WABAC: How to cover a priestess story

wayback400The Divine Mrs. M.Z. Hemingway has, through the ages, written more than her share of posts on this blog about the women who are holding ordination rites and then proclaiming that they are now Roman Catholic priests.

So, this time around, I thought I would take a shot at one of these stories. However, I was slow at the switch and young master Daniel jumped in front of me with some comments focusing on new coverage of a controversial ordination service in St. Louis.

This is going to be strange. But I want to jump in the WABAC machine and take a look at an earlier news feature that Tim Townsend of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote about the controversy that led up to the actual ordination service.

If you want to know how to cover a story rooted in an obvious clash between liberal and traditional groups, this is the way to do it. Welcome to “How to cover a priestess story 101.” The tensions are there, of course, between the local Roman Catholic leadership and their friends in the Jewish community. But that is not the real issue. Townsend makes sure that everyone knows who is who and who is not who.

Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath want to be Roman Catholic priests. Their ordinations will not be recognized by the church, which does not ordain women as priests.

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has reacted strongly, and Jewish leaders are questioning the synagogue’s decision to host the ceremony.

The president of the Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis, who is Jewish, said the decision by Central Reform Congregation may have been a mistake.

Now that wasn’t all that hard, was it? A woman cannot be ordained a priest in a global Communion — built on a clear chain of authority — that does not ordain women to the priesthood. It’s kind of like this: The folks at Apple cannot hold a meeting and elect Steve Jobs as the new CEO of Microsoft (not that he would want the job).

Masthead RCWP 700However, Townsend’s reporting includes the kinds of details that let us know this fight isn’t between the Catholic establishment and the local Jewish community. No, this is a fight inside the local Catholic community — as is the case all across America. This was a case of some active local Catholics deciding that enough was enough. They were going to act on the convictions they had been expressing in other channels for a long time.

Thus, we read:

Hudson, 67, is a grandmother of 11 from Festus who retired three years ago after 40 years as a teacher, the last 21 in the St. Louis public school system. McGrath, 69, of St. Louis, has eight great-grandchildren and recently retired after a dozen years as an editor at a Catholic publishing house. Before that, she was a campus minister at St. Louis University.

After their ordination Sunday, Hudson and McGrath say that they will co-pastor a faith community and that they will celebrate Mass each Saturday at the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis in the Central West End.

I was left with one or two questions. Before she moved to the public schools, was Hudson a teacher in Catholic schools? That detail would have provided one more piece in the puzzle. Also, what was the name of the Catholic publishing house at which McGrath was an editor?

Meanwhile, the key details on the Womenpriests group have not changed. We are still looking for the names of the Catholic bishops who are supposed to have ordained the first women back at the head of this chain reaction. Catholicism — like Eastern Orthodoxy — has a two-step test for ordination, requiring right orders and right doctrine. Something tells me that Rome would have questions about the right doctrine of any bishop who ordained women to the priesthood.

The two women will be ordained as priests of an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which, in its constitution, defines itself as “an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church.”

The group was founded in 2002, when seven women were ordained aboard a boat on the Danube River in Germany. All of them were later excommunicated. The organization says other women have since been ordained by male Roman Catholic bishops, including Patricia Fresen, a former Dominican nun and Roman Catholic Womenpriests bishop, who will ordain Hudson and McGrath.

The group insists that it is Roman Catholic, but the church says it is not.

That’s stating the matter rather clearly.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    I am going to get a bunch of friends together to “elect” me, and announce that I am a senator. Do you think I can get the papers to cover my claim?

  • Jerry

    Will, you have my vote if you’ll also approve my ordination as Lord High Executioner and Chief Inquisitor in the Most Holy and Exalted “catholic” Church.

  • Jerry

    I forgot to say that I loved the punny use of Peabody and Sherman in front of the Way Back Machine. Jay Ward is way up there in the pantheon of TV creators and producers in my eyes for his ability to produce cartoons which appeal to children and adults. I still remember how Peabody and Sherman dealt with Edgar Allen Poe’s being too happy to write his greatest works – wait for the mailman to deliver notice of a tax audit.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The fact of the matter is that those who want priestesses see that in history, for 2000 years, those heretical groups that ordained women soon ceased to exist –sometimes rather quickly. So the only solution is to “crack” the Mother Church–and they know it. Look at what is happening to the mainstream Protestant churches today–some will soon have only a female clergy and that will be their death rattle.
    But the secular MSM could care less–they would love to see the Catholic Church inflict its own self-destruction by ordaining priestesses.

