The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“Do not write off all women priests as ill prepared”

I got an e-mail the other day from a reader in Minnesota who took issue with this blog post, quoting Curt Jester (Jeff Miller) who said (among other things): “How comes the ‘women’s ordination movement’ doesn’t have any seminaries? They just ordain women without any real preparation.”

The reader wanted to set the record straight. So, with her permission, I’m quoting below most of her e-mail:

I know some of the women ordained through Roman Catholic Women priests and they are well prepared. Bp. Patricia Friesen used to teach Roman Catholic seminarians before she was consecrated bishop by a European RC bishop in good standing and still working full time for the church. That documentation is in a vault and will not be released until he dies. I was invited to consider being ordained through RCWP and I have 3 masters degrees (education, biblical theology and Divinity) and a Doctorate in Ministry with concentration in spiritual theology. I have not accepted RCWP invitation yet I daily for more than 20 years discern God’s call to full sacramental ministry within the RC church. And Catholics have told me for over 30 years that I should be a priest. Most Roman Catholic priests have a Masters of Divinity degree or the equivalent. That is the experience of many women I know well. Seminary professors from several countries have told me that women have been some of their finest students in seminaries. Some RCWP are gifted authors with so many theological degrees you would be impressed! So, please do not write off all RC Women Priests as ill prepared. Those I know are well prepared and have been through rigorous psychological and theological testing.

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Jeff Miller

posted July 30, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Rigorous “theological testing” except for the part about ecclesiology and no women priests.I recommend The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church by Sister Sarah Butler who once was for women’s ordination and now argues against it once she realized her errors.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted July 30, 2008 at 9:54 pm

One more point worth making…I believe canon law requires that candidates for ordination take an oath of fidelity to the magesterium, reciting the Creed and pledging obedience to the teaching authority of the Church. Do women priests just skip that part? I honestly wonder. Dcn. G.

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posted July 31, 2008 at 12:13 am

I love the irony that they want to tout their M.Div’s and theological proficiency, yet openly reject the Magisterial Teachings of the church and still want to call themselves “Roman Catholic”I wish they would just drop the RC but then all the media attention goes by by once they are exposed as yet another protestant community.

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Ray from MN

posted July 31, 2008 at 9:20 am

The reason that they don’t become “Episcopal priests” is that there would be no publicity.

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posted July 31, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Yes, always talk of a “male bishop in good standing” having performed the original ‘ordination’ except that the matter wasn’t valid.A priest could say all the masses he wants using milk and cookies instead of wine and bread, and you still would never have the milk turn into The Blood.They never address this unchangeable fact of the Church.Ray from MN is on to something re. the publicity aspect.I’d be interested to hear if RCWP accept the validity of Anglican orders — and if not, why not? And if so, why not simply be ordained in that organization?

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posted July 31, 2008 at 1:38 pm

I believe the point was to refute the mistaken statement that some of the women who claim to be ordained aren’t well trained. It appears to be not the case. That at least some of the women are highly trained in matters of the church. Will the writers of that claim concede that point? That argument has been proven false. Overall, as Catholic Christians with charity, I suggest we follow this model. Call it Gamaliel’s Law (Acts 6): “For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

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Gen X Revert

posted August 1, 2008 at 11:44 am

I do not doubt these women are highly educated in academic subjects -many nuns are as well. There is nothing that says women cannot be as educated as men in theology, nothing that says they could not preach as well or better than some priests, nothing that says they are not as good as men , when in fact they are usually better. But, the role of priests was given to men. People who say women can do something as well as men do not get the point at all, it is not a question of ability, or education.

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posted August 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm

I think that there is a misconception by many that “priest” is a job title like pastor or counselor. It is not. A priest takes on the person of Christ who is , of course, a real person with a known gender (and one that HE chose). No matter how gifted an actress , no one would find it credible to have a woman portray Ceasar or Abe Lincoln. Those roles call for a man. The same is true of a priest–In the Mass he takes on the role (person) of Christ-and that role calls for a man. As a woman I am sorry that these women priest wannabes are so full of personal ambition that they are no longer faithful to the Church that Christ founded.

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posted August 1, 2008 at 6:02 pm

As a current Roman Catholic seminarian, I would like to point out that the biggest flaw in this gibberish is that it ignores three of the four pillars of formation set out in Pastores Dabo Vobis.Academics, while a part of formation, are far from the whole of formation. In addition, men are expected to undergo spiritual, human and pastoral formation. All of these are carefully monitored by a formation team and spiritual directors.Canon Law requires a minimum of six years of formation in seminary, two of pre-theology (mostly philosophy) and four of theology. A few seminaries in the US have a papal indult to form men in four years.However, no one forms for the Catholic priesthood living in their house and commuting to the seminary for classes. A few religious priests-to-be, who have communities within proximity to the seminary may remain in their communities.This answer shows how severely flawed these womyn priestesses’ sacramental theology is. Taking a couple classes at the Learning Annex does not prepare one for the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ. It never did, and it still doesn’t.Formation is difficult. The fact that none of the womyn priestesses know this only augments their lack of catholicity and proves that they are no more priests of Jesus Christ than dg’s Oreos and Milk (see above) are the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our lord.

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posted August 1, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Ok, can we stop being derogatory and using “womyn” I don’t care who “started it” it is stupid and derogatory, even more so for a seminarian to be using it.I used to be on the side of the fence these women are on, I used to be extremely for women’s ordination a member of CTA and Woman’s Ordination Conference. I helped to found a Women’s Spirituality group at Loyola New Orleans. There are some women who are in it for the “authority” and “power” of the priesthood, and there are those in it because they are over grown hippies and then there are a hidden few who genuinely feel called and only wish to serve and would do so more reverently then some men I know who are ordained.Is it right? No, Do I still agree with them? No. But name calling and making fun wont solve the situation either.

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posted August 2, 2008 at 12:02 am

name calling and making fun wont solve the situation either.In fact, it tends to confirm the suspicion that men who oppose women’s ordination are misogynists who have never had a healthy relationship with any woman, including their mothers.

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posted August 2, 2008 at 2:07 pm

By using the term “womyn,” beez is merely illustrating the source of this nonsense of the “ordination” of women. It has always been bound up in the false notion that men and women are not just equal, but functionally and ontologically the same. Like using the word “gay” to describe those with same-sex attraction disorders, it is only when used in a negative sense (e.g. – “that’s so gay”) that “womyn” is seen as derogatory. Michael can suspect misogyny all day long, but those who are well-formed in Catholic theology understand that the Church cannot and will never have women priests because men and women ARE different and the Holy Spirit has guided the Church in understanding this.

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posted August 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm

As a woman who graduated from a very feminist university – and who took more than a few Women’s Studies courses – I have to say that using the word “womyn” doesn’t indicate “that men who oppose women’s ordination are misogynists who have never had a healthy relationship with any woman, including their mothers” because it is a spelling for women which was first used by radical feminists. To say the usage of the term indicates anything more than word play is a matter of one absurdly grasping for short brittle straws sure to break. Very weak. One ought to try not to argue unless unless they have an argument to make. Peace. ~~~mary

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posted August 4, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I was wondering if the “women priests”, since they want to counted among the normal priests, were taking vows of chastity, poverty and obedience? Will they remain chaste? Have parish? Be bound to an ordinary? Umm…I’m guessing not.

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posted December 17, 2008 at 8:52 pm

A(Wo)MEN: Let us pray for the R.C. Church hierarchy. They’re breaking the Fourth Commandment. Holy Mother Church has, via the Vatican,refused to accept women priests. Will this result in Mass protest?

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