A blessed feast of the holy apostles to those who follow the old calendar!
Speaking of the ecclesia, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf commented a few weeks ago on Episcopalians’ institutional support of dissident Roman Catholics: “Of Women Priests and Ecumenism and how we should respond. Wherein Fr. Z rants.” An organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests “ordained” a Roman Catholic deaconess at a ceremony hosted by an Episcopal parish in San Francisco. Fr. Z. finds such an act inconsistent with the Episcopalians’ ecumenical rhetoric. He therefore counsels the following practical measures.
When these things come up, we tend to focus on the internal Catholic reaction and on the deluded women who are into this stuff.
We must consider questions both ad intra and also ad extra.
We have to also pay attention to the Protestants who host them.
Look. We either take ecumenism seriously or we don’t. If we do – and I believe we must – we have to react strongly when ecumenical ideals are so grossly violated by Protesants who invite or permit these “women priest” ceremonies in their churches.
The most sacred rites of the Catholic Church are Holy Mass and ordination to Holy Orders. These are sine quibus non for our Catholic identity and the continuance of Holy Church Herself. They are of divine origin. They are for us most sacred. To treat sacred things with lack of due respect or reverence is the sin of sacrilege.
From our point of view as Catholics, these women-priest supporters are committing sacrilege in simulating Mass and Orders.
The Protestants who host them are also, objectively speaking, committing a sacrilege. They are permitting or inviting a mockery of our Holy Mass and a mockery of the priesthood.
When Protestants allow dissident Catholics to commit sacrileges in their churches, they effectively wave their middle-digit directly in the face of the Catholic Church.
For a long time progressivist Catholics were staging Jewish sedar meals in their churches. Some Jews were angered by this. The Catholics weren’t intending to give disrespect but that it how it was perceived. Except in some rare cases I suppose, Catholic don’t simulate their sacred Jewish rite anymore. We got the message from the Jews and stopped doing what was offensive to them.
There is no confusion in the religious world about what the Catholic Church teaches about Mass and ordination, about who may celebrate Mass and who may be ordained. There is NO confusion about what the Church teaches! Nevertheless, Protestants invite what the Catholic Church teaches is sacrilege to be committed in their churches.
Furthermore, in allowing this group of fakers into their churches, the Protestants are accepting the premise that what the women are doing in there actually is a Catholic ordination and Mass.
How dare PROTESTANTS decide what a Catholic Mass is?
And if they respond, “Gee, we mean no disrespect. We are just giving space to this group”, then what they are doing is aiding a protest against the Catholic Church.
There is no way around this. Protestants who give these fakers aid are either on their side, and thus support their claim that what they are doing really is an ordination and Mass, or in claiming not to be taking sides they are still giving support to an anti-Catholic protest.
“But Father! But Father!”, you are certainly saying by now, “There really isn’t anything we can do about this! They can do what they like in their churches and we are powerless!”
I respond: We are not powerless. Bishops must act.
Imagine that some women-priest fakers have a sacrilegious ceremony at, say, St. Swithan-by-the Slough Episcopal Church – or whatever Protestant church – in Tall Tree Circle, within in the territory of the Catholic Diocese of Black Duck.
Upon hearing the news that this ceremony is going to take place (or has taken place), the Catholic Bishop of Black Duck must call the pastor of that Protestant parish and say, “I’m the Catholic Bishop. Do not allow this sacrilege to be committed in your church.” (Mutatis mutandis, if it already happened of course.) He goes on to say, “You wouldn’t do this for a group of dissident Jews wanting to ordain rabbis, but we are Catholics so you don’t care what offense you give us. Until an apology is issued, don’t look for us to dialogue with you again.”
Then the Catholic Bishop of Black Duck calls the head of the denomination, the Episcopalian Bishop of the zone or whomever they have depending on the group, and unloads the same message.
Then the Catholic Bishop sends informative notes to the USCCB’s ecumenical office, to the CDF and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in order to let them know the facts about the the sacrileges against our most sacred rites and sacraments that were committed – with their help – in their church.
Then you call the press.
“But FATHER!” some of you are saying, all aghast and aflutter, “That’s… that’s… isn’t that over the top? Isn’t that a terrible over-reaction? You’ll hurt ecumenism! Shouldn’t we take the high road? Turn the other cheek? Be nice! Your response should be, I dunno, more proportionate!”
I respond: “PIFFLE! BULL PIFFLE!”
Protestants invite or permit sacrilege and anti-Catholic protest in their church and, when we say we don’t like it, Catholics are guilty of slowing down ecumenism? I. Think. NOT.
And as for a “proportionate response”, what would that be?
You want a “proportionate response”? Here’s a proportionate response!
Given that we are talking about the most sacred rites we have, a proportionate response would have to be something like a special service in the Cathedral of Black Duck. There would be a prayer of reparation for the sacrilege at St. Swithan-by-the Slough, a sermon about the theological errors of their sect, and prayers for the mercy of God on their souls lest they go to Hell. There would be handouts about the true teaching of the Church on Holy Mass and Holy Orders and, also, true ecumenism, articles in the local diocesan newspaper describing the errors of the sect and that they are not a true Church in the sense recognized by the Catholic Church. There would be weeks of sermons in every pupit of the Diocese of Black Duck…. Get the drift? That’s proportionate.
The response of my fictional Bishop of Black Duck is actually pretty mild compared to a proportionate response.
Take the higher road? Okay, let’s do. Let’s take the high road of true ecumenism. Let’s start by not lying to each other and committing sacrilege against what others hold sacred.
True ecumenism does not consist in lying down and letting some other church kick you and define what Mass is for you, or say who can be ordained, or stick their “F-You” finger in your face when letting in these sacrilegious fakers.
Fr. Z. is clearly mistaken. He does not seem to understand that the most important goal of the “progressives” among the Episcopalians—their highest and holiest mission—is to support and facilitate the demonic legion of modernity’s spiritual diseases. Father’s concern for Roman sacraments contests against the Episcopalians’ concern for their own sacred mysteries—of transgression and “empowerment.” In short, he requests that they cease being what they are. What sort of ecumenism is that—where a priest calls the heathen to repent and to convert? That is so archaic!