Thursday, July 07, 2005

Chop 'Em Down, Chop 'Em Down

Kudos to my future DreamPope: the Frenchman Philippe Barbarin, the 54 year-old cardinal-archbishop of Lyon.

(Slanted) news reports have said that Barbarin "excommunicated" three women who participated in an "ordination" ceremony on a boat in France over the weekend. I'm pretty sure such an act incurs a latae sententiae (i.e. automatic) excommunication, but Barbarin probably just condemned the thing, as he should.

Here's something I want to know: Why do all these women get "ordained" on boats? Is it some way of crying victim, or advancing an image of being stranded in the wilderness, or what? Whatever the desired image may be, darlings, it only screams one thing: power -- or, rather, an unhealthy ambition for it. Oh, it screams another thing, too: a complete disrespect for the church and the way it works. How ridiculous!

You want to change the church, people? Play by the rules, stay inside the walls and live this life guided by your faith, hope and love as opposed to ambition -- it's precisely moments like these when notions of priesthood as service are most gravely disserved, because the perception and fixation are all about power.

As Ratzi himself once said, "If priesthood were about power, we would have to ordain everybody so that power could be equally distributed." But priesthood is not about power -- at least, it isn't when it is divorced from the heinous sin of clericalism. And for renegades to start laying hands on boats is possibly the greatest affirmation I've ever found of the destructive clericalist mentality that "priesthood is power."

Anyone who advocates the ordination of women would be idiotic to ignore that such a seismic change (one I don't support) would cause lasting wounds in many of Catholicism's most faithful quarters, and it would split the Catholic world, possibly forever. But I guess for those who want it at all costs, it doesn't matter how many toes they step on to get it -- the same approach of everyone else who wants to make church reflect themselves as opposed to the world, to hell with the costs.

As for me, I'm grateful for the examples of my good readers and friends whose lives exude a real love for the church, and who are themselves examples of how to change and ever-perfect it through devotion and service.

So to my unsung heroes: Big Sis, Ichiban Jim, Greg, Malcolm and Bernard, Stephen, and so many others -- God love ya and may your love lights shine ever brighter. It's the only way we as a community will ever get out of the mess others are trying to make.

Time for sushi lunch.



Blogger Unknown said...

I thought ordination over water was some sort of "international territory" thing, perhaps I am wrong on that. It is rather strange, the women in Canada did the same thing going out onto the St Lawrence seaway. Go figure.

7/7/05 22:21  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

You should really post the picture of the ordinand accompanied by her entourage . . . some wag noted that the picture suggested there might be a chromosome askew . . . of course, that could probably be said of a few "regular" ordinations as well! :-)

7/7/05 23:59  
Blogger joshbraid said...

I found your blog via "Some Have Hats", which is ironic if not irenic, and have bookmarked you. I like your focus on the Church & the Vatican rather than on complaining and rebellion; it connects with my Franciscan side and helps convict me of my own "snarkiness".

I vividly remember my father (from Philly; I'm from Valley Forge) talking about the severe clericalism he encountered growing up (e.g., priest and nuns go right to heaven while laity goes to purgatory). I've always thought of Vatican II as trying to reform that view of clergy and laity, and, thus, find these women in an odd way "pre-Vatican II" :-) The sad thing is that the true vocation of priest is once again obscured.

8/7/05 11:23  
Blogger Jeff said...


Now I'm curious: I take without cavil your representation that you don't support women as ordinands. Much of what you say is wise and it's good to hear.

But when I did what you recommended and went back to read what you had said about women's ordination, I was left with the impression that you oppose it on prudential grounds, as one might oppose the ordination of married men, rather than as a matter of faith. Is that a misreading?

Incidentally, I hope you noticed the apology and soul searching from the blogger who told you off without knowing what you think. I thought it was rather handsome, didn't you?

8/7/05 13:07  

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