MSNBC has the scoop—"discovery"!—of the week: although the Catholic Church doesn't ordain women, a "small but fervent group of women is determined to change all that." (In related news, the Berlin Wall recently fell and Larry Bird just retired.) The video features a graphic with the wording: "Women Priests: Breaking Barriers in the Catholic Church." But one of the priestettes, Elizabeth Jane Via, who works for the district attorney's office in San Diego (and who is described in the report as a "law and order kinda person), says, "I accept and understand that I am violating the law of the Roman Catholic Church." Because, you see, people who violate the laws of San Diego should be prosecuted and go to jail, while people who violate the laws of the Catholic Church are heroines, MSM stars, and women of great faith.
But faith in what? Via states, "I believe the law [allowing only certain men to be ordained] is unjust." So she believes in her authority over against the authority of the Church. Not surprisingly, she immediately falls back on the false dichotomy used by such dissenters: "What I like to say is that the Church has already changed. It's the Vatican that's behind." Ooooh, the nasty Vatican. Wrong answer, girlfriend; besides, it merely makes you sound like a hyper-liberal Protestant. What you really mean is that the Magisterium is wrong and you are right, which requires a severing of authority from communion, which in turn, if taken to its logical conclusion, radically redefines the meaning and nature of "Church" and finally dissolves the validity of both the papacy and apostolic succession. And yet Via and Co. claim their ordinations are "legitimate" because they were carried out by a couple of (unknown) Catholic bishops. (Insert your own wisecrack here about "Via media," if you desire.)
Well, we've been here before, courtesy of NBC News. as I noted less than a month ago:
In the second case, it seems absolutely nonsensical to be working to be ordained and given offiical recognition by the very men who represent and defend the very thing you detest and oppose. Again, it seems more logical to simply scrap the entire thing and say, "Hey, we are the true Church! We don't need the Catholic Church!" If the bishops suddenly stated, "Whoops! Our mistake! We just realized that women can and should be ordained!", it would still mean that priestettes would be ordained and recognized by the very authority they detest as patriarchical and male-dominated. It would also mean (to repeat what I've already said) that infallible teaching can be fallible, which means the Catholic Church is a complete farce. And who, really, wants to be ordained and given props by a farcical Church (yes, yes, I know—waaaay too many people)?
Why does this rankle me so? Part of it is simply the brazen illogic, self-obsessive bloviation, and disdainful dissent so readily evident in the priestette movement. Their theology is lousy. Their ecclesiology is incoherent. But there is also the fact that these women, in seeking to "empower" women and pursue "justice," are (unwittingly or not) attacking authentic femininity and making a mockery of not just the priesthood, but of the unique nature of women, especially as embodied by the Blessed Mother.
The 1976 CDF document, Inter Insigniores, stated, "Women who express a desire for the ministerial priesthood are doubtless motivated by the desire to serve Christ and the Church." Perhaps; I'm not so sure. God alone will judge their motivation, but isn't it striking how so many of these women don't seem interested at all in Christ and have only criticism for the Church (or, as noted above, make an artificial, convenient division in the Church so they can appear to be pro-Church while bashing Church authority). Inter Insigniores further stated:
It therefore remains for us to meditate more deeply on the nature of the real equality of the baptized which is one of the great affirmations of Christianity: equality is in no way identity, for the Church is a differentiated body, in which each individual has his or her role. The roles are distinct, and must not be confused; they do not favour the superiority of some vis-a-vis the others, nor do they provide an excuse for jealousy; the only better gift, which can and must be desired, is love (cf. 1 Cor 12-13). The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are not the ministers but the saints.
The Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission: today their role is of capital importance, both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church.
The Theotokos is the greatest of her Son's disciples. She was not ordained, nor did she seek to be ordained, and yet she is the greatest of the Saints. Why? Because instead of saying, "My will be done," she said, "Thy will be done." Because instead of chasing after power and self-fulfillment, she praised God: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." And because instead of pursuing position, she embraced the Passion. Instead of obsessing about gender, she gloried in the Gospel. Instead of attacking the Body, she became the Mother of the Body.
Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles and Excerpts:
• Women and the Priesthood: A Theological Reflection | Jean Galot, S.J. | From Theology of the Priesthood
• The Real Reason for the Vocation Crisis | Rev. Michael P. Orsi
• Pray the Harvest Master Sends Laborors | Rev. Anthony Zimmerman
• Priestly Vocations in America: A Look At the Numbers | Jeff Ziegler
• Clerical Celibacy: Concept and Method | Alfons Maria Cardinal Stickler | From The Case for Clerical Celibacy
• The Religion of Jesus | Blessed Columba Marmion | From Christ, The Ideal of the Priest
• The Priest as Man, Husband, and Father | Fr. John Cihak