Yesterday I was sighing inwardly as I listened to the conservative young priest who had the noon Mass address the traditional vocations gospel reading "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." -- Luke 10). He immediately dismissed expanding the priesthood to previously ineligible classes of people and actually used this passage to argue that Jesus didn't intend to expand the priesthood and that Jesus' solution, in this young man's exegetical interpretation of Scripture, was to pray for more vocations. Nothing else, just pray.
Others, however, have been more willing to discuss the alternative of women's ordination. A sampling of stories:
1. The Push to Ordain Female Priests Gains Ground (Time, 9/25/2010):
"Alta Jacko is the mother of eight children. She is also an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Jacko, 81, who earned her master's degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University, a Jesuit Catholic school, says being a priest is what she was called to do..."
Video of Rev. Alta Jacko's ordination last year:
2. Woman in Priestly Garb Sounds ‘a Great Echo’ (New York Times, 9/24/2010)
"While other little girls in her hometown of Nissoria, Sicily, were dressing up and playing house, Maria Vittoria Longhitano would pretend to say Mass, dispensing cookies and chips to her toys for communion. Sometimes, she would even baptize her dolls...Ms. Longhitano’s spiritual journey eventually led her to the Old Catholic Church, a denomination that split from the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century, mostly over the issue of papal infallibility. She studied theology at the University of Catania. On May 22 — coincidentally, the feast day of St. Rita — Ms. Longhitano, 35, was ordained a priest..."
3. Oak Park priest joins parish in pushing for female priests (Chicago Sun-Times, 9/28/2010)
"More than 600 members of a Roman Catholic parish in Oak Park signed a petition that expresses 'solidarity' with 'those who support women and married men who are called to ordination.' Among those to sign: the pastor, the Rev. Larry McNally, who delivered the signatures to his boss, Cardinal Francis George, earlier this month..."
Some of you might remember that in August Fr. McNally apologized to the women of his parish after the Vatican added women's ordination to the list of delicta graviora. Writing in his parish bulletin, the priest said: "As we celebrate this great feast of Mary, the Mother of God [Feast of the Assumption], I want to take this opportunity to say to all of our wonderful and virtuous women that I am sorry. I apologize to each one of you for the insensitive and harsh words coming from the Vatican male hierarchy of the church."
Another Chicago priest who has gotten into trouble for his support of women's ordination, Fr. Michael Pfleger, was thankful for Fr. McNally's latest action. On his Facebook page, Fr. Pfleger said "Thanks God!" and then added, "Funny thing is I did say it about 3 months ago and the Cardinal came down on me on the Catholic Website and had Bishop Perry call me!" No word yet on whether Fr. McNally will be told to apologize too.