  • http://rub-a-dub.blogspot.com Mattk

    this is the most accurte reporting I have seen on the subject.

  • http://janellen.blogspot.com Jane Ellen+

    In addition to clearly and accurately reporting both sides and their views, I would respectfully suggest that one of the virtues of this story is that the reporter refrains from hot button buzzwords and phrases indicating disrespect or disparagement. Might you consider doing likewise in your commentary? Even as you may dispute the validity of ordaining a woman to the priesthood (especially in the Roman Catholic Church), the “priestess story” jab is unnecessary.

  • Julia

    this is the most accur[a]te reporting I have seen on the subject.

    Besides being a perceptive journalist, I think it helps that TMatt is Orthodox. He knows that an Archbishop has no authority to create or recognize women priests – end of story. And the attempt by anyone else is a nullity.

    Supposedly the beginning of the WomenPriest ordination chain is/was a disgruntled Argentinian bishop – no name has been made public that I know. BUT, I think 3 current bishops in good standing have to be involved in ordaining a new bishop; and there has to be an official document from Rome(authorizing the new bishop by name)in order to ordain a bishop. From my perch in the choirloft I witnessed the very public inspection by a special committee of the official Vatican documents at Archbishop Burke’s installment at St Louis and Bishop Braxton’s installment in Belleville across the river. So the whole womenpriest thing is a mummery – from the Catholic perspective. Their ordaining bishop is not in good standing, even if she was a man.

  • Nescio

    Deacon Bresnahan:

    While as a practicing Roman Catholic I wholly support the Church and her decision not to ordain women, I do not see why ordination of women would necessarily be a death knell. Female ordination, by virtue of the fact that the Church will never allow it, seems to be contrary to the will of God; but this is the only reason why I could see women’s ordination as being deadly to the Church.

    Could you elaborate for us why you believe a female-dominated clergy to be the ‘death rattle’ of the Protestant churches, and why women’s ordination would be deadly to the Roman Catholic Church?

  • Martha

    Jane Ellen, how else would you describe these women? They are not priests; they may be officials in their own organisation, but the only pertinent description of them is priestess. It’s a valid historical term, why the dislike of it?

  • H. E. Baber

    The ordination ceremony in which these women participated is ILLEGAL: there is no disagreement about the fact that it is against Church law or the fact that they will not be able to function as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. It is, however, a disputed question whether the ordination ceremony is VALID, that is, crudely, whether it’s conferred the power to do transubstantiation. That’s a theological issue about which Roman Catholics and others disagree.

    If the ordination was valid they are priests; if it was not valid they are not priests. In either case, they are not priestesses. “Priestesses” is a word opponents of women’s ordination, particularly those in the Episcopal Church, use to ridicule the idea of women’s ordination and to use it is precisely not to take a neutral, journalistic stance regarding a controversial theological issue.

    I suppose you could call them “putative priests”–or just call them “women” or “people.” I’m not sure though whether referring to them as “priests” commits you to holding that they really are priests: don’t Roman Catholics, who don’t recognize the validity of Anglican orders, call Episcopal clergy “priests”?

  • http://janellen.blogspot.com Jane Ellen+

    Martha: The only thing I would add is that it is a “valid historical term” only within pagan traditions; the suggestion is that a woman priest is not Christian. It is the same viewpoint that refers to the Holy Eucharist celebrated by a woman as a “black mass” (yes, I have heard this said; no, I was not the celebrant in question).

  • Mark J.

    In the Episcopal Church the term we use for an ordained woman is… Priest.

  • Julia

    don’t Roman Catholics, who don’t recognize the validity of Anglican orders, call Episcopal clergy “priests”?

    The problem is that they are claiming to be “priests of the Roman Catholic Church”. If they were claiming to be priests of the Church of England, then whether they are priests would be up to the applicable rules and powers that be in the Church of England.

    If these women were “ordained” irregularly as far as CofE rules are concerned, I’m sure you wouldn’t want Catholics to recognize them as priests of the Episcopal Church.

  • Bookmark

    I agree that the article is pretty good. It would be more precise to write, instead of “their ordinations will not be recognized by the church,” to write that “their ordinations will be considered null and void by the church.” I might add that, according to the Code of Canon Law, that would be true even if (though unthinkable) they were “ordained” by the Pope himself.

