This from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg faces excommunication for seeking the priesthood in an unsanctioned ordination ceremony, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan said[,] . . . notify[ing] the Vatican of Vandenberg’s action. Dolan said her excommunication could come soon. . . .
In his letter to the parish, Dolan said he was “disappointed because Ms. Vandenberg and I had begun a fruitful dialogue on the matter last fall. At that time, . . . I had advised her that any attempted ordination would affect her relationship with the church.”. . .
Vandenberg . . . was stung that Dolan made details of their talk public. “We both agreed that the meeting would be private,” she said. . . .
On July 31, Vandenberg and 11 other women took part in an ordination ceremony in Pittsburgh – eight to become priests and four to be deacons.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which organized the event, has held similar ceremonies in Canada and Europe.
The group claimed last week’s ordinations were valid, performed by women “bishops” secretly ordained by anonymous male bishops. Dolan termed them “simulated and invalid.” . . .
“I want to always be respectful of the church and the bishop,” she said, “but there are times when you have to be obedient to God and not the bishop.”
Am I missing something here? The Catholic Church has made abundantly clear, not only to Vandenberg but to the world, that women can’t be priests (a position with which I disagree, and I’ve never ever heard a plausible argument for denying women the role other than an arbitrary “because I told you so” rule that typifies the worst of religious “thought”…). So, why the need to excommunicate? Isn’t it enough to say, “sorry, you can’t get a parish,” and “sorry, we are in receipt of your CV to be the priest at the 8th Street church, but you see, we don’t hire women as priests, so you’re not getting the job”?
Excommunication seems like it’s really going an unnecessary extra mile to send a message to women who get uppity about their second-class status….
- Scott Moss