Last Saturday the Washington Post ran an article on women's ordination beginning with local gal Bridget Mary Meehan (pictured below) who last year was elevated to "bishop" by Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Among those interviewed in that article was Sylvia Mulherin, 69, a former nun married to a former priest, who "said that Jesus was progressive in his treatment of women but that, over time, men unjustly pushed women out. 'Maybe the women don't have to come in the back door, but we still have to sit in the pews,' said Mulherin, who lives in Fairfax County."
Of Mulherin's remark, most of us would say: "This is news??" It barely passes for controversial these days. Problem is that Mulherin was also music director at St. Leo's and, according to another article in today's Post, her pastor, Rev. David Whitestone, called Mulherin into his office to discuss her comments with her.
What happened afterwards is a matter of dispute. Mulherin and her supporters claim she was forced out. Fr. Whitestone claims she resigned voluntarily and that he did not raise the issue of Mulherin leaving, but he said she had violated the diocese's rules for employees by 'advocating against church teaching.'" In our opinion and without going into details, Fr. Whitestone would do well to go back and meditate on the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matt 18:21-35). Those who have received second chances should extend the same to others, Father. What is indisputable is that this controversy has caused a huge rift in the St. Leo's community.
I, personally, find it really incredible that to simply make the obvious point that women have been discriminated against in the Roman Catholic Church while Jesus was more progressive and egalitarian, is considered to be "advocating against church teaching." And it is making me think twice about whether I EVER want to work for the Arlington Diocese or any of its parishes, schools or other institutions. It should give other thinking Catholics pause as well.