  • http://www.southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com Fr Joseph Huneycutt

    Why use discriminatory terms at all? Why not just say “Some persons were set apart to serve God at table?” Yet, using “set apart” sounds elitist. “Some persons … serve God at table.” Oops, “serve” sounds slavish. Okay. How ’bout: “Persons and God at table?” But that makes God look like ALL-THAT and all … So, I’d recommend: “Ohhhhhhhhmmmmmm.”

    As in Ohhhhhhhmmmmmm-my goodness we’ve strayed from topic again!

    Were we talking about fiction, we could say, “Today, we call them Martians. However, should we ever make contact with the inhabitants of Mars, we should call them whatever they call themselves.”

    Yet, when talking about revealed Truth and Church Tradition, analogies fail.

    He/She/Them/It who define da terms controls da debate.

  • Alexei

    Nescio:

    Female ordination…seems to be contrary to the will of God; but this is the only reason why I could see women’s ordination as being deadly to the Church.

    Do you need a better reason than that?

  • http://none Rick Isserman

    The Arch-Bishop and his interfaith liason person has black-listed a Jewish Reform Congregation from full participation in Interfaith work. That is the issue. The Jewish community response should be to exclude the Archdiocese, since Arch-Bishop Burke wants to send relations back to the 1920′s anyway let him.

  • Stephen A.

    The Arch-Bishop and his interfaith liason person has black-listed a Jewish Reform Congregation from full participation in Interfaith work. That is the issue. The Jewish community response should be to exclude the Archdiocese, since Arch-Bishop Burke wants to send relations back to the 1920’s anyway let him.

    Perhaps the Archbishop believes protecting his Church’s rites is more important than interfaith dialogue? I know it’s un-PC to say this, but there it is.

    The only problem here is that it’s perceived that the Jewish Congregation interfered with (and some would say mocked) the rituals of the Catholic Church by hosting a heretical gathering and then celebrating it, as if to say the Roman Catholic Church was somehow being discriminatory, oppressive and ‘unfair’ for not ordaining women. As if the Jewish Congregation had a say in the matter.

    The Jewish leaders of that Congregation don’t see anything wrong with any of that, perhaps, but the Church has a *bit* of a right to be offended by their actions.

    I wonder how Jewish people in the area would react if a Catholic Church in the area started ordaining “Christian rabbis” in their church, based on criterea Catholics dream up for them, and using rituals they create out of their imaginations?

  • Brian Walden

    H.E. Baber wrote:

    It is, however, a disputed question whether the ordination ceremony is VALID, that is, crudely, whether it’s conferred the power to do transubstantiation. That’s a theological issue about which Roman Catholics and others disagree.

    Maybe I’m not understanding all the nuances of this, but how can an ordination of women be valid? Only men can be ordained to the priesthood – women are improper matter for the sacrament. Baptizing someone with their favorite flavor of cola would make the sacrament invalid; celebrating Eucharist with rice cakes and/or juice would make the sacrament invalid; marrying a couple which doesn’t consist of one consenting man and one consenting woman would make the sacrament invalid. What makes Holy Orders any different?

  • http://ontheotherfoot.blogspot.com Joel

    I notice that there’s no mention of either woman’s marital status, which seemed like a bit of a gap. Granted, women who insist on “ordination” in spite of the Church’s dogma aren’t going to balk at the celibacy requirement. Still, since women’s ordination and married priests are often treated as twin issues, it seems like some passing mention might have been helpful, if only so the reader could marvel at our backwardness on two points instead of one.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    Right , Stephen. The Archbishop raised it himself in a statement on his official site:

    As I explained in my letter to Rabbi Talve, it would be as if I, as Archbishop of St. Louis, would host an event at the Cathedral Basilica, which would simulate a Jewish ritual which at the same time would be offensive to the Jewish faith.

    I understand that some Jews object to churches holding “seders” for their members during Holy Week. Are the critics desecrating “interfaith relations” and “trying to take things back to 1920″?

    [Pause for cries of "That's DIFFERENT!]

    As usual, it seems to depend on whose ox is gored.

  • Martha

    H.E., if you take umbrage at the word “priestess” as being disparaging due to its gender-related clarity (as some object to ‘actress’, declaring that all are ‘actors’), then I’m afraid the ladies in question make a BIG! POINT! OF! BEING! WOMEN! in their very name: Roman Catholic WomenPriests.

    They are not content to be known simply as priests, as women, as people, they want to be especially marked out as WOMEN priests.

