Action Alert!

widen that chasm for you?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 15, 2009

Chicago's ABC News affiliate ran a story on last Saturday's makeover of a local woman into a Catholic "priest." The reporters don't quite get the facts right, but they do convey the idea that the Vatican -- i.e., Catholic officialdom in some sense -- does not regard the ceremony as a valid ordination or the recently-oiled woman as a real priest. Ludicrously, they portray the affair as quasi-clandestine and the women as part of an "underground" priesthood. In reality, neither ministers nor congregants have anything to fear (beyond the spiritual harms of the schism they went out of their way to effect). In concrete legal terms, a man garbed as Mickey Mouse for a children's party without official Disney licensing is more at risk than a woman who proclaims herself a Catholic priest.

But what got my attention in the story has to do with the ecumenical movement -- more particularly the tacit understanding of mutual respect presumed to be shared by ecumenists of all denominations. The putatively Catholic ordination ceremony was held at the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Now the authorities of Ebenezer Lutheran can hardly be unaware that the Catholic Church regards female ordinations as spurious and spurious ordinations as painfully divisive and harmful. For Ebenezer to host such an event is, quite simply, an act of anti-Catholic sabotage -- the very kind of sectarian hostility that ecumenists are supposed to have renounced. Of course all parties understand and accept that ELCA disagrees with the Catholic doctrine on Holy Orders, and no one is denying ELCA's liberty to advance its beliefs in private or public. But it's a different matter to offer one's church as a staging ground for a mutiny in a navy not one's own.

Catholics are within their rights to enter a protest here. Yet it should be, not Catholics, but sincerely ecumenical Lutherans who object most forcefully; after all, it is Lutheran good will that is cast into doubt by the stunt. This presumes that there exists such a thing as sincere ecumenism, that it is not at bottom a subterfuge of the progressivist campaign for the abandonment of dogma.

Bottom line: I don't expect a lot of fireworks.

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