"...and my conscience has led me all along to be an ordained Roman Catholic priest."
That is Toni Tortorilla, a lesbian "counselor and spiritual director" who, according to a June 17th article in The Oregonian, "ministers to about 90 people in Portland and in Eugene who call themselves the Sophia Christi Catholic Community." I've written about Tortorilla before, as she has performed pretend Masses here in Eugene, Oregon, where I live. She is now back in the (very accommodating) media limelight because a second priestette underwent a pretend ordination in the Portland, Oregon, area a few days ago, as announced on the blog of another priestette, Bridget Mary, who is active in Call to Action (ht: Orate Fratres blog):
Ordination June 7, 2008: This is Portland's second ordination at the Zion United Church of Christ, Gresham, Oregon (suburb of Portland). Pastor Dennis Alger and congregation have been very welcoming so gracious and supportive in allowing RCWP to hold a second ordination at their church at no cost....This June 7th ordination is the first public ceremony presided by new American womenbishop, Dana Reynolds from Carmel, California180 people attended---of all ages---well received---joyous enthusiastic loud participatory singing of the litany of saints---obvious acceptance from the people---tears and applause and many many smiles... reception put on by CTA of Oregon membersPicture shows newly ordained priest, Ruth Broeski of Portland and deacon Sandra DeMaster from McMinnville, Oregon and RCWP priests,Suzanne Thiel from Portland and Juanita Cordero from Los Gatos, California.
Back in August 2007, Archbishop John Vlazny wrote the following in The Catholic Sentinel:
On Friday, Aug. 17, the Oregonian reported on a religious ceremony at Zion United Church of Christ in Gresham which was described as a Roman Catholic “ordination.” According to the report, we now have the first woman Roman Catholic priest in Oregon.
Most readers, hopefully, were somewhat suspicious about the event when they learned it did not take place in a Catholic church. Out of respect for those involved in the ceremony, I had decided to make no public statement. The Oregonian also said nothing for three weeks.
My main purpose in speaking up now is to assure you that there was no ordination of a Roman Catholic priest at Zion United Church of Christ in Gresham on July 28. Even though Catholics were involved, the claim that it was a Catholic ceremony is wrong but, hopefully, not intentionally disrespectful of a sacrament which we Catholics regard as a precious treasure, one for which we are called to exercise reverent and faithful stewardship.
Our relationships with other churches are sometimes fragile because of differences in beliefs and values. But in all ecumenical relationships Christian churches do their best to respect the diversity in practices and beliefs. I regret the apparent disregard for this understanding.
Any person who claims to have been ordained a Catholic bishop, priest or deacon without the proper authorization from church authorities not only is making a false representation of the facts but also by such an act leaves our church community. We are always saddened when sisters and brothers walk away from us, particularly in this manner. We continue to work and pray for unity in the essentials of our Christian faith and for charity and mutual respect in circumstances where we disagree.
Here's hoping he speaks up again, but perhaps with a bit more....umph. There is inspiration to be found in the example of Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has clearly and directly dealt with this nonsense in the past year.
Meanwhile, back to Tortorilla and her Majestic, Supreme, Omnipotent, and Omniscient Conscience. She would do well to read this excerpt from John F. Kippley's Sex and the Marriage Covenant, which begins with this sobering anecdote:
The importance of having correct ideas about conscience and a correct conscience cannot be overestimated. It is literally a matter of life-and-death importance. Adolf Eichmann, the director of Hitler's mass murder campaign against Jews and others whom Hitler deemed undesirable, provided the classic statement to show this importance when he argued in his defense: "I was following my conscience."
She should especially consider the wise, challenging words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings. ...
In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church. (CCC, 1783, 1785).
Sadly, I doubt this would mean anything to a woman who also stated: "The Holy Spirit's call to be a priest is very strong and very persistent. It supercedes the Vatican's determination not to ordain women." Whatever they are, such comments are not the words of a Catholic, but of a rebellious soul who is, in invoking the name of the Holy Spirit in such a way, actually committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (cf., CCC 1864; Mk 3:29). May she and her fellow priestettes recognize and admit their grave sin.