This Halloween, millions of Americans will dress up in costumes and pretend to be celebrities or other important figures. Most journalists won't take serious note of this. Yet recently a few women have slipped into some vestments and claimed that they're "women Catholic priests," and writers at Time magazine think there is some sober journalism to pursue.
For the second time in two weeks, Time has published an article trumpeting women who are pretending to be genuine Catholic priests. As we noted last week, Dawn Reiss was the culprit in a flimsy piece. Now the bleary-eyed Tim Padgett is in on the act.
There's little that separates the two articles, except Padgett accidently pulls the cover off the real agenda at play for these renegade women. The truth is that these so-called "Catholics" aren't very Catholic at all. Padgett notes:
The Womenpriests use a liturgy that stresses gender neutrality ("In the name of God our Father and Mother ..."), and they don't toe the Vatican line against birth control and abortion, endorsing instead the Catholic tenet of informed individual conscience. They also favor the kind of new-age, Mother Earth music that can grate on even progressive Catholics.
Like Reiss, Padgett fails to note that the ordination of women in the Catholic Church is simply not a possibility. Like Reiss, Padgett makes no mention of John Paul II's 1994 Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which reiterated the Church's assertion that it simply does not have the authority to change the nature of sacraments, which Christ himself instituted. The issue will never be "up for a vote."
Someone needs to get the memo to the folks at Time.
Photo by Pascal Shirley for Time. Original caption: (left to right) Nancy Corran and Jane Via photographed saying mass at the San Diego parish, Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community on Sunday, September 5, 2010.
-- Dave Pierre is the author of the heralded new book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church.