all very cordial

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 30, 2006

A Wisconsin woman who (surprise!) sits on her local parish council plans to participate in the sham "ordination" ceremony in Pittsburgh tomorrow. Kathy Sullivan Vandberg told her story to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In part:

Q: Did you speak with him?
A: I have met with Archbishop Dolan. He invited me to come in. We had a very cordial meeting last September. I'm not excommunicated. I'm a full member of the Roman Catholic Church at this time. He was very gracious and we talked about the situation.
Q: And after Monday? A: We didn't talk about that.
(An archdiocesan spokeswoman told the Journal Sentinel on Friday that Vandenberg has had a "time of discernment" and that her case will be forwarded to the Vatican if she goes through with Monday's ordination and does not recant.)

Cordiality is an asset, and Archbishop Dolan has plenty of it. Moreover, we're getting only one side of the story; the archbishop may have been more forceful than this account suggests. Still, her perception of the meeting raises questions:

  • When a member of the flock is planning a very serious step, which will separate her from the means of salvation, should it be possible for her to think of the archbishop's response as "cordial?"
  • Since she has already claimed ordination as a deacon-- thus testifying that she participated in a ritual illicitly simulating a sacrament-- why is she so certain that she is "a full member of the Roman Catholic Church at this time?"
  • By participating in a fake ordination ceremony, she will incur the punishment of excommunicate latae sententiae. The local archbishop has the authority to announce that excommunication. What need is there to forward the case to Rome-- except perhaps to give the archbishop some distance from the inevitable decision, and pin the blame on that nasty old Vatican?
Oh and by the way:
  • Since Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg implicitly admits that she might not be "a full member of the Roman Catholic Church" after the ceremony, will she still claim to be a Catholic priest?

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  • Posted by: Italiana - Aug. 05, 2006 8:58 PM ET USA

    I read the article at the top of the page ("told her story"). I noticed that whenever Kathy Sullivan spoke, she began all but one of her sentences with the word "I". I believe that tells us something about Kathy. I think the one sentence, other than the one beginning with "Yes" then followed by "I", began with "We" meaning her ("I") and the bishop. I think she's self centered because she can't think of any way to begin a sentence except by referring to herself. I think she thinks she's "I AM".

  • Posted by: - Aug. 04, 2006 2:28 PM ET USA

    I wonder if the emasculated, whipped and downtrodden priest at that parish is even on the Pastoral Council, or if he just phones in once every couple of months? I think our aspiring Wiccan priestess means by "cordial" that he didn't have 3 burly gentlemen in hoods drag her to a boiling cauldron and start the pot on slow boil and then yell out: "Do you think you go better with a Chardonnay or sauvignon blanc?"

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2006 5:53 AM ET USA

    How is it that this woman already claims to be a deacon (meaning that she has been involved in a previous illicit "ordination" in the past) and is still serving on her local parich council? She stopped being Catholic the moment she participated in this previous rediculessness! Who is allowing her to be on the parich council? What parich is this, we should know, so all good Catholics can avoid it like the plague it is!

  • Posted by: Sir William - Jul. 31, 2006 10:41 PM ET USA

    Centurion - your pardon. Between hitting "Add Comment" and the first key stroke, the name transmogrified.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 3:46 PM ET USA

    Sir Willaim, I was curious about why you addressed me in your item. Then I saw that it was Canismater who used the term "jumping to conclusions" regarding your item. I have "sympathy" for those who fall from the state of grace and union with the One, Holy, Catholic Church. I do not condone what they do.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 3:05 PM ET USA

    My goodness! It looks like we have a lot of great episcopal material right here on this forum. I hope someone forwards your nom de plumes to the papal nuncio in case any vacancies come up. Hahahahahaha! Athanasius against the world. Go to it your excellencies!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 12:32 PM ET USA

    Please explain to me what part of "Do this and you go to Hell" is cordial? Don't tell me the good Archbishop left that part out (shock)!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 12:13 PM ET USA

    Fides: The canon lawyer sounds great, but I just can't see the Good Bishop allowing a diocesan official to go the the "ordination" and take names. Then, given a viable list of attendees, who can even imagine the Good Bishop following through? He might look like a meany! Thus, this is all talk, no action. (Hope I'm wrong.)