    Calling them “priestesses” is a more elegant and linguistically fitting solution, don’t you think?

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    Do you also call Mrs. Clinton a “senatoress”? After all, she makes a big point of being a woman, as do others. Do you know any Protestant minstresses?

    Meanwhile (slatts.blogspot.com, which does not give a source for what APPEARS to be a quotation), the women have been summoned to appear before an ecclesiastical court on Dec. 3rd (which, of course, they have no intention of doing.) This sounds like more than “automatic” excommunication is involved.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    All right, according to AP (and Catholic News Agency)

    Burke’s three-page letter admonished the women to “renounce any attempts” to celebrate Mass, hear confessions or officiate at any other sacrament under the “penalty of interdict.”

    Interdiction is the withholding of Holy Communion and other church sacraments “until they acknowledge what they’ve done is wrong,” said the Rev. Arthur Espelage, executive coordinator for the Canon Law Society of America.

    Which confuses me even more, as it does not sound any different from “excommunication”, and is utterly different from what I, a good medievalist, was taught that “interdict” meant. However much some people might like to see Missouri (or the District of Columbia) placed under interdict.

  • Brian Walden

    Will, Wikipedia actually gives a pretty good explanation of what interdict means within Catholicism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdict_(Roman_Catholic_Church)

  • Brian Walden

    Do you also call Mrs. Clinton a “senatoress”? After all, she makes a big point of being a woman, as do others. Do you know any Protestant minstresses?

    Senator Clinton is truly a senator. Female Protestant ministers are truly Protestant ministers. These women are truly not Catholic priests and shouldn’t be called such.

  • Julia

    See my comments under the “Dark Ages continue in Baltimore” post.

    I’ve linked and copied relevant parts of Canon Law that pertain to the St Louis mess as well as the one in Maryland.

    Somebody commented on the Romney post that it’s very useful to understand another’s beliefs – not to be converted, but to understand what’s being said or going on. That’s what I’m trying to do.

    Americans are used to English Common Law and misunderstand a lot of what goes on in European Civil and Canon Law situations. A lot of the problem is different terminology and procedures. We often baffle the Europeans for the same reason.

  • http://aconservativesiteforpeace.info The young fogey

    My pennorth.

    I believe in calling people what they want to be called at least out of courtesy but I don’t call something Roman Catholic that is not under Rome, nor do I say ‘priestess’ (‘not recognised by Rome and the larger Catholic world’ does not mean ‘not Christian’; I agree!).

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    That article says that “For a lay member of the church, it is basically equivalent to excommunication.” So why the ‘ell don’t ‘e bloody say so? Especially since by the time they get around to it, we can anticipate that the subjects will incure excommunication latae sententiae.
    ” These women are truly not Catholic priests and shouldn’t be called such.”
    This argument also justifies calling them “chiropolidi” or “goobleschmetzen”.
    Objectivity does not mean using an inflection which is used only for a)neo-pagans or b)name-calling purposes. The same sort of people tend to resort to things like insisting on calling Jeffets-Schori “Kate” and acting like that proves something.
    Sorry, I don’t see any difference between them and the grade-school bullies who chanted “Dilly Dinden!”

  • http://janellen.blogspot.com Jane Ellen+

    The Young Fogey is correct in his distinction: while this group may see themselves as following in the Roman Catholic tradition, they are not Roman Catholic, having been specifically repudiated by Rome. Whether one agrees or disagrees with any of the actions in question (ordination or excommunication) those are simply the facts about the way things stand.

    Martha: It seems to me that this is where your objection lies, and I can see your point. This is the reason, for example, that I wear a banded collar and not a tab (“Roman”) clerical shirt; I do not want to give a false impression, or seem to be trying to be other than what I am.

    Yes, I am a priest– of the Anglican (Episcopal), not Roman Catholic, variety. I am also a woman; but in the process of living out my call, I do not focus on that because, as my children would say, “It’s not about me.” My service is about God, and what God has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ.

    With due respect, this is why I object to the “priestess” terminology. One may question the validity of women called to Holy Orders, just as one may argue any theological belief or practice– say, for example, the validity of infant baptism. I will firmly disagree with my Anabaptist friends who do not recognize same; but that does not mean I would set them outside the Christian faith.

    Likewise I am, above all things, a follower of Jesus as Lord and Savior; and I find suggestion to the contrary offensive.

