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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Minnesota Woman Claims to Be Deaconness

In any action of the sacraments, it is principally Christ who acts, and only secondarily the priest. Christ’s maleness, and by extension, the male priesthood, keeps alive the nuptial symbolism that is so much a part of biblical theology and Catholic worship.

Fr. Thomas Lynch, dean of studies at St. Augustine’s Seminary, Toronto
Despite an attempt last week by St. Paul and Minneaopolis' Archbishop Harry Flynn to persuade her to continue to use her gifts of energy, love, and passion in the Church and not cut herself off from Communion, Regina Nicolosi of Red Wing, MN, with eight other women, participated yesterday in a ceremony "ordaining" (decidedly not Ordaining) them to either the priesthood, or the diaconate, on the St. Lawrence Seaway. (What is it with these things happening on a boat?)

This follows on the heels of last month's "secret ordination" of a woman in central Europe, like yesterday's event, conducted by members of the Danube 7. The Danube 7 were ordained on the Danube River in 2002 by two renegade bishops and were excommunicated promptly. They now claim to be bishops themselves. (See Roman Catholic Womenpriests for more of the silliness.)

While many play this up as an equal rights issue, what is at the core is a misunderstanding of the complementary nature of male and female. As Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome has noted, while it is biologically impossible for a man to conceive, it is equally theologically impossible for a woman to be a priest. This is true, as well, for a deacon, regardless whether she participated in an otherwise technically accurate traditional rite of ordination.

Alphonse Matt, editor and publisher of The Wanderer, an orthodox St. Paul Catholic newspaper, said to the StarTribune that Ms. Nicolosi's "ordination" will have no real effect and she is only deluding herself; that the bottom line is that she won't be recognized. Not quite. The bottom line is that she is committing scandal, and for that reason we pray that she and her colleagues have a conversion of heart.

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