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July 29, 2006 at 12:04 am #1343
Making a stand for women priests
Archdiocesan official quits, saying she was ordained
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | July 28, 2006
A department head at the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has resigned her post after revealing that she had secretly participated in a ceremony last year in which she says she was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.
Jean Marie Marchant, who for the last four years has been director of healthcare ministry for the archdiocese, offered her resignation to Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley in a letter last week in which she said that a year ago, using a pseudonym, she had been among nine women who had participated in an ordination ceremony on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada. That group, whose ordination ceremony is considered invalid by the church hierarchy, also included another woman from Massachusetts, Marie David, a Harwich innkeeper who now leads a weekly liturgy on Cape Cod.
“I’ve always seen my role as to stay within the church and to push the boundaries,” Marchant said in an interview. “But I really came to see in the archdiocese that the change was not going to come about because we women were doing a good and worthy job, but that something more dramatic and drastic had to happen. Until we really took a very strong step and defied this very unjust law — the canon in canon law that restricts ordination to men — nothing was going to change.”
[b:t569lurq]O’Malley, who has repeatedly said that women cannot be ordained as priests because Jesus did not have female apostles, immediately accepted Marchant’s resignation. Although in 2003 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, announced the excommunication of seven women[/b:t569lurq][b:t569lurq] ordained as part of the same movement[/b:t569lurq], the Archdiocese of Boston has not sanctioned Marchant and has chosen less confrontational language in its conversations with her, an e-mail alert to priests, and a statement to the Globe.
“In her resignation, Ms. Marchant acknowledged that her having participated in an ordination ceremony with Roman Catholic Womenpriests is irreconcilable with the position she held with the Archdiocese of Boston,” O’Malley’s spokesman, Terrence C. Donilon, said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate Ms. Marchant’s many years of service in healthcare ministry. The archdiocese greatly values the ministry of lay and religious women. Their contributions are vital to the life and mission of the church.”
In her post as director of healthcare ministry, Marchant was responsible for coordinating the work of chaplains and others who visited the sick at 70 hospitals in the archdiocese. She had previously worked for five years as director of mission and spiritual care at a Catholic hospital, Caritas Carney in Dorchester, and prior to that had worked 16 years in hospice ministry.
A 61-year-old native of Waltham, Marchant now lives in Framingham with her husband of 19 years, Ron Hindelang, a one-time Marist priest who left the priesthood for their relationship. She has two grown children and five grandchildren from her first marriage; two other children died shortly after childbirth.
Marchant said that as a third-grader, at the St. Charles parish school in Waltham, she realized that there were no women priests.
“I had, as many children do, a very personal relationship with God and a real sense of God being there in my life,” Marchant said. “I had an altar in the dining room and played at being priest without any sense of being different. It was just a natural part of my childhood until I realized ordination was not open to women.”
Marchant married young and went to college only after having children; at the University of Massachusetts at Boston she encountered other women being ordained in other denominations. She received a master’s degree in divinity from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge and then a doctorate from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana.
Marchant said she had attended the 2001 ordination of Mary Ramerman of Spiritus Christi Church, a breakaway Catholic congregation in Rochester, N.Y., and was moved to think seriously about her own sense of calling. Marchant chose to be ordained last year by female bishops associated with Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which says its ordinations are valid because its bishops have been ordained, in secret, by valid Roman Catholic bishops.
Marchant participated in the ordination ceremony last year using her great-grandmother’s last name, St. Onge, and since that time, she said, she has quietly anointed some sick people and privately consecrated the Eucharist, but has avoided publicly celebrating sacraments because of her job with the archdiocese.
This month, however, in anticipation of participating in the ordination of 12 more women in Pittsburgh Monday (eight as priests and four as deacons), she decided to go public with her history and resign from her job.
“I don’t know exactly where this will lead me, but there’s such a hunger for the people to be ministered to in an inclusive fashion,” she said. “I’m leaving myself open to whatever possibility comes along.”
The Pittsburgh Diocese has posted a statement on its website about next week’s ordination, declaring the ceremony an “invalid ritual” and warning that “those attempting to confer Holy Orders have, by their own actions, removed themselves from the church.”
Donilon, O’Malley’s spokesman, said yesterday that “the cardinal has imposed no penalty on Jean Marchant, because, according to church law, she separated herself from the church by her own action.”
[b:t569lurq]Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of American Catholics supports the ordination of women, but church officials say their policies are not determined by popular vote.[/b:t569lurq]
The willingness of some women to be ordained in ceremonies that are not sanctioned by the Catholic hierarchy is radical, but reflects a trend, according to Ann Braude, director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School. Braude said there has been a similar development in Orthodox Judaism, in which some women have asserted they have been ordained by Orthodox rabbis, even though the denomination does not allow the ordination of women.
“It seems to me that this is picking up steam, and we’re seeing more and more examples of it in a variety of settings, but how far it will go, only time will tell,” Braude said.
