Two days ago Sylvester Brown, a columnist from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, wrote about a “Catholic ordination at a Jewish congregation”.
As you might expect from the silly topic, Mr. Brown speculated about what Jesus would do about women’s ordination, etc. He had plenty of help in muddling his thought process from Prof. Ronald Modras of St. Louis University, who is apparently both a dissident theologian and a former priest.
Well not knowing any better, I emailed Mr. Modras to ask if the quotes are accurate, and if so how he can reconcile those with the Catechism. I’ll post any response that he sends.
Even a cursory scan of Mr. Brown’s column shows that he forgets a simple truth, as do many in these days. In particular,
equality does not equal sameness
Never has, never will. Yet Mr. Brown makes that mistake in trying to use Galatians 3:28 to support the ordination of women.
God willed to create us equal yet not the same, different and fully inter-dependent. We need each other. Not just men and women but members of every race, in the same manner we find this mutual dependence even among individuals in a community, communities in a nation, nations on the earth. In that (true) diversity we enter into immense richness, leading to love, which itself leads to joy immeasurable.
Yet the world wants to smash us down to monotonous, mind-numbing sameness, ugly grey boredom stretching beyond the horizon like purgatory’s eternal strip mall.
No thank you … let’s choose joy.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has posted a nice response here. It’s great having a Bishop who uses these occasions as real teaching moments – we are so very blessed. Take the time to look over the pages on this topic and you won’t be disappointed.
here is the letter I sent to Sylvester Brown, the columnist:
Mr. Sylvester Brown:
A couple of comments regarding yesterday’s column about a “Catholic ordination at a Jewish congregation”.
Probably the most obvious is that this is not a “Catholic ordination”. The Church was given the authority by it’s founder to set it’s own rules (Matthew 16:18 among other places). This Church has been very consistent on this issue, from the beginning. Pretty simple, really.
Are people free to disagree? Sure! Just as now, people have disagreed with the Catholic Church on zillions of issues – women’s ordination, the nature of God, how to be forgiven, how many books are in the BIble, and so on and so forth.
What’s not possible is to disagree on fundamental Church teachings, and still be fully Catholic. You may think you are one, you may even tell your friends, neighbors, and columnists from the Post that you are a Catholic, but the simple fact is that you are not a Catholic. You are even free to change your mind and rejoin the Church (and we will rejoice and be excited with you!), but until you do so in a very real sense you are outside of the Catholic Church, by your own free will.
The funny thing is that people like Modras and McGrath like to think they’re doing something new, something progressive, something admirable. But they could hardly be less creative, nor more sadly lost. Blinded by their own intellect? Maybe. Earnestly wishing that the truth was as they hoped it would be? Perhaps. Right on the points on which they contend? Nope.
I do appreciate your interviewing Prof. Welch from Kenrich-Glennon seminary. On the other hand, including Prof. Modras’ opinions is just silly – he no more speaks for Catholics than do Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.
Throughout history those that have disagreed with the Catholic Church on basic points have claimed a special insight into the issue, a new revelation, the ability to derive insight into what Jesus really meant on some key points … and have always gotten it wrong. From Arius to Modras, from the Gnostics to the any of the current splinter groups, they have placed themselves above the authority of the founder, who gave it (with guidance) to a particular group of men (and their successors) that he left behind to guide us until his return.
So nothing new here, nothing shocking at all – simply sad confusion. And that is the opposite of truth.
I will post any response I receive from him, of course.