Thursday, September 30, 2010

Women's ordination in the news

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.


  1. La ordenación de mujeres como sacerdotisas es el as bajo la manga de Roma para tratar de salvar esta decadente e inservible estructura eclesial. Siempre será más llevadero el tragarse un par de testosteronas que desmontar toda la vida de lujos y riquezas de la inmensa mayoría de la jerarquía católica.

  2. Although I support women's ordination, I don't see how they can call themselves Roman Catholic priest after the ordination, because the Vatican doesn't support them and they'll never be part of the recognized and acknowledged priesthood.
    Is as if I get fired from my job and I say that I’m still a company employee and I show up for work. They won't let me in and I won't get paid.

    The next thing is the silliness of the argument about Jesus not choosing women, to reason the fact of not allowing women to be ordained.
    First at all, Jesus was not selecting people to be priest or priestess of any church, he had followers and he had an inner circle of mostly men but which also include several women that we know about it.
    Second, the Jewish society was mostly patriarchal, although there were some emancipated women that were able to fare by themselves without the protection or companionship of a man.
    Third. When and how was determined that the 12 apostles where the 12 apostles? I mean, the same way that the actual Bible suffered a process of book selection to determine which individual books or individual gospels, where chosen to form it, perhaps the 12 apostles were selected in a point in time, from a larger group of people of the inner circle.
    Because believe me, some of these apostles weren’t an easy crowd. For example, we have in some passage I can’t recall, James (Santiago el hijo del trueno) wanting to destroy a town with fire form the sky, just because the inhabitants had refused entry to Jesus and followers to preach in there.
    And Peter, angry, quick to violence and slashing someone’s ear, even after several years of having been close to Jesus and hearing his teachings.
    So I wonder, would some of the inner circle women, qualified better to be an “official” apostle

  3. A Franklin: No lo creo, antes dejaran casar a algunos sacerdotes con algunas limitaciones, condiciones, que ordenar mujeres, por que de esto ya hay precedentes, pero para ordenar mujeres oficialmente tendran que comerse la excusa de lo de los 12 apostoles, y eso es una galleta muy dura que tragar. :-)

  4. It will never happen.

    There will never be priestesses in the Catholic Church. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, specifically:

    "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren"

    in the context of Lumen Gentium 25 makes the ordination of women impossible.

    In order to safeguard one of the sacraments, anyone the participates in what they think is a women's ordination have excommunicated themselves.

  5. You may be right, Anonymous. What I suspect will happen instead is that more and more people will realize that there is more than one way of being Catholic and will move into the various "Old Catholic" sects that maintain the essential rites and beliefs of the Catholic Church without the discriminatory structure. This is already happening in many parts of Latin America over the celibacy issue. If I were to go back and get a PhD in religion, I would love to study this process.

  6. And just to think that were mostly women who accompanied and comforted Jesus at the moment of his death…

  7. Juan, este es un problema principalmente económico. Si los sacerdotes tuvieran descendientes (reconocidos) estos descendientes serían herederos. Sabes lo que eso significa para la riqueza de la iglesia? Sus templos, universidades, casas de retiros, etc?

    Sabes cuánto dinero le toca a un sacerdote que decida dejar de ejercer el ministerio?