The Door is Closed, Joan! Stop Banging Your Head on It!

Hey NcR, are you even trying to be Catholic anymore? I guess that’s rhetorical.

First, thanks to “Joan Chittister” for dropping “Sister” from her byline. It has really been a blight on good sisters everywhere. NcR still seems insistent on reminding us she’s a sister at the end, but hey, what can you do. Quite frankly, she’s bucking for the “Father” title, so it’s not surprising she dropped “Sister.”


Ordination of married men would cause other major changes within the church

Joan Chittister |  Nov. 6, 2015 From Where I Stand

God writes straight with crooked lines. -Portuguese Proverb 

The question of the theology of ordination to the priesthood just isn’t going to go away.

First, in a meeting with Italian priests in Rome in February, the pope, they tell us, said that he is going to put the topic of the ordination of married men “into his diary.” Meaning on his list of subjects to be — what? Addressed? Discussed? Opened to consideration? Promised? The possibilities are tantalizing.

First of all, the title – it’s a ruse. She’s just floating a new tactic to eventually bring us around to women priests. There’s a shocker. I’m getting tired of liberals and their “Some unnamed priests tell us that that the pope hinted in some indiscernible comment that he might someday think about the subject of such and such…” schtick. This is what normal people call “stirring the pot.” It’s a liberal tactic that’s as subtle as Bernie Sanders’ socialism. “Let’s just keep saying it until it’s true” is liberal tactic #1. Unfortunately for just-about-80-year-old Joan Chittister, she hasn’t figured out yet that it’s not going to work anymore with the social media world. What do I mean? Just look at this quote from yet another unnamed priest in the same link Joan put in her article (

Another priest who was there told an American news agency recalled Francis’ words as: “I would not store this question in an archive”.

Wait! I think she’s putting on her little wishing hat and imagining he said, “I, Pope Francis, am going to ponder married priests as a stepping stone to women priests!” Yeah, not so much, but we’re still going to hear about it from Joan ad nauseam now. Let’s face it, she’s getting up there in years, so she probably realizes time to see her dreams come true is getting short.

In countries where some Catholic communities never see a priest more than once a year, the implications of a new and developing clergy — a married clergy as well as a celibate clergy — conjure up images of a church choosing to be vital and viable again.

So, it seems Joan thinks the vocation to the priesthood basically comes down to sex. If we just allow priests to have sex, we’ll have tons of them. Now, that may or may not be true. The real question to ask is do we really want priests whose vocation is contingent on them being able to have sex? “I will serve you, Lord, if you let me have sex.” How does that sound to you? Now, someday, the Church could conceivably change the marriage rule for its priests. It’s disciplinary, not doctrinal, after all. We already have married priests in the Church, too. It’s nothing new. It is a strange concept, however, to lobby for this. The Holy Father might just say, “Hey, we need more priests to take care of our booming Church and this is how I’m going to provide the sacraments for my flock. We need you to consider taking on the monumental task of providing for a family (and by the way, your family is going to have to make some huge sacrifices too) as well as a congregation.” It’s a whole different thing for people to push for this as if this is a grand solution! It’s like they’ve never even given thought to what that will entail. I’m sure Anglican convert priests are saying, “Yep, nobody is thinking about that!” Both jobs are 24/7.

In the United States itself, as well as in far off rural outposts, parishes are closing at a great rate. In fact, the very superstructure of the church of the ’50s — its community-building impact, its services and ministries, its vibrant witness — is dimming. People drive miles to go to Mass now or don’t go at all. They volunteer in civic agencies now rather than in parish ministries because there are few or no church projects impactful enough to demand their commitment. Instead, the church, where there is one, has become a private devotion.

