Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Veruca Salt as a priest?

But Daddy, I want it! Mark Peters asked about the ceremony on the St. Lawrence River yesterday, in which nine women were "ordained" as priest and deacons. I was going to comment on this even anyway, and my POV is pretty simple. These folks had themselves a little to-do on the river, during which they imitated priests. It's about as valid as the RCMP swearing ceremony I had in my backyard on the weekend, during which I gave myself the right to make a jackass of myself until the wee hours. It seemed to work quite well until the "real" RCMP showed up and shut the whole thing down, the dirty fascists.
"We are worker priests," she said. "We will not be able to have parishes and that sort of thing because the church clearly forbids that, but we are doing our work in the world for humanity so we'll move forward with our work." The ordination was carried out by three of the women who were ordained in the European ceremony and later excommunicated and by the director of the group's Roman Catholic women priests ordination program. Reynolds was not deterred by excommunication, saying it is only a punishment that is given by the church. "It cannot take away the fact that in my soul I am Roman Catholic and will always be Roman Catholic and that is between me and my God. So the Vatican can offer excommunication as a punishment that I might be denied the sacrament in the church. The sacraments belong to everyone, I believe."
Can anyone follow the logic of this? This person has thrown Apostolic Succession out the window and feels she has to answer to no one but her own private idea of God. This is Canada and you can do that; but Catholic it is not. That claptrap about not having parishes "because the church forbids it" is rather suspect. The church does not believe it has the power to ordain women, but they've overlooked that in order to have a little show. Why stop there? The real reason they're 'respecting' the no parish thing is because 1) no one has handed them one and 2) property laws protect church property and attempting to seize it will land you in jail. Btw, I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as "Roman Catholic women priests ordination program." It seems to me that this group has reporters eating out of their hands. They can call themselves anything, create programs out of thin air, and no journalist, it seems, is willing to do even the most rudimentary fact checking before going to print. Father Raymond DeSouza had a good editorial on this subject in The National Post this morning. He reminded us that in the Gospels, Jesus overturned a number of customs and social expectations. At no point did he ordain a woman or speak to the subject. That leaves us two responses: 1) The gospels have been tampered with in order to discredit women, or 2) there is a message in his choice of twelve male apostles. Catholics reject option one. The message I take from a male priesthood is that contrary to what some of the gender warriors tell us, gender does matter, at least for some things. Men are not better or more worthy than women because priests are not better or more worthy than lay people. Men, regardless of whether they have received Holy Orders or not, take communion in the same way as women do, and that, to me, is a more important indicator of equality and dignity than consecration or any other priestly function. Consecration is not dependent on the holiness of the person performing it. If it were, Parishes the world over would be watching their priests critical eyes, lest their Eucharistic well be poisoned. The critical factor in consecration is that the person be in a true line of Apostolic Succession and there is no line of women apostles, nor can one be created by simple human desire. Different talents mean that we are dependent on one another, like the parts or the cells of the body. This, I think, gets right at the nub of why some moderns are so intoxicated by the idea of equality. If we can only be totally equal, we can be totally independent, not wanting anything from anyone. That's a form of pride, and it might hold a clue to why gender distinctions as a whole were never questioned by Christ. Remember, He summarized the commandments by asking that we "Love one another, as I have loved you." The qualification is very important and adds tremendous weight to the actions that were recorded. One cannot blithely assume that God himself was cowed by the social conventions of the ancient Jews. Under the current Pope, this effort to make the re-make Church in the image of the world will go nowhere, as this exchange shows. The speaker is Tracey Rowland, dean and permanent fellow of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne.
Q: What is the new Pope's view of the Church's role and its relationship to "the world" as understood by the Second Vatican Council? Rowland: The Second Vatican Council described the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. Accordingly, the Church is not an entity distinct from the world but the world reconciled unto itself and unto God. This is the kind of vision one would expect Benedict to promote. ... [Benedict] is no Pelagian. He doesn't think that with sufficient education the New Jerusalem can be built on earth. Civics education alone, lectures on human rights, exhortations about brotherly love and the common good, will get nowhere unless people are open to the work of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A humanism that is not Christian cannot save the world. This was the conclusion of his fellow peritus Henri de Lubac, and Benedict has made some very strong statements against the pretensions of a mere secular humanism... [and ] he has exhorted Catholics to rediscover with evangelical seriousness the courage of nonconformism in the face of the social trends of the affluent world. He has said that we ought to have the courage to rise up against what is regarded as "normal" for a person at the end of the 20th century and to rediscover faith in its simplicity.

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