Reflection on “Womenpriests”

I just read “Portraits from the Forbidden Priesthood of Women” on NatGeo Photos. The article by Janna Dotschkal is a dialogue with Giulia Bianchi, Italian photographer who took some superb pictures of Womenpriests in 2013.

The pictures are elegant, deeply moving. The author herself did not talk with any of the Womenpriests, so it’s third hand. I was troubled because I wanted to hear their voices. I do not see a need, nor is it healthy, to describe the women as engaging in forbidden practices. Women are healers. This sounds like talk of witches, not faith leaders.

Since the priesthood is only open to men in the R.C. Church, women who think and believe they are called to be priests have a couple of options. They can stay and keep quiet, which is counter-intuitive. They can leave the R.C. Church and move to another Christian denomination which does ordain priests and/or ministers.  Of they can ordain one another outside the care of the Church.

Lee McGee was a superb teacher and counselor whom I met and with whom I studied at Yale Divinity School. She is an Episcopal Priest, and she was part of a group of women deemed prepared for ordination in the Episcopal fellowship, but not legally welcome. They were among the second group of women ordained by a supportive bishop.  These days, women are priests, even Bishops, in the Episcopal church. There has been so much noise; there were dire warnings ahead of time, and yet, the sun still rises in the morning.

I do not expect that the Catholic Church will ordain wmen in our time because the proscription is part of Canon Law, which is the fortress of Catholic dogma and practice. So I  think  we ought to get to know these womenpriests, listen to them, watch them work, note the places they can go and make a difference, but certainly not make a decision to marginalize them.

Words such as “excommunicate” or “silence” or “shun” have been used to “cast out” the voices of men and women who dare to question, dare to take up te mantel of the prophets, hearing the “word of the Lord” and setting out to share that word, often imperiling their status, their jobs, and even their lives. I would choose descriptive terms such as “courageous,” “compassionate,” “steadfast.”

About @LatelaMary

Author of 14 self-help books, five still available: Prepare Him Room, Ten Steps to Peace, Healing the Abusive Family, Moments for Mothers. Breaking the Boxes: critique of institutions vs. individuals. Work-in-progress: Memoir (Sorting out Secrets)
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