to strip this away makes them basically Protestant. It seems cut and dried to me that to NOT accept the pope’s teachings – or the Church’s longstanding traditions – makes one NOT a Roman Catholic, but something else.

    I’m sure some reporter, somewhere, raised this issue with one of the womenpriests, and her response made it into print. Right?

  • marK

    Stephen A.: I can’t figure out why Catholics can’t understand that to strip this away makes them basically Protestant. It seems cut and dried to me that to NOT accept the pope’s teachings – or the Church’s longstanding traditions – makes one NOT a Roman Catholic, but something else.

    That’s it, exactly. What is the point in the Pope occupying the seat of Peter if he is expected to bend to every wind that blows? If someone cannot see that, then what’s the difference between that and being Protestant?

  • Marianne

    I don’t understand how people who call themselves Christians can say such mean and hurtful things about a person they don’t know anything about. Eileen has fed the hungry, clothed the poor and nursed the sick. She has studied in the seminary for seven years. Forty-five years ago in first grade, one of my cathechism questions was “How did God make us?” He made us in His image and likeness. No one knows the guest list at the Last Supper – I can’t believe that Jesus wouldn’t have all of His friends at the table, both men and women alike. As women, do we not realize that we have no say in the rules of the Catholic Church, they are made by all men.

    Also, there have been 39 popes that have been married, and there are also Angelican priests who switched to Catholism and are now Roman Catholic priests. If the Catholic religion says priests are celibate, then they should have said “thanks, but no thanks” to these priests who are married and have children.

  • halflight

    Marianne

    I don’t understand how people who call themselves Christians can say such mean and hurtful things about a person they don’t know anything about.

    I, as a Baptist, do not understand how a person who who calls himself or herself “Roman Catholic” can publicly and flagrantly deny and show contempt for Roman Catholic teaching, and hold multiple press conferences to publicize the event to boot. But, hey, you know what sticklers we Baptists are about proper ecclesiastical authority. . .

    Eileen has fed the hungry, clothed the poor and nursed the sick.

    I’m sure that she has, and that’s admirable. So have many other people, and that alone doesn’t make them Christians, let alone communicants in good standing in the Roman Catholic Church. Does Eileen hold press conferences when she does her acts of charity? If not, why did she choose to do so about her “ordination”?

    I would suggest because she hoped to use a sympathetic reporter to bring social condemnation upon the Church in order to force it to conform to her (and the reporter’s) idea of justice. So the journalist effectually became Eileen’s propagandist, and any attempt to report the event honestly was abandoned. After all, what’s a little misrepresentation or biased reporting if it serves the greater cause of Eileen’s justice, right?

    If the Catholic religion says priests are celibate, then they should have said “thanks, but no thanks” to these priests who are married and have children.

    If Eileen says that a church must ordain women, then she should have said “thanks, but no thanks” to the Roman Catholic Church–without a press conference.

    Instead, she chose to turn a sacrament into a publicity stunt. Ugh.

  • marianne

    What press conferences did Eileen hold?

    But I still can not understand why Christians think she should go to hell, has a mortal sin, wishes the boat that she was ordained in – sink – I could go on and on. These are very unchristian remarks to say. Many of these people don’t mention the priest who have abused children. Your remark about “If eileen says that a church must ordain women, then she should have said “thanks, but no thanks” – why would she have done that when she wanted to a priest. So many people who have responded mention the celibacy of priests, and I’m just saying that there are married priests and asking the question why if the church has a rule of celibacy why did they let Episopalian priests become Roman Catholic Priests. I for one have no problem with it, but the church made this exception. I also realize that many people do numerous acts of charity, but wanted to let people know that Eileen has always followed Jesus’ golden rule – love one another has I have loved you. And no, she does not have press conferences on her acts of charity.

  • halflight

    What press conferences did Eileen hold?

    Why do you think the reporter knew that a Roman Catholic Mass would be celebrated at a Methodist church by a woman “priest”? I would suggest Eileen and her supporters called the press, that’s why. To clarify the true nature of the event, she and her supporters gave quotes to the reporter afterward criticizing Roman Catholic teaching about the ordination of women. From what Colimere quotes, even her homily seems to have been a spiritualized criticism of Church teaching:

    In her homily, DiFranco said people today sometimes found “very little that is meaningful in the teachings of the church about Jesus.” Churches that were full two generations ago, she said, “are emptying out, and parishes are closing… .

    “Some think that a return to those pietistic days of yesteryear, where the laity knew its place and only the priests knew and spoke the words of God, will repopulate the seminaries and repack the pews.”

    Toward the end of her homily, DiFranco told the congregation that “in Jesus, there was never a disconnect… . The words excommunication and intrinsically disordered would not have been part of Jesus’ vocabulary.”

    Note the photographer visible behind the table with Eileen. Is it common practice during mass to have professional photographers behind the communion table to get a better angle?

