Excommunication looms for would-be women priests
St. Louis, Nov. 8, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has warned two local women that they face excommunication if they go through with plans for a Sunday ceremony at which they will claim to be ordained as priests.
The archbishop sent personal letters by courier to Rose Marie Dunn Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath, reminding them that they would incur the "censure of excommunication" if they participated in the ceremony, which is being held at a Jewish synagogue under the auspices of the "Womenpriests" organization.
Archbishop Burke noted that the fraudulent "ordination" ceremony, held in direct violation of Church teaching and authority, would constitute an "act of schism." He warned the women that additional penalties could be used against them, along with the excommunication that would be automatically imposed.
McGrath told an AP reporter that she would ignore the archbishop's warning, which she characterized as a "form of intimidation."
This story would be viewed by the worldly as just one more example of the tyrannical, patriarchal, male-dominated, clericalist hierarchy engaged in the ruthless persecution of suffering and oppressed womyn. They would not be able to see any aspect of this matter beyond that, since this is all the limits of their secular cultural paradigm actually permit them to see. Hence, all Ms. McGrath could detect in the letter she received from archbishop Burke was a “form of intimidation”.
Melancholicus, on the other hand, is quite touched by the pastoral solicitude shown by archbishop Burke to these unfortunate and erring souls. They both received personal letters from him, the purpose of which was not to “intimidate”, but to admonish and call them back to the right path before it is too late. The archbishop might simply have put out a press release, or even have ignored the whole affair; instead, he chose to contact both womyn personally. The invalid and sacrilegious simulation of the sacrament of Order carries with it a penalty of latae sententiae excommunication; consequently, should they proceed with their intentions, McGrath and Hudson will incur the penalty anyway, regardless of what archbishop Burke may say or do. The archbishop’s warning is hence just that—a warning, not a threat.
Furthermore, by consenting to participate in this invalid and unlawful ‘ordination’, Hudson and McGrath place themselves in a state of formal schism, outside the communion of the Catholic Church, with potentially dire consequences for their salvation. What kind of shepherd would the archbishop be if, without any word of admonition or attempt at correction, he were to allow members of his flock to be carried off into sin by their own pride and vainglory?
In fact, it is archbishop Burke, and not the two womyn, who shows the greatest courage in this affair. In their minds, Hudson and McGrath have nothing to lose. The excommunication means nothing to them. The media and the world will side with them against the hard-hearted, tyrannical, chauvinistic archbishop, and they know it. The archbishop also knows it. He knows he will draw fire from the secular press because of his stand in defence of right order in the Catholic Church. But he prefers to do his duty as shepherd of the flock entrusted to him by Christ our Lord, rather than look the other way and pretend he doesn’t see what’s happening under his nose in his own diocese for fear of journalistic indignation.
The Church needs more prelates with the mettle of archbishop Raymond Burke.
Furthermore, what are these ladies doing having their ceremony in a synagogue, of all places? It is hardly surprising under the circumstances that they could not find a Catholic church, but surely their local ECUSA parish would have been able to help them out, no?
Perhaps a strongly-worded letter to Kate Schori admonishing her for not coming to the aid of the womynpriests in their hour of need may be required...