While other little girls in her hometown of Nissoria, Sicily, were dressing up and playing house, Maria Vittoria Longhitano would pretend to say Mass, dispensing cookies and chips to her toys for communion. Sometimes, she would even baptize her dolls.In related news, the Seattle Storm basketball team has no place for me—an early (yes, early!) middle-aged, rather out-of-shape guy with a passable jump shot but no hops—despite the fact I played basketball constantly into my early twenties and could surely hold my own in the WNBA for a few moments with a little training, conditioning, and sensitivity training. The analogy limps, of course, and not just because I have bad knees; there are all sorts of theological issues involved in the Catholic (and Orthodox! Let's not forget that fact) belief that women cannot be ordained. We've gone over this stuff a billion times before; my interest here is in the humor and "logic" of the dissenters—not intentional humor, by certainly real humor:
As a child, she prayed to St. Rita — much venerated in Sicily — asking for her intervention to become a priest.
But the Roman Catholic Church has no place for women among its clerical ranks, as the Vatican stated forcefully over the summer when it decreed that the attempt to ordain female priests is to be considered one of the most serious crimes against church law.
“We were excommunicated in 2008, but we rejected it,” said Bridget Mary Meehan, a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization, who was ordained a priest in 2006 without Vatican consent. “What matters is that we follow our conscience.”This must be what it's like to be trapped walking eternally on Escher's famous staircase:
• The priestette's demand that their "ordinations" be recognized by the Church and they be accepted as Catholic priests. Put another way, they want the blessing and backing of the Church and her authority.Which means one or more of the following:
• When excommunicated for knowingly violating Church law in a grave manner, said preistettes brazenly "reject" the law and acts of the Church.
• They say their conscience is supreme without qualification, which is directly contrary to clear Church teaching, which describes their position as a "mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience" and a "rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching" (CCC, par. 1792; see this post for much more).
• If their conscience is supreme, without qualification, it logically must have greater authority than the Church, which means 1) they have no need for the Church (so why do they seek the Church's approval?) and/or 2) the Church's authority is seriously flawed, even morally bankrupt, which also begs the question: why bother to be recognized and accepted by such an institution?
• Put simply, these priestettes go on and on about their desire and need to be a Catholic priest, yet always demean and even denounce the authority upon which the priesthood rests. If they can indeed "reject" Magisterial authority, that same authority is, logically, powerless to ordain them in any real and meaningful way. This is akin to Dan Brown's claim that Jesus was a simple carpenter who had, by virtue of some unknown quality, power over his goddess wife, Mary Magdalene. Right. And I have a bridge in southern Utah that you should buy.
1. They are theologically ignorant. ("Here is the badge of heresy," wrote Blessed Cardinal Newman, "its dogmas are unfruitful; it has no theology.")None of that, of course, is humorous in the least. But the priestette movement, although small and aging, represents quite well how the idolatry of personal ambitions can so easily distort a healthy conscience. It is, I think, a symptom of a deeper problem: pride, surely, but also a renunciation of the Mystical Body of Christ, which in turn is a renunciation of Christ himself. By demanding to be persona Christi, they risk losing communion with Christ altogether.
2. They view the Church primarily in terms of human authority and position, not as a divine institution founded by Christ for a specific end, with certain functions and roles established by Christ within the Church for the good of the Church and the salvation of souls.
3. They act in bad faith, or lack real faith. This is evidenced in their dismissal of Magisterial teaching; it is the "Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error" (CCC, par. 890).
4. They are immature, attention-seeking, delusional, and narcissistic, with no demonstrable love or concern for the Church, her teachings, and her mission. Like the Pharisees, they demand attention and recognition, claiming they have a superior ability to know, interpret, and live the law. Yet they lack the gravitas of the Pharisees; there is a self-absorbed flippancy to these priestettes that is both sad and sickening.
UPDATE: Yet another example (this time within the Archdiocese of Portland) of priestette egotism: "A Sunday Without Women" (ht: Mel).
• "I am a pro-adultery Catholic because my Catholic faith tells me I can be." (March 2, 2009)
• "Our personal conscience is supreme" (Feb. 7, 2007)
• The Truth About Conscience | John F. Kippley
• Happiness and the Heart | Fr. Robert J. Spitzer
• Conscience and Chaos | Dr. James Hitchcock
• The Illusion of Freedom Separated from Moral Virtue | Raymond L. Dennehy