“There’s no reason to believe the Catholic Church will ordain women any time in the foreseeable future,” she added.July 29, 2006 at 12:44 am #6705
I don’t see any reason a female could not be a priest(isn’t that a sexist statement made by the Catholic Church?)that all the disciples where male, according to God every one is created equal.July 29, 2006 at 1:50 am #6706
[quote:o3ucln9k]I don’t see any reason a female could not be a priest[/quote:o3ucln9k]
When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: “She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.”
Just because people are created equal does not mean everyone is meant to fulfill the same role. Men are fathers, women are mothers, but they are equal in dignity.July 31, 2006 at 8:20 pm #6710
Pope John Paul II could not have said it any better. Nice post Benedict.July 31, 2006 at 10:09 pm #6712
[color=darkblue:2no7e8ea]As my wife said:[/color:2no7e8ea]
“I don’t understand why women want that job. I’m barely getting by being a women.”August 9, 2006 at 11:58 pm #6753
:” title=”Question” /> Just wondering what will happen if total priests keep declineing in the next 20 years what the total will be.Here is a run down of priests in the U.S.A since 1965. 1965 58,632 1975 58,909 1985 57,317 1995 49,054 2000 45,699 2005 42,839.In the same time period the Catholic population in the U.S.A has increased from 45.6 million to 64.8 million.Who will sheppard the masses?August 10, 2006 at 1:31 am #6755
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God will not abandon his church.August 27, 2006 at 11:40 pm #6824
AnonymousAugust 28, 2006 at 12:14 am #6825
[quote:3hn64a8j][quote:3hn64a8j]I don’t see any reason a female could not be a priest[/quote:3hn64a8j]
When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: “She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently [color=darkred:3hn64a8j]held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.”[/color:3hn64a8j]
Just because people are created equal does not mean everyone is meant to fulfill the same role. Men are fathers, women are mothers, but they are equal in dignity.[/quote:3hn64a8j]
[color=blue:3hn64a8j]Were in the Bible does God say that??[/color:3hn64a8j]August 28, 2006 at 7:52 am #6826
God speaks through the Church as surely as the Bible. As His Holiness points out, it has been the teaching of the Magisterium since the very first days of the Church. This is not a matter of discipline that is up for discussion amongst Catholics. This is a decided matter.
It is not that the Church chooses not to ordain women; it is that the Church [u:zyuapvux]does not have the authority[/u:zyuapvux] or ability to ordain women because Christ [u:zyuapvux]did not[/u:zyuapvux] give such authority or ability to the Church. If it were God’s plan to have women priests, He would have done so.August 28, 2006 at 3:34 pm #6828
Ok,will leave it stand per God’s plan. I often wonder what his master plan to recuit more priests? 1965 total in U.S was 58,632 in 2005 it was 42,839,What really is shocking in 2005 ony 454 priestly ordinations in U.SAugust 28, 2006 at 5:54 pm #6829
While ordinations in the US and Europe are falling, ordinations in Asia and Africa are growing.August 28, 2006 at 7:10 pm #6830
There are many reasons for why women cannot be priests–but the basic one is that God made it that way.
If you have ever read the book “Women priests and other fantasies”, by… hmm… can’t exactly remember the author’s name, but it is Micelli, or something close to that. Anyway, his chapter on “women priests” is a wonderful explanation of why men are priests, and women are not.
But the idea that it is “racist” (I think you mean sexist) is clearly out of whack. Men and women are equal because we are all created by God with souls. We are by no means the *same*. Even in a physical sense this is obviously true. I don’t think anyone claims the NBA is sexist for not allowing women to play. Heh.September 12, 2006 at 6:21 pm #6962
[color=green:2lfw9zed]From my personal experience of going to protestant churches before I came back to the Catholic Church, I’ve noticed the majority of female ministers that I have heard preach are a little loopy. I don’t mean that to disrespect anyone here who is female, but that’s just my honest opinion from my experience. And both male and female ministers like to reserve about a minute or two of church service to give praise to the founder(s) of their church. For instance, at my wife’s lutheran church, the male pastor talks about martin luther once every church service. In my opinion, that’s time wasted from talking about God, and every time I hear it I sigh in frustration for having to sit through it; and of course my wife gets mad at me. Also, I was at my cousins wedding last year, a lutheran church again, and there was a female minister. She asked the groom and the bride [u:2lfw9zed]three[/u:2lfw9zed] times, “are you [b:2lfw9zed]sure[/b:2lfw9zed] you want to spend the rest of you’re life together?” She said it in a way to give it a funny atmosphere, and she made some people laugh. I thought it was kinda funny the first time, but then a few minutes later she said it again, and I thought it was going overboard. And then she said it a third time right in the middle of reading the vows! I just felt like the wedding ceremony was a joke in that it wasn’t presented in a serious way. ” title=”Smile” /> [/color:2lfw9zed]
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