Monday, April 29, 2013

Kentucky woman ordained as priest in defiance of Roman Catholic Church

This is yet another example of the mainstream media's utter incapability of reporting on Church maters. This woman was no more "ordained as priest" than if I got together with some friends from the neighborhood and put on a ceremony where they "ordained" me as an Imam. Do you think the headline would be "Ann Arbor man ordained as Imam in defiance of Islam." Yea - me neither.

Dr. Monica Miller, author of "Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church," will address this story when she fills in as guest host of "Kresta in the Afternoon" today.

By Mary Wisniewski | Reuters – 54 mins ago

In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.

Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations.

In an interview before the ceremony, Smead said she is not worried about being excommunicated from the Church - the fate of other women ordained outside of Vatican law.

"It has no sting for me," said Smead, a petite, gray-haired former Carmelite nun with a ready hug for strangers. "It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives."
The ordination of women as priests, along with the issues of married priests and birth control, represents one of the big divides between U.S. Catholics and the Vatican hierarchy. Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe that women should be allowed to be priests, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year.

The former pope, Benedict XVI, reaffirmed the Catholic Church's ban on women priests and warned that he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on fundamental teachings. Male priests have been stripped of their holy orders for participating in ordination ceremonies for women.

In a statement last week, Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz called the planned ceremony by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests a "simulated ordination" in opposition to Catholic teaching.

"The simulation of a sacrament carries very serious penal sanctions in Church law, and Catholics should not support or participate in Saturday's event," Kurtz said.

The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to allow women to be priests because Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood said Jesus was acting only according to the customs of his time.

They also note that he chose women, like Mary Magdalene, as disciples, and that the early Church had women priests, deacons and bishops.

The ceremony, held at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Louisville, was attended by about 200 men and women. Many identified themselves to a Reuters reporter as Catholics, but some declined to give their names or their churches.


The modern woman priest movement started in Austria in 2002, when seven women were ordained by the Danube River by an independent Catholic bishop. Other women were later ordained as bishops, who went on to ordain more women priests and deacons.

"As a woman priest, Rosemarie is leading, not leaving the Catholic Church, into a new era of inclusivity," said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan during her sermon Saturday. "As the Irish writer James Joyce reminded us, the word 'Catholic' means 'Here comes everybody!'"

Smead had to leave the rigorous Carmelite life due to health reasons, and earned a bachelor's degree in theology and a doctorate in counseling psychology. She taught at Indiana University for 26 years, and works as a couples and family therapist.

During the ordination ceremony, Smead wept openly as nearly everyone in the audience came up and laid their hands on her head in blessing. Some whispered, "Thanks for doing this for us."

During the communion service, Smead and other woman priests lifted the plates and cups containing the sacramental bread and wine to bless them.

A woman in the audience murmured, "Girl, lift those plates. I've been waiting a long time for this."

One of those attending the service was Stewart Pawley, 32, of Louisville, who said he was raised Catholic and now only attends on Christmas and Easter. But he said he would attend services with Smead when she starts to offer them in Louisville.

"People like me know it's something the Catholic Church will have to do," said Pawley.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Mohammad Zargham)


  1. Ah yes, another C&E 'catholic'(Pawley) that never has embraced the teachings of the Church but feels he's an expert enough to make a ecclesiastical decision on his own. And isn't that what it is all about..It's all about 'You'./sarc

  2. This is one of the most factually incorrect articles I've ever seen.

  3. "Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe that women should be allowed to be priests, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year."

    Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe the wrong ideas.

    1. In today's world, public opinion is extraordinarily powerful and almost impossible to resist. See Tocqueville, Democracy in America, for the argument of why this is.

  4. "They also note that he chose women, like Mary Magdalene, as disciples, and that the early Church had women priests, deacons and bishops." Is this true?

    1. Yes to the disciples part, although notably Christ chose only men to be His 12 Apostles, no women. And this even excluded His sinless mother, so it's clear He had a particular end in mind, namely that the clerics of His Church be men.

