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Friday, September 05, 2003


Bill Cork, bravely peering through the pages of the National Catholic Reporter not written by John Allen, discovered that the gifted but reliably wrong Rev. Thomas Gumbleton has come out in favor of women's ordination. Gumbleton, an auxilliary bishop for the Archdiocese, left no room for doubt, as these money paragraphs indicate:

Our church needs to hear that message today, because we still do not have full equality in the church for women. It is very clear, it seems to me, that the majority of Christians, and the Catholic Christians in this country, think ordination ought to be open to women, but we don't let that happen in our church. We have not reached the fullness of conversion that we are being called to. We are being called to full equality and full mutuality, to a place where every person is afforded his or her full rights as a person.

So we need to be converted. Individually and as a community of disciples, we need to be converted to the full awareness and acceptance of everything Jesus said. Because, certainly in his life, he made no distinctions based on whether a person was man or woman. The first one called to go and proclaim the good news of the resurrection was a woman, not a man. Jesus always included women. When he sent his disciples out two by two, they were men and women. His whole approach was equality and mutuality. We need to be converted to that.

For the Bishop, Women's ordination is no mere issue. Indeed, the Rev. Gumbleton deems it an issue for "conversion"--i.e., denying ordination is nothing less than a sin. Not to discomfit the distaff, but the sticky facts are (1) that the Lord chose only male apostles and (2) the apostles themselves only considered men as a replacement for Iscariot. Yes, even Jesus himself was a little less inclusive than is frequently advertised.

This poses a sticky problem for Detroit's Archbishop, Adam Cardinal Maida. Earlier this year, Cardinal Maida reigned in a Warren parish that wanted to host the bad lounge act known as Dr. Anthony Padovano:

You may not be aware of the range of Dr. Padovano's theological views, some of which are clearly in opposition to the authoritative teaching of the Church. Among such positions are his advocacy for the ordination of women and his view that the celebration of the Eucharist need not be limited to ordained ministry. According to the National Catholic Reporter (March 14, 2003, p. 11) he is a "National Tour Co-sponsor" for the "Rev. Ida Raming, Ph.D., noted Catholic theologian and women's ordination pioneer. Dr. Raming [will speak] about her experience of ordination, excommunication, and the future of women's ministry in the Roman Catholic Church."

* * *

...Dr. Padovano has identified Dignity and the Women's Ordination Conference, among other groups, as "the synagogues of the renewal" (National Catholic Reporter, November 12, 1999, cover story).

In review of the serious concerns which Dr. Padovano's writings and advocacy efforts present, especially in matters ecclesiological, I believe that the potential harm caused to the lay faithful by his lecture series at your parish outweighs the potential benefit envisioned.

Pastoral prudence and my obligation as Archbishop require me to direct you to cancel Dr. Padovano's engagement at your parish on May 14th .

Let's see: we have two men advocating the same position in the same newspaper. The former gets barred from church grounds, even though he and the archbishop were apparently friends in the seminary. The latter...well, can we expect to see the Auxilliary Bishop standing at the corner of Washington and Michigan in Detroit, clutching his beloved Swingline™ stapler and a box full of desk nick-nacks as he waits for the bus? Or will collegiality save the day?

Stay tuned.

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