By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 07, 2006

Suppose tomorrow I show up at the offices of the Philadelphia Inquirer, carrying a baseball glove and bat, and introduce myself as the shortstop for the Phillies. How much ink do you think I'll get in the next day's paper?

Zero, you say? That's exactly right.

Yet readers today saw the provocative headline:

Female Catholic priest has first Mass

The woman in question, Ellen DiFranco, isn't a priest; she isn't a Catholic, and it wasn't a Mass. But the Inquirer story did not expose the fraud, except by commenting mildly that DiFranco is "not recognized by any diocese."

Reporter Edward Colimore, who wrote the story, caught some flak from Catholic readers for taking the woman's claims so seriously. He patiently explained, "We identified Eileen DiFranco as Catholic because she considers herself to be a Catholic and belongs to an Old Catholic church."

Aha! So if I really, truly consider myself the Phillies shortstop? And if I did in fact play shortstop for a Little League team named the Phillies?

Colimore reminds his angry readers, "We did not call her a Roman Catholic." So you see they could identify me as the Phillies' shortstop, and if readers complained, just point out that they didn't say I play for the Philadelphia Phillies.

But they won't. The Sports section would not promote a fraud.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 12, 2006 12:13 AM ET USA

    Please refer to the "Pope Soccer Retirement" thread from a previous Diogenes post.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 11, 2006 3:29 AM ET USA

    To refer to a Jesuit friend of mine on this topic: The appearance of women acting as priests revives memories of third century Montanism. It made a "Kookie" story then, and so it does now. This is not a cause for rant, but its comic side might well be stressed. I think he made a very good point.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2006 4:09 PM ET USA

    I really really wish we'd all stop referring to ourselves as "Roman" Catholics. This is playing into the hands of heretics and schismatics. We are Catholics of the Roman Rite, if you please. Or of the Byzantine Rite, etc. Or simply Catholics. See this article on the history of the obnoxious usage here, in the Catholic Encyclopedia: This fool who claims she is a priest has no right to the name Catholic, nor do the schismatic heretics who "ordained" her. The bishops ought to clarify this (like so many other things) forcefully; but because they are mostly pantywaist milquetoasts, will not.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2006 9:30 AM ET USA

    Props to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati. Before a "womenpriest" meeting took place in Cincinnati, he went public and denounced the whole thing, announcing official archdiocesan opposition to the meeting. He undercut those femi-nuns before their little sitdown even started! Guess what? The women got no publicity -- which is all they were seeking. I applaud Archbishop Pilarczyk for being proactive and not weakly reactive like other bishops seem to be regarding "womenpriests."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2006 8:11 AM ET USA

    Just for the record, the newspaper's online version now says: "The headline on this article, 'Female Catholic priest has first Mass', erred in stating unreservedly that Eileen DiFranco was a Catholic priest. The Roman Catholic Church says that women cannot be ordained as priests and that her ordination was invalid. DiFranco was ordained through the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which says the service was a valid Catholic ordination under apostolic succession."

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 08, 2006 1:07 PM ET USA

    Hello, Cardinal Rigali, hello.... are you there? Did this happen in your Archdiocese? Please, your eminence, for Christ's sake & for the sake of His Church & the people of God, please publicly state that Ms. E.DiFranco is automatically excommunicated from the Church. Use Diogenes' baseball analogy, as it really clears up the muddied waters. Your eminence, you're a Successor to the Apostles. We're begging you, please teach us about obedience to the Faith & the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Please.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2006 10:59 AM ET USA

    Whether or not DiFranco is actually Catholic isn’t really important. As Catholicity wrote, it’s all about perceptions. If the Vatican continues to allow the media to shape the public’s perception of the Church, then these wing nuts will continue to gain credibility. I just don’t understand why the Vatican doesn’t act to protect the Church from these no-accounts. And this lack of action is a good illustration of why the Church needs to restore the Holy Office to its former prominence.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2006 10:56 AM ET USA

    Great catch, Laity1. Perhaps the Lord is even using them to expose his Truth. Nice. I think you have a better chance of turning a double play in the World Series, Uncle D, than these women have of turning bread and wine into anything substantial.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2006 9:10 AM ET USA

    This is the thing. Most of these media types don't even know what they do not know.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 08, 2006 7:46 AM ET USA

    This is another one of those instances where the local ordinary has been presented with a golden opportuity to show some real moral courage...but he won't. To prevent further scandal & confusion among the faithful the bishop has an obligation to publicly declare that this woman is neither Catholic nor is she a priest and while he's at it he could briefly explain Catholic teaching on this subject. True, the extra publicity will be bad but the scandal must be formally addressed by the bishop.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2006 11:11 PM ET USA

    Carl Yusavitz: "I consider Eileen a Catholic and a priest," he said. "Her validity is based on 'By their fruits, you will know them.' Eileen has wonderful fruits." Firstly, this is the most hilarious line of the article. Perhaps "Eileen has wonderful fruits" could replace "from the pastor" in the coming newsletter. Secondly, more ironic is citing Mt 7:16 & 7:20. I suggest the readers take a fresh look at the preceding verses of Mt 7:15 & 7:19! Way to go Carl!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2006 11:01 PM ET USA

    They call this "shaping the news." Fraud? Nah. Its all perception, baby!