Feast of Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (Our
Lady of the Snow)*
Tribune (as it calls itself, not The Tribune) is the latest publication to feature an angry woman railing at the boys in Rome for blocking feminine access to the Roman Catholic priesthood. Knowing the caution of Tribune, I presume it studied the response Carol Marin got in her column the other week in the Sun-Times and gingerly put a toe into the pool. Only a few letters to the editor and one octogenarian blogger objected—so why not? The marketing advantage is self-evident. American women are taking…not waiting to be given…new responsibilities. We must capitalize on this market…as readers and advertising mavens. After all, the executives say: We’re bankrupt. There’s even a probe about duplicitousness that led Zell to buy us. We’ve got to capitalize on women.
So Marketing argues: Take a look at the demographics: More women go to college now than men. They don’t go to college to get a Mrs. degree. More of them are getting advanced degrees than ever before. For God’s sake look at the phenomenal number of women lawyers, professors of social science, cabinet officials…now a second woman Justice of the Supreme Court is waiting in the wings!
For that matter, continues Tribune Marketing: look at the numbers getting into politics. And not just liberal women, either. Take a look at…Palin!
Hold it, cautions Statistics, don’t bring her up! We want to be positioned as appealing to the wealthy, League of Women Voters busy professional lady and, of course, a Mom, a lawyer from Hinsdale.
Ok, responds Marketing: Let’s take Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer…back here in Illinois Congresswoman Judy Biggert, moderate Republican, pro-choice, pro-gay rights…
Atta boy says Statistics (forgetting his sexism for a second), Biggert is the brand we want to identify with. A little elderly but you get the drift.
Ah but there’s more than public policy types, enthuses Marketing. Look at journalism! TV—Greta van Susteren, lawyer and television anchor.
Will you cut it out? snaps Statistics: She’s with Fox! No-no. Go with…what’s her name? She’s married to Alan Greenspan. Andrea Mitchell, says Marketing: both of `em too old: He’s 84 for god’s sake! She’s punching 60 at least.
The purpose of this meeting, says Statistics, is to decide whether we go with a bright lawyer type woman writing Op Ed in behalf of women becoming priests! We need a Catholic woman to say it, responds Marketing. Marin is just nominal: not a Catholic at all actually.
At this point a male lawyer sticks his head in the door, ascertained what Marketing and Statistics were doing and asked:
Why go after the Catholics? If you wanna tout women, go after the Muslims who make `em wear those long gowns with slits cut for eyes. Who punish them for adultery while the men get a pass?
Both Marketing and Statistics responded, almost in the same breath:
What the hell, are you crazy? Go after the Muslims? Do you have an inkling of what they’ll do to this Tower? What do you want…to see everything go KA-BOOM?
Lawyer says laughing: I was just kidding. Go back to your planning.
The meeting continues.
Marketing: I keep coming back to this: How about an Irish Catholic woman? Professional. Well educated in the Church! An Irish moniker will get the idea across.
Statistics: There you go. Get Bruce up here and tell his staff to run through the lists. The Dems have a lot of Irish women all of `em Catholic one way or another—many of `em judges. Remember all of `em on the ballot on election day? Mary Margaret Shanahan, Bridget McFarland, Grace Mary O’Grady?
And with subtle but unmistakable advocacy, this is the description they put at the bottom of the column by Sheila O’Brien, an appellate court judge:
“Sheila O’Brien is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, a product of 22 years of Catholic education and active in her parish. She is a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, Chicago.”
She gave them a great Op Ed headline and lede: Excommunicate Me, Please!
“Would someone in Rome formally excommunicate me, please? I want to be excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church because walking away will break my heart.”
Her article was the same-old, same-old. A more clever variant of Marin’s: Why can’t I or my daughter be a priest? The old boys in Rome take care of the child molesters in the male priesthood. She winds up by really sticking it to God…the 3rd Person of the Trinity. “Come, Holy Spirit!” This snarky mockery concludes the piece.