I totally agree that the priest shortage is a huge problem. Why does Joan continue to look towards very complicated solutions rather than to look at what’s proven to work? Why isn’t she touting, say, the diocese of Lincoln, NE, that’s been in the top 10 for numbers of seminarians for quite awhile now? Why isn’t Joan looking at what’s being done there? I mean, there’s only a hundred and thirty something parishes and an average of 40 or so seminarians! How about the diocese of Madison, which is also totally surging in seminarian numbers? Why aren’t we looking at them, Joan? I’m pretty sure we all know why. Faithful Bishops, faithful teachings, etc. Yeah, she’s having none of that. If they don’t like Call to Action or Call to Action doesn’t like them, she’d NEVER point their methods as the cure for the seminarian shortage. Besides that, she has an ulterior motive. She’s definitely not talking married priests because she wants to solve the priest shortage. She’s looking at it as a stepping stone to women priests, and she doesn’t hide it:

But if Pope Francis takes the question of married men seriously, that could, for a change, lead to real change.

And your stats for that are? Is it the Anglican Church? They’ve got that married priesthood thing, yet they are also freaking out about a priest shortage right now. Their shortage, though, has pretty much been as a result of “women priests and bishops,” which is Joan’s main goal. This whole married priest thing is just a bait and switch. Read on:

The annual number of candidates for the priesthood might actually rise, for instance. The number of priestless parishes might be reduced. The church’s ministry to families, itself embodied in a model of family life, might become more credible. Sex would become both a male and a female thing rather than a prescription for the control of women. And, oh yes, the place and role of women in the church might very well change, too, once women began to be seen as integral to the parish and its activities.

And there you have it. Her true intentions eventually show up. She just can’t help herself and her bitterness against and jealousy of men oozes from the page. Who are these helpless women being controlled by mean old men? On the local scale, I don’t know one parish that doesn’t find women integral to the parish and its activities. What a farce!

All in all, the church might get to be much closer to the people, to its children, to the rest of the real questions of life. And it can’t come too soon.

Really, Joan? All because of married priesthood? Gals in the priesthood? Again, the Anglicans are in decline. I’m certainly not lamenting that. It’s been a boon for the Catholic Church where they’ve been coming en masse as of late. That said, it proves my point. Why would we want that for the Catholic Church?

But there is a second issue about ordination that is also crying to be heard. A recent report on the public position of a group of Irish priests concerning the ordination of women puts the issue of women in the church in a clear and penetrating perspective. They say, “We are aware that there are many women who are deeply hurt and saddened by this teaching. We also believe that the example given by the Church in discriminating against women encourages and reinforces abuse and violence against women in many cultures and societies.”

Um, I think that issue has been heard by you, Joan. You hear what you want to hear and ignore what doesn’t fit YOUR model. Who in the heck are all these whiners and complainers? It ain’t me and my people. We hardly consider the all-male, celibate priesthood a curse to us. These men are totally willing to sacrifice something for us and our husbands! Our husbands are free to give us all of their attention. Why would we ever complain about that? Because you can’t have the title you want? Are you really insinuating that the all-male, celibate priesthood is leading to violence and abuse against women? Get a grip, Joan! It’s a nice, try at stirring sympathy, but it falls flat with those of us who have a thought in our head and don’t rely on liberal buzz. Methinks Joan might want to actually do some searching for her last shred of reality. Maybe this book would help:

More from Joan:

CARA, the research center devoted to Catholic issues and structures at Georgetown University, reports the declining number of women who are still active in the church, let alone devoted to its teachings. Mothers who were once the very catechetical arm of the church no longer support the church’s position on birth control, homosexuality, or same-sex marriage. And they say so.

Let’s talk about that. Bottom line, it’s really irrelevant, but let’s look at why is this so, just to placate you. I again point to the dioceses with faithful bishops and priests who have been around long enough to catechize their dioceses on the beauty and wonder of Church teachings. Do you really find wholesale dissent in the dioceses who’ve been doing that? I’ve lived in a few different places around the country, and I can tell you that you do not find a bunch of whiny women in those dioceses. Coming from a super-liberal diocese, I found it beautifully weird not to have to explain the faith to my fellow women Catholics. They knew it, got it, and were very involved in parish life. You see, they, like me, weren’t conditioned by a bunch of misandrists (Can you tell I’m loving that word?) to be jealous of our priests or fellow male Catholics. Misandry is what’s really going on here. It was never about misogyny.

