Another non-story about women's ordination

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 14, 2012

The pattern may now be familiar, but it’s still messy. A reporter tackles the question of how to report on a woman who claims ordination to the Catholic clergy.

“Catholic woman ordained deacon,” reads the headline for a WNWO report on the ceremony that took place in Ohio. Yet the first paragraph also notes: “But Beverly Bingle’s ordination had her formally kicked out of the Catholic church.” So if she’s not a member of the Catholic Church, how could she be a member of the Catholic clergy?

Here’s another giveaway sentence from the report:

Reverend Beth Marshall minister of First Unitarian Church of Toledo offers this advice to Bingle: "Stay the course, listen to your heart, and take care of yourself.”

Leaving aside the quality of that advice (which sounds like the counsel given by Polonius to Laertes, not Paul to Timothy), why is it being offered by a Unitarian minister? Oh, because the “ordination” ceremony was held in the First Unitarian Church.

The woman isn’t a member of the Catholic Church, the ceremony didn’t take place in a Catholic church, and the Catholic Church does not ordain women. Isn’t that ample evidence that this is a non-story?

Somewhere in Ohio, at about the same time that Beverly Bingle claimed ordination, a little boy swung an imaginary bat, watched an imaginary ball disappear into the distance, and trotted around imaginary bases, announcing to no one in particular that he had hit the winning home run for the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series. WNWO didn’t carry a news story about that little boy, because even if they had known about him, the reporters would have realized that he was fantasizing.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Sep. 15, 2012 2:01 PM ET USA

    There once was a woman whose mania
    Was liturgical extemporanea.
        She thought she'd at least
        Be a self-declared priest:
    And I am the Queen of Romania.

  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Sep. 14, 2012 7:30 PM ET USA

    Phil, the little boy's fantasy-deam-hope is based somewhat in reality. He DOES have a chance to play baseball at whatever level the gifts the Lord has provided will take him along with his hard work. Beverly, on the other hand, is not living in the real world. Her hope and dream is misguided. For those who cry prejudice here, little Suzy has every right to play ball too and go as far as the Lord's gifts and her hard work will take her. Let's put things in perspective - God's way first.