Friday, May 30, 2008

Real Priests Are Men

By now, of course, every single person who reads Catholic blogs has read about the decree by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explaining that women who attempt to be ordained, and those who try to help them do so, are automatically excommunicated. A really good explanation of what this is and what it means is here.

Just for a moment, consider these pictures of an ordination of FSSP priests who will say the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, with these pictures of sham ordinations of women. Okay, okay, I'm sorry I made you look at that second set--but really, the pictures of the FSSP ordination with their glimpses of dignified, reverent worship couldn't be a greater contrast to the tie-died bedsheet variety of women playing dress-up, now could they?

The Church has spoken, and continues to speak, with utmost clarity: there are not now, nor will there ever be, female Roman Catholic priests. Women who attempt ordination are at best deluded, and at worst fully guilty of cutting themselves off from God and from His Church with the gravity, knowledge, and consent necessary to be in a state of grave sin. They are not priests, nor priestesses; they are no longer Catholics in good standing, and must repent of this evil should they seek once again the presence of God, as we ought to hope and pray they will.

But since the Church has been so clear about this, might I offer some respectful suggestions to the real priests out there, the men who stand in the place of Christ at the altar at Mass, who nourish us on the Body and Blood of our Eucharistic Lord, who pray for us and minister to us and take responsibility for our souls?

Fathers, women aren't going to be priests, now or ever. You don't have to keep accommodating them. You don't have to keep letting the stain of feminism seep through the iconoclastic/geometric stained glass or swirl like dusty felt banners around the altar. It's okay to be real men.

So please, stop giving chatty, discursive homilies that sound like Aunt Hilda's reflections on the connection between a Gospel passage and the odd coincidence involving her neighbor and a bowl of homemade soup. Please don't be afraid to tackle the "tough" sins like contraception, abortion, adultery, divorce, homosexual activity, approval of torture, and so forth when you preach. Please, banish tacky "extras" like those aforementioned felt (or other fabric) banners, or that song somebody wrote for the children to march out of church to, the one that sounds like a drunken calliope.

Come to mention it, please stop letting the children march out of Mass at all--religious education is not Mass, and Mass is so much more than religious education. If your homily bores the kiddies Mom or Dad will take them out--it isn't necessary to provide a structured "mini-liturgy" complete with crayons and cut-and-paste activities. Please get rid of the treacly sickly-sweet hymns, and help the choir select some songs with a more martial spirit; living the Christian faith is hard work, and involves blood and martyrdom more often than it involves sunshine and roses. Please employ some Latin here and there--the congregation will get used to it, and you can slowly add more, following in reverse order the process formerly employed to get the people used to heresy and heterodoxy in the liturgy. Please use incense (but please don't skimp on the cost--cheap incense really does have a bad effect on people's abilities to breathe properly).

Please, as Father Z., says, "Say the black, do the red." Please don't innovate or improvise or ad-lib; those are awfully feminine things to do, and while they may be wonderful in the home, when a devoted wife innovates a new dinner concept or improvises with a yard or two of fabric or ad-libs a bedtime story for the amusement of the children, they're really, really, really out of place at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Please encourage the congregation to come to Mass dressed in their Sunday best, even if it takes a while for people to understand what that means (and even if you have to accept that some people's Sunday best may well be less tailored or crisp than what used to be worn on Sunday; someone who wears clericals may not realize how hard it is to find or purchase "Sunday Best" clothes any more).

Please be priests; please be Fathers; please be men.


Daddio said...

"drunken calliope" - HAHAHA!

I despise the pied piper interlude. I understand that children's liturgy of the word is allowed, but I think it's supposed to be led by an actual minister (priest or deacon), and is supposed to consist of readings and a homily, not arts and crafts and fooling around. I get so annoyed when some teenager in flip flops and a mini skirt comes up to lead them out. I appreciate that the youth group is trying to serve the church, but this is not their place. And they could AT LEAST dress appropriately... okay, rant over. Time for a beer.

JP said...

Great, strong post!

RonG said...

Well said - particularly like your line on women playing dress-up.

The theology and logic on this issue seems quite clear, if you care to see.

Not to digress from your post, but somewhat related, our very large church is basically run by women, from faith formation, to plant management, to spiritual classes, to liturgy, to business management - women are there and in charge

Again, a great post.