More significant, perhaps, young unmarried women see little or no place for themselves in the male church. They can’t be deacons, they are often not encouraged or even not allowed to be altar girls again. They have no places on the standing church commissions that define liturgical practices, theological constructs or scriptural interpretations.

OK, I’m not a young unmarried woman – I once was, but none of this made me feel inferior – but I know and am related to some stellar ladies. I am going to tap a couple of them for comment on Joan’s comment on their behalf. Also, feel free to have the young, unmarried Catholic woman in your life reply in the comment section to this plate of pander.

Here are their comments:

As a young, unmarried woman; as an officer of my University’s Catholic Newman Club; as a woman who has always been encouraged to participate in and lead church activities; and as a woman who doesn’t need my worth defined by masculine standards, I will have to disagree with you, Joan. Men and women were created equal but different, each given a unique role in forming the Church. Women are given the honor of being so closely involved in the bringing of physical life, so men are given the responsibility of bringing spiritual life through the priesthood. Before I am able to help with the whole “creating life” thing, there are so many different ways I can contribute to the Church! As a musician, I am given the honor of leading the congregation in glorifying God through song. As a lay person, I am able to simply enjoy the beauty and mystery of the Mass, and I am extremely thankful for the men who are able to make this possible.

I don’t need to be given a special title like Deacon, Priest, or altar server in the so-called “male church” just so I can feel important. And before you go off and tell people that women are given no opportunity to contribute to the formation of Church teachings, do I really need to cite the female Doctors of the Church; the female founders of religious orders; and, you know, Mary, Mother of God? Queen of Heaven, Seat of Wisdom, Help of Christians, Mother of the Church?

And another:

I believe that Joan Chittister’s interpretation of a “male church” is inaccurate. Women cannot be priests or deacons due to the Sacred Tradition that was implemented by Christ. Women, young and old, however, are welcomed and encouraged to serve the Church as Baptismal and Confirmation sponsors, CCD teachers, or “standing positions” such as Canon Lawyers, Judges, or Chancellors, and much more. We should encourage young women to serve God through these important facets, rather than challenging Christ’s Will and positioning ourselves as competitors with men. Women, such as St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa of Avila (all doctors of the Church), for instance, have found meaningful positions without the title of “priest” or “deacon.” They have, instead, employed virtues, such as humility and obedience to God. Thus, women have and can continue to find a truly fulfilling and significant position in the Church by following God’s individual will for them. When in doubt, we should always turn to our most humble, yet venerated, Blessed Virgin Mother.

Beautiful and such a contrast to the Joan Chittisters of the world! They’ve got the nose to their grindstones and they’re not looking for glory.  They will likely have a great impact on our Church.

So pollsters track them as they go somewhere else seeking spiritual nourishment or, just as likely, go nowhere at all. Disillusioned with the gap between Christian teaching and Catholic practice on equality, religion has little meaning for them now. In a world where secular institutions are more likely to recognize the fullness of a woman’s humanity than the church does, church does not interest them much anymore.

This is the crux of the problem. Joan sees a contradiction between “Christian teaching” and “Catholic practice.” She pits one against the other in the same way she pits faithful priests against women.

The question is what relationship, if any, is there between these two apparently different issues? What can the ordination of married men possibly have to do with the ordination of women?

There is no relationship. One is a disciplinary issue (married priests/celibate priesthood) and one is a heresy, as in a contradiction of the truth in Church doctrine. You’re familiar with heresy, aren’t you Joan? “The door is closed” (a well documented Francis quote for a change, even by Joan’s own NcR).