  • Brian Walden

    Will,

    I never knew that priestess referred only to pagans and neo-pagans. Maybe its a generational thing or maybe the area where I grew up, but I never even made the connection between priestess and pagan. I also have no idea what Dilly Dinden means – that may also be another generational/geographical thing.

    What should Catholics call these women? If Roman Catholic Womanpriests claimed that they were separate from the Catholic Church, even if that claim was that the Catholic Church was wrong and that they were the true church that Christ founded (not that they would ever make such an absolute statement), Catholics could call them something like priests of the RCW denomination or something like that. But these woman don’t choose a name for themselves which a Catholic can use in good conscience. These women are not priests of the Catholic Church, nor of any other denomination that I know of. They are not priests.

    Bishop Jeffets-Schori is really an Episcopalian Bishop, which is why referring to her in a way that that diminishes her position is wrong. The Roman Catholic Womanpriests organization is a bunch of wolves in sheep’s clothing. They choose to not only harm their own souls but to try to lead countless others into sin with them. I don’t know if priestess means pagan (maybe I’m out of the loop and the priestess does mean pagan for most people), but it certainly implies that that these woman are not Catholic priests and are dangerous for Catholics to participate in mock sacraments with. From the Catholic perspective, priestess seems to be an accurate term for describing what they are.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    I only state facts about how words are really being used in the real world. Just as it is a fact that you never hear anyone say “I belong to a cult.” It is not my responsibility if you have not been paying attention.

    See, for instance, Ken Larson’s comment to the Nov. 10th post on “Dark Ages in Baltimore”:

    I do not know of Baltimore’s new Archbishop but if he’s orthodox and a good Catholic, he may be taking his stance with the priest because of the “inclusion” of the Episcopal priestess.

    I guess Mr. Larson has not gotten the word about your “correct” distinction. Neither has Mark Shea, nor other
    “traditional” bloggers.

    You might turn your attention to the offenders instead of rebuking those who are offended by their language. I am sure they will hasten to accept your “correction”.

  • Michele

    At Sunday’s event I found myself questioning: Is being inclusive something we think we will just arrive at, or is it something we strive to have in our lives on an ongoing basis, putting aside our differences and celebrating our similarities in an atmosphere of peace and acceptance?
    For some people, like Rabbi Susan, doing the right thing comes easier than for most of us. We might think about what others might think or say; sometimes letting our egos get in the way. I’ve watched her pray with the utmost care to be about moving forward in serving her community with holy intent. She weighs everything before making hard decisions she is well aware will affect those around her.

    This past Sunday, I was immersed in sounds of inclusiveness vocalized by the multi-denominational choir on one side of me and a smorgasbord of chatter from interfaith volunteers in our kitchen on the other side. Looking around the room, I could visualize the truth of this interfaith event as the choir sang “All Are Welcome.” I felt a little closer to everyone around me when the choir sang a litany of our shared ancestors; the same ones we mention each Shabbat: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Miriam. I looked around again and realized our shelter of peace was filled with those seeking refuge for the holy intent found in their hearts. I said a silent prayer asking God to give these women the strength they will need for the road they are about to walk down.

    I realized my purpose for being there was to continue my education, witness a holy event experienced through my Jewish faith and interaction with other faiths to create inclusiveness on a regular basis, and learn how to walk in the ways of my words. There is power in our words and how we choose to use them. When we say we are inclusive, we don’t get to say… “Except for…”

    I can retell Sunday’s events only from my perspective of a Jew by Choice. I feel it has enriched my spiritual growth to see our words put into actions supporting our values. While we all see God from different perspectives, there is only one Source of all Creation and we are all part of that Oneness. Acceptance of our differences would seem to be the key to… Shalom.

  • Brian Walden

    Will,

    I agree with you that one shouldn’t refer to validly ordained priests as priestesses unless that’s what they call themselves.

    But what should we call the women of the RC Womanpriest movement? To call them priests is a lie and is offense to Catholics.

  • Brian Walden

    Michele,

    Does it enrich your spiritual growth to mock another religious group’s ceremonies and values? Does faking the ordination of another religion’s clergy create an atmosphere of peace and acceptance? How does that help to create inclusiveness?

    It sounds like you’re saying you’re inclusive, except for religious groups who maintain the right to ordain their own clergy. So much for accepting our differences – you won’t even tolerate them, let alone accept them.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    So why don’t you feel free, if you must, to call them “pseudo-priests” or “putative priests” or “self-styled priest”, or, if you want to feel more sophisticated “soi-disant priests”?
    What is the problem there? Insufficiently dehumanizing?