    At least in my understanding, a sacrament is sacred, not a public platform for protest.

    But I still can not understand why Christians think she should go to hell, has a mortal sin, wishes the boat that she was ordained in – sink – I could go on and on.

    I went back through this whole thread, and didn’t see those kind of comments. Rather, I saw criticism of both Eileen’s and the reporter’s dishonesty in representing her as a Roman Catholic priest when she clearly is not. Wishing does not make it so.

    I’m sure that there are many Roman Catholics who are deeply offended by Eileen using the eucharist to launch attacks on the Church, and many have said things that they shouldn’t have said.

    On the other hand, how do you think committed feminists would respond to a group of conservative Catholic women who maintained membership in NOW under false pretenses, and publicized a NOW “chapter” meeting as a press junket to criticize legal abortion?

    Probably with even less charitable words.

    Many of these people don’t mention the priest who have abused children.

    The next time you see a newspaper article lauding a pedophile priest’s celebration of the mass, let me know.

    Your remark about “If eileen says that a church must ordain women, then she should have said “thanks, but no thanks” – why would she have done that when she wanted to a priest.

    Eileen knew that the RCC did not ordain women. I suspect that she also knew from her years at seminary the proper procedure for changing church practice. She chose to ignore those things in order to satisfy her own wants.

    A more honest approach would be to leave the Church and enter a communion (like the Episcoalian Church) that ordains women. But that wouldn’t generate publicity for her cause, now would it?

  • marianne

    I would like to tell you that Eileen herself did not call any reporters, maybe her supporters did, which I thought was allowed in this country but she did not. Also, there were no reporters or no photographs allowed at her Mass on August 6. They were not allowed in the church, but were outside the whole time.If you read the comments from the Philadelphia Inquirer those were the comments said about her going to hell, etc, but you are right they are not in this message board. Eileen does not want to leave the Church, she loves the Church. No way is she looking for publicity, but change. An unjust law must be changed, and if it cannot be changed it must be broken. Although there are many people who disagree with Eileen, there are also many people who stand behind her, and they are not all women. They come from all walks of life, priests and nuns alike, old men and women, middle aged people and young people. There have been many women who have been fighting for Women’s ordination for over 30 years. Women, just like men, who knew from the time they were 10 years old that they had a call from God but denied this right. I remember in my first grade cathechism that God made us in His image and likeness.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Just a gentle reminder that this is not the place to debate female ordination. Rather, this is the place to debate media coverage of same.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Marianne:

    The issue of married priests who ARE in Communion — large C — is a very good story. Why the exceptions?

    Of course I think this, I am Eastern Orthodox and we have married priests and that has been the practice for centuries and centuries, as it once was in Rome.

  • marK

    The story of ordaining females in a church which forbids it is at its heart the story of a member who disagrees with a policy of an organization they voluntarily belong to. The Press gets involved because conflicts generally make good news copy, and the member tends to like publicity hoping to bring pressure upon the organization.

    The stories seldom last. The rebel has their fifteen minutes of fame and then are forgotten.

  • marianne

    Thanks Mollie – you are right. I guess when I read untruths in some of these emails I can’t help but respond. To let everyone know, the picture on top is not from the July 31 ordination. You can agree or disagree with Eileen on her ordination, but one thing is sure Eileen is a kind, loving and giving person. And I would like to emphasize again, that she has never called any reporters, they seek her out. I’m assuming they do because there are so many people interested in women’s ordination.

    Thank you.

  • halflight

    Marianne:

    I would like to tell you that Eileen herself did not call any reporters, maybe her supporters did, which I thought was allowed in this country but she did not.

    Maybe? Undoubtedly they did, if she didn’t. And it certainly was legal, although it also certainly makes the Mass look like a publicity stunt to embarass the RCC.

    Also, there were no reporters or no photographs allowed at her Mass on August 6.They were not allowed in the church, but were outside the whole time.

    Then how did Colimere manage to quote her homily at length? Were printed copies of the homily passed out to the reporters afterward? And I notice that you say there were more reporters than just Colimere, which means that other newspapers were called. This doesn’t seem like a press conference to you?

    No way is she looking for publicity, but change.

    I would suggest that she intentionally is generating negative publicity to force the RCC to change to her liking. She’s given interviews to both Colimere and Susan Snyder with quotes about the RCC and the local bishop such as:

    “So I would assume he’s calling me a public scandal. I find that more offensive than the excommunication, given the situation in Philadelphia with the grand jury report [showing that church leaders] engaged in scandalous behavior to cover up a sexual-abuse scandal,” said DiFranco, a resident of Mount Airy and mother of four.

    Now what does the sex-abuse scandal have to do with her ordination? Nothing, except that it’s good copy to discredit the bishop in the newspaper. Should the bishop respond in kind and mention some of Eileen’s sins to the press in order to discredit her? Is that the way Christians behave?