This new topic of a married priesthood which is now in the pope’s diary could, I think, if history is correct, conceivably change all of that. But not in the way most people might think. And that’s my problem.

One of many problems, Joan.

For the sake of full disclosure, I need to say that I am a bit hesitant about writing this column. My concerns fall into the category of “Don’t put it in the airwaves” or “Don’t even whisper this — in case. …”

Why? Because the jig is up if they figure it out.

Yeah, you should be hesitant. *Cough* Heresy! *Cough!* Sadly, this isn’t where the hesitancy comes in.

Think a minute. Why do they have ordained women priests in other Christian denominations? Think. Because they have married male priests, that’s why.

OK, putting on my thinking cap. Computing. Carnac the Magnificent says the answer is because they aren’t the One True Church! It’s really quite easy to see that, when you don’t have the deposit of Faith, you’re going to let the feminazis rule.

Just how long, for how many years, through how many canonical councils, do you think married Roman Catholic priests can hold out against the ordination of married women priests once the taboo topic of women priests is finally laid on the altar for all to hear?

Here’s the thing. We’ve had married priests throughout Catholic history. We have them today. Get it through your head, Joan, women priests aren’t “taboo”. We can talk about them all you want, and many other non-Catholic denominations can go ahead and have them. In the Catholic Church, however, they are a heresy. They aren’t even in the realm of possibility, which is why “the door is closed.” Let me spell it out for you. The reason the door is closed is that women are improper matter for the priesthood. Want to whine and complain about that one? Take it up with Christ.

I figure that the history of married priests in the Roman Catholic church will go just the way it has in every other Christian denomination: Faced with the vision of Jesus surrounded, supported, sustained by women; conscious of Jesus’ theological education of women, his ministry to them and through them; aware of His welcoming of them in every public and pastoral situation, despite the prescriptions of enclosure they had faced in earlier cultures; good priests in other Christian denominations simply could not ignore the will of God for women anymore. Eventually, it got to be more and more clear: the place of women in the church was not a problem to be solved, it was a Divine mandate meant to be honored. At last.

Yet another problem with Joan. She can’t quite understand that we’re not just like every other Christian denomination. We have the full Faith. Isn’t it great that Joan thinks she knows the will of God for women? Isn’t it more interesting to hear that she feels like other Christian denominations got it right but not the Catholic Church? Sigh. Is it really God’s will, Joan, or just the will of bitter, jealous women who will never be content unless they get a shot at the awesome white garbs and spiffy white hat? I think the latter.

And more than that, perhaps, how many conferences for how many years do you think a male priest could come home at night, throw his briefcase on the desk and say victoriously to his wife and daughters  one more time, “Well, I voted against all of you again.” Shouts of joy. Applause. Triumph?

Or maybe silence and cold mashed potatoes.

And there it is again. The Church is against women. Unbelievably, this woman has now spent decades trying to make the rest of us as unsatisfied, bitter and jealous of our Church as she is. What an annoying waste of time. Now she’s imagining the pitting of husbands against wives. She’s now in my house! What a sad, sad woman. I think she’s actually the perfect example of a misandrist. Not sure what happened in her life to make her so bitter, but it’s pathetic.

From where I stand, the scenario is a real one. But you can see why I don’t want to mention it out loud. I am convinced that until the women’s question is addressed in the church, the numbers will continue to decline, and the church will fail in the 21st century. I would hate to give the opposition time to organize against married priests in order to block the sight of women in church rectories. If Christianity is ever to be Christianity again we simply must admit that women are also full human beings and disciples of Jesus.

Indeed, the issue of married priests is an important one.

And I think this pope knows it. After all, he already has a note about it in his diary. The question is whether or not they have figured out the relationship between married male priests and the eventual ordination of women priests.

Shhhhhhhhh. Don’t tell.

Apparently over in bitterland, reality is overrated. Christianity hasn’t ceased to exist. As the young, unmarried, ladies have so eloquently stated above, the Church doesn’t see women as partial human beings. The Church holds us in far more esteem than Joan would ever admit. Lastly, married male priests have zero correlation with the never happening “ordination of women priests.”

