Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Christina in the name of Christ
March 19, 2017
Christina Moreira of Corunna defends her pastoral work as the only woman priest in Spain. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is calling for equality but its members are excommunicated.
Even a pontiff deemed "progressive" in his social vision like Pope Francis has stated his opposition to introducing change in the matter. "On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last word is clear and was said by Saint John Paul II," he declared in November after meeting with the head of the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Not even the shortage of priests makes a dent in a rule carved in stone, an infallible part of the Catholic tradition and heritage itself of the word of Christ, who only surrounded himself with men to form his group of apostles.
The woman from Corunna, Christina Moreira, however, accepts the principles that Christianity is a faith that, by its very nature, is egalitarian and she stands against what is established, rebellious against the hierarchies and privileges of the status quo. Breaking canon law, therefore, seems to her an act of social -- and especially moral and spiritual -- justice. Something similar to what Manuel Espiña, founder of the Comunidade Cristiana do Home Novo to which she belongs, did by introducing Galician into the Mass.
The Bible says nothing about prohibition against the priesthood for women, argues the theology student. The ways to which the interpretations of the divine word lead are inscrutable -- heretical or legitimate depending on who you ask. "Only the baptized male validly receives holy ordination," booms Catholic law on this sacrament, which is accessible to women in Lutheranism and Anglicanism. "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus," reply others quoting the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. "The Church in no way has the power to give women priestly ordination, and this judgment must be considered final by all the faithful," proclaimed John Paul II. "God created male and female in His image," says the Association of Roman Catholic Priests (ARCWP), the "movement of renewal and justice" with which Moreira is associated together with more than a hundred women priests and which aims to "heal centuries of misogyny" by demanding that women "preside at the altar and in all leadership roles in the Church." The first seven of them were ordained in 2002 on the waters of the Danube by a prelate objector who transmitted to them the apostolic succession. It happened, therefore, outside the jurisdiction of the bishops in order to be free of the authority that the latter have over the priests.
ACTIVE RESISTANCE. Sacrifice in the name of one's beliefs, another foundation of Christianity, has been fulfilled by Moreira, who in 2015 had to move to Florida to be ordained a priest by the ARCWP, the first one in all of Spain. And, like Job, she assumes with perseverance the trials of adversity, since the Vatican has excommunicated all these women priests.
"This lady's ordination is illegal and invalid, so neither she nor the faithful who follow her validly celebrate the sacraments nor are they in communion with the Catholic Church," responds the archbishopric of Santiago de Compostela to disavow any sacrament that Moreira officiates. "What this lady is doing has the same value in the Church as if she were making pancakes," charge the most conservative faithful.
Moreira has a pink shirt with a clerical collar that reads "Do not be ashamed of what you are, show it." The woman from Corunna relies on the beneficial effect of her actions, her continuation of the ministry of Jesus, to ask Pope Francis for dialogue and openness. Up to now, the so-called "women's theology" of the pontiff has been reduced to the announcement of his intention to create a commission to study the possibility that women might be deacons -- a rank inferior to the priesthood and who can perform a service but not administer a sacrament -- as well as claiming that "the Virgin Mary was more important" than apostles, bishops, deacons and priests. Theoretical, symbolic power.
Meanwhile, with active resistance, Christina Moreira and the ARCWP await actual progress, this time with the Gospel of Luke in hand. "Jesus called women and men to be disciples," is written there.