Let me start by saying I actually started writing about Pia de Solenni’s piece, and then I realized it was super confusing and had no idea what her point was at the end. Then, however, I saw this and it was quite laughable. They missed her point far more than I did. I think FutureChurch felt like they had to respond since America Magazine printed Pia’s article.
FutureChurch’s Response to Pia de Solenni”
First of all, Pia never said women didn’t preach. She stated that Canon Law forbade the laity from preaching the homily at Mass and then kinda sorta tried to explain why. I’m not totally sure how FutureChurch missed that, but they apparently did. Or, maybe, they didn’t.
FutureChurch is deeply disturbed by the September 9, 2019, America Magazine essay by Dr. Pia de Solenni, “Should Catholic women preach at Mass? Here’s a better question,” in which she narrowly conceives the Church’s teaching on a priest acting “in persona Christi” in the Sacraments to justify the practice of excluding women from preaching.
They should have just stopped at “FutureChurch is deeply disturbed.” They are.
Well, heaven forbid we actually admit the truth. The priest is acting “in persona Christi” in the celebration of the Mass. Not really sure why they’re portraying it as “narrow conception.” It’s kind of the whole enchilada, and it isn’t some relatively new thought.
Now the reason for preaching being reserved to priests and deacons becomes clear. At the Mass the priest and the deacon stand in persona Christi. They represent Christ symbolically and liturgically. One as Christ the priest. The other as Christ the Servant. When they read and preach the gospel therefore they are exercising not only a teaching function, but a liturgical function. They are incarnating Christ the Teacher and Christ the Servant to the people.
This is why they are ordained. NOT just to be a social worker in black. Not just to be a theology teacher in a collar. Not just to be a spiritual director or a parish administrator or a fund raiser.
The priest and deacon are ordained and set apart from the laity for this reason: to help incarnate Christ in the world through their own person and through their own vocation. This is why the catechism teaches that one of the ways to objectively know that you have encountered the risen Lord is “in the person of the priest.
Lay people can’t do that in the same way, and that’s why they are not permitted to preach at Mass.
Back to FutureChurch…
But there is a much more hazardous ideal at play here.
We have already established that it is you two who are wrong according to tradition, according to Canon Law, and according to various Church documents, to say the least. Nope, it’s you who are dangerous. All you do is sow seeds of envy, jealousy, and bitterness, along with some heresy everywhere you go. You are definitely not the future of the Catholic Church.
While acknowledging that women are often better at preaching than priests, she reasons that that “no matter how wonderful or how terrible” the priest who is in persona Christi with a soul “indelibly marked” and who has undergone an “ontological change” is given priority of place “by virtue of his ordination, not his moral character.
Dr. Solenni denies that this is clericalism. Yet, one has to ask if such an anemic metaphysical model — one that makes moral character optional — also allows that priests represent Christ when they commit acts of abuse and rape against children, steal money, or engage in other criminal acts?
I realize that the word “clericalism” is a verbal tic for some, but really, they don’t even seem to know the definition. The definition is actually the misuse or overextention of clergy’s authority. With the proper form, matter, and intent, a priest is not misusing or overextending his power by doing his priestly duty, no matter how imperfect he is everywhere else in his life. That’s the protection we have been guaranteed by Christ. Let’s think it through, Russ and Deborah. If it weren’t true, how would we ever be able to trust ANYONE if you all got your impossible to have dreams? Does being part of the laity somehow mean you have spiritual or moral perfection? You two might be just narcissistic enough to buy that. The rest of us? Not so much.
If we look deeply into what the Gospels and Church teaching reveal, we see a different truth. It is clear that Jesus and the early Christians were disgusted by their leaders’ arrogance and self-glorification. When the Pharisees seek to silence the joyful voices of the people (Lk 19:39-40), Jesus rebukes them.
No matter what framework or theology is used to justify making faith-filled, baptized women second class members of the Body of Christ or seeks to sequester them to certain patriarchally-sanctioned corners of the Church, it is wrong.
Oh, my gosh. When I read things like this, I always want to ask, “Who hurt you?!?!?” Clearly somebody has some serious issues with someone, and sadly, we’re the ones who have to pay for it! Hey, guys, nice try! The teaching doesn’t just apply to women. It applies to all of the laity. No matter how much you rant against this, the roles of the clergy and the laity are not the same. And the framework and theology for that one? Doctrine. You know, TRUTH? Again, stop with the jealousy.
For nearly three years, FutureChurch and our partners have been bringing forward the preaching of Catholic women every week and on some holidays at http://www.catholicwomenpreach.org. Women such as Sr. Joan Chittister, Sr. Barbara Reid, Kerry Robinson, Sr. Norma Pimentel, Professor Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Sr. Sandra Schneiders, Sr. Christine Schenk, and over one hundred and seventy other qualified, faith-filled women have preached.
Yes, I’ve already had the misfortune of stumbling onto that site. Qualified? Debatable, unless the qualification is that you have to be a bitter older woman with a strong resentment towards men. If that’s the case, they nailed it. I’ve already written about the ”preaching” of one of their babes here.
And thousands of Catholics – lay and ordained, female and male, young and young at heart – flock to the site monthly, hungry for the Word of God as it comes through the lives, experiences, witness, and faith of Catholic women. And each we week receive emails from viewers of Catholic Women Preach telling us that they are hearing the Word, understanding it in new ways, and more fully integrating it into their daily lives.
Please, don’t kid yourself. It’s where bitter women, usually of the older feminist generation, come to feel justified. Let’s just say it’s the greatest site ever. It’s still not in Mass, so you guys go ahead and vent as long as you’re not doing it in the name of the Catholic Church.
That is the Good News!
More like pathetic.
Women will not be silent or silenced. We will continue the quest for full equality in the Roman Catholic Church and we will not stop until that vision — God’s vision — is fulfilled.
Russ Petrus and Deborah Rose-Milavec
Oh, Russ and Deborah, you’re so right. We won’t be silenced, but you might want to remember that includes me and my daughters who love and support our all-male priesthood. You also might want to recognize that all organizations of your ilk are dying. Literally. All those sisters you mentioned above? Their convents are empty, and their orders are disappearing. Nobody wants to replace them. Read the writing on the wall. The women’s organizations, religious orders, etc., that embrace the True Faith? They are flourishing! That’s God’s vision. And you know what? We don’t feel slighted in the least. We’re not jealous of our priests, we embrace our role as part of the laity. What’s more attractive? Old bitter women railing or young, beautiful, faithful women loving the Church? The question has already been answered, but your pompous selves can’t see beyond your own noses. Look at the rest of us for a change before you decide you need to speak on our behalf. We don’t want or need you to do anything for us. We’re perfectly capable of defending truth.