My sincere hope is that Joan Chittister will learn to love, embrace, and support our all male, celibate priesthood during the last years of her life, and that she will let go of the bitterness and jealousy and finally see how much our Church values and treasures women. She can spend her remaining years railing against the Church, or she can look at the beautiful young women quoted above and see their peace, confidence and love.


16 thoughts on “The Door is Closed, Joan! Stop Banging Your Head on It!

  1. Another excellent piece, OMM! I have to say, though, that I must disagree slightly. The old saying that even a stopped clock is right twice a day may have some merit here: I suspect that Sr Joan is actually right that the abolition of celibate priesthood could eventually lead to ‘priestesses.’ As the Church takes the wrecking ball to one tradition after another, a certain revolutionary mentality is taking hold. Folks start to get the idea that everything is up for grabs and every sort of change or reversal that can happen will happen. Plus, I’m afraid that a lot of the sort of fellows who inhabit the theology departments of our liberal Catholic colleges would be among the first to transition to the priesthood. After all, they stand a much better chance of implementing their visions of a radically different Church from the inside as priests and bishops rather than as mere lay intellectuals. More heterodox priests will lead to even more heterodoxy. It could ‘snowball.’ The Catholic Left loves Pope Francis, but I kind of get the feeling that they see him as sort of a ‘John the Baptist’ figure who is merely laying the groundwork for a subsequent pope who will finally and totally give them everything they want.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I love your posts and read them all the time. My general comment that pops into my head every time I read your posts is a question. Why can’t those of us who believe in the traditional Catholic Church be left alone? Let those of us who are conservative and have traditional values have one place to go free of all the PC and lib craziness. Of course, they can’t stand that can they? There are dozens of “denominations” any lib can choose to go to, any of which will cater to their warped ideas and beliefs. But it seems they want to co-opt everything. They’ve been so successful in the secular world. It gets very discouraging at times. Thanks for your tireless work! Stan

    Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2015 05:15:23 +0000 To:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMM, Bitterland is right. Just as St. Therese of Lisieux will be forever known as the patron saint and advocate of spiritual childhood, Joan Chittister has so corrupted her vocation as to become the patron spirit and prime example of the spirituality of resentment. From her it wafts through the Church like poison gas. She has emptied convents, suffocated vocations and robbed the young of a Catholic education at the feet of holy and devout nuns. In short she has made herself a scandal, a stumbling stone over which many in the Church have stumbled.

    I can think of one mother house of a Benedictine congregation in the Chicagoland area who by following her lead and embracing her teaching have emptied themselves out of younger nuns. Their last postulant entered at age forty and died fifteen years later. Whereas they were once a teaching order they have recently discovered the charism of hospitality, which is the euphemism under which they have turned their beautiful and immense motherhouse into a retirement home and are selling apartments within it. In this way they provide for their own senectitude and an orderly descent into the grave.

    For all of this and many similar examples that could be adduced, perhaps she expects a blessing. She will be doing very well indeed even to find herself among the least in the kingdom of heaven.