Mal-education in Theology Does It.
Sheila O’Brien undoubtedly is a product of Catholic education. Only lousy Catholic mal-education so prevalent in the years after Vatican II where heretics propagated what they called “the spirit of Vatican II” but which was never advocated in its documents. Sheila, ever since the Enlightenment (misnamed) people feel they have “rights” to everything. That goes for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but not the Catholic priesthood.
I’ll tell you this because Marin is in-educable. Just as men and women have different bodies…yes they do!...they have fulfilled different roles. God determined that He…yes, for millennia worshipers have used the male particular pronoun…He would send His Son (male again) to save humanity by doing this in a special way that He devised.
He duplicated the laws He set down about human reproduction. God sent His Son…the Word…here to be the Seed which will be given to His Church which is the Bride of Christ. Just as man imparts his seed to his wife and she nurtures it within herself and brings it to life and fulfillment, giving it the environment with which to grow…Christ imparted His seed to his Church—and the Church receives it, nurtures it and supplies the environment with which to grow.
What they obviously didn’t teach you in Catholic school, Sheila, is that in this way Christ inculcated his Church. He could have named women as apostles: why didn’t He? He knew many of them starting with His own mother, the most perfect human in all history? He knew and loved Magdalen, her sister Martha. The answer is: He didn’t make them apostles because they were to fulfill the role of His Church. He as the Bridegroom was destined to impart the seed. The Church with priests representing Him were created to live and act the role of Christ by imparting the seed. But the seed cannot grow without a repository which can nurture it.
That is the role of the Church, an innately feminine creation. So get it out of your head that Jesus Christ was a male chauvinist and discriminates even today against women. I know the usual refrain: if He accepts black men, yellow men, brown men as priests why should He not accept women? Answer: He did nor accept priestesses even though they were prevalent in His time and long before. He wanted to duplicate the act of Creation by creating His Church in a way that duplicates the way the world was first formed—by men and women. Following that rubric, Christ is a man and not a woman: a fact that is neither incidental nor unimportant in the journey to salvation. That is because, Sheila…as your elementary school should have taught you…Christ is the New Adam. God’s covenant with man is a nuptial mystery. He is the Bridegroom of the Church. His bride is the Church which He won for Himself with His blood on the cross.
And the salvation He certified, Sheila, is the New Covenant. All generations to come are expected to be nurtured by the Church. Is Christ discriminatory, Sheila? God forbid that thought. The very salvation of all of us is carried out by women as well as men—but women especially since the two-fold talents of both specify different vocations. Women have been the holy martyrs, the virgins, the mothers of families who bravely bore witness to the Faith and passed it on to their children.
Change the age-old system? That means, Sheila, you challenge the very words of Revelation: “Male and female He created them” [Gen. 1-27]. That’s why this plaintive cry that you want to be excommunicated because you can’t be a priest…which tickled Tribune so much… is silly, thoughtless and ignorant of theological truth, sadly. You who spent years studying the law should expend a few weeks at least exploring the sacred reasons for things in the Church you want to be excommunicated from. You owe it to yourself and your kids. Your piece is about as dumb as anything Gloria Steinem ever wrote. Worthy of Marin but not you.
But your ignorance is not your fault. It is the fault of wayward stewards…yes men and women…you mal-educated you and your generation. I thank God that I am not of your…and Marin’s…generation. Marin is adamant and resolved that she will not change.
But she’s not you, Sheila. You’re a Judge, I hope will apply your cognitive gifts to this and ponder this divine scenario. And if I can help, call on me.
*: Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (Our Lady of the Snow).
This feast marks the dedication of the third patriarchal basilica within the walls of Rome in the middle of the 4th century. It is the first church in the city dedicated to Our Lady. Why is it called “Our Lady of the Snow?” Popular tradition says that she caused a snowfall upon this spot in mid-summer. It is a myth of course but the venerable basilica is not.