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Dear Pope: I Was Worried

Aug 02, 2010 — Categories: ,

While I was on vacation, the Vatican came out with a significant doctrinal statement condemning the sexual abuse of children and the ordination of women. One could not help but conclude that these were somehow related. So I was worried that you intended to send the message that the crime of sexual abuse of a child was equivalent to the doctrinal violation of ordaining women.

While I was on vacation, the Vatican came out with a significant doctrinal statement condemning the sexual abuse of children and the ordination of women. One could not help but conclude that these were somehow related.

So I was worried that you intended to send the message that the crime of sexual abuse of a child was equivalent to the doctrinal violation of ordaining women. Hence my relief in mid-July when the Vatican issued a statement clarifying that you do not see them as equivalent: “‘They are in the same document but this does not put them on the same level or assign them the same gravity,’ said [Monsignor Charles] Scicluna, who helped formulate the revisions.”

How silly of me to erroneously conclude that these two statements might be related. Now I see that you were probably just trying to save paper (i.e. trees) by combining the two. Good job.

But here’s the thing. You have codified the process to de-frock priests who abuse children. That’s good. And you have clarified that anyone including a Bishop who ordains a woman priest will be excommunicated. Not so good. But what happens to Bishops who have covered for pedophile priests and allowed them to continue abusing children all these years? It seems to me that that might be more of a worry than Bishops who ordain women who have been called by God to serve their Church.

But then I’m just an ordained Protestant woman, called by God to serve my church. I realize there are many mysteries in religious matters that I will never understand.

Call me. I think we still need a chat.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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Dear Pope

Posted by Brenda at Aug 03, 2010 12:56 PM
As usual, you have hit the nail on the head. I can not understand why the Catholic church does not see (or does not care?) that these 2 issues are not only important, but also related. For decades (or more), the Catholic church has shuffled around pedophile priests (had to make sure they
'spread the love'?), without even a thought toward excommunication. But, ordain a female priest and the church doors slam closed with damnation and excommunication bellowing from the belfry. The Catholic church apparently would rather consecrate a pedophile priest as holier in the eyes of God than a female priest. And, it would seem that throngs of parishners endorse this practice and belief. If I was catholic, male or female, I would publicly decry this den of iniquity and run screaming from my church, slamming the doors behind me.

ordaining women and pedophile priests

Posted by Debra Michels at Aug 03, 2010 12:56 PM
Thank you so much for putting things into words, Reverend Marie. I like you serious and also humorous approach. I am comforted that you are a minister and a woman. I have suffered from oppression by men, and women like you give my self-esteem a boost.

Can you suggest any books or articles for women (and men) who want to know the story behind how Protestant churches decided to begin to ordain women? And maybe also how it felt to all those concerned, in the beginning and now, in the middle?

Women's Ordination

Posted by Georgiana Williams at Aug 04, 2010 12:59 PM
As I was in the process of responding to a call from God to be ordained as a Presbyterian woman back in the 70's, one of the books I read was about the 7 women who were "irregularly" ordained in the Episcopal Church. They've come a long way from 1977. I cannot remember the name of the book, but someone reading this surely will.
One of the "turning point" books for me was Paul Tournier's book The Gift of Feelings. The chapter called "Did Jesus Listen to Women" was profound for me. He points out that at every major turning point in Jesus' ministry, it was a woman who prompted him to go beyond the boundaries. And, though it is an old book and she has changed the terminology, Anne Wilson Shaef's book Women's Reality: an emerging female system in a white male world also was profound for me even in getting me to the point of considering seminary.

I am sure there are others who have their turning point books to suggest. These are just a start.

Rev. Jan Williams; First Presbyterian Church; Ironton, OH

Letter to Pope

Posted by James Baldwin at Aug 09, 2010 02:01 PM
You go girl, once you get the old boy sorted out on that see if you can get him to back off on his anti-birth control stance before we populate ourselves out of existance. Seems to be the root cause of most of the ills in the world, more demand than supply.