Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Womenpriests: The wave of the future (NOT!)

Despite her public proclamation never to cover a story on the subject of "womenpriests" again, Mollie Hemingway at GetReligion found this gem from the Indianapolis Star too good to pass up.
As she knelt at the altar of the Far-Southside church during her ordination ceremony, Maria Thornton McClain was unaware that three off-duty police officers stood watch just outside the sanctuary.

"We're just here in case there's a protest or problem," said one of the armed officers, dressed in full uniform. He didn't wish to be identified.

The anonymity was part of the mystery in a growing effort to welcome women into the priesthood.

The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the ordination of women, but more and more women are answering the call as part of a reform movement.

On Sunday, McClain, 71, a former East Coast resident, aunt to several nieces and nephews, and wife of 31 years to Ed McClain, became Indiana's first woman to be ordained into the priesthood.

Baptized a Roman Catholic, McClain, a former nun, moved to Indianapolis in 1977 to become director of religious education at St. Pius X parish. She was ordained as a deacon last year and began preparing for the priesthood.
I'll leave it to Mollie to critique the article's journalistic merit (or lack thereof). What I would like to focus on is a consistent thread which runs through all of the stories of these so-called "womenpriests." In September 2010, TIME reported on the "ordination" of Alta Jacko.
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 that being a priest is what she was called to do.
A month later, the same publication reported on the "ordination" of Judy Lee.
Lee, 67, considers herself a validly ordained Catholic priest. The Vatican disagrees. "The Catholic Church ... has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women" because Jesus had no female Apostles, Lee was told in a letter from the local bishop, the Rev. Frank Dewane — who also informed her that she had been excommunicated for ignoring that doctrine. Lee's reply: "Rome can impose all the rules it wants on women, divorced people, gay people. But it can't stop us."
Bring these two articles together with the Star article cited above and the pattern becomes glaringly obvious.
On Sunday, McClain, 71, a former East Coast resident, aunt to several nieces and nephews, and wife of 31 years to Ed McClain, became Indiana's first woman to be ordained into the priesthood.
Jacko, Lee, and McClain are 81, 67, and 71 years of age, respectively. One other article, from the San Diego Union Tribune in August 2010, reported on the "ordination" of Nancy Corran, a mere child of 37, but that was by an "independent" congregation with no apparent historical connection with Rome. Suffice it to say that what the media often reports as a "growing movement" within the Roman Catholic Church to ordain women as priests apparently has little appeal to younger generations of parishioners. I doubt Benedict, who just turned 85, spends much time worrying about it.