Monday, September 12, 2005

'Celebration' Defies Church

Michele Birch-Conery presides over first service: 'If this is needed ... the people will accept it'

LADYSMITH -- It was, in some ways, a conventional Roman Catholic Church service that drew 100 people on Saturday afternoon. There was a chorus, teachings from the Gospel, prayers and communion.

But it was also unconventional: The service wasn't in a church building, and was held under a tent on a residential front lawn. And the officiant was Michele Birch-Conery, whose status of priest is a matter of controversy -- the Church's official position is that women aren't allowed to be priests.

I have been keeping an eye out for further developments in this story ever since the Gananoque ordination ceremony on the 24th of July. That the "official" policy of the Roman Catholic Church is not to recognise women as priests, the plain fact is that many Catholicis disagree with Mother Church.

I haven't made a specific head count, but roughly half of my family members are Catholic. Of them, about half support women as priests, and about one quarter do not. The rest simply don't see what all the fuss is about.

"We really don't want to be adversarial towards the hierarchy," said Brassard. "We call this a prophetic stance. The law that says she can't be ordained is wrong and the only way you can change it within the church ... is having enough women taking a prophetic stance. If enough people say, 'We like this, this is what we want' then all law changes.If a doctrine or law is not received by the people, it's no longer valid."

In other words, you can pass all the laws you want, make all the declarations you want, scream, "This is the way it is!" all you want -- if the people refuse to co-operate, whatever it is you want counts for nothing.

Andrew Greeley has repeatedly said, "The four most important women in a man's life are his mother, his sister, his wife, and his daughter. You might as well ordain them; you can't possibly give them any more power than they've already got." The Church hasn't been able to shut him up, either. Either that, or, wisely, they haven't tried.

Something tells me this is going to become a much broader movement.

(NOTE: If the link for the Star-Telegram story brings up a registration page, go to my sidebar and open the link that says "Bypass Compulsory Web Registration" in a new window. Enter the url for the Star-Telegraph page in the box, and you'll get a working registration and password to use.)


Blogger angela said...

my catholic relatives are all in favour of female priests, and a lot of them think id enter the priesthood if the rules changed... but hey, ratzinger isnt going to change any laws.

Monday, September 12, 2005 3:05:00 PM  

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