Monday, August 07, 2006

Domine, Non Salvum Fac

I had forgotten for a bit that one of the Pittsburgh 12 was from this city and this archdiocese.

Then again, there are a lot more churchmice here hopped up about the fact that Whispers is based in Philadelphia than an "ordained" woman.

No, I'm not kidding.

Oh, and she offered her first "Mass" in a United Methodist Church.... The same church which is home base to the defrocked gay UMC cleric Beth Stroud.

In the Inky story, no quotes are used around the words "ordained priest." And, um, I have a bit of a quibble with that.

Eileen DiFranco sang the hymns, prayed and took Communion as she had done at countless other Catholic Masses.

But yesterday, for the first time, she led the service as an ordained priest - and received a warm reception from hundreds of Catholics and others.

"Nothing is impossible with our God," she told a congregation at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. "Not even a woman priest."

Doesn't float, sorry.

Roman Catholic dioceses in the country, including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the U.S. Conference of Bishops have pronounced the ordination invalid, saying church law allows only men to become priests.

"I feel I have been called out by my community to do this," DiFranco said in an interview. "It has been a nudging along the way by God and by people who know me."

In her homily, DiFranco said people today sometimes found "very little that is meaningful in the teachings of the church about Jesus." Churches that were full two generations ago, she said, "are emptying out, and parishes are closing... .

"Some think that a return to those pietistic days of yesteryear, where the laity knew its place and only the priests knew and spoke the words of God, will repopulate the seminaries and repack the pews."

Yes, yes, we know clericalism is evil. However, becoming a clericalist is not the way to "tackle" it.... And, while we're at it, if "only the priests [know] and [speak] the words of God," and we're being told that "Nothing is impossible with God. Not even a woman priest," doesn't that smack a bit of the same deficient, condescending vice, only now it's something she's attempting to claim?

Forgive the dumb question -- I'm just an unworthy, unwashed layfolk who doesn't know his place.

As if I hadn't heard that enough on the homefront to date, I'm now getting that message from a womanpriest.


But DiFranco said people were looking for more from the church. "The big issues that might have brought some of you here today remain unaddressed, untackled, unmentionable," she said.

A nurse at Roxborough High School, DiFranco has been an active member of the Church of the Beatitudes, a congregation of about 20 people in the Old Catholic community. The group rents space from Garden United Methodist Church in Lansdowne.

But DiFranco said she had felt led to hold her first Mass at the church in Germantown.

And this is a manifestation of... communion?

People, get out your editor's symbols -- this story needs quote marks around everything.

If you can handle it, the Post-Gazette has put up some video of last week's boat show, with snips of audio commentary from Ann Rodgers.

While you're at it, notice the difference of editorial line.