A “Saintly Smackdown” What If: Women Priests

A “Saintly Smackdown” What If: Women Priests October 28, 2012

Hi guys — sorry for the radio silence here on the blog over the past few days. I was engulfed in traveling to and presenting at this year’s wonderful University of Dallas Ministry Conference. The event was — as always — well organized and enthusiastically attended. Before I launch into the “meat” of this post, a few random observations:

  • This year’s conference was moved to a new venue: the Irving Convention Center. This meant I really didn’t even set foot in Dallas, simply passed back and forth between the lovely Omni Mandalay and the conference. I loved the venue, but could have done without the canine next-door neighbor who shared my Eastern bedroom wall. He apparently suffers from severe separation anxiety…
  • I had two interesting Twitter conversations — that is, two “real life” conversations with people on the topic of Twitter. One of these chats found Paul Snatchko of Magnificat and me trying to convince NC Reporter’s John Allen that he needs to be on Twitter. The second involved helping another person (who shall for the moment go nameless) try to retrieve his or her Twitter password. If that person begins tweeting, I will claim an “assist”.
  • Ave Maria Press family at University of Dallas Ministry Conference

    My publisher rocks! Ave Maria Press sponsored several of us at the conference and played host to a lovely dinner and numerous book signings. I’m blessed to be part of such a great team. If you enjoy having authors speak at events like this, please support our Catholic publishers by buying books! With the Christmas giving season coming up, please consider great Catholic books as a gift that will keep on giving…

And now onto the topic of today’s post. A few weeks ago, I blogged about my big mistake when I neglected to give proper acknowledgement and thanks to those who serve in the role of permanent deacon. We had a great combox conversation and you can be assured that I’m actively praying for and publicly thanking every deacon I can find these days. I certainly will never make that mistake again. During this weekend’s “Saintly Smackdown” in Dallas, I suggested a rousing ovation for the deacon who was among us. He, along with the religious sisters, brothers, seminarians and priests in the room received much support from the audience.

What I didn’t have to deal with was recognizing the two “women priests” who were roaming the convention center dressed in full roman collar. I actually don’t think I spotted them for the first time until after I’d given my talk. Apparently, they were thankfully not interested in what I had to say and attended another presentation. I did continue to see them a few more times throughout the weekend as they interacted with others at the event.

On the way home yesterday, I asked myself what I would have said or done had they been:

1. In my talk
2. Identified themselves when I asked members of the clergy, religious and those in training for vocations to please rise and be recognized

It’s likely that I would not have verbally acknowledged them in any way and would simply have moved along. I’m glad that I have some time now to ponder the question, and thought I’d bring it to you, our “think tank”, to see how you might handle such a situation. I am not a confrontational person by nature, so it’s highly unlikely that I would have engaged them in front of a group of conference attendees who had come to hear a talk on the saints. I’m sure it would have definitely thrown me off my game, which is another reason to thoughtfully prepare in advance for possible future talks. Truthfully though, I do wish I could have had a few moments of quiet conversation with them to simply better understand how they could so forcibly and visually go against the teachings of the Church.

So I’m leaving this to you — if you saw them (the “women priests”), would you ask them about their positions? Would you acknowledge their presence or simply be polite and move along? Please be clear that I’m not wanting to have a conversation here on the merits of women’s ordination. Rather, I’m asking what you’d do given the current teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. Let’s have a respectful dialogue in the comments below so that I’ll be better prepared for the future.

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