Some people think you're a Catholic priest. Others say you're not even a Catholic, let alone a member of the clergy.
Some people think you can confect the Eucharist. Others warn that you cannot receive the Eucharist.
Do you sense a bit of a problem here?
To give credit where it's due, one of the women who claimed ordination at a loony ceremony in Pittsburgh yesterday seems to have a partial understanding of the problem. She told the Post-Gazette:
What I hope to do is connect with people who are Catholic who have walked away or are not participating, and convince them to become active in the church again and to belong to a parish, and to use their voice to let their pastors know what is of concern to them.
Great idea: an apostolate to the disaffected. But how do you coax people back into the Church, when you're pushing through the "Exit" turnstile? When you tell the public that you won't receive Communion in your own parish, how is that calculated to make others more likely to return to full communion? The Allegedly Reverend Joan Houk told the Post-Gazette that she chose to be a Catholic rather than Episcopalian priestess "because I'm a Catholic." But to be Catholic means accepting the doctrine of the Church, which she doesn't. So now she's neither a priest nor a Catholic in good standing. You could say that it's the worst of both worlds-- except that it's not this world that she should be worrying about.
The woman participating in the ceremony ("most of whom are grandmothers or old enough to be so," the P-G noted) mimicked the Catholic ordination ritual in some respects, but added their own peculiar decorating touches. Thus one priestess of the Womenpriest cult intoned:
Just as the water broke in the wombs of our mother, so we open the waters of mother church.
The waters of... Ordination?? Sorry, dear; I'm afraid you have the wrong sacrament there. Which, come to think of it, is what we've been trying to tell you all along.
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Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Aug. 04, 2006 3:14 PM ET USA
Will the she priestesses be performing the ancient Tridentine rite then? Will it be Gregorian Chant or Palestrina's polyphony? Will the Devil Wear Prada? Enquiring minds wish to know.
Posted by: -
Aug. 02, 2006 3:34 PM ET USA
The real problem is the definition of catholic. To people like Ms. Houk, being catholic is a 'right of birth.' To them, It is much like being English or Korean. They can't help being born into a regressive patriarchy they can only 'fix' it. Her Bishop needs to explain in very clear terms that being a Catholic is a rite of re-birth. A great honor and responsibility to be respected and cherished. Sadly, I don't see this happening any time soon.
Posted by: Hammer of Heretics -
Aug. 01, 2006 8:07 PM ET USA
There is something about these stupid, stupid, women that evokes a very primal rage in me. I can't quite figure out why they make me so angry. Is it their sacrilege? Perhaps. But it also might be the fact that make it harder for other women (like myself) to be taken seriously when it comes to intellectual matters. In any event, watching their antics always puts me in a state where I shouldn't receive Communion until after I've gone to reconciliation. Uggh!
Posted by: Laity1 -
Aug. 01, 2006 7:05 PM ET USA
We don't need the doula's help in calling back lapsed Catholics. The diocese of Pittsburgh, posted on their webpage in the most prominent location, provides excellent links and documents detailing all of this nonsense in no uncertain terms and with all charity. Archbishop O'Malley could save some resources by just posting a link to Pittsburgh's website. God bless Auxilliary Bishop Paul J. Bradley!