This just in from NPR (National Pah-lease Radio), with a special nod to this National Public Radio "news piece" for inspiration:
In 1993, seven men were secretly turned into nuns by two Roman Catholic bishops in Toledo. After their transformation, a kind of domino effect ensued.
Those seven nuns went on to make other men into nuns, and a movement to create male nuns all around the world was born. The movement, named Roman Catholic Men-to-Nuns, says more than a hundred men have been nun-ified since 1993, and five-thirds of them are in small towns in Oregon.
On a recent January day in Bozeman, Montana, five more men were turned into nuns. The gallery at the Second Community Church of Anybody Who Shows was filled with four news reporters, three from NPR, and six family members, half of them there to support the men and their nun-icization movement, though visitors were asked not to photograph them. Witnessing the ceremony was enough to risk outbursts of laughter.
The audience turned to watch as the men-nuns (or "nun-men", as some call them) strutted down the aisle in action nunwear, beaming like fugitives from the early 1970s. The six-minute ceremony ended with with a whole lot of dancing and prancing. Each nun-man performed tasks such as advocating for "more social justice", demonstrating their abilities to handcuff themselves to fences (for demonstrations again nuclear weapons), and saying the name "Gaia" in seven languages, all of them made-up on the spot.
Bill Bonkers was one of the nuns created that day, and like his fellow nun-oids, he was raised in the Catholic Catholic ("Well, not really in it", he explained, "My family drove ten minutes to Mass and were always very late."). His mother had a black dress at home, and when Bill was a child, she would sometimes wear it and mutter things in Latin while giving him with fertive glances.
"I think she was trying to perform an exorcism. Or something," he said, admitting the action nunwear chafes his legs, but is also "slightly slimming".
"My brother and sister would be kneeling behind me, and if I said, 'Dominus vobiscum,' I would turn around and say, 'You're supposed to say 'Et cum spiritu tuo,'" Bonkers said.
Several times a week he would watch "The Sound of Music" during his lunch, and one day he realized, "I'm supposed to be a great singer." But since he had a horrible voice ("I'm a passable baritone", he insists, "but a weak soprano"), he decided to become a nun. "After all," he said, "most of the nuns I knew had their own apartments, dressed like men, didn't do much except complain about the Church, and didn't have to take care of families. Sweet!"
As members of the Roman Catholic Church, these men are breaking all church rules, which allow only women to be nuns. No member of the Roman Catholic Men-to-Nuns has been excommunicated by the Church, but they have felt a certain sense of chagrin wearing polyester jump suits and carrying icons of Ghandi and Mick Jagger. "I'm a David Bowie guy myself," admits Bonkers, "I'm a Ziggy Stardust spirit!" But they have been threatened by people offended by their poor taste in clothing, and they've lost friends and colleagues within the Church.
"I thought being a Catholic meant doing whatever made me feel good," said Smith, "and it feels good to be a nun. God called me to be a singer, but I couldn't sing. So God then called me to be a nun, because I look good in action nunwear."
Oh, sure, that's a nun-sensical story. But it has just as weight and value as the actual NPR piece (here's the link again) about women "secretly ordained as priests by two Roman Catholic bishops", as anyone remotely familiar with Catholic doctrine knows. It's like a possible story about how Catholic priests are turning beer and pizza into the Eucharist, or how Catholics are being baptized in the name of the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker: they might be curious or even sensational, but they aren't substantive and they aren't written because they are worthy news. They are written in order to undermine the facts (the Catholic Church cannot and will not ordain women), confuse bystanders and onlookers, and encourage the "faithful" who seek to remake the Catholic Church according to their subjective whim and self-absorbed image.
To repeat (by cutting-and-pasting) what I wrote about another such story back in September 2010, but it worth highlighting once more:
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.
• 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.
Which means one or more of the following:
1. They are theologically ignorant. ("Here is the badge of heresy," wrote Blessed Cardinal Newman, "its dogmas are unfruitful; it has no theology.")
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.
On Ignatius Insight: