Reuters Reports on the “Ordination” of a Woman Priest

On Saturday Reuters put out an article on a woman in Kentucky who took part in a ceremony purporting to make her into a Catholic priest.  I’d like to make two points about the article.

In the first place, it is utterly and predictably biased.  This is evident from the tone of the piece, which presents the woman in question–and the movement for female ordination–in a positive light while giving the Roman Catholic Church’s side of the story in language that is at best clinical.  It does not read like an article written by an unbiased professional journalist but by a biased one trying to do the minimum to appear unbiased.

Apart from the tone, this bias is obvious in a couple of aspects of the article.  In the first place, in its title and throughout it refers to the woman as having been “ordained” as a priest.  It acknowledges the Church’s view that such an ordination is impossible and that the ceremony in which the woman took part was really a “simulation” of the sacrament.  But it consistently uses the dissidents’ language to describe what happened.  Similarly, it asserts that the Church has a “ban” on women priests, even though the Church’s position is not that the thing is to be banned but that the thing is not possible.


Again, in trying to appear to give the arguments on both sides of the issue, the Reuters article in fact throws its lot in with one side over the other.  Take a look at this passage:

The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to allow women to be priests because Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood said Jesus was acting only according to the customs of his time.  They also note that he chose women, like Mary Magdalene, as disciples, and that the early Church had women priests, deacons and bishops.

Got that?  Proponents of female ordination “note” that the early Chruch had women priests, deacons, and bishops–as if that were an uncontested historical fact rather than a point disputed by the two sides.

The other point to be made about the article is that the woman supposedly “ordained” in the ceremony does not sound like any kind of Catholic that would be historically recognizable as such, even apart from the question of the ordination of women.  The article notes that the penalty for this sort of thing is excommunication.  Here’s the lady’s reaction:

“It has no sting for me,” said Smead, a petite, gray-haired former Carmelite nun with a ready hug for strangers. “It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives.”

Now, any dispassionate reading of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life make it clear that he intended to establish a Church with the authority to teach definitively on his behalf.  There is an even more specific basis for excommunication in the Gospels.  Ms. Smead should know this, and thus should know that excommunication is not merely a “medieval” invention.  In any case, why should we take seriously as any kind of Catholic one who not only rejects the Church’s teaching on a single issue, but actually rejects its disciplinary authority in general?

Finally, it is worth observing that Ms. Smead permits herself to fall into bigotry here, speaking of old men as is they, as a class, are somehow to be disdained.


Categories:Church News

  • Dr. Mary Callan

    Despite the fact that her actions (and the actions of those who participated in and approved of this farce) are repugnant, prideful, and arrogant, I will pray that God has mercy on her. Prideful, angry feminists are an ugly lot, spiritually and in every other way. As a faithful Roman Catholic woman who is (God willing) becoming a Sister soon, I find that her actions don’t “empower” women: in fact, her actions clearly demonstrate that she believes all women religious who faithfully serve Christ as women religious are somehow second-class citizens in Mother Church. Why do these feminists think that the only way to have any value is to do what men do? Read your Catechism, Smead….oh, wait, you don’t have to, because you’re not Catholic anymore anyway.

    Again, she and all of her accomplices will be in my prayers.

  • Derek Icenhour

    I just read the original article. what is “an independent Catholic bishop” other than a contradiction in terms?

  • Jen

    What I have not been able to discover in any news coverage I have read is WHO supposedly ordained her? Was it a “pretend” ordination in which the actual ordination was done with someone without the authority to do so or was there some Bishop who actually laid his hands on the woman???

  • Sharon Placek

    Simple: She is no longer a Roman Catholic, another Break-Away! Free to start her own church with her own rules until someone else comes along and doesn’t like those rules! A vicious circle!!!

  • Dan

    No point, really, in getting mad at Reuters. The whole thing was a stunt to engender press coverage, after all. Smead wanted attention, she got it and she got her story out. It’s all about Smead and what she wants, which really throws the story into its proper context. Self-aggrandizement isn’t the goal of Holy Orders.

    • Joe M

      Great point.

  • Cecil

    I cannot understand why Catholic’s that do not hold true to the Catholic doctrine desire to remain Catholic. Depart unbelievers, start your own church. IMHO, Confirmation should be confirmed or restricted to those 21 or older. It is just to easy to become Catholic, without the full understanding of our Catholic faith. Birth Control is just one example. Another is priests allowing those living together to be married in the Catholic Church. They remain n mortal sin; however, receive the sacraments. Just saying we need to practice the faith, before receiving the sacraments.

    • TamiT

      Cecil, I agree fully with you. You couldn’t have said it more clear. If you don’t believe in the teachings of the Church then rather than try to change them – go find a Church that teaches what you want or how you want to live. Leave the Catholic Church alone.

      • Warren F. Gravois

        Yes, yes, yes…alleluia



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