Given my affection for Dorothy Day, this is a hard post to write. I was always afraid that the radicalism of The Catholic Worker movement might one day target the Church in such a way that it would sever its ties. It looks like this will happen TONIGHT (September 5, 2008) at 7:30 PM. The so-called Roman Catholic (married) “Womanpriest” Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who recently attempted ordination, will offer her first invalid and illicit Mass at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Northwest Washington, DC. This dissenting priestess belongs to something called the Central Kentucky Council of Peace and Justice. The local Catholic Worker Blog states: “A former prisoner of conscience for the School of the Americas Watch, Janice’s homily will reflect on the connections between sexism and violence, and explore ‘waiting on the Spirit’ in civil and ecclesial resistance.” The event is being advertised and everyone is invited. However, good Catholics would do well to bypass this event and to find another organization in the future for their donations and volunteerism.
The NCR published a homily by the political activist and Maryknoller Father Roy Bourgeois that was given at her attempted ordination. He confused the issue of ordination with matters like racism and treated it as if it might be a social justice issue. Next he borrowed the feminist argument about our imagery of God. He writes: “As people of faith we profess that God is all powerful and the source of life. Yet, when it comes to women being ordained, it seems that opponents are saying that this same God who is all powerful and created the heavens and the earth and can bring the dead back to life, somehow, cannot empower a woman to be a priest. Suddenly, we as men believe God becomes powerless when women approach the altar to celebrate Mass”. He says nothing about feminist ridicule of the “fatherhood” of God, even though there may be something revelatory and not prejudiced or patriarchial about how God has made himself known. Of course, his comments miss the real point, that God is all powerful and that both Scripture and Sacred Tradition attest to the fact that he did not offer holy orders to women. An almighty God does not have to take his cues from militant feminists or from traitorous jailbird priests. The question has never been that God is not in charge. The crux of the dilemma is discernment of divine providence. About this our Lord’s appointed Magisterium has spoken and is definitive.
These priestesses are not humble in the face of the divine mystery or willing to accept that the true Church does not affirm or ratify any calling of a woman to priestly vocation. They want it, not as a gift, but as something they think they deserve. They do not want to serve, but crave power. Even had they been men, they would not be worthy of ordination. Fidelity in the faith is made into a shambles and obedience is dismissed.
The Archdiocese of Washington contacted members by telephone and in writing, stressing the incompatibility of the event with Catholic teaching and practice. However, they refused to cancel the event although it will probably forfeit their status as an approved Catholic organization. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1577) and the Code of Canon Law (canon 1024) make it abundantly clear that “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed on December 19, 2007: “…he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication….”