Amy Welborn has a great post about some supposed ordinations of women as Catholic priests on the rivers of Pittsburgh today (July 31st).
First, from a page by the Diocese of Pittsburgh (a great diocese, Archbishop Wuerl now in Washington. DC did a great job there):
Isn’t denial of the sacraments and excommunication extreme? The church doesn’t excommunicate those clergy who abused minors. And politicians who vote in favor of legal abortion are not denied Communion.
Those who present themselves for Communion are expected to be in communion with the church. People can be “not in communion” in several ways. Those who have committed mortal sin and are not in the state of grace are out of communion and should not present themselves until they are reconciled through the sacrament of reconciliation. Those who deny a core tenet of the faith either by publicly espousing something contrary to the faith, such as the denial of the divinity of Christ, or by a public action that repudiates the laws, teachings or morals of the church are also not in communion.
There are certain actions that by their public nature, by their immediate threat to the unity of the church, by their explicit undermining of the sacraments and by their conscious break with the apostolic authority of the church derived from Christ result in removing oneself from the community of the faithful. In regard to this ceremony, engaging in a public — and highly publicized — abuse of the sacrament of holy orders that threatens church unity, and to take such action knowingly and willingly in defiance of the apostolic authority of the church, does place oneself outside the church.
However, even in these cases, the goal of the church is reconciliation. Announcing that there are those who have removed themselves from the community of the faithful is not a punishment but a call to conversion.
This, of course, also explains why pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Communion: they have placed themselves outside the communion of the Catholic Church by their own freely chosen actions, just as these women have chosen to by engaging in a mockery of a sacrament.
Welborn herself writes:
If you wish to be ordained and to practice Christian ministry as an ordained person, there is no lack of denominations in which to do that, with all of the titles, regalia and pomp – perhaps even more, if you’re going to be High Church Anglican – that you’ll find in the Roman Catholic Church.
So…why stay? Why the determination to be Roman Catholic priests?
Perhaps they’ll say that there is something marginally more “true” about Christianity, or even Catholic Christianity – that it has more direct historical ties to the apostles or something.
The problem is that if that’s the point on which their choice lies, they run into a problem when we try to establish conclusions.
If The Catholic Church is the Christian church “closest” to Christ…wouldn’t one conclude that this closeness is embodied in it? That its closeness is not just a matter of apostolic succession (a concept I’m doubting they care that much about either), but in what the successors of the apostles, you know…do and say?
More after the break…