söndag 2 november 2008

Fler katolska kvinnor vigda...

Som synes kommer detta att fortsätta....

En person som var med vid vigningarna i Chicago igår berättar så här om det.


"On All Saints’ Day I attended and participated in the ordination of three female catholic deacons and one female catholic priest. The service was held at St. Paul’s UCC Church, Chicago - and was quite unlike any other ordination I have ever been involved in.

The church was full - well more than 200 people were there…many of them Roman Catholics from St. Gertrude’s parish in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. I was introduced to many active laypeople from this congregation, as well as clergy who had helped the principles along their discernment path. I have known this congregation for more than 10 years; within the Archdiocese of Chicago they are known for their outreach ministries, their openness to the other religious congregations around them (there are many) and their encouragement of vocations of all sorts. To give an example, I believe that St. Gertrude’s is one of the very few RC parishes to have a lay associate pastor.

According to Roman Catholic law, a women who is ordained is automatically excommunicated, as are any Roman Catholics who lend support (even by attending). Thus, as I entered the church, I needed to complete a questionnaire aimed at making sure that I was a person of good will, not intending to disrupt the proceedings, nor intending to report anything that went on within the confines of that church service.

During the service, it was made clear that not only had each of these women gone through a very rigorous discernment period, each had spent quite a few years getting the education required for ordination - all (including the deacons) had at the very least an M.Div…and more than one had a doctorate. There could be no accusation that there had been any kind of special accommodation made in this area. I think that quite a few other autocephalous jurisdictions risk credibility by ordaining people who are not very far along in their discernment and who have not done some kind of theological study. Often the journey through discernment and study took more than 10 years.

I found myself sitting in a pew and thinking of the ancient church, worshipping in secret in homes in ancient Palestine, knowing that even offering worship was a potentially life-threatening activity. The service itself was based upon the RC ordination liturgy, but carefully edited to erase gender-specific language. It was also interesting to observe that their bishop opted to omit all of the usual trappings of the episcopal office; no mitre, no huge pectoral cross, no crozier. It was evident that quite a bit of care had been taken to opt for simplicity - a simple chasuble and stole.

With four ordinations taking place at the same time, and much music offered…the service was very long; it lasted almost three hours. At the point where those ordained laid hands on the ordinands, there were some men in lay clothing borrowing stoles in order to participate - and it was clear that these were Roman Catholic priests who were risking their own Orders to proclaim the validity and truth of the vocations before them.

Though I have had my doubts about this group in the past because of their unwillingness to embrace other catholic jurisdictions and even recognize the orders of other catholic clergy, I sensed a breath of fresh air moving through and perhaps making a change to this attitude. I was warmly greeted; I have been invited to get to know them better. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses have been exchanged; there will be more contact with this group.

Where women are ordained, from whatever tradition, they need to have warm and collegial relationships with each other in order to grow into Christ’s great priestly prayer - that all may be one. Yesterday, I was offered a glimpse at what this might be like."

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