Monday, July 31, 2006


Gary, my eagle-eyed husband, regularly sends me articles of interest. Here's a real gem. According to this Salon article, twelve Roman Catholic women will be ordained deacon or priest today in a forbidden ceremony in Pittsburgh. I know Salon's a subscription service that many of you probably can't access, so here's the story as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And here's the very informative and heartening homepage of the Womenpriests movement.

In case you hadn't guessed, I'm all for this. Joanna Russ says in one of her books that liberals work to end other people's oppression, while radicals work to end their own. I've never bought a "Jesus is a Liberal" bumper sticker because for me, that doesn't go far enough: Jesus is a radical who worked to end the suffering of all the crucified, and who endured crucifixion himself in solidarity with that suffering, and who calls us to follow him in ending such suffering today. (Yes, this is unorthodox theology. So sue me.)

Jesus is a radical. And the women being ordained today are also radicals.

(The bumper stickers I do own, by the way, say "Christian, Not Closed-Minded" and "Feminism is the Radical Notion that Women are People.")

It's ironic that these forbidden RC ordinations are taking place in Pittsburgh, home of the infamously reactionary American Anglican Council, which staunchly opposes the ordination of gays and lesbians, and isn't too thrilled with the new Presiding-Bishop-Elect, either.

And in a happy synchronicity, tonight I'll be attending the ordination of two friends who've been transitional deacons and are now becoming priests. One's a woman. (And since we're in Nevada, they're being ordained by, you guessed it, the Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, the aforementioned Presiding-Bishop-Elect.) In my part of the world, this is an occasion of great joy, but otherwise utterly unremarkable. Of course women should be priests; look at what a wonderful job they do!

Here's a prayer from the priestly ordination liturgy from the New Zealand Prayer Book (a tremendously rich resource, if you don't know it):

Holy and living God,
you call men and women
to bring us your creative and redeeming Word.
Equip your people
for their work of ministry
and give to these your servants,
now to be ordained,
the gifts of grace they need.


  1. God makes priests. Churches only make them wear uniforms.

    Is there something amiss with me that I've never understood how there can be any controversy?

  2. If there's something amiss with you, there's something amiss with many of us.

    One of these days I'll undoubtedly indulge in a rant about the professionalization of ministry, which too often winds up disempowering the laity (despite any good intentions to the contrary).


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