      As to the second part about women priests and bishops, no, it's factually completely incorrect. despite some "Pope Joan"-style arguments coming from historically-challenged progressive "thinkers." As for deaconesses, there were indeed, but they functioned not at all in the way permanent deacons have functioned since Vatican II. They were named and chosen to help baptize and catechize women, as at that time full-immersion baptisms were done in one's birthday suit, necessitating separate baptismal events for men and for women. That was the extent of the "deaconess's" activities.

    2. Thank you and thank the poster for the question. Yet the question of historical continuity may of course not be critical. Later understandings of God's will may be profound corrections of earlier understandings. My own view is that the Church's entire natural law teaching, of which this is a part, is under great intellectual pressure that it may not be able to withstand. I'm one of those who favors gay marriage and contraception, and consider the Church's policy on these as one of misunderstanding of reality. But it's the intellectual battle between premodern ideas and modern or post-modern ideas that interests me. Women's ordination, which has yet picked up much steam, is a sign of the times.

  5. She was not ordained, it was a pretend ordination, and women cannot be priests, they can be pristesses, but not of Christ, Baal the Goul'd god comes to mind. She has automatically excommunicated herself from the Holy Church. She is now a protestant heretic.

  6. You can think that if you like, but this is how revolutions begin. Division is showing itself in the Church. The poster above claims that 70 percent of American catholics believe women should be ordained. The Church belongs to the faithful, not to the Vatican. I'm not agreeing with the method used here, but I see a tidal wave of support in the distance. Consider Catholic support for gay marriage. Who put the President in office? Answer: Catholic voters!

  7. There is nothing like 'an independent catholic bishop'

  8. I would welcome women priests if that was ever on the horizon, but to openly defy the true deposit of faith that she wants to embrace her, is quite a serious thing. What are we in the "60's"?? She broke with apostolic succession where the true deposit of faith is handed on. The Catholic Church isn't the Catholic Church because its what we feel is right. It is the Catholic Church because Christ!! That, of course would be difficult for the, so called, "enlightened culture" to absorb, because we have exchanged true critical thinking and reflection with popularity. This wasn't so much about the humility of accepting God's unfolding in their lives as it is about pure ego and pride covered with, what the media and world love, drama and so-called deep emotional feelings.

    In this culture of today we seem to think that if everything isn't exactly the same across the board, then it is about discrimination and inequality. It becomes so politicized. I have worked ecumenically with most all denominations across the board -- many who ordain women. But here is the big secret that the media won't speak about or we won't give credence to, There are more Catholic professionally trained women who hold director and more leadership positions in the Church than ordained women in Protestant Churches. Women have a vital and important role and gift that they bring to the Church. I see that wanting ordination for them would be stifling to them. Its not about being subordinate, but about being authentically open to all that God can give us. This would not gain its momentum from ego and pride but from a true authentic embrace of humility. That goes for all of us not just women. We have to quit believing that the only way it can be equal is if it is the same which is an insult to each of us. Equal but different is the more authentic and true place for all of us. Like I said, I would welcome women's ordination if that were in the cards so to speak, but have we ever thought that maybe God has a more beautiful and authentic plan for them? Something to think about.

    1. I don't imagine that your condescending statements (such as "I see that wanting ordination for them would be stifling to them"!) will be embraced by women seeking full equality in the Church. The battle for gender equity in the Church has begun.

  9. If this tidbit in the article is correct it seems that 70% of U.S. Catholics are, well, actually protestant.

    I'm chuckling as I write this because the article is funny as it's written as a serious article but it's detached from reality. This newly "ordained" lady in Kentucky is no more catholic than any other protestant, other non-denominational, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon etc.. So why is the author attempting to link her to the Catholic church as if "times are a changin'"? She certainly isn't the first former catholic to start a new religion. It happens all the time.

  10. Honestly, I thought this was a joke when I first read it...