Saturday, 06 October, 2001

A Woman Catholic Priest?

Every once in a while I'm reminded that there is a huge difference between accepting something intellectually and actually seeing it in practice.  Our good friends Jeff and Carol Duntemann celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary today with a Catholic Mass and a reception in Chicago, and Debra and I were honored to attend.  The Mass was the same Catholic Mass that I attended almost every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life (actually, since 1970 when the Roman Catholic Church instutited the New Order Mass).  Except the celebrant (the priest) was the Reverend Mary T. Ramsden.  Yes, a woman.  The Old Catholic tradition, in which this Mass was celebrated, admits women to the priesthood.  I understood this intellectually, but it was decidedly odd to see a woman celebrating Mass.

Jeff explains the differences between Roman Catholicism and Old Catholicism much better than I can, and I refer you to hisweb diary for more details.  (You'll have to dig, though.  Jeff hasn't yet pulled all of his Old Catholic information together into a single place--something I'm hoping he does soon.)  Here I'll just mention that the differences are not matters of faith, but rather matters of church discipline and governance.  Old Catholicism is Catholicism, just not controlled by Rome.  What I have read and seen leads me to believe that this is what Catholicism should be--a celebration of faith without the fear of offending the Church hierarchy.  If, like me, you have been turned away by the Roman Catholic Church, you may want to look into the Old Catholic movement.