    Yet it would be uncharitable not to remember her in our prayers. She is very badly in need of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why reporting and commenting on catholics who promote anti-Catholic behaviors is vital. I woke up at 5AM, made my first cup of coffee, and opened my news feeds. I learned that the Salesians of Don Bosco issued over 100,000 condoms as part of a federal grant, a disgrace considering the life of Don Bosco; a church in NYC that was restored to a traditional interior design but which later on the priest had been removed, has been “re-redesigned” and now includes Hare Krishna services; and a church in upstate NY posted an outdoor sign that Jesus had two fathers, as if the head priest thought that the average non-practicing catholic and non-believer would not think that it had a gay meme and instead related to the pastoral care of children of divorce (that it was taken down later is not my point). We see a never-ending barrage of attacks against the true Church from all inside quarters. if this isn’t the beginning of open schism i do not know what is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, bitter is the word I would use to describe her. Have you ever heard of the “cutting your own firewood” theory? Basically it is that there was a lot less of time to waste on all the what-ifs, and bitterness, and useless wheel-spinning back when people had less free time on their hands. They were busy cutting their own firewood, hauling their own water, raising their own food, etc… So these ramblings of Ms. Chittister make me think that she would be better off spiritually if she were actually busy providing for herself and others. Maybe she should try being a spiritual mother (after cleaning up her act), since the boat sailed long ago on physical motherhood. It just seems like a waste of whatever feminine gifts she was given, to have squandered them on all this conjecturing. She has spent decades on the “mights”.
    (This also reminds me of my husband’s rural vernacular response to someone who uses the word “might” too frequently. It is “Mites grow on a chicken’s -ss.”)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMM, you need to tell these people that they can’t change the doctrine of the church. They should start there own church if that’s what they want to do. They are ridiculously stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really don’t want to give them any ideas, Fran! LOL!

      Look, I’m a sinner, a mom and I try to keep the idea that the shepherd leaves the 99 for the one and that He rejoices at his/her return. While I believe you have to limit the damage done by people like Sr. Joan, and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell her she’s being a fool, I wouldn’t tell her to leave. I’m sure I’ve come darn close when my temper gets the best of me. It would be the same if my child screwed up. They’d still be my child but I would mitigate the damage they do to the rest of the family while giving a heaping dose of reality and trying to win them back to God. She’s mighty close to pushing daisies and I hope someone snaps her out of it before it’s too late.


  7. This is another excellent essay, especially with the two lady student leaders. As a married permanent deacon, this subject is especially relevant and important to my vocation. The ordained place of man in service to the Church could be summarized as the persona Christi. That is the reason the Chair of Peter stated “the door is closed.” God the Father may have both male and female qualities; but the Son came to earth as a true man. If the Church is centered on Christ, it is only logical that His sacramental representatives be men. To place a woman in that position is like trying to make two plus two equal five. It is impossible. I sometimes attend ecumenical functions and see a woman Protestant pastor in a roman collar. I more pity them as any other emotion.

    My second point is the married option for a Catholic priest. Yes, a celibate priest has several advantages. Our Orthodox cousins have a married clergy and it seems to work well. Other retired deacons have asked me if I could remotely consider that I could replace a priest. With two pre-teen children and a disabled wife, the answer would be definitely “no.” On the other hand, these retired deacons spend twice as much time at the parish than at home. We have prayed decades for vocations; except we do not know how the answer is given. Why in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a much larger Catholic population than Lincoln or Madison, not produce more seminarians confounds me. It may be like comparing oranges to apples.

    It grieves me to hear of parishes back east that are closing with a faithful core of parishioners up in arms over their situation. Here on the west coast some parishes are bursting at the seams. The married deaconate will soon have the same numbers as the celibate priesthood. If it takes two to three deacons to replace a priest, so be it! We are ready to be ordained to the priesthood.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just a clarification…One of the young women is a student leader and one is a young professional who also volunteers in the Church.

    Interstingly enough, over on FB, we had a comment from someone who is a convert from the Eastern Orthodox Church and he stated that they are in dire straits for vocations as well. Here’s his comment:

    “Oh and One Mad Mom, by the way, I’m convert from the Eastern Orthodox Church where they have *always* had married priests and guess what? They have a vocations crisis same as us, probably even worse”

    We need to give SF and LA a little more time. Remember, they were decades without orthodoxy. It doesn’t happen overnight. I can tell you that vocations in the Bay Area are on the rise and I think I heard it is also the same for the LA Archdiocese. Lincoln has had years of orthodoxy and it shows!


  9. What do you call people who hate everything about the Catholic church, but insist on staying and whining incessantly, when there are many other churches that fit their needs?



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