Upchuck Weekly, Installment One
Nothing like a friendly little note from Joan Chittister to induce vomit all over my Christmas tree. This one's about Fr Roy Bourgeois, the guy is in the process of formal excommunication (that's how I understand it, anyway) for giving the homily at the attempted ordination of a woman.
Source: National Catholic Reporter, of course. Where else? (At my other blog, I only draw from CNA, which is like the Fox News of the Catholic world, in that it's conservative-friendly. However, I think that "Upchuck Weekly" deserves a more barf-worthy source.)
Bolding and comments are all mine.
Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois is under threat of excommunication for giving a homily at the unauthorized priestly ordination (WRONG! ---ATTEMPTED--- ordination!) of a woman sponsored by the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests. The question, especially for those who know this priest to be a justice-loving, selfless prophet of peace (oh please, a "prophet of peace" known for political protests and attempting to ordain women?), is how Fr. Roy’s “case” (??) will be handled by the Vatican. No doubt about it: The situation is an important one -- both for him and for the church who will judge him.
It is important for Fr. Bourgeois because it involves the possible fracturing of the commitment of a lifetime. (I'm pretty sure he has already fractured things much more serious than a vocation... sacrilege fractures your SOUL.)
The whole truth, however, is that this particular story is embedded in a struggle that is much larger than Roy. It is the story of how the church itself will, this time, deal with the birth pangs of conscience and consciousness that mark any society in the midst of change. The church has been in this situation before and the responses, to our shame, have not always, in the chastening light of history, been good ones.
No wonder that in his opening address to Vatican Council II (because LOTS of good came out of THAT little meeting), Pope John XXIII said to the bishops assembled from around the world: The church has always opposed errors regarding the faith and, in the past, did so “with the greatest severity. Nowadays, however, the spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.”
It was neither a pietistic nor an idle statement. (Ok, he's a pope, so I won't mess with his statement too much, but I really don't think that people want to be mollycoddled when it comes to matters of their eternal salvation. The "medicine of mercy" is like Neosporin when what you really need is stitches.)
Who at that Council, for instance, -- who in that Church -- did not know that punishment and exclusion had been the hallmark of the church for centuries before Vatican II? (Oh, right. At least with V2, the focus changed. Now the heretics weren't the ones being abused... the TRUE Catholics were! Hooray!)
The most painful question of all, however, is has anything really changed, however much Pope John XXIII might have hoped otherwise?
In our own time, church by fear and intimidation is clearly on the brink of becoming the norm again.
Whole groups are being excommunicated everywhere: Call to Action, Dignity, parishes that seek more participation in making parish decisions, and the Women’s Ordination Conference (let the uncontrollable, projectile vomit begin NOW). Even people who voted for Barack Obama have been told by some priests and bishops that they need to go to confession before they go to communion. And, of course, Roman Catholic Womenpriests is an excommunicated group, as well. Despite the fact that over two-thirds of the U.S. Catholic church approves of the ordination of women (The world revolves around US!!! ME!!!! I LOVE ME!!!!! AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!), the discussion goes on being repressed, rebuffed and disregarded. (Survey of US Catholics, NCR) (Also, if you'll notice, NCR was the one doing the polling. Do you think they showed up at a TLM to ask parishioners THERE?)
So, who is winning? The enforcers or the believers? (What the @$&* does THAT mean??) Well, it depends on what you mean by ‘winning.’ History is clear: It is one thing to enforce behavior, it is another thing entirely to attempt to chain the mind or enslave the heart forever.From where I stand, it seems to me that now may well be a time when the church should proceed with great tenderness, an open mind, a listening heart -- and a clear sense that, just as in times past, God’s future is on the way.
(Not if some radical wanna-be priestess womyn in a pantsuit has anything to do with it.)