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Jul. 31, 2006 11:36 AM ET USA

    Wow, what a great, strong response by the Diocese of Pittsburgh! (See Fides' remarks below). Who's the bishop there? We need more like that guy! Oh, wait.... Coincidence?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 11:22 AM ET USA

    The Diocese of Pittsburgh has warned that even those who attend as guests to encourage the women will excommunicate themselves. Furthermore, those who have ministry positions in the Catholic Church -- including teachers in Catholic schools -- risk losing their jobs if they attend, the statement warned. Such workers, lay or volunteer, are bound by a rule that says "anyone who publicly supports things which are in opposition to the church is subject to immediate discharge," said the Rev. Lawrence DiNardo, the chief canon lawyer for the diocese.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Jul. 31, 2006 11:19 AM ET USA

    I'm not certain, Centurion, that I have jumped to conclusions. The poor soul already believes she's been 'ordained' as a deacon. Has she not already separated herself from the Church by the first farce & being unrepentant for the scandal this has caused? Or do we give passes to the 'false deacons' only? A wise father knows that excusing his children from any consequences of one grave action against the family will only encourage them to take on another that is worse.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 8:55 AM ET USA

    Hum, Archbishop Dolan seems about as manly and forceful as our own Cardinal Marc Ouellet. See here:

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 7:42 AM ET USA

    It is interesting the consequences of these ladies simulating ordination to the diaconate. For example, Regina Nicolosi went through that simulation last year. She was invited to a discussion with Abp. Flynn. He warned her of separation if she continued to the priesthood sim., but no consequence for the diaconate. Perhaps, it is because there have been deaconesses and it is was described as a sacramental in the past, but there was no such sacramental for the presbyteriate? Suggestions?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 30, 2006 4:13 PM ET USA

    Jumping to conclusions is not good exercise, Sir William. There’s a demonic inclination in the Church to be motivated away from Truth by a caricature of those in authority. Mean, uncaring and (as I once heard someone say) being a “big Melchizedek” is part of that caricature. Dolan defuses that by acting as he did. It’s an appropriate pastoral response. We’ll see if he follows up with the appropriate next step – consequences.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Jul. 30, 2006 4:08 PM ET USA

    I know of an archbishop who when one of his priests wanted to crossover to the greek orthodox church so that he could marry advised him that he was putting his eternal salvation in danger if he was not acting in good faith and believed that the orthodox church was the true church and was only trying to get out of his promise of celebacy. We know about this because the subject in question talked about it expressing anger that the Archbishop would say such a thing.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jul. 30, 2006 4:01 PM ET USA

    An interesting parallel is developing here. This "women's ordination" monkey work is beginning to look like the sex abuse scandal in one way: the actual sinners (abusive priests; women pretending to be priests) may not do as much damage as the bishops who fail to discipline them appropriately. The press does love it all, though. Cf. today's San Francisco Chronicle:;c=187/1;s=118;d=17;w=720;h=300;t=III-INTERACTIVE

  • Posted by: - Jul. 30, 2006 3:33 PM ET USA

    Centurion, Not at all sure what you mean by the comment about a surname, nor what it has to do with an illicit ordination. I also cannot sympathize with her. When one knowingly walks into the area of Disobedience, having had 'counsel' about it being illicit, knowing the outcome of her actions, she does not need sympathy. She does NEED prayer. She will need repentance. She has WILL-fully chosen her course of action. She will need Mercy in the future, when she meets Him. As will we all.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 30, 2006 11:17 AM ET USA

    Ms Kathy Vandenberg deserves our sympathy and a prayer ot two so that she might come to her senses.However, I think she is aptly named. Anyone with the name Vandenberg could qualify as being "spaced out." Also, being on a parish council is hardly equivalent to qualifying for the priesthood. Does the lady expect anyone to call her Father ?

  • Posted by: Sir William - Jul. 30, 2006 10:27 AM ET USA

    This smacks heavily of a father who just wants to be his childrens' friend. He will go to great lengths to smile and be happy no matter what foolishness his children are into, so that he can look 'cool' in their eyes. Unfortunately, he actually looks like a fool to everyone, and he is held in more contempt than ever by his children for not establishing & keeping clear rules & boundaries.