conspicuous compassion as a non-aggression pact

By Diogenes (articles) | Sep 04, 2006

Thanks to Gerald Augustinus for picking up on this gem from Minneapolis' St. Joan of Arc parish bulletin, written in response to negative reactions to its womenpriest liturgy. Fr. Jim DeBruycker, the pastor, puts us right:

Who is ordained is one of those issues which comes right at the intersection of Traditio and tradita. There is evidence that married men and women were ordained priests, if not bishops, at different times in the Church. From about the seventh century on in the Latin Rite, a celibate clergy become more and more the rule. John Paul II saw it and defined it as part of the Traditio. Of course, a lot of people are not happy with this and feel there is argument for what they see as an older tradition.

How's that for a lucid and well-documented historical overview?

I don't say often enough how much I love being a priest. In all honesty I often don’t invite others into the priesthood because I feel how exclusionary it is to women. I do not have an answer to the pain and anguished burning when those who want to serve are excluded.

This is a pretty good specimen of the comprehensively bogus priest mass-produced in the 1970s and 80s. Posing as a healer of the very resentments he goes out of his way to inflame, DeBruycker then congratulates himself on his compassion. Beautiful.

If Father Jim weren't a fraud, he'd refuse to associate with -- still less draw a salary from -- an institution that had putatively connived in so much injustice. Ordinary folks do it all the time. But then everyone Father deals with -- clergy, congregants, bishop -- wants the scam to be perpetuated, because it makes life easier for all concerned. "Here's the deal: you feed me, clothe me, house me, and provide me with a comfy retirement, and I'll neutralize Church teaching just enough to allow you a sting-less life of public respectibility and hygienic onanism, with the pleasures of moral indignation thrown in." For those who want to cruise through suburbia to the grave as painlessly as possible, what could be better?

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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  • Posted by: geardoid - Nov. 09, 2010 11:12 PM ET USA

    You miss an opportunity for dialogue with bishops like Will with the guts to voice what troubles them: while female ordination belongs in the theological realm outside discipline, the Church has not produced a doctrine; rather it has claimed no authority to ordain women, appearing to some as a cop-out on the theological question. We need to go deeper in dialogue to see how this negative amounts to a theological assertion different from thinking women less spiritual than men. It can be done.