    Part of the problem is that according to Roman Catholic teaching (specifically the bull Apostolicae Curae), all Anglican clergy, whatever their gender or personal habits, are likewise “pseudo-priests” and “pseudo-bishops”, their ordination rites being “absolutely null and utterly void on the ground of “defective intention”.
    Neuhaus repeats a story about a Catholic bishop who publicly referred to an American woman as “Bishop so-and-so”. When taken to task for this, he retorted “Why not? She’s as much a bishop as the rest of them.”

    See what a nice corner you paint yourself into?

  • Brian Walden

    Will,

    I don’t see a corner. Calling Anglican priests Anglican priests means that they are not Catholic priests. That’s why that priest got in trouble for letting an Episcopalian priest read the Gospel at Mass. Yet we can still respect their position within the Anglican Church. These women have no position within any religious group. If I claimed to be a priest, I wouldn’t deserve respect for it. I don’t see why women who have the gall to mock Catholics everywhere should either.

    What’s dehumanizing about priestess? Last I checked to be a priestess means you’re a human. As I’ve said before I don’t support the term being used for validly ordained ministers of a religious group unless they refer to themselves as that. But I don’t see the problem in calling the women of RC Womenpriests that. I looked up priestess on webster.com and there weren’t any references to paganism or witchcraft. Priestess is a position which does not exist in the Catholic Church. Since these women don’t claim that their are ordained priests of a Christian denomination, I feel that that priestess accurately describes what they are. Why is it any worse than the terms you suggest?

    Without context I have no idea what your story about Neuhaus is about. I’m going to guess you mean this woman claimed to be a Catholic Bishop. Which would also make me guess that the “them” in Neuhauses comment refers to the rest of the womenpriests (Is womanpriest acceptable, I’d agree to that over priestess if you feel priestess can be confused with witchcraft) – meaning the none of them are priests. But I don’t know the context, it could mean many things. And what’s Neuhaus got to do with it?

  • Michele

    to Brian Walden from Michele

    I can’t see where providing space for someone to worship God according to their beliefs constitutes mocking anyone. Anyone can, and will, make it mean what they want and without my input. I am not really here to judge anyone – only walk my own path back to God, including loving my brothers. I have friends of many different faiths and can be respectful of our differences and the right to our differences as well as celebrate those things we share in common. I would hope my faith does not need to make you wrong to make me right or to justify anything. Unfortunately you can’t please everyone all the time. Something happens or someone says something. That’s all there is to it. Then the human being comes along and wants to make it mean something. We are meaning-making machines. We can choose to take the higher road and find the good in whatever happens, or not. That seems to be where some of us differ – some choose to look at the positive involved in what happened, others look only at what they consider the negative. There is both positive and negative in everything – it is up to us to find and maintain the balance between them.

    One of our beliefs is to open our home to the stranger. If someone doesn’t agree with it, I wouldn’t call that mocking my belief – just a difference in perspective. Something happened and the Archbishop got offended, and he chose to take the lower road instead of adhearing to the Golden Rule. Wouldn’t a leader of people have chosen to turn the other cheek, practiced forgiveness, vengence is mine says the Lord, there are a lot of good, positive examples one could have chose to lead by, yet unfortuntely it didn’t happen.Yet, we are all human, including an Archbishop of St. Louis. So now we all say we are sorry, forgive each other the real or preceived hurts and mend relations to start fresh once more.
    So, to start, I’m sorry if something I said or something I believe in offended you – it really wasn’t meant to. I know I am only a piece of the total picture.

  • Stephen A.

    Words have meaning, and to say “I’m a Catholic Priest” when one is not, and has not attained that title in a legitimate way from the proper authorities, is wrong.

    Sorry to be so “judgemental” about that, but it’s a fact. Those who ignore the meaning of words, or seek to break them down so that they can mean anything one “feels” they should mean (all the while lathering them up in psychobabble, touchy-feely newagespeak) is doing something rather insidious to the language, to the culture and to the Faiths involved. Not to mention doing great damage to both the concept of rational discussion (taking us down rabbit holes like feelings, emotions and the like) and to the concept of reason-informed judgement, something these ladies lacked when they decided to bust their way into the priesthood of their church simply by demanding it to be so.

    Being ‘human’ has little to do with this issue, other than the self-evident fact that all the players ARE human, and that it’s very human to want to invent things that aren’t real and to innovate when millennia-old traditions seem